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First off today, Brian J. Levy at Kristina Wang at Wilson Sonsini reports that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has granted summary judgment in a case involving the rental of physical media.
The case involved the plaintiff Anatoleyvna Zorikova, who sued the company Kineticflix LLC. According to the lawsuit, Kineticflix is a company that rents out dance-related DVDs, including one owned by Zorikova. However, after examining the facts of the case, the judge has ruled that, even with the most favorable interpretation for the Zorikova, that no copyright infringement took place.
According to the right of first sale, rightsholders have the right to sell a physical copy the first time. However, any owner of a legally obtained copy is free to sell, rent or distribute that copy as they see fit as long as no new copies are made. However, this ruling does not apply to the rental of digital media, as digital works are often licensed, not sold.
Next up today, Claude Mills at DancehallMag reports that, in Jamaica, the estate of musician Toots Hibbert has lost their copyright battle against his former producer-manager, Cabel Stephenson, over an album that the two had worked on.
The battle centered around a hard drive containing recordings of Hibbert performing with Droop Lion shortly before Hibbert’s death. The estate wanted access to the material and claimed that all licensing of the content should go through them. However, the Supreme Court of Jamaica has disagreed, saying that Stephenson is the rightful owner of the hard drive as well as the mater tapes, files and sound recordings on it.
The Hibbert estate has been ordered to pay legal costs for Stephenson. The court also noted that it was Stephenson, not Hibbert that paid for the album’s production, an amount claimed to be equal to $81,000. As a result, the hard drive will be returned to Stephenson.
Finally today, Porter Anderson at Publishing Perspective reports that organizers of the recently concluded Abu Dhabi International Book Fair have released a statement saying that they have “shut down two publishing houses” after learning that they were violating copyright.
There is no indication as to which publishers were impacted by this. The shutdown announcement came as the fair was ongoing, indicating that the publishers were removed from the fair part way through it.
The show attracts thousands of publishers from both inside and outside the region. However, this is the first time the fair has made such an announcement, indicating a stronger crackdown on publishers that are committing copyright infringement.