Bengal Mangle Productions has filed a copyright suit against Seth McFarlane and others, claiming that the 2012 comedy film, “Ted,” was based on 2008 web series that featured a drinking, smoking bear named “Charlie.”
The suit alleges that the bears are similar in appearance and behavior, with a “substantially similar persona.” “Ted” grossed $550 million worldwide, and a sequel is due next June.
The BBC compared photos of the two “badly behaved” bears:
Inside Higher Ed reports that the recent decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirms a lower court decision that praised HathiTrust’s “invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts.”
In his blog, Kevin Smith highlights some legal oddities in the decision, commenting that “we should be emboldened by this ruling, but not too much.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education article describes how the Court of Appeals rulings affirm various aspects of the lower court decision.
ARL Policy Notes gives details of the appeals court’s four-factor analysis.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, writes, “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology [, … ] Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” He asserts that “applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position” in technology leadership.
The stock market seemed to agree, as shares rose after the announcement.
The Wall Street Journal questioned whether there would be much interest , but the Washington Post just reported that BMW and Nissan, as well as most of the auto industry, have leapt at the offer.
Seven precious Jewish books currently held at the U.S. Library of Congress continue to cause legal dispute between the U.S. and Russia. The Hasidic texts, referred to as the Schneerson collection, are claimed by both countries to be an important part of their cultural heritage. On 5/22/2014, a Russian court has matched its $50,000-per-day fine to the one that the U.S. imposed on Russia in 2013.
Led Zeppelin has been the target of a number of copyright challenges, most of which have been settled out of court, and that seems the likely outcome of a recent dispute about the origins of their 1971 hit, Stairway to Heaven. Rock group Spirit bassist Mark Andes and guitarist Randy California's estate allege that the instrumental opening of Stairway to Heaven was derived from Spirit's 1968 song Taurus.
After describing the Spirit v. Led Zeppelin challenge, this piece considers other 20th/21st century rock music copyright suits and settlements:
With a point-by-point analysis of the Spirit v. Led Zeppelin suit, Oliver Herzfeld creates an interesting tutorial about copyright infringement litigation:
Peter Decherney, Forbes' media, technology, and law contributor, addresses the timing of the suit and changing perspectives on artistic appropriation v. plagiarism. He includes files of both Spirit's Taurus and Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven:
Bloomberg Businessweek's coverage of the suit includes a game that invites the reader to decide "Is it Led Zeppelin or Spirit?"
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