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First off today, Emily Birnbaum at The Hill reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a brief with the Supreme Court backing Oracle in its fight against Google.
The clash between Oracle and Google is over Google’s implementation of Java in its Android mobile operating system. Google, when developing Android, sought to make it easy for Java developers to port over their apps to it and copied the Java API without copying the code that actually created the Java language. This was enough to prompt Oracle to take action. However, the lower court twice sided with Google, one ruling APIs don’t qualify for copyright protection and once that it was fair use, but both were overturned by the Appeals Court, setting the stage for the Supreme Court showdown.
Both sides in this battle have been collecting amicus briefs with Google seeing backing from the tech industry. Oracle, however, has now received support from both the DOJ as well as organizations representing the record and movie industries. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in March and issue a ruling later this year.
Next up today, David Nayer at Law Street reports that Apple, along with various production studios, has filed a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against them over the AppleTV+ show Servant.
The lawsuit was filed by film director Francesca Gregorini who alleged that Servant was an infringement to her film The Truth About Emmanuel. Gergorini lawsuit alleged that the two works were “substantially similar” and that Apple had committed copyright infringement in its production of the series.
Apple, however, has hit back saying that most of the elements alleged to be copied are not at all protectable under copyright and that the few that are just “random similarities” and are “ubiquitous elements from film and television.” Apple also notes many differences between the works such as theme, structure, mood and characterization. As such, Apple argues that Gregorini can not claim protection in the allegedly copied elements and that the case should be dismissed.
Finally today, The U.S. Copyright Office has announced that it is raising fees for registrations and other services that it provides.
Currently, a basic registration (one work, one author) costs $35 and all other registrations cost $55. With the new rate schedule that will rise to $45 and $65 respectively, both rising by $10. It represents the first fee change at the USCO since 2014 and caps off nearly two years of commentary and discussion about the proposed fee increase.
The new fees will take effect on March 20, 2020. Other fees will also change and the full fee schedule is in the link above.