3 Count: 1 Billion Dollars

One Billion... Not One Hundred Billion...

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Note: Due to the winter holiday break, this 3 Count is intended as a recap of some of the major stories to break while we were on hiatus.

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1: Cox Communications Ordered To Pay $1 Billion For Allowing Music Piracy

First off today, Emma Woollacott at Forbes reports that Cox Communications has been ordered to pay $1 billion in damages to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for allegedly enabling piracy on its network.

The RIAA, which represents all of the major record labels, filed the lawsuit back in June alleging that Cox was not meeting its requirements under the law for handling repeat infringers. The jury ended up agreeing and has hit Cox with damages of nearly $100,000 per work in a case involving over 100,000 works.

The RIAA welcomed the “clear message” the verdict sends but Cox has said it plans to appeal, calling the amount “unjust and excessive.” Cox faced a similar case with BMG and managed to get a $25 million judgment reversed on appeal. However, Cox settled that case before a retrial was held.

2: Miley Cyrus Settles $300 Million Lawsuit Claiming She Stole ‘We Can’t Stop’

Next up today, Jonathan Stempel at Reuters reports that Miley Cyrus has settled a $300 million lawsuit filed by Michael May, who alleged that Cyrus’ 2013 hit We Can’t Stop was an infringement of his 1998 track We Run Things.

May, whose stage name is Flourgon. filed the lawsuit against Cyrus, RCA Records and others involved with the song seeking some $300 million in damages. However, now it appears that the lawsuit is over as the defendants in the case have filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning that it can not be refiled. The details of the settlement have not been made public.

Interestingly, We Can’t Stop peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 2013. The song that prevented it from reaching No. 1 was Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, which became the subject of an even larger copyright infringement lawsuit.

3: Jeff Koons Ordered to Pay Damages for Plagiarism by French Court

Finally today, Helen Holmes at Observer reports that a French court has ordered artist Jeff Koons and a gallery to pay $22,000 to the estate of Jean-Francois Bauret over allegations that Koons copied a photograph by Bauret for his sculpture Naked.

The case dealt with a photo taken by Bauret entitled Enfants that was featured on postcards in 1975. According to the lawsuit, Koons copied the image for a 1988 sculpture entitled Naked. Recently, a French appeals court ruled that Koons and the Parisian Pompidou Centre must pay $22,000 to the estate for the infringement and cease all use of the sculpture inside of France, including on Koons’ website.

Koons is widely known as an appropriation artist that incorporates the work of others, often playing with the line between homage and plagiarism. However, this case is the first time that he has been successfully sued for copyright infringement.

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