3 Count: EU Part 2

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1: Battle Over EU Copyright Law Heads for Showdown

First off today, Jennifer Rankin at The Guardian reports that, on Wednesday, members of the EU Parliament are slated to once again vote on controversial copyright reforms and that, ahead of that vote, both sides are making a huge push to have their voice heard.

The proposed changes include the filtering provision, which would require sites such as Facebook and YouTube to either strike deals with rightsholders or prevent their content from being uploaded. Similarly it includes the “snippet tax”, which would require sites like Google News to obtain a license display even small portions of news content.

The provisions were rejected by the Parliament in July but have since been subject to a flurry of rewriting and edits. In the meantime, forces both for and against the new provisions have mobilized, with Wikipedia, who opposes the legislation, blocking access to its service in several countries while musicians, filmmakers and news agencies have released statements and launched lobbying efforts to get the bill passed.

2: Prince Estate Sues ‘Brazen Bootlegger,’ Others Selling CDs of His Last Show, Trove of Other Music

Next up today, Paul Walsh at the Star Tribune reports that the Prince estate has filed a lawsuit against a network of European “bootleggers” that it says is selling unauthorized CDs of the performer’s final show among other unreleased works.

The defendants include four named plaintiffs located in France, Netherlands and Belgium as well as four “John Doe” defendants. The lawsuit claims that they’ve been selling and distributing a wide range of Prince’s work, most notably his final concert before his death in April 2016.

Though the estate has provided a great deal of evidence, it’s unlikely that it will see any damages from the lawsuit. By filing it in a US Court, it will have to take any judgment it wins to the EU to have it enforced. That, however, could prove a challenge given the number of defendants and their locations.

3: ABA Files Brief in Supreme Court Copyright Infringement Case

Finally today, Lindsay Offutt at Jurist reports that the American Bar Association has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, where it throws its support behind the “application approach” for determining when a rightsholder can file a lawsuit over copyright infringement. 

The case is Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com and deals with the question of when a rightsholder can file a lawsuit. In the United States, filing a lawsuit requires first registering your work with the United States Copyright Office. However, receiving a certificate can take 7-9 months, creating a delay in the lawsuit. As a result, many circuits allow for the filing of a lawsuit after an application has been filed, without waiting for the actual certificate.

This has created a circuit split between the “application approach” and the “certificate approach”. The ABA, citing the various delays caused by the US Copyright Office, are favoring the former. According to the ABA, such an approach better fulfills the intent of the law and enables the prompt filing of lawsuits. 

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