3 Count: A Court Divided

When the highest court can't field a baseball team...

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1: Divided U.S. Supreme Court Turns to Less Sensitive IP Cases

First off today, Lawrence Hurley at Reuters reports that the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the lack of a replacement means that the Supreme Court may be more likely to hear the Lenz v. Universal case, better known as the “Dancing Baby” case.

The case began when Stephanie Lenz uploaded a 29-second song of her baby dancing to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy, which could barely be heard in the background, to YouTube. However, someone from Universal, Prince’s label, filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to get the video removed. Though Lenz filed a counter-notice to have the video restored, she filed a lawsuit against Universal for the removal.

The case has been in the courts for years and has already had an appeals court rule that rightsholders must consider fair use before filing a takedown notice. However, legal scholars believe that the Supreme Court, eager to avoid divisive issues and 4-4 splits, may take up the case as they usually decide copyright and other intellectual property cases by wide margins.

2: Copyright Battle Takes Macedonian Music Off Air

Next up today, Balkan Insight reports that the Musical Copyright Society of Macedonia (ZAMP) has issued a ban on broadcasting music from the 6,000 members it represents over a payment dispute that it says has seen the nation’s culture ministry continually cut musician earnings.

The move came after the ministry gave the newly-created SOKOM MAP association the right to collect musicians fees from broadcasters. ZAMP sees this as a move by the government to divide musicians in the country and to directly handle the money paid to ZAMP and its members. This came after revisions to copyright law in the country that ZAMP says severely cut songwriter and performer fees.

SOKOM MAP has since urged the government to revoke ZAMP’s license to collect royalties but, in the meantime, TV and radio stations can not play music from ZAMP members. This may be challenging because, by law, their musical output must contain at least 40% Macedonian musicians. Until recently, ZAMP was the only association in the country that handled music copyrights.

3: U.S. Federal District Court Clears Path for ICC Copyright Complaint Against IAPMO

Finally today, Contractor Magazine reports that a Federal Court has denied a motion to dismiss in a case pitting two construction-related companies and setting the stage for their differences to be resolved in court.

The issue puts ICC Evaluation Service, LLC (ICC-ES), a company that specializes in evaluating construction materials, against the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Inc. (IAPMO), a company that specializes in evaluating plumbing and water-related products. ICC-ES accused IAPMO of copying at least 17 different works including some 14 evaluation reports.

IAMPO had sought to have the case dismissed but the court found those arguments “unavailing”. The court went on to say that a side-by-side comparison of the materials were more than enough to permit a reasonable observer could conclude that there had been infringement.


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.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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