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First off today, Kyle Jahner at Bloomberg reports that the Supreme Court has declined to review a case that pits the 2003 Josh Groban song You Raise Me Up.
The lawsuit was filed by Johannsongs-Publishing Ltd, which claimed that the Groban song was a copyright infringement of a 1977 Icelandic song Söknuður. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to overturn a district court decision that found the songs didn’t qualify as substantially similar.
The publisher appealed to the Supreme Court, saying that the Ninth Circuit applied a two-part test, looking at extrinsic and intrinsic similarities, while other circuits simply use an “ordinary observer” test. They asked the Supreme Court to apply the other test and revise their case, but the Supreme Court has declined to hear the issue, letting the Appeals Court ruling stand.
Next up today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that a California federal court is looking at whether the estate of Sonny Bono can terminate a divorce agreement between Bono and his former wife and musical partner, Cher.
Copyright termination allows creators, or their estates, to terminate copyright agreements and licenses after a set period of time. However, when Sonny and Cher divorced in 1975, part of the agreement gave Cher half the royalties for their songs. That agreement is the one that Bono’s estate is now trying to terminate.
According to the estate, they filed all the required letters of termination, and now a court has to decide if that termination is proper. The court, however, is asking both sides to present more information related to copyright termination, saying that this case raises unique issues.
Finally today, Ben Feuerherd and Maggie Hicks at Page Six report that reality TV star Bethenny Frankle has been sued over allegedly infringing a photograph while publicizing her charity work in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The lawsuit was filed by a photographer named Marcus Santos, who claimed that a video uploaded by Frankel on Instagram featured a photo of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. He claims that he did not give permission to use the image nor was it licensed.
Santos is suing for damages and monetary relief, including profits from the photo’s use. He is also seeking a jury trial.