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First off today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that Universal Music has asked a New York judge to grant them a summary judgment in their case against Grooveshark involving pre-1972 sound recordings.
Grooveshark is a streaming music service that operates much like YouTube for audio. Users upload audio that others can then listen to. However, much of the content, if not most, is illegally-uploaded songs. Universal and other labels have sued Grooveshark but the company claims it is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects hosts of content so long as they work to expeditiously remove infringements when notified.
Universal, however, has also sued in New York State court alleging that The DMCA doesn’t apply to pre-1972 sound recordings, which are protected under state laws and not federal ones. A lower court judge disagreed with that argument but was overturned on appeal. Now, with the case back at the lower court, Universal is now asking the court to rule in their favor, saying that the case doesn’t need to be sent to a trial.
Next up today, Helen Zhao at The Daily Mail reports that Lady Gaga has hit back against Chicago musician Rebecca Francescatti, demanding that she pay her $1.4 million legal bill that she accrued defending Francescatti’s copyright infringement lawsuit.
Francescatti sued Lady Gaga in 2011 alleging that Lady Gaga’s song “Judas” as a ripoff of her earlier work “Juda”. However, the case was tossed out when a judge said that the songs were not similar enough and no reasonable jury could find Lady Gaga’s work to be infringing.
Now Lady Gaga is filing a claim of her own, saying that Francescatti needs to cover the $1.4 million that she spent defending the failed lawsuit.
Finally today, Clive Coleman at the BBC reports that a new European Copyright Directive is taking effect on October 1st and will legalize parody in the UK and the rest of the EU.
Under the previous laws, parody in the UK was a likely copyright infringement if it used copyrightable material from the original source. However, under the new rules, parody works that do not compete directly with the original are allowed provided they do not convey a discriminatory message.
The law doesn’t require the parody to be funny, but instead says that the new work must be noticeably different and being an expression of humor. The rule change has been widely applauded by comedians in the UK, who often say that their parody creations have been removed from the Web and threatened with legal action in the past.
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.