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First off today, Eriq Garnder at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Universal Music and Capital Records have scored a major victory over IFP and their parent company Golden Eagle over the issue of in-flight entertainment and their license to play music owned by the record labels.
IFP won a contract with American Airline and later US Airways to provide music playlists for the in-flight entertainment. However, in 2008 they realized that they did not have the needed licenses and began negotiating with the labels for a deal. However, those negotiations dragged on for years and, all the time, IFP allowed passengers to hear Universal-owned songs. Eventually, after negotiations broke down completely, Universal and Capital Records filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
However, IFP began trying to not only claim that they had an implied license to use the music and that it wasn’t responsible for work licensed elsewhere and imported into the United States. The judge disagreed and issued a summary judgment in favor of the record labels setting the stage for damages over the infringement of some 4,500 different copyrights.
Next up today, Colin Mann at Advanced Television reports that the UK government has confirmed it plans to harmonize sentencing for copyright infringement, bringing online infringement inline with physical infringement, and setting the maximum to 10 years.
The announcement came from Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister for Intellectual Property in the country and comes on the heels of reports about the impact of intellectual property on the UK economy.
The government says it plans to introduce to Parliament legislation to increase the maximum criminal penalty but that it will redraft the criminal code so that it would only apply to commercial infringements, rather than mere file sharing.
Finally today, Jacob Gershman at The Wall Street Journal reports that Prince, who passed away last week, was not only a musical genius and one of the world’s most influential stars, but also one of the most outspoken on matters of copyright and one of the most ardent supports of artists’ rights.
Over the past few years, Prince has become well known for his belief in taking tight control over his art, keeping his music, as much as practical, off streaming services such as Spotify and video sharing sites such as YouTube. He was well known for his strong-handed anti-piracy campaigns that included suing fans over bootleg concert videos and being one of the first artists to file takedown notices over Vine clips.
Prince is best known as the artist behind the Lenz v. Universal case. In that case a 29 second video of a baby dancing had Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy playing in the background. Universal, on Prince’s behalf, filed a takedown of the work prompting Lenz, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to file a lawsuit over the alleged false takedown. That case is still being litigated but the court has ruled rightsholders need to weigh fair use before filing a takedown notice.
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.