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First off today, Ben Beaumont-Thomas at The Guardian reports that the judge in the Katy Perry Dark Horse case has tossed the jury verdict saying that the “eight-note section” of the song is “not particularly unique or rare” in its structure.
The lawsuit was filed by Christian rapper Marcus Gray, better known as Flame. He claimed that Perry’s hit song Dark Horse was an infringement of his earlier work, Joyful Noise. The case reached a trial and, in July 2019, the jury sided with Gray, awarding him some $2.8 million in damages, including $550,000 owed by Perry herself.
However, that verdict has now been tossed as the judge as overturned the jury verdict saying that it was not supported by the evidence available. The judge based his decision in large part on expert witness testimony provided at the trial and a recent verdict by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the dismissal of the Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven lawsuit. Gray has said he plans on appealing the decision to that same court.
Next up today, Phaedra Haywood at the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that artist Lauren Adele Oliver has filed a lawsuit against the artist group Meow Wolf alleging both copyright infringement and violations of the Visual Artists Rights Act.
According to Oliver, the collective convinced her to let them include her Space Owl sculpture as part of their House of Eternal Return showcase. In return, she claims they offered her membership in the group and a share of the revenues. However, when the exhibit became a huge success, they went back on those promises and only offered her a choice of selling the character outright or removing it without any additional compensation.
Oliver goes on to say that her work was repeatedly used and credited to the collective without any attribution to her. As a result, she is seeking unspecified damages and conveyance of her ownership interests in the company. Meow Wolf has promised to vigorously defend the lawsuit, saying that the allegations run counter to their culture.
Finally today, Jason Koebler at Motherboard reports that Popcorn Time, the “Netflix for piracy” has returned from a multiyear hiatus as much of the world goes into self-isolation due to COVID-19.
The app made its debut in 2014 and was almost instantly popular with pirate site users. It provided users with an interface that was more akin to Netflix than a regular BitTorrent client. However, shortly after its release, it found itself the target of the movie industries and, even though the open-source code was forked and rereleased many times, it never worked consistently.
However, the app is now back with a new version, 4.0, that works as well as previous versions. Currently, many films that are either in theaters (or were in theaters prior to the closures), as well as recent on-demand releases, are available on it.