Apple Computers and Apple Corp end two decades of litigation
Trade Mark / March 2007
UK

TRADE MARK  All areas Apple Inc will now take full control of the Apple brand and license certain trademarks back to the Beatles’ record company Apple Corps for the Beatle’s companies continued use. The dispute dates back to 1980, when the late George Harrison noticed an advert for Apple computers in a magazine. In 1976 Apple Computer’s founder Steve Jobs had adopted a white apple on a black background – with a small bite taken out – as the fledgling company’s logo. Whilst now multicoloured this was very similar to Apple Corp’s own logo which was a ‘plump green Granny Smith’ apple. Harrison felt there was potential for trademark conflict between Job’s mark and Apple Corp trade mark. Apple Corp had been set up by The Beatles in 1968 to manage their business affairs from recording, merchandising and books. The legal battle over the trademark (both the name and the logo) will now end with the added carrot that Beatles’ tracks may now be finally available for legal download – and they are likely to be very popular! The sides reached a settlement in 1981 allowing Apple Computer to use the name as long as it stuck to computers, while The Beatles’…

Tom Waits reaches settlement over German car
Artists , Image Rights / March 2007
Germany

IMAGE RIGHTS Artists Tom Waits has reached a settlement regarding his dispute with German car maker Opel and their advertising agency McCann Erickson. Waits claimed that the car firm had deliberately used a sound-alike on one of their TV ads to imply he had participated in the marketing campaign. The singer sought an injunction to stop the ads and at least $300,000 in damages. The exact nature of the out of court settlement is not know, though Waits has pledged to donate the money he will receive to charity. Confirming they had reached an agreement with the singer, McCann Erickson said yesterday: “We respect Mr Waits, and deeply regret any embarrassment this may have caused”. The settlement comes almost exactly one year after Waits won a similar court case in Spain where Volkswagen had also used a sound a like in a TV ad. Waits, famously critical of artists who take the advertising dollar off big business, said after yesterday’s settlement was announced: “I’m glad to be out of the car sales business once and for all”.

EMI signs as streaming deal with AOL, Warners ties up with Last.FM , Viacom takes on YouTube and JASRAC are still not best pleased!
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2007
France
Germany
Japan
UK

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels EMI Music has signed an advertising-supported music video streaming agreement with leading digital content provider AOL Europe. The agreement, covering the UK, French and German markets, enables consumers to stream music videos free-of-charge via the AOL portal. All forthcoming new releases will be available for music fans to stream, as well as music videos from EMI Music’s extensive back catalogue. EMI Music will also benefit from additional exposure for EMI’s artists via promotional activity such as “Artist of the Month” and “Breakers.” Exclusive “AOL Sessions” are also planned, with all recordings to be made available for AOL users to stream. Consumers will have access to music videos from EMI Music artists, including Coldplay, Corinne Bailey Rae, Norah Jones and Lily Allen, as well as Camille, Diam’s and Raphael from France, and Wir Sind Helden and La Fee from Germany. AOL is a global Web services company and a majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. And Warner Music has entered into a streaming license with Last.fm covering the US and Europe. This is Last.fm’s first content deal with a major. In the February issue of Five Eight there will be an interview with Martin Stiksel, co-founder of…

Jobs calls for an end to DRM
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2007
Canada
USA

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels Set against a background of a record industry in turmoil and increasing consumer annoyance with and regulator disapproval of DRM and a lack of interoperability in downloads (in particular Apple’s own platform restricting DRM) Apple boss Steve Jobs has called on the major record companies to start selling digital music without copy-protection DRM or adopt the Apple Fairplay software. Jobs published an open letter on the Apple website at www.apple.com saying that labels could (1) do nothing (b) adopt Fairlplay DRM or (c) sell without DRM saying that only the third option would stimulate the market and benefit consumers. The RIAA seemed to respond by thanking Jobs for the offer of free Fairplay DRM! In Canada digital music store Puretracks has lifted controversial copy restrictions from part of its catalogue Wednesday, adding its weight to a growing number of industry players that appear increasingly open to unfettered file-sharing. Puretracks will offer 50,000 unrestricted digital files in an MP3 format that can be burned, e-mailed or copied to computers, portable music players and cellphones, said company president Alistair Mitchell. All the tracks come from smaller labels but they include indie giants known for favouring loose controls over music – Nettwerk, whose…

Russian Court rules that music download sites are illegal
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / March 2007
Russia

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels A Russian court has fined a company whose Web sites let users download songs for 15 U.S. cents following a lawsuit brought by Gala Records, a Russian subsidiary of EMI. The Moscow Arbitration Court ruled last week in favor of Gala Records, which sued Web sites http://www.delit.ru and http://www.delit.net for illegally selling soundtracks and music albums online without the consent of copyright owners. The court also fined the sites’ parent company, Delit, 60,000 rubles (US$2,300; €1,750). Gala Record heralded the new ruling as a clear indication that “that one cannot distribute someone else’s property on the Internet.” Gala Records produces albums for several well-known Russian pop artists, including Dima Bilan, who came second in last year’s Eurovision song contest. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/02/14/business/EU-TEC-Russia-Downloading-Music.php

Google’s use of news excepts ruled illegal in Belgium
Copyright , Internet / March 2007
Belgium

COPYRIGHT Internet A Court in Belgium has ordered the search company Google to stop showing excerpts of articles from French and German language Belgian newspapers on Google News and Google’s websearch site for Belgium. This decision affirms an earlier ruling by the same court against the company, while halving the daily fine Google faces for non-compliance. Google failed to persuade the court that full-text caching plus excerpt-only reproduction could constitute fair use or that the burden lies with copyright owners to exercise an ‘opt-out’ option. Google intends to appeal. The Company argues that they company always complies with requests from copyright owners to remove infringing material and indeed that they only use ‘snippets’ of news. According to a spokesman for the company “ If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the web publisher’s site where the information resides. We believe search engines are of real benefit to publishers because they drive valuable traffic to their websites”. From the ever wonderful IPKat http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2007/02/google-to-appeal-belgian-copyright.html See also Google v Perfect 10 (Google image search can infringe) and Google v Field (Googlecashes are fair use)both US court decisions: both Law Updates March 2006. In Australia a federal judge held that Google could be…

BPI take further action against CD Wow
Copyright , Record Labels / March 2007
UK

COPYRIGHT Record labels The BPI, representing the British recorded music industry, has said that it is pursuing an order for contempt of court against one of the UK’s biggest internet music retailers, CD Wow. The trade association is seeking fines, damages and costs in the High Court against the company. The case relates to undertakings CD Wow made in January 2004 to the High Court that it would cease illegally importing CDs and music DVDs into the UK from south-east Asia (a practice known as parallel importing). On February 19 counsel of CD Wow shareholder Philip Robinson confirmed that Mr Robinson accepted that CD WOW was in breach of its undertakings to the Court and that Robinson bore some responsibility for failing to comply with the Court undertakings.  Counsel for Robinson apologised on his behalf and confirmed that he had agreed to pay £50,000 to the music industry for costs incurred by the industry in bringing the case against him. The CD WOW company has also now accepted that it has breached the undertakings that is gave to the Court but argues that it should not have to pay a fine, damages or costs.  The case against CD WOW therefore continues….

West Coast copyright owners lost $5.2 billion in 2005 to piracy
Copyright , Record Labels / March 2007
USA

COPYRIGHT Film, record labels A new study conducted by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) says that global piracy and counterfeiting has cost Los Angeles-area companies $5.2 billion and the city at least $483 million in tax revenues in 2005. The report points to losses in local revenues, jobs, wages and taxes due to piracy citing the entertainment industries as the biggest victims. http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=353659

Domain Name Disputes – The Battle Is Joined
Internet , Trade Mark / March 2007
USA

TRADE MARK Internet ARTICLE LINK  There was a time when it seemed that powerful trademark holders generally prevailed when they sought the transfer of Internet domain names that contained their trademarks. However, recent decisions show that domain name registrants have a fighting chance. This does not mean that trademark holders will not succeed when they seek the transfer of domain names that incorporate their marks – far from it. Yet, recent arbitration results stand for the proposition that domain registrants can try to fight off trademark holders when they can show legitimate uses for their domain names and lack of bad faith. This article is a useful overview of recent ICANN arbitration panel decisions by Eric Sinrod, looking at the marks ‘www.wargames.com’ and ‘www.pig.com’ http://news.com.com/Big+names+may+not+prevail+in+domain+disputes/2010-1030_3-6160795.html?tag=nefd.top

Does Sky have an enforceable a monopoly on live premiership football in the UK?
Copyright , Internet / March 2007
UK

COPYRIGHT Television, internet ARTICLE FACT v Gannon, MPS v Murphy By Ben Challis, barrister Whilst supping a pint and watching England’s abysmal performance against Spain the other day, my lovely pub landlady asked me to look at a letter she had received from Sky TV. Now this pub is a properly licensed Sky pub but the letter referred to the broadcasting of premiership football – which is played out in ‘non-Sky’ pubs using foreign subscription services. These non-UK services legally acquire the rights to show the Premiership matches in say Greece and Poland by satellite broadcast but the signals can be ‘re-captured’ back in the UK as satellite footprints tend to be pan-European in their very nature, unfettered by national borders. The economics of this are important: BSkyB and Setanta Sports are reportedly paying £1.7 billion to hold the exclusive rights to screen live matches to the English Premiership in Britain for the next three years. Broadcasters in 208 other countries have recently doubled their payments to secure English premiership rights to a combined £625 million (The Observer, 12/02/07). To recoup their investment Sky charges consumers to subscribe to Sky and of course charges pubs and clubs a fee to publicly…