3 Count: Game of Life

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1: Copyright Fight Over ‘Life’ Game Derails at 1st Circuit

First off today, Thomas F. Harrison at Courthouse News Service reports that the First Circuit Court of a Appeals heard arguments that could determine the fate of the Game of Life as heirs of the game’s original creator seek to reclaim the ownership of the game’s copyright.

In 2015 heirs of Bill Markham, who created the game in 1959, filed for with the U.S. Copyright Office to terminate his agreement with Milton Bradley. This is allowable under the Copyright Act of 1976, which allows original creators or their heirs to terminate transfers and exclusive licenses after a period of time. However, Hasbro, who acquired the Milton Bradley Company in 1984, claims that the game was a work made for hire and doesn’t qualify for copyright termination.

A judge in Rhode Island had previously ruled that the game was a work for hire saying that not only was Markham hired to create the game but that much of the work was done by Markham’s two employees. However, lawyers for Markham’s estate said that they were ambushed by that latter argument the day before the trial began and it was unfair that it was heard. As such, they are asking the First Circuit to overturn that decision and grant them copyright termination.

2: Halifax-Area Couple Face 25 Charges Related to TV Piracy Investigation: RCMP

Next up today, The Canadian Press reports that a Halifax-area couple is facing some 25 charges related to their alleged operation of an illegal IPTV network that was illegally streaming broadcasters’ content.

The couple, Riad and Kayla Tomeh, have been under investigation since June 2019 after a complaint from an unnamed telecommunications company. This led to a search of the couple’s home in August that resulted in the seizure of both equipment and financial documents.

Now, three companies operated by the two face 44 charges. Riad Thomeh personally faces 18 counts and Kayla Thomeh faces seven. The charges include distributing copyrighted material, laundering the proceeds of a crime and possession of a device to obtain use of a telecommunication facility or service among others.

3: Facebook Gaming Solves Twitch Streamers’ Music Copyright Problems

Finally today, Justine Uy at Micky reports that Facebook Gaming has announced that it has reached a deal with the major record labels and publishers to enable streamers to use background music as they play video games.

The announcement comes as streamers on Twitch are battling takedown notices on their streams for their use of music. Facebook claims that the deals they have struck cover a wide variety of genres and types. They say that users should no longer see takedown notices or have their streams cut off due to music being played in the background.

However, Facebook is quick to point out that this is only for background music while playing games. This does not cover acts, such as DJing, where the music is the focus. Also, the service is only for partnered creators at this time though Level Up creators will be able to take advantage of it soon. In the meantime, non-partnered creators can use the sound collection provided by Facebook.

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