Taylor Swift Lyrics Lack Originality and Creativity according to a court in the US

pexels-photo-374703The Federal District Court in Los Angeles, California ruled in a case concerning the Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off .

This case was initiated by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler as authors of the song Playas Gon’ Play, which was played by the girl group 3LW in 2001.

According to the authors Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off  infringes their copyrights over the phrase “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”, part of their song because uses similar phrase “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Sean Hall and Nathan Butler claimed that the phrase in their song was completely original in 2001 because describes different characters: players who play and haters who hate. They held that this phrase represents 20% of the whole song.

As a reaction, Taylor Swift’s company filed a motion before the court to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. The defendants argued that copyright does not protect the short phrases as well as ideas.

According to the court, in the case at hand, there is no copyright infringement due to the mere fact that Taylor Swift’s phrase is not original and creative, requirements necessary for invoking copyright protection.

Source: IP Watchdog.



Google removes ‘view image’ button and reach a deal with Getty


Google announced that the ‘view image’ button for searching images will be not available in future. This decision is a result of a deal with Getty, which try to iron out some of the problems that the authors of images face on the internet.

As a consequence, Google will be able to access the Getty’s content for all of its services.

Although the ‘view image’ button will become something from the past, the visit’ button will remain at consumers disposal giving them a direct link to the source of the relevant images.

For more information here.


French heritage and its commercial use – a court decision

louvre-530058_960_720The Constitutional Court in France has ruled that the last amendments in the Heritage Code are legal and constitutional.

These amendments concern the following:

The use, for commercial purposes, of the image of buildings constituting national domains, on any media, is subject to the prior authorization of the custodian [French term is “gestionnaire”] of the relevant portion of the national domain.  Such authorization may take the form of a unilateral deed or a contract, whether or not in conjunction with financial terms.

The fee shall take into account the advantages of any kind obtained by the holder of the authorization.

The authorization contemplated by the first paragraph is not required where the image is used in the context of the exercise of a public service mission or for ends that are cultural, artistic, pedagogical, for teaching, research, informational and by way of illustration of current events.”

The case was initiated by Wikimedia France which claimed that these amendments as stated are at variance with the French Constitution in particular with the freedom to carry on business, as well as the right of property, and the principle of equality before the law.

According to the Court, however, the above-mentioned amendments are constitutional because they give options for free use of heritage images in case of education, cultural activities, informational purposes and such related to a public service mission.

For more information here.

Source: The 1709 blog.

Grumpy Cat won a lawsuit in the US

turquoise-1861785_960_720.jpgWIPR reports about an interesting lawsuit in the US which concerns the well-known Grumpy Cat which has become an internet sensation in the recent years.

The owners of this cat, trying to use its commercial power, gave in 2013 a license regarding copyrights and trademarks over the cat’s image to the coffee company Grenade Beverage. The license specified that the company has the right to use this intellectual property only for one specific beverage called “Grumppuccino”. However, Grenade Beverage started to use Grumpy Cat for other products too.

As a consequence, the cat’s owners filed a lawsuit for copyright and trademark infringement.

According to the court, there is such intellectual property infringement, because of which a damage in the amount of 710 000 dollars was ordered.

This case is interesting and indicative of the fact that every IP license should be draft very carefully in order to cover all aspects of the IP exploitation and what’s more it has to be executed precisely after that.

Geoblocking in EU – new rules coming soon

brexit-1497067_960_720The European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission have come to an understanding on the legislation regarding the so-called geoblocking identified by many people as unfair.  According to the statement, the new rules will prohibit geoblocking in three main cases:

· The sale of goods without physical delivery. Example: A Belgian customer wishes to buy a refrigerator and finds the best deal on a German website. The customer will be entitled to order the product and collect it at the trader’s premises or organise delivery himself to his home.

· The sale of electronically supplied services. Example: A Bulgarian consumer wishes to buy hosting services for her website from a Spanish company. She will now have access to the service, can register and buy this service without having to pay additional fees compared to a Spanish consumer.

· The sale of services provided in a specific physical location. Example: An Italian family can buy a trip directly to an amusement park in France without being redirected to an Italian website.

The Regulation does not impose an obligation to sell and does not harmonise prices. It does, however, address discrimination in access to goods and services in cases where it cannot be objectively justified (e.g. by VAT obligations or different legal requirements).

The new rules will come directly into force after nine months from the publication in the EU Official Journal, to allow in particular small traders to adapt.

For more information here.

Copying works on cloud – a European court decision

cloud-computing-1990405_960_720The European court has ruled in case C‑265/16 VCAST Limited v RTI SpA. The case concerns the following:

VCAST is a company incorporated under UK law which makes available to its customers via the Internet a video recording system, in storage space within the cloud, for terrestrial programmes of Italian television organisations, among which are those of RTI.

It is apparent from the order for reference that, in practice, the user selects a programme on the VCAST website, which includes all the programming from the television channels covered by the service provided by that company. The user can specify either a certain programme or a time slot. The system operated by VCAST then picks up the television signal using its own antennas and records the time slot for the selected programme in the cloud data storage space indicated by the user. That storage space is purchased by the user from another provider.

VCAST brought proceedings against RTI before the specialised chamber for company law of the Tribunale di Torino (District Court, Turin, Italy), seeking a declaration of the lawfulness of its activity.

In the course of proceedings, by an order for reference of 30 October 2015, that court upheld in part the application for interim measures submitted by RTI and prohibited VCAST, in essence, from pursuing its activity.

Taking the view that the resolution of the case in the main proceedings depended in part on the interpretation of EU law, in particular on Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29, the Tribunale di Torino (District Court, Turin) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court for a preliminary ruling:

(1) Are national rules prohibiting a commercial undertaking from providing private individuals with so-called cloud computing services for the remote video recording of private copies of works protected by copyright, by means of that commercial undertaking’s active involvement in the recording, without the rightholder’s consent, compatible with EU law, in particular with Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29 (as well as Directive 2000/31 and the founding Treaty)?

(2)      Are national rules which allow a commercial undertaking to provide private individuals with so-called cloud computing services for the remote video recording of private copies of works protected by copyright, even where the active involvement of that commercial undertaking in the recording is entailed, and even without the rightholder’s consent, against a flat-rate compensation in favour of the rightholder, in essence subjecting the services to a compulsory licensing system, compatible with EU law, in particular with Article 5(2)(b) of Directive 2001/29 (as well as Directive 2000/31 and the founding Treaty)?’

The Court decision:

Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, in particular Article 5(2)(b) thereof, must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which permits a commercial undertaking to provide private individuals with a cloud service for the remote recording of private copies of works protected by copyright, by means of a computer system, by actively involving itself in the recording, without the rightholder’s consent.

Eminem won a lawsuit against a political party


Eminem won a lawsuit against the New Zealand’s National Party regarding copyright infringement of his song “Lose Yourself”.

The case at hand concerns the fact that the National Party used in its election campaign a song called “Eminem Esque”  which resembled significantly the original “Lose Yourself”.

Because of this  Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated, representing Eminem, initiated a lawsuit in New Zeland for copyright infringement over the rights of the song.

According to the Court, there is an infringement due to the fact that the composer of  “Eminem Esque” was aware of the original track including bearing in mind the name of the latter song.

The Court order $412,896 considering the fact that the infringement happened for a limited period of time.

This case shows clearly one significant misunderstanding in case of attempts for using songs or music that try to resemble original one. Many people believe that if there is some changes in the music sheet this is enough to overcome any copyright claims and accusations. But that’s not always the case because copyright law provides the so-called derivative works. A derivative work is a new, original work that includes aspects of a preexisting, already copyrighted work. Also known as a “new version,” derivative works can include musical arrangements, motion pictures, art reproductions, sound recordings or translations. A derivative work can be created and used only after a consent by the author of the original work on which it is based.

Source: WIPR.