3 Count: Jersey Boys

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1: Ninth Circuit Sides With ‘Jersey Boys’ Writers in Copyright Battle

First off today, Kent Lauer at Courthouse News Service reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision in favor of the authors of the Jersey Boys musical and finds it does not infringe the rights of an unpublished biography of Tommy DeVito.

The lawsuit was filed by the estate of Rex Woodard, a fan of the Four Seasons that wrote an unpublished biography of Tommy Devito, one of the founding members of the group. According the lawsuit, the writers of Jersey Boys used the biography, which was given to them by Devito himself, when writing the script for Jersey Boys.

A jury verdict originally found in favor of the plaintiffs and determined that some 10% of the success of Jersey Boys was owed to the biography. However, the judge overturned that ruling that the only elements that were copied were historical facts, which cannot be protected by copyright. That was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which has upheld that decision.

2: AFP Takes Action Against Google Over Copyright Impasse

Next up today, the AFP reports that they have filed a complaint with French regulators over their ongoing standoff with Google. This comes after several months of negotiations between the two companies over Google’s obligations to the French news service under new EU copyright rules.

Back in April, France’s competition authority ordered Google to negotiate “in good faith” with the AFP and other media groups. At specific issue was a new EU copyright regulation that required Google and other search engines to pay news publishers when using headlines, thumbnails and snippets.

According to the AFP, the two sides have been meeting since April but have failed to make any progress. Though Google was willing to continue the talks, the AFP said that would be fruitless without some other change. One suggestion, from the competition authority itself, is that they could name a mediator for the negotiations. However, that regulator is currently waiting for the outcome of a Google legal challenge, also filed in April, that claims the new regulations are invalid.

3: Television Academy Sues After Emmy Statuette Given Coronavirus

Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has filed a lawsuit against Multimedia Systems Design, DBA Crowdsource the Truth, over an ad used to promote the Crony Awards.

According to the lawsuit, two weeks before the Daytime Emmy Awards, Crowdsource the Truth held its own mock award show on YouTube entitled the Crony Awards that “honored countries that refused to lock down and/or minimized the COVID-19 pandemic.” As part of their promotion for that show, they featured a copy of the Emmy statuette holding a coronavirus.

The Academies filed a DMCA takedown notice to get the ad removed but Crowdsource the Truth responded by filing a counternotice and, according to the lawsuit, making several statements about the Academies and its members that constitute libel. As such, the Acadamies have filed a lawsuit against Crowdsource the Truth claiming copyright infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and libel.

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