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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Starz has hit back in their ongoing litigation with MGM, saying that they have no obligation to proactively scan every platform for infringements.
The lawsuit began when Starz noticed that several MGM films were available on other streaming platforms. These were films that, according to an agreement, Starz was supposed to be the exclusive provider for. All totaled, Starz claims to have found some 340 films that MGM had licensed elsewhere despite their exclusivity agreement.
However, MGM responded by saying that, in at least 127 of those cases, Starz had waited too long to file a lawsuit. Starz filed the lawsuit in March 2020 and the alleged infringement began before March 2017. Starz, in a new filing, now argues that it would be an “unreasonably heavy burden” for them to have to monitor every streaming platform for all the movies in their catalog. They stand by the assertation that the infringement was discovered in August 2019 and that is when the clock for the statute of limitations should start ticking, not when the infringement started.
Next up today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that representatives for Nicki Minja have filed a motion stating that, if the court finds in favor of the plaintiff in a sampling case involving her, that it could have a “significant impact” on the music industry and stifle creativity.
The lawsuit began when musician Tracy Chapman sued Minaj in October 2018. According to the lawsuit, Minaj sampled Chapman’s song Baby Can I Hold You for her unreleased track Sorry. Sorry was supposed to be released on Minaj’s queen album but was left off over the sampling rights dispute. Despite the lack of permission, the song later played on the radio and shared online by fans.
Minaj is arguing that the sample is a fair use and is further arguing that, if Chapman succeeds, it will greatly impact the music industry and hurt musical creativity. The case is currently at a summary judgment phase where both sides are asking the judge to rule in their favor without the need for a jury trial.
Finally today, Carolyn Wright at Photo Attorney reports that photographer Gregory Mango has secured a major victory against Buzzfeed and, along with it, may have helped make it easier for other photographers to file a lawsuit for certain kinds of infringement.
Mango licensed a photo he took to the New York Post. Buzzfeed then used that same photo and removed his gutter credit when republishing it. This prompted Mango to sue Buzzfeed both for copyright infringement and violating the DMCA by removing copyright management information (CMI). The lower court sided with Mango and awarded him some $8,750 in damages and more than $67,000 in court costs and attorneys’ fees.
However, Buzzfeed appealed the DMCA portion of the ruling saying that it was unaware that their conduct would lead to future, third-party infringement. The Second Circuit has upheld that verdict, ruling that an “infringement” under the law does not indicate just a future infringement but could indicate any infringement, including the original one being sued over. This removes the requirements that plaintiffs prove knowledge of future infringement from the requirements to sue over CMI. However, plaintiffs must still show knowledge of future concealment.