Friday, February 12, 2016

Do Bars Really Get Sued for Playing Copyrighted Songs?

It depends. But funny enough I was just mentioning this to my class at SVA yesterday during our conversation on copyright.

A national songwriters’ organization sued a handful of bars nationwide this week, accusing them of violating federal law for failing to pay fees to use copyrighted music. One of those was Tanner’s Bar and Grill near Liberty, Missouri, which was slapped with a lawsuit after patrons sang The J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold” and two other well-known songs during a recent Tuesday karaoke night.

More here. And here’s a good link with more info on music and public performance.


Post Cards from the Copyright Edge

We love receiving fan mail. Here’s a post-card from a Clancco reader, Daniel Mellis. Thank you, Daniel…and keep up the artistic work. We’ll keep up on our end.




Photographer Sues Twitter for Not Removing Photos Despite DMCA Requests


TorrentFreak reports that Wisconsin-based photographer Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly filed a copyright infringement complaint in a federal court in California last week.

Reilly claims that after discovering her photo being shared on Twitter, she sent 28 notices to Twitter about a large number of infringements. Although the company apparently acted on some of them, 50 of the 56 infringements were not taken down, Reilly says.

“Twitter had actual knowledge of the Infringing Uses,” the lawsuit states. “Reilly provided notice to Twitter in compliance with the DMCA, and Twitter failed to expeditiously disable access to or remove the Infringing Uses.”

More here.


Move Over Prada Marfa


Via Marfa Public Radio and Chron.


Guest Post: The Most Interesting “Appropriation” Cases to Watch in 2016


By Talia Kosh

Once again, appropriation in art and entertainment is a trending topic, so here are my picks for the most interesting “appropriation” cases to watch in 2016. Appropriation is defined as “the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission.” Some of these cases are new, others will be heating up, but all of them involve an alleged taking of another’s creative product without permission.

1. “Blurred Lines” Can Make Things Expensive

As you might recall, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke sued the Gaye estate, seeking declaratory judgment that they did not copy Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give it Up” with their 2013 “Blurred Lines” single. In March, 2015, “Blurred Lines” was found to be a copyright infringement by and Defendants were ordered to pay $5.3 million and an ongoing royalty rate of 50% of songwriter and publishing revenue.

The Gayes are now leveraging their win to ask for more money- $2.66 million in attorneys’ fees and $777,000 in expenses, stating among other things, that the Thicke team “aggressively and strategically initiated this action” and because the Gayes “made a brave decision to fight when sued and to protect the copyright to one of the most iconic songs of all time…”

On Dec. 7, 2015, the Thicke team formally launched their appeal.[1] The Notice of Appeal lists February 24, 2015 as the trial date. Only the composition and not the sound recording was considered by the jury. However, Attorneys for Williams and Thicke contend that hours of testimony by a musicologist as to the similarity of the two songs’ sound recordings should not have been allowed to be heard by the jury. Especially considering that the jury did not get to actually hear the sound recording of “Got to Give it Up.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Using Copyright as Leverage, Japan Sports Council Refuses to Pay Zaha Hadid

Proposed Japan National Stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid.

Proposed Japan National Stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid.

According to world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are refusing to pay for her designs for its Olympic Stadium unless she gives up the copyright and signs a gag order.

None of this seems that outlandish or shocking. What will be of interest is what parts of Hadid’s architectural design are protected by copyright law (in Japan and elsewhere), and whether or not the new architect, Kengo Kuma, actually copied and infringed these same copyrights.

According to The Telegraph, Zaha Hadid Architects is consulting with its legal representatives and says it “will take legal action if our concerns are not promptly addressed to our satisfaction”.

UPDATE: January 20, 2016

We have some thoughts on Japanese intellectual property law via Kodai Kimura.

Japanese Copyright Law confers a reproduction right to a copyright holder of the work. To constitute copyright infringement, there are two requirements, (a) plaintiff owns a valid copyright of the work, and (b) the alleged infringer actually infringes (such as reproduction, adaptation etc. which amounts to conduct subject to copyright) the protected work .  Unlike the U.S., Copyright Law automatically allows a court to grant injunctive relief if copyright infringement would be found.

More analysis here.


Are Shadows Protected by Copyright Law?

Ana Prvacki, Stealing Shadows (2015)

Ana Prvacki, Stealing Shadows (2015)

This would make a great law school exam: are shadows of three-dimensional artworks protected by copyright law? Hell, I know what you’re thinking, problems with fixation and maybe authorship, among other issues. But check-out this story about Ana Prvacki’s Stealing Shadows exhibition and reassess your issue-spotting.

Prvacki shadows “belong” to Louise Bourgeois’s Spider, Brancusi’s Endless Column, Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, Giacometti’s Walking Man, Michelangelo’s David, Koons’ Rabbit and Sarah Lucas’s Bunny.

According to Prvacki, the “value of the shadow is to be estimated at 1% of the original 3D work, and is to be sold or auctioned at the masterpieces’ current market price.”

I have to say, this is truly a refreshing project in the increasingly boring field of appropriation. So thank you, Ana. The only thing I would ask of Prvacki: can you make shadow pieces of rastafarians? Better hurry before someone else beats you to it.




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