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First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that Sony has filed a motion in New York Supreme Court to head off binding arbitration with SiriusXM over the license fees the radio service should pay for pre-1972 sound recordings.
Pre-1972 sound recordings are not covered under federal copyright protection but, instead, are covered under state laws in the U.S. This resulted in massive litigation over the use of such songs in digital streaming, which requires a license for post-1972 sound recordings. This litigation included class action lawsuits against SiriusXM, including a lawsuit by the major record labels that was settled in 2015.
However, that 2015 settlement had a clause where the license to use the recordings ended this year. The two sides were supposed to strike a new license but have been unable to come to terms. So, as per the settlement, SiriusXM has attempted to move toward arbitration. However, Sony is asking the court to halt that arbitration process because it says SiriusXM has not negotiated who the arbitrators will be, instead simply selecting an arbitration company, that the arbitration clause does not allow for the consolidation of claims and that SiriusXM is attempting to be overly burdensome by having the arbitration in Los Angeles though both companies are based in New York.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the Japanese ISP NTT has said that it will begin blocking pirate sites voluntarily, even though there is no legal obligation to do so and many feel the blocking may itself be illegal.
The issue of site blocking in Japan has been a hot issue as, earlier this month, the government said it was planning on introducing emergency measures to target sites that provide access to pirated content, including manga and anime. However, NTT is not waiting for those measures and has begun implementing the blocks now, targeting three sites that have a large audience in the country.
One of those sites, Mangamura, has already completely closed. However, that may be due to an expose on a local news program that traced the site back to the United States, Ukraine and elsewhere. In the meantime, NTT’s actions are facing criticism as the Japanese constitution forbids censorship and some feel blocking pirate websites is, by itself, a form of censorship.
Finally today, Ryan Faughnder at The Los Angeles Times reports that the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) chairman and chief exececutive Charles Rivkin spoke at CinemaCon in Las Vegas in a speech that both touted global box office numbers and said that stopping piracy is still the organizations first priority.
According to Rivkin, even though overall attendance was down, the lowest in 22 years, the local box office was only down 2% over the previous year and, globally, it just crossed 40 billion for the first time.
Rivkin also said that fighting piracy is still the organization’s top priority, highlighting initiatives such as the Allienace for Creativity and Entertainment, an anti-piracy partnership with Amazon and Netflix, and various efforts to stop set-top box piracy.
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.