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First off today, Ashely Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the class action lawsuit against Universal Music over original recordings allegedly destroyed in a 2008 backlot fire has taken another turn as two of the best-known plaintiffs, the Tupac Shakur estate and Soundgarden, have dropped their claims.
The class-action lawsuit has a group of musicians and their estates sue Univeral Music over allegations that the label didn’t do enough to protect their original recordings from damage. The musicians also claimed that they were owed royalties on insurance payments paid to the label as a result of the fire. However, there has been a great deal of dispute about just how many and which recordings were damaged by the fire.
In a March 5 internal memo, UMG’s lead archivist said that his team had reviewed more than 150,000 assets from nearly 400 artists and found that less than 0.1 percent of them might have been impacted by the fire. In light of this new information, several artists that were originally part of the lawsuit have dropped out though they have retained their right to rejoin the class should new information come to light.
Next up today, Blabbermouth reports that members of the band Misfits have filed a lawsuit against the U.S.-based publisher Abrams over the allegedly infringing use of the band’s famous “Friend Skull design” logo, violating both the band’s copyright and their trademarks.
The publisher recently released the book entitled Scream with Me – The Enduring Legacy of the Misfits. On the cover of the book is an image of a person wearing a mask that looks like the iconic “Fiend Skull” the misfits use in their marketing. According to the lawsuit, that amounts to a violation of both their copyrights and their trademarks.
However, the publisher has responded to the lawsuit, albeit not in court. They told Blabbermouth that they are confident the “limited use” of the artwork amounts to fair use and that similar cases have found the same.
Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) has filed another DMCA subpoena in an attempt to unmask suspected pirate sites that take advantage of the Cloudflare content delivery network.
The subpoenas, filed in the District of Columbia, aims to unmask the people behind four separate pirate websites that target audiences all over the world. The sites are accused of illegally distributing a variety of music owned by RIAA-represented labels.
The DMCA subpoena is becoming an increasingly popular tool for rightsholders. Cloudflare, well-known for its lack of cooperation in fighting piracy (as well as other internet ills), will not shutter or stop services to such sites. However, with a DMCA subpoena rightsholders can compel Cloudflare to turn over any information they do have on those sites, setting up possible legal action elsewhere.