MPAA Brings New Actions Against Chip Manufacturers
Copyright , Internet / October 2004
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology The Motion Picture Association of America has said that its members have sued two microchip makers, alleging they sold their products to makers of equipment that can be used to illegally copy DVDs. The suits are the latest legal action by the MPAA which claims its members lose billions of dollars annually to copyright piracy. The MPAA said the suits against Sigma Designs and MediaTek followed testing that it said proved the two were selling microchips to companies whose DVD players lack what the MPAA called “appropriate security features”. The suits were filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles. Sigma and MediaTek make chips to decode the Content Scramble System, or CSS, which is the copy-protection system used for DVDs. Their licences require they sell only to other CSS-licensed companies. The CSS licence pact has aided the success of DVDs because it has provided protection against illegal copying to copyright owners of movies, television shows and other content sold on DVD. In July, a California court issued a preliminary injunction barring ESS Technology from selling its own CSS-decoding chips to unlicensed makers of DVD players. The MPAA, recognising the damage the advent of digital file-sharing did…

Club Doorman Cleared of Manslaughter
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2004
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Event Industry A club doorman has been cleared of killing a sports teacher at the Central Criminal Court in London. The doorman, 29 year-old former reserve soldier Robert Demitrou, was charged with killing Philip Mesner who hit his head after being knocked down by Demitrou outside the Roadhouse venue in London’s Covent Garden. But Old Baily Judge Peter Fingret held that the defendant had no case to answer after determining that the blow was a shove (a push) rather than a punch. Mr Mesner, 31, had been out celebrating with teaching colleagues in July 2003 when he was asked to leave the venue but continued to remonstrate outside. The defendant had denied manslaughter which has two forms in English law. Voluntary manslaughter is where the defendant has caused the death of the victim and has the necessary intent for murder BUT can establish a defence in law; these defences include provocation and diminished responsibility. Involuntary manslaughter involves the defendant causing the death of the victim but the defendant does not have the necessary intent for murder; the death must result from either an unlawful criminal act (constructive manslaughter), from the recklessness of the defendant or from…

BUGS Back Online in Korea After Agreement With Labels
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2004
South Korea

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet South Korea’s largest music streaming site www.bugs.co.kr will have up to 20,000 songs reinstated on its service. Bugs Music said that it has reached an agreement with the Korean Association of Phonogram Producers (KAPP), the lobby group representing about half of the music industry, on long-standing copyright rows. This means Korean music enthusiasts will be able to enjoy 20,000 songs, of which the KAPP retains copyrights, at Bugs’ Web site. Currently, Bugs is prevented from providing some 40,000 songs to its users. The KAPP holds copyrights for around 50 percent of the titles, with non-member recording labels owning the remaining half. The KAPP and other recording labels brought Bugs to court last year citing the firm’s unauthorised use of copyrighted songs with the court proposing a settlement of 2.22 billion won. The music industry initially opposed the mediation, saying Bugs earned much more by using their songs but the KAPP later changed its stance and accepted the proposal. However, non-KAPP member firms remained steadfast in rebuffing the offer, claiming the compensation amount should surpass 100 billion won. According to local Internet market research firm Metrix Corp. Bugs was the fifth most visited site in Korea with…

EFF Question Whether ‘This Land’ is in the Public Domain but Case Ends With Settlement
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2004
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing Ludlow Music Inc v JibJab:  In The September Law Updates we reported on the case being brought by Ludlow Music against JibJab over the unauthorised use of the song ‘This Land’ in a piece of flash animation. Jibjab were raising the defence of ‘fair dealing’. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation backed Jibjab and provided research that showed that the piece had fallen into the Public Domain and a ‘re-registration’ of the title in 1984 was ineffective as the copyright expired in 1973, 28 years after first publication in 1945. Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney said: JibJab’s fantastic animation is a clear fair use of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” for the reasons described in detail in EFF’s initial letter to Ludlow’s attorney. But also important was our other discovery: the Guthrie classic has been in the public domain since 1973. Fact 1: Guthrie wrote the song in 1940. At that time, the term of copyright was 28 years, renewable once for an additional 28 years. Under the relevant law, the copyright term for a song begins when the song is published as sheet music. (Just performing it is not enough to trigger the clock.)….

PPL can sue UK Government for failing to implement EC Directive
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2004
UK

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Collection Societies Phonographic Performance Limited vDepartment of Trade & Another In a trial relating to preliminary issues in an action sought by the PPL against the DOT and the Attorney General the Vice Chancellor, Sir Andrew Morritt, held that PPL did have a right to bring an action as the UK was in continuing breach by failing to implement article 8.2 of the EC Rental Directive 92/100/EC to provide for ‘ a single equitable remuneration is paid by the user if a phonogram is published form commercial purposes or a reproduction of such a phonogram is used for broadcasting by wireless means of for … communication to the public. This should have been implemented by July 1 1994. However the UK Limitation Act 1980 (s2) provides that actions must be brought within six years from the date at which the cause of that action accrued. The Vice Chancellor held that as there were repeated failures to implement, PPL were not time-barred by reason of delay in brining the action ten years after the first failure of the UK Government. The UK Government needed to amend sections 67 and 72 of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 which provide for royalty free use of…

Consumers Target EMI France Over Unplayable CDs
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2004
France

COPYRIGHT Record Labels French authorities have launched an investigation of EMI France and music retailer Fnac over anti-copying technology included on CDs that allegedly renders them unplayable on some systems. Labels use the technology to protect their copyrights but a magistrate judge on 31 July ordered the investigation following a review of consumer complaints by a local division of the Bureau of Competition’s antifraud unit (DDCCRF).The move is among the most threatening actions yet taken in Europe against record labels and retailers over anti-copying technology. The DDCCRF carried out its own tests, and a judge subsequently ordered a judicial examination of EMI Music France and Fnac on charges of fraud. The charges carry possible prison terms of up to 2 years for company executives, and a fine of about $45,000 (£25,000). See : http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/0,39020645,39164760,00.htm

Music Sampling: Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music v No Limit Films (2004)
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers A US federal appeals court has ruled that recording artists should licence every musical sample included in their work even minor, unrecognisable snippets of music. The lower court had ruled that artists must pay when they sample another artists’ work where the use is recognisable but that it was legal to use musical ‘snippets’ as long as it wasn’t identifiable; The decision by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati over-ruled that distinction. The court posed the question “If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole?” The Court’s answer to this was in the negative” and the court added “Get a license or do not sample – we do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.” The case centred on the NWA song 100 Miles and Runnin, which samples a three-note guitar riff from Get Off Your Ass and Jam by ’70s funk-master George Clinton and Funkadelic. In the two-second sample, the guitar pitch has been lowered, and the copied piece was “looped” and extended to 16 beats. The sample appears five times in the new song. NWA’s song was…

Australian Pirate to be Extradited to US
Copyright , Record Labels / October 2004
Australia
USA

COPYRIGHT Record Labels A ground-breaking ruling against an Australian man accused of pirating, games and music worth over $50 million means that Hew Raymond Griffiths will be tried in a U.S. court after the U.S. won the battle to extradite him. At first instance an Australian magistrate denied the extradition request but after an appeal the U.S. won the right to try Griffiths. Griffiths is accused of being the ring leader of an Internet release group called DrinkOrDie. Eleven members of DrinkOrDie have already been convicted in the United States but Griffith’s infringements all took place on his home computer in Australia. If the extradition and trial go ahead; he is facing up to 10 years in an American prison and a possible fine of $500,000. See : http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/5564.cfm

New Door Supervisor Licences Come Into Effect
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2004
UK

ARTICLE : HEALTH & SAFETY Live Concert Industry The PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY ACT 2001. THE PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY (LICENCES) REGULATIONS 2004. by Ben Challis Variation in the quality of regulation and licensing of the private security industry in the United Kingdom and a small but noticeable criminal element within the industry led to the passing of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (the Act), the Private Security Industry (Licences) Regulations 2004 and the creation of the SIA, the Security Industry Authority. The SIA has the remit to regulate and licence the private security industry in England and Wales and aims to ensure that there are professional, trained and qualified door staff working at all licensed pubs and clubs. An estimated 85,000 door supervisors and staff now have to or will have to have a SIA licence to work in licensed premises (as defined under the Licensing Act 1964). The Act defines a door supervisor as those whose work is limited to licensed premises and includes guarding against unauthorised access or occupation or against outbreaks of disorder or screening the suitability of people entering premises when they are open to the public. The door supervisor licences are being introduced on a regional basis with over half of…

English Court of Appeal Rules that Dishonesty not Required to Establish Bad Faith in Trade Mark Applications
Artists , Record Labels , Trade Mark / October 2004
UK

TRADE MARK Record Labels, Merchandise, Artist Harrison v Teton Valley Trading Co [2004] EWCA Civ 1028 The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Registrar of Trade Marks to reject an application for the trade markChina White as the application had been made in bad faith. The Applicant had applied to register the trade mark for a cocktail drink. The Opponents, the owners of the well known London night club named China White, argued that the registrations should be refused under section 3(6) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 which states that “a trade mark shall not be registered if or to the extent that the application is made in bad faith”. The drink was developed by a former employee of the night club who had been asked to develop the cocktail by the Opponent and had signed a confidentiality agreement to protect the recipe. Despite the agreement, the former employee later approached the Applicant and told him that he had developed a cocktail called China White and a derivative of it was to be served at the night club. The employee, Mr Rymer, told the Applicant that he was not bound by a formal contract with the night club and…

US Band Disputes Ownership of New Zealand ‘Idol’ Song
Copyright , Music Publishing / October 2004
New Zealand
USA

COPYRIGHT Music Publishing New Zealand Idol runner-up Michael Murphy looks like having a major hit on his hands with the track So Damn Beautifulwith extensive radio plays and sales. The song is credited to Chirs Rodriguez. However, he may face a law suit as well. In Texas, Vallejo, the band who co-wrote the track with song-writer Chris Rodriguez are meeting lawyers to discuss legal action over royalty payments. In 2002, the band wrote the track with Rodriguez, hoping to create a hit that would save their contract with music label Epic. Unfortunately, their efforts didn’t inspire the label and Vallejo eventually put the track out on a self-released album, Stereo. Michael Murphy and his label BMG claim they was unaware of the history of the song believing it was penned by Rodriguez alone and unreleased. But Vallejo will now seek a co-writing credit and song writing royalty payments for airplay and sales of the song. See : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/entertainmentstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3590958&thesection=entertainment&thesubsection=music&thesecondsubsection=general

RIAA Faces Action For Alleged Infringement of Patents
Internet , Patents / October 2004
USA

PATENT LAW Record Labels, Internet The Recording Industry of America, the trade body which represent the US recording industry has been accused of patent infringement by Altnet Inc, a Californian firm. Also in the firing line are several RIAA partners that make anti-piracy software including Overpeer Inc., Loudeye Corp. and Media Sentry Inc. Altnet filed the lawsuit in a Los Angeles district court last week. It alleges that RIAA and its partners infringed Altnet’s patented file-matching technology that identifies file requests sent over a P2P network. The suit claims that RIAA encouraged Loudeye and others to propagate popular P2P sites like Kazaa with bogus or damaged files that were disguised as user file requests. It also claims the methods used to match their files with users infringe its patented technology. Woodland Hills-based Altnet is seeking an injunction to stop RIAA and its partners from further use of its patented technology. It is also seeking unspecified monetary damages, but did not specify a dollar amount at this stage of proceedings. See : http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=DDE0AFD5-4734-4139-B4EE-F824CB896118

Betamax Under Siege – Again
Copyright , Internet / October 2004
USA

ARTICLE : COPYRIGHT Internet, Technology By Fred von Lohmann EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney The humble Betamax machine is the starting point in this article by Fred Von Lohmann as he comments on the US Senate’s debate on bringing into place new laws to make the ‘inducement’ of copyright infringement an act of copyright infringement itself – in effect outlawing software and hardware which has both infringing and non-infringing uses. The Senate Judiciary Committee, responding to the hail of brickbats that greeted Senator Hatch’s (R-UT) “Induce Act,” asked the US Copyright Office to propose alternative wording that would be more popular with the technology community. Here’s the heart of what it came up with: “Whoever manufactures, offers to the public, provides, or otherwise traffics in any product or service, such as a computer program, technology, device or component, that is a cause of individuals engaging in infringing public dissemination of copyrighted works shall be liable as an infringer where such activity: (A) relies on infringing public dissemination for its commercial viability; (B) derives a predominant portion of its revenues from infringing public dissemination; or (C) principally relies on infringing public dissemination to attract individuals to the product or service.” In other words,…