3 Count: Ford Tough

Definitely not like a rock...

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1: Sealaska Heritage Institute Sues Neiman Marcus for “Blatant” Copyright Infringement

First off today, Michael S. Lockett at the Juneau Empire reports that the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has filed a lawsuit against the luxury goods company Neiman Marcus over alleged unlawful use of the term “Ravenstail” and copyright infringement of the design.

The Ravenstail weaving style is present in various indigenous cultures in the region but it is Clarissa Rizal who, in 1996, created the design involved in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Neiman Marcus put Rizal’s pattern on a robe and solid it on their website. In addition to the allegations of copyright infringement, the lawsuit alleges Neiman Marcus is engaging in cultural appropriation, attempting to take ownership of and exploit an important part of indigenous culture.

The SHI is seeking statutory, compensatory, punitive and other damages related to the infringement as well as an injunction barring the sale of the garment.

2: Composer Sues Ford for Copyright Infringement, Claims Automaker Used Songs Without OK

Next up today, Jordyn Grzelewski at The Detroit News reports that Ford Motor Co. is being sued by Freeplay Music LLC (FPM), which alleges that Ford has used some 54 songs that FPM controls in at least 74 different advertisements over the courts of several years.

FPM controls a library of over 50,000 works and, through the use of TuneSat software, found that Ford has used FPM’s music in at least 74 different videos starting in April 2017. FPM says that they approached Ford about providing proof of licensing for those tracks but that Ford was unable to.

As a result, FPM is seeking a jury trial as well as attorneys’ fees, costs and an injunction barring the use of their music. All of this is in addition to the $8.1 million in damages requested.

3: Author Wins EBook.bike Piracy Case After Accepting Just $9,000 in Damages

Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that author John Van Stry has won his copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis McCrea, the former head of the Canadian Pirate Party, but may not receive any damages despite agreeing to take just $9,000 in order to avoid a trial.

The case deals with the now-defunct ebook piracy site Ebook.bike, which McCrea was the operator of. McCrea had insisted that the site was completely legal and protected under Canadian safe harbor provisions. He dared authors to sue him, which Van Stry did. The case was lopsided with McCrea choosing to represent himself and Van Stry brought in a full legal team.

Recently, Van Stry filed a motion for summary judgment demanding a total of $180,000 in damages. The judge agreed to accept the summary judgment but said he would only do so if he reduced his damage request to the minimum award possible under the law, $9,000 plus another $3,605 for McCrea’s failure to comply with discovery. Van Stry agreed to the deal but may never see even those meager damages as McCrea lives in Canada and is, according to McCrea’s statements, without the resources to pay them.

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