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First off today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the major record labels have secured a significant victory in their ongoing legal battle with mixtape service Spinrilla as a judge has granted summary judgment in their favor.
Spinrilla is a service which allows users to create and stream their own mixtapes. However, the site has regularly butted heads with the record labels. This came to a head in 2017 when the labels sued Spinrilla for alleged copyright infringement. However, Spinrilla argued that they complied with takedown requests, operated Audible Magic to help filter infringing uploads and were not liable for their customer’s infringement.
However, the court decided otherwise, granting summary judgment on the issue of both direct infringement and DMCA protection. On the former, the court ruled that none of Spinrilla’s arguments dealt with cases involving public performance of music and that streaming is a direct infringement even if it occurs at the request of a user. On the latter, the court ruled that Spinrilla did not qualify for DMCA safe harbor protection since it didn’t register an agent until after the lawsuit began. As such, the court found them liable for the infringement of some 4,082 songs and that has set the stage for a trial on damages.
Next up today, Rick Stevenson at ScreenRant reports that author Clive Barker has won a legal dispute to reclaim the film rights his novella The Hellbound Heart, which was the basis for the original Hellraiser film.
Hellraiser was first released in 1987 after Barker signed over the film rights to Park Avenue Entertainment. However, under the Copyright Act of 1976, original creators can reclaim any signed over rights after a period of 35 years. With that time coming up soon, Barker sought to reclaim the rights, but the case wound up in court.
However, the two sides have reached a settlement and the rights to the story will revert to Barker in December 2021. The case mirrors an ongoing one involving the story of Friday the 13th. There, the court ruled in favor of the author, but the matter is on appeal.
Finally today, Murray Stasen at Music Business Worldwide reports that Spotify has filed a European patent on a new system, powered by artificial intelligence, which aims to help songwriters determine if their song copies elements of other compositions.
According to the filing, the system would take the song’s lead sheet and feed it through a “plagiarism detector” that would compare it against other such sheets and would seek out any plagiarism, unintentional or otherwise, in the work.
According to Spotify’s filing, this would take place in near-real time and it would make it easy for the songwriter can quickly listen to the potentially plagiarized work.