3 Count: Involving Volvo

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1: Photographer and Model Sue Volvo for ‘Willful and Wanton’ Copyright Infringement

First off today, DL Cade at PetaPixel reports that automotive photographer Jack Schroeder and model Britni Sumida have filed a lawsuit against the carmaker Volvo, accusing it of using photos that they took without permission.

According to the lawsuit, Schroeder took several photos featuring Sumida and a Volvo car. He then posted the images on his Instagram profile, where Volvo then tried to approach him about using the images in an ad campaign. Schroeder says he declined those offers, noting that they were unpaid offers. Schroeder says he then reached out about arranging a proper license but never heard back from Volvo.

However, despite his refusal, Volvo posted his photos on their Instagram and Pinterest accounts with no attribution to him at all. To make matters worse, according to Schroeder, Volvo was very unhelpful when he reached out about the infringement, taking months to remove the photos (something that only happened after he filed the lawsuit). Schroeder also claims that Volvo sent a threatening letter to a company that had worked with Schroeder in a bid to intimidate him. He is seeking both damages and an injunction in the case.

2: Pirate Downloads of ‘Gone With The Wind’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’ Surge after Being Pulled

Next up today, Ernesto Van der Sar at Torrentfreak writes that, due to racial and prejudicial content within them, several movies and episodes of TV shows were pulled from various streaming platforms. Now, many of those shows and movies are seeing a resurgence on piracy networks.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd and the worldwide protests that have followed, many streaming services have opted to remove content that features themes or language that are widely seen as racist. This includes the film Gone with the Wind, and episodes of the TV shows Little Britain and Fawlty Towers.

However, the result of these removals, as well as the news coverage about the removal, is that those shows and films are having a resurgence on pirate websites. For example, Gone with the Wind has seen a more than 1300% increase in pirate downloads over the last week with the U.S. increasing by over 2200%. All of the shows are expected to be reinstated but with contextualization and content warnings.

3: Ghostwriter Gets Copyright of Masud Rana Books

Finally today, The Daily Star reports that, in Bangladesh, the Copyright Office has granted the copyright of some 260 books to their ghostwriter, enabling him to collect royalties on those works moving forward.

The case centers around the Masu Rana books, a popular espionage-thriller series in the country. It is an open secret that the books are ghostwritten, namely by author Sheikh Abdul Hakim, and that only two were written by the series original author, Kazi Anwar. The series’ publisher, Sheba Prokashoni, has been turning out multiple books per year and up until he stopped working in 2008. The series has continued with other authors.

However, according to Hakim and the Bangladesh Copyright Office, there was no contract or agreement between Hakim and the publisher. As such, there was no transfer of copyright nor any promise that the one-time payment for the books would be the only payment. As such, the Copyright Office has awarded Hakim control of the copyright and the right to earn royalties from future sales of his work.

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