3 Count: Lawsuit Trimming

3 Count: Lawsuit Trimming Image

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1: Warner Music Aims to Keep ‘Happy Birthday’ Away From Public Domain

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Warner/Chappell Music has responded to the much-talked about “Happy Birthday to You” lawsuit but without addressing any of the key facts that have been raised by the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit began earlier this year when plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Warner/Chappell, claiming that the song “Happy Birthday to You” lapsed into the public domain decades ago and that Warner/Chappell has been collecting royalties on it under false pretenses.

Warner/Chappell, however, has now responded to the lawsuit but is not addressing any of the alleged issues with the song. Rather, they are trying to narrow the case by asking the judge to toss out some state law claims, ones that it believes are superseded by the copyright law claims, and to limit the defendants who can be involved to just those who paid royalties within the last three years. Many speculate that this is a move to limit the potential for financial gain and push the attorneys to drop the suit.

2: Ministry of Sound Sues Spotify for Copyright Infringement

Next up today, Stuart Dredge at The Guardian reports that the dance music brand Ministry of Sound is suing Spotify for copyright infringement, saying that the streaming music service has not complied with orders that it remove user playlists that replicate its compilation albums.

According to Ministry of Sound, users of Spotify have been creating and sharing playlists that mirror their compilation disks and, though they’ve asked Spotify to remove them, Spotify has not complied. This prompted Ministry of Sound to file a lawsuit against Spotify, saying that their agreement with record labels does not permit them to stream their compilations.

The lawsuit will likely hinge on whether or not the order of tracks in a compilation CD can be copyrighted in and of itself. Experts can’t seem to think of a time in the past when this was tested, raising the potential for a crucial copyright ruling.

3: Six-Strikes Fails to Halt U.S. Pirate Bay Growth

FInally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that The Pirate Bay is reporting that, since the “Six Strikes” system came online in February, that their infamous BitTorrent tracker has seen no reduction in traffic from the U.S. and, in fact, has seen steady growth.

According to traffic stats provided by The Pirate Bay, U.S. traffic to the file sharing site has grown by over 30% since March 2012 and is over double what it was March 2011. In fact, February 2013, when the system launched, was nearly the best month ever for the site. This is a stark contrast to France’s “three strikes” system, which reportedly caused a 29% drop in traffic at file sharing sites.

The U.S. six strikes system is a voluntary one that aims to educate suspected copyright infringers through warnings. However, it is unclear how many warnings have been sent out so far. Another major BitTorrent tracker, ExtraTorrent, reported almost no change since the U.S. system came online.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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