3 Count: Did Not Pass

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1: Copyright Claim Against Tolkien Estate Backfires on Lord of the Rings Fanfiction Author

First off today, Safi Bugel at The Guardian reports that a Lord of the Rings fan fiction author Demetrious Polychron has lost his lawsuit against the Tolkien estate and Amazon over the spin-off series The Rings of Power.

Polychron had previously published a fan fiction book entitled The Fellowship of the King. He had hoped to turn it into a seven-part series, but instead filed a lawsuit against Amazon and the Tolkien estate, alleging that they infringed his work when creating The Rings of Power series. This prompted the Tolkien estate to file a lawsuit against Polychron claiming that his work was an infringement while seeking a permanent injunction against further distribution of the book or its planned series.

The judge in the case has fully sided with Amazon and the estate. They not only ruled that Polychron’s book was an infringement, granting the injunction, but dismissed Polychron’s claims and ordered him to pay lawyers’ fees totaling $134,000. It is unclear if Polychron plans to file an appeal.

2: European Parliament Votes Not to Ban Geo-Blocking for Film and TV — For Now

Next up today, Scott Roxborough at The Hollywood Reporter writes that The European Parliament has nopted not to expand their rules against geoblocking, meaning that film and TV content can legally be fenced off within the bloc.

In 2018, the European Union passed a law that banned geoblocking broadly, saying that it was a violation of the EU’s single market directive. However, the ban did not include film and TV content, with media companies arguing that such a ban would greatly harm revenue and disrupt existing licensing systems.

The European Parliament has agreed to not expand the law, tabling the proposed expansion. However, members did call for the industry to “adapt its business models” to adjust to a single market and made it clear that the idea is not off the table completely. Another evaluation of the legislation is currently planned for 2025.

3: Internet Archive: Digital Lending is Fair Use, Not Copyright Infringement

Finally today, Ernesto Van der Sar at Torrentfreak writes that the Internet Archive (IA) has filed its first brief in an appeal against various book publishers, who sued the nonprofit over its digital lending practices.

The lawsuit was filed in 2020 after the IA opend up its “National Emergency Library” during the early stages of the pandemic. The IA had, historically, scanned books to make them available to check out digitally. Though pubilshers argued that such lending was not legal, they largely ignored the practice until, as part of the emergency library, the IA removed all lending restrictions.

The publishers filed the lawsuit, targeting all of the IA’s practices, and, in March, a judge granted summary judgement in favor of the publishers, ruling that the IA was liable for copyright infringement. The IA announced it would appeal that ruling and filed its first brief last week. That brief alleges that their use is a fair use and that their digital lending scheme does not cause harm to publishers.

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