In 1997, David Bowie bundled “nearly 300 of his … recordings and copyrights into a $55 million security that paid the buyer … a 7.9 percent annual rate over 10 years. “ The financial innovation started a trend that resulted in the creation of many securities backed by income from intellectual property rights.
David Lowery, frontman for Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, is suing the music-streaming site Spotify for $150 million in damages for illegal use of his songs. In addition, representing a group of more than 100 musicians, Lowery applied for class action status in filing the suit in the US District Court in Los Angeles. Spotify has previously been involved in rights disputes with the National Music Publishers Association and record labels Ministry of Sound and Victory Records. Mechanical rights administration has become increasingly difficult as streaming increases, as the data needed to calculate and pay royalties is often missing or incomplete. Mechanical rights for songs are individually negotiated, unlike broadcast and streaming rights for music.
A clerical error in 1974--failure to renew the film copyright for the second 28-year term—sent the film into the public domain for 20 years. TV studios, delighted to have royalty-free programming for the holidays, made the film popular by showing it repeatedly every year. Then the 1993 Supreme Court decision in Stewart v. Abend made it possible for the current copyright owners of the story rights to exert a claim to the film. When the film airs now, it is under a long-term agreement between the rights holders and NBC.
“Hot yoga” studios can breathe more freely (not a Bikram exercise…) as they teach—the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the popular yoga practice is not entitled to copyright protection. Though Bikram Choudhury still holds copyright in the books, diagrams, and videos that he sells, he cannot assert copyright in the postures. Judge Kim Wardlaw noted that if Choudhury’s claim were validated, it would be equally valid for many physical movements to be copyrighted, “from brushing one’s teeth to pushing a lawnmower…”
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Google’s digitization of millions of books is not a violation of copyright law, rejecting Authors Guild assertions that the digital book project constitutes copyright infringement. The decision stated that displaying snippets of content is a limited, transformative use that does not violate the law.
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