Voluntary Collective Licensing

In an effort to resolve the music file sharing dilemma, the EFF is urging the music industry to embrace voluntary collective licensing, similar to the radio station model utilized today. Voluntary collective licensing would not only allow the music industry to get paid, but would also satisfy the desires of fans.

February 24, 2004 aka Grey Tuesday

DJ Danger Mouse’s “Grey Tuesday,” which is an album that contains massive sampled musical portions of The Beatles “White Album” together with Jay-Z’s “Black Album,” is under attack by EMI, who claims control of the copyright to the “White Album.” In a call for civil disobedience, several website owners have banded together to offer the album for free download on February 24, 2004. The protestors complain that the rights to sample are not clearly defined Continue reading February 24, 2004 aka Grey Tuesday

Court Bans Distribution of DVD Copy Technology

On February 19, 2004, a San Francisco federal court granted MGM”s motion for a preliminary injunction banning 321 Studios from distributing software which is capable of copying protected DVDs. Judge Susan Illston recognized that consumers use 321 Studios’ software to make backup copies of DVDs and to copy works in the public domain. Notwithstanding, she ruled “… the … uses of the software … are not relevant to determining whether 321 itself is violating the Continue reading Court Bans Distribution of DVD Copy Technology

Parody of a Musical Composition

Is parody a viable defense to claimed copyright infringement of a purely musical composition by the author of the initial work? Copyright infringement can be proved circumstantially by showing similarity and access. A musical composition (without lyrics) created solely to be melodically similar to the initial copyrighted work will almost always infringe that work by definition (unless it is solely a parody of the music alone). An example of a permissible parody of a musical Continue reading Parody of a Musical Composition

California Prohibits Recording Agreements > 7 Years

According to Cal. Lab. Code §2855, “a contract to render personal service…may not be enforced against the employee beyond seven years from the commencement of service under it.” Lab. Code §2855(a). This statute fuels artists’ contentions that record contracts are unenforceable after seven years.

Factual Compliance with DMCA Required for Safe Harbor

ELLISON v. AOL, No. 02-55797 (9th Cir. February 10, 2004) Summary judgment to Defendant, in a contributory copyright infringement claim for short stories posted on a P2P file sharing network accessed through Defendant’s service, was improperly granted because there were triable issues of fact as to whether Defendant complied with the requirements under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for safe harbor. To read the full text of this opinion, click here for pdf file.

Safe Harbors, DMCA Protects Web Site Owners

The DMCA limits liability of web site owners who are unaware that infringing material is contained within or being uploaded to their web site. 17 U.S.C. 512 et seq. provides safe harbors to web site owners who comply with the statute. The statute’s requirements include designating an agent to accept notice of copyright infringement, providing a good address, email and phone number of that agent at the web site, filing a form with the U.S. Continue reading Safe Harbors, DMCA Protects Web Site Owners

Grokster Appeal Day (2-3-4)

Fred Von Lohmann, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), was quoted as saying “MGM v. Grokster is about whether copyright owners have the right to veto new technologies and stifle innovation … Innovators have a great deal at stake in the conflict over peer-to-peer (P2P) software.” EFF represents defendant Streamcast, maker of Morpheus P2P software, in the Grokster litigation. EFF contends that Streamcast has no control over the Gnutella Network, Morpheus has Continue reading Grokster Appeal Day (2-3-4)