3 Count: Very Fairly Used

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1: Cox Communications Reckons Alternative Math Should Save it $243 Million in its Big Copyright Cust Up with the Labels

First off today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that Cox Communications has filed a motion in their ongoing battle with the record labels saying that the $1 billion verdict against them should be reduced by $243 million, almost 1/4, due to an error in the math.

The major labels sued Cox alleging that the major ISP wasn’t doing enough to discourage piracy on its network. The case eventually went before a jury and it came back finding Cox liable to the tune of $1 billion. Ever since then, Cox has been fighting to have that award either reduced or overturned.

Back in June, the judge declined to either amend the jury’s ruling or order a retrial. However, he did leave the door open to reducing the verdict and now Cox is arguing that some 2437 of the 10,017 tracks in the lawsuit were listed twice (due to multiple rights that the record labels hold) and should be removed. This will reduce the judgment by a total of $243 million if the judge agrees.

2: Demo Reel Clips Ruled Fair Use in Director’s Suit Against Actress

Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that actress Jessica Taylor Haid has emerged victorious in a lawsuit filed by director Robin Bain over her use of unreleased footage from the film Nowhereland (Also known as Girl Lost).

Haid appeared in the film, which Bain directed. However, when Haid used an unreleased clip featuring her as part of her demo reel, Bain sued. The two sides moved into arbitration but, when that failed, it prompted Haid to file a motion for summary judgment. That motion has been granted on the grounds that her use of the video was transformative and was fair use.

Bain also sought damages on the grounds that Haid removed a watermark from the video, amounting to a DMCA violation. However, the judge found that there was no evidence Haid was the one that removed the watermark. The judge also admonished both sides for not coming to a resolution in this case more quickly and, instead, “The parties have unnecessarily taxed both this Court’s, and their own, limited resources.”

3: Judge Sides with Artist in Porn Case

Finally today, George Brennan at the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports that a homeowner and artist whose house and artwork was used in pornographic movies without permission.

The lawsuit was filed by Leah Bassett, who sued a variety of defendants connected with a series of pornographic films that were filmed at a house she owns and rents out. Bassett is a professional artist and has many of her paintings on the wall of the home and they were visible in some 10 of those films.

Bassett further claims that the house was sublet to the film companies without her knowledge. The judge has issued a summary judgment in her favor, but she still must produce expert witness reports to show that the use goes beyond de minimis, or trivial. Once that report is submitted, the defendants will have 30 days to respond.

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