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First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff has issued a controversial ruling denying the “server test” of copyright law and ruling that embedding images can be an infringement of copyright law.
The case was filed by Paul Nicklen against Sinclair Media. According to the lawsuit, Nicklen uploaded a viral video of a starving polar bear that Sinclair embedded into a news article about the video. This prompted Nicklen to file the lawsuit, alleging copyright infringement. However, Sinclair argued that, since they simply embedded a Facebook uploaded of the video, they were in the clear.
In the case, Nicklen argued that a photographer or videographer that uses Facebook or Instagram to promote their content should not automatically give up the right to license it to third parties, such as Sinclair. The judge ultimately agreed and denied Sinclair’s motion to dismiss. The judge also ruled against Sinclair on the issue of fair use, saying that it was too early in the case to rule on that issue.
Next up today, Ashley Cullins at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Hollywood’s major movie studios have filed a lawsuit against a streaming service named Altered Carbon (no relation to the book or TV series by the same name) and the service’s alleged operator, Jason Tusa.
According to the lawsuit, this is not the studios’ first run in with Tusa who has been caught operating at least three other similar services. However, after the closure of his last one, the studios claim that he signed an agreement that he “would never again relaunch a similar unauthorized service.”
As such, Warner Bros., Universal, Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount, Sony are among the group that have teamed up to sue Tusa for both copyright infringement and breach of contract. In addition to damages, they are also seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit future infringement and freeze websites operated by the service.
Finally today, Sterling Whitaker at Taste of Country reports that country music performer Jake Owen is facing a lawsuit from songwriters Alexander Cardinale and Morgan Reid, who allege that Owen’s 2020 hit Made for You is an infringement of their 2014 song of the same name.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s song dates to 2014 but was released on a Cardinale album entitled Digital Youth. Coca-Cola then picked up the album and made it part of a major ad campaign that saw many bottles of coke featuring the phrase “I was made for you”. The songwriters claim that the Owen song bears strong resemblance to theirs, including “notes, structure, harmony, vocal style and rhythm.”
Owen has not responded to the lawsuit. In addition to Owen, the plaintiffs also list all of his publishers and all the songwriters as defendants.