3 Count: Turtle Defeat

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1: Sirius XM Wins Appeal of Turtles Members’ California Copyright Claims

First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that digital radio service Sirius XM has notched yet another major win in their long-running dispute over royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings.

The lawsuit was brought by members of the band The Turtles and raised the question of what, if any, royalties Sirius owed on pre–1972 sound recordings. Since such recordings are not covered by federal law, state law applies and, according to The Turtles, various state laws required the payment of royalties for the use of their music on the platform.

However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have shot that argument down in regard to California. Ruling in favor of Sirius, the court found that there was no case law or other history that indicated such a royalty was owed. The two sides actually settled the case for $25 million back in 2016, but Sirius agreed to pay an additional $5 million for each Appeals Court win. So far, the plaintiffs have lost in every court.

2: Michael Moore Hit With Copyright Lawsuit Over ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

Next up today, Daniel Goldblatt at The Wrap reports that filmmaker Michael Moore is facing a lawsuit from Flint, Michigan resident Darick Lemons over footage that was used in Moore’s 2018 film Fahrenheit 11/9.

According to Goldblatt, in 2016 he shot video of President Barack Obama visiting Flint and uploaded the footage to YouTube. He then claims that Moore took the footage and used it in the film without his permission, sparking the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, and representatives for Moore have not commented on the lawsuit at this time.

3: Piracy Is Biggest Problem For Day-And-Date Releases, Say International Film Distrib & Exhib Chiefs – CinemaCon

Finally today, Anthony D’Alessandro at Deadline reports that, at a recent panel at CinemaCon, various film executives discussed the challenges they face with day-and-date releases for film and the answer was unanimous: Piracy.

Day-and-date released films are movies that make their debut in theaters and on streaming services on the same day. According to a recent survey, of those that watched the recently released film Black Widow, 33% watched it on a pirate site while only 13% watched it on Disney+ and another 28% saw it in theaters. They compared this to films such as F9, which had a purely theatrical release window, and saw relatively little piracy.

According to the panelists, the issue is that such releases make it easy for pirates to obtain pristine copies, and they usually appear on pirate sites without hours of release.

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