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First off today, Todd Spangler at Variety reports that viral video aggregator and licensing service Junkin Media has settled its lawsuit against Equals Three Studios, rendering moot a jury verdict that found Equals Three had infringed upon Junkin’s YouTube clips.
The lawsuit began after Equals Three, which is owned by Ray William Johnson, used some 48 videos Junkin has the license for as part of their videos which featured the videos with new commentary. That prompted Junkin to file Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns on the videos but Equals Three, feeling the notices were a violation of their rights to fair use, filed a lawsuit against Junkin.
The case went to a trial but, as the jury was deliberating, the two sides reached a confidential settlement. Though the jury’s verdict is under seal, one juror spoke about it and said that the jury had found in favor of Junkin and had ruled that all 48 videos were not fair uses. Though the settlement renders the verdict moot, it’s still an interesting new layer to ongoing battles on YouTube over the site’s handling of copyright and fair use claims.
Next up today, Linda Ge And Pamela Chelin reports that writer Jarrett Alexander has filed a lawsuit against MGM, Sylvester Stallone and Ryan Coogler among others claiming that the recent movie Creed is based on his screenplay entitled Creed: Rocky Legacy.
According to the lawsuit, Alexander sent the screenplay to MGM with the understanding that, if it were made into a film, he would be compensated. However, he claims, the film went ahead using elements of the screenplay without authorization.
MGM has responded to the lawsuit and, in a statement, said that it is “baseless” and that the film is based on pre-existing characters from the Rocky series that MGM fully owns the rights to.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the Supreme Court has decided to pass on the Batmobile case, letting a lower court ruling stand that places the iconic vehicle as a character deserving of copyright protection.
The lawsuit was launched by Warner Brothers and DC Comics who sued Mark Towle, a California mechanic who made and sold two full-size replica Batmobiles, one of the 1960’s era car and one from the 1989 Tim Burton film. Towle claimed that the car was a useful article and did not qualify for copyrightability but Warner argued that the car was a character and was copyright protectable.
Warner’s arguments won out in both the lower court and the appeals court, both of which held that the Batmobile had elements that went beyond being merely a useful article and were “sufficiently delineated” to be recognizable anywhere it goes. With the Supreme Court denying an appeal, Towle is out of options to overturn the ruling against him.
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.