3 Count: Catching Up

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1: Congress Passes CASE Act as Part of COVID-19 Relief Bill | Billboard

First off today, Claudia Rosenbaum at Billboard reports that Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act and the Protect Lawful Streaming Act (PLSA) have both been signed into law as they both were part of the omnibus spending bill that, among other things, provided COVID-19 stimulus relief.

The CASE Act creates a copyright small claims court that would cap damages at $15,000 per work and $30,000 per case. It would be opt-in for both plaintiff and defendant and cases will be decided by a three-judge panel.

The PLSA makes commercial-grade streaming of infringing material a felony, the same as it already is for download. Despite concerns that the law could turn YouTubers and Twitch streamers into felons, such a situation is highly unlikely due to the high bar for any infringement to qualify for criminal copyright infringement.

2: Court says ‘Star Trek’ comic was attempting to ‘boldly go’ where Dr. Seuss had gone before – SFChronicle.com

Next up today, Bob Egelko at the San Franciso Chronicle reports that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court ruling and said that a Dr. Seuess/Star Trek mashup comic is not fair use as a matter of law.

The case pits the estate of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, against David Gerrold and Ty Templeton. The latter duo launched a Kickstarter to cover production costs of a new comic entitled Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, which was a mashup of the Dr. Seuss book Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and Star Trek.

However, the Kickstarter was abandoned after the Seuss estate demanded its removal. This prompted litigation where the lower court found the new comic to be a fair use. The Suess Estate appealed and has overturned that decision with a 3-0 ruling at the Ninth Circuit. This kicks the case back to the lower court for the matter to continue.

3: Happy Public Domain Day! The Great Gatsby is Copyright Free (hyperallergic.com)

Finally today, Hakim Bishara at Hyperallergic reports that, with the new year, comes a series of new releases into the public domain (in the United States).

This year works released in 1925 are the ones to hit the public domain and that include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Also hitting the public domain is the jazz song Sweet Georgia Brown and a new collection of silent films.

The BBC previously hailed 1925 as “the greatest year for books ever” and now the works published in that year are being placed in the public domain, where they will be free for download and adaptation by all.

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