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First off today, The Canadian Press reports that the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an ongoing case between York University and Access Copyright that aims to address the issue of fair dealing and how it applies to schools.
Access Copyright is an organization that handles licensing and royalties for published works when used by universities. However, when recent negotiations with York University fell apart, the school opted to forgo a license and instead implemented a fair dealing policy that simply limited how staff could use published works.
Access Copyright filed a lawsuit and initially won the right to enforce an interim tariff but that was undone on appeal. Both sides then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and the court has now agreed to take the case, setting the stage for a showdown.
Next up today, Chris Cooke at Complete Music Update reports that rapper Marcus Gray has filed a new brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to overturn a lower court judge’s decision that itself overturned a jury verdict.
Gray, better known as “Flame”, filed a lawsuit against Perry alleging that her song Dark Horse was a copyright infringement of his earlier song Joyful Noise. The case went to a jury trial and the jury sided with Gray, awarding him some $2.8 million in damages. However, after that verdict, the judge overturned the jury decision saying that an eight-note melodic phrase was not substantial enough to be protected by copyright.
Gray is now appealing that and, in his latest filing, states that “the music world is filled with examples of famous, distinctive and unquestionably original eight-note two-bar repeating melodies,” and lists examples such as the Rolling Stones song I Satisfaction and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. On Perry’s side, lawyers are hoping that the recent resolution in the Stairway to Heaven case will bolster the strength of their arguments.
Finally today, Tim Balk at the Chicago Tribune reports that musician John Fogerty has said he is filing a “cease and desist” letter with the campaign of President Trump demanding that he cease the use of his song Fortunate Son.
The campaign had used the song at several rallies in spite of the strong anti-establishment message of the song. Fogerty had previously expressed confusion over the campaign’s use of the song, which is ideologically opposed to Trump’s message.
However, he has now taken the additional step of demanding that the campaign cease using the track. Though he did not say if he plans to file a lawsuit should they continue, it is the latest in a long line of musician objecting to the Trump campaign’s use of their music.