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First off today, Tin Baysinger at The Wrap reports that Marvel has filed a series of five lawsuits that challenge the copyright termination notices filed by heirs of famed creator Stan Lee in hopes of retaining the rights to some of its most popular characters.
The characters involved include, among others, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Hawkeye and more. According to the heirs, Stan Lee created the characters as an independent contractor and, thus, they qualify for copyright termination. This would allow them to reclaim the rights after a set amount of time.
However, in their lawsuit, these characters were created as a “work for hire” and thus don’t qualify for copyright termination and are wholly owned by Marvel. To that end, Marvel is pointing to a similar lawsuit involving Jack Kirby, who co-created several of the characters, where the federal court sided with them in saying that the characters were created as works for hire.
Next up today, Curtis Killman at Tulsa World reports that members of a group known as The GAP Band have filed a lawsuit against those involved in the 2014 song Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson.
According to the lawsuit, Uptown Funk is “strikingly similar” to The GAP Band’s 1979 song I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance: Oops. The lawsuit alleges that the two songs are similar in “structure, rhythm, type/tone/nature and/or arrangement.”
The GAP Band was composed of three Wilson brothers. One of the brothers passed away in 2010 and is represented by his daughters, another is a member of the lawsuit and a third brother is not listed as a plaintiff. They are seeking both damages related to the alleged misuse of their work and a “full accounting” of all profits Uptown Funk has earned.
Finally today, Andy Maxwell at Torrentfreak writes that DISH Network has filed a lawsuit against several large streaming websites for copyright infringing resulting in the closure of several, including the very popular SportsBay site.
According to the Texas-filed lawsuit, the four sites involved were connected and offering a variety of sports broadcasts unlawfully and, in doing so, circumvented digital rights management tools that were meant to restrict access to them.
DISH had previously requested a subpoena for more information about the operators of the sites and had been granted a motion for expedited discovery. However, as the subpoenas went out, the four sites went dark, leaving millions of pirate users in a lurch.