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First off today, Michael Karlik at Colorado Politics reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has revived a lawsuit over a skeleton by saying that there needs to be a closer examination into whether or not the model deserves copyright protection.
The case pits Jon Zahourek, an artist and former anatomy instructor, against Balanced Body University, a training program for Pilates instructors. Zahourek created the Maniken skeleton model in 1977 that is a popular model for instruction. However, when Balanced Body University used the model in advertisements, Zahourek sued claiming copyright infringement.
However, the district court tossed the case saying that the model had “an intrinsic utilitarian function” and, as such, is not protected by copyright. However, the Appeals Court says that the dismissal was premature and that and that it is possible the skeleton might not be a useful article if the usefulness comes solely from the information it conveys. This sends the case back to the lower court for further analysis.
Next up today, The Asahi at Shimbun reports that the Japanese Supreme Court has ruled that Twitter users need to be careful when tweeting out images as, if they crop out attribution or other copyright information, they could be held liable. This is true even if they did so unintentionally or even if they retweeted an image with the information missing.
In a ruling from the courts Third Petty Bench, Twitter must disclose the email address of a user that posted a photo in violation of the moral rights of the original creator. They also must reveal the address of those that retweeted it. The reason is because, when the photo was uploaded to Twitter, the site automatically (and without any involvement from the uploader) cropped out the name of the copyright holder from the photograph as well as an “All Rights Reserved” statement.
At the lower court, the judge sided with the photographer with regard to the original uploader but not those that retweeted it. That was upheld by the Intellectual Property High Court but now the Supreme Court has overturned both of those decisions, at least as it pertains to moral rights.
3: Paper Magazine Files Copyright, RICO Case Over Alleged Scheme to Hold its Instagram Account Hostage for $4.6 Million
Finally today, The Fashion Law reports that Paper Magazine has filed a lawsuit against a variety of defendants accusing them of launching a scheme hold their Instagram account hostage.
On July 8, the Instagram account for Paper Magazine became “unavailable”. According to the lawsuit, this was the result of DMCA notices filed by a group of photo licensing agencies including BackGrid, Xposure, and Splash News. Paper Magazine further claims that they are demanding $4.6 million to remedy the situation and restore the account.
The lawsuit alleges that the rightsholders worked with third party content detection and removal companies to automatically generate and send the DMCA notices for the express purpose of forcing financial settlements. As such, Paper Magazine accuses them of violating the DMCA as well as the RICO act, which is aimed at organized crime.