3 Count: Unplanned Floors

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1: 8th Circuit Revives Copyright Dispute Over House Floor Plans

First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a copyright infringement lawsuit against the realtors Columbia House of Brokers Realty over the alleged infringement of floor plans.

The lawsuit was brought James’ Designworks, an aggressive litigant that has brought many similar lawsuits over alleged infringement of its floor plans and home designs. However, this one met an abrupt end when a district judge tossed the case, saying that the copyright act does not say that one cannot make “pictures, paintings photographs or other pictorial representations” of public spaces.

Unfortunately for the defendants, the appeals court has now overturned that, saying that the Congress, when passing the act, did intend for it to apply to floor plans. This sends the case back to the district court where other defenses, most notably fair use, will have to be weighed next.

2: Eurovision Singer James Newman Wins Copyright Case over Rudimental Hit

Next up today, the BBC reports that Eurovision 2021 contestant James Newman has secured a major court victory against Kelly-Marie Smith, who claimed that a song Newman co-wrote in 2013 was an infringement of a 2006 track she wrote.

According to the lawsuit, Smith penned a track named Can You Tell Me. She claimed, even though the song has not had a commercial release, that Newman had obtained a copy of the track and based parts of the song Waiting All Night, a 2013 hit for the band Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre.

Though Smith attempted to argue that the similarities were too great to ignore, the judge ruled that the connection between the two was tenuous and that any overlaps were just coincidence.

3: Microsoft is Looking to Use the Ethereum Blockchain to Prevent Piracy

Finally today, Isabelle Lee at Business Insider reports that Microsoft’s research department has released a new paper that indicates the company may be looking to use the Ethereum blockchain to combat piracy.

Dubbed as “The first public anti-piracy system” it centers around a new system named Argus. According to Microsoft, Argus would run on a public blockchain and make it easy to report suspected piracy anonymously. However, the nature of the system would make it possible for Microsoft to still track down the suspected pirate.

According to Microsoft, they hope that this will aid anti-piracy campaigns by granting full anonymity to informers, but still allow them to incentivize such reporting. As part of the system, Microsoft claims to have lowered the transactional cost on the Blockchain for those filing such reports.

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