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First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court judgment ruling that a director of a movie was not a co-author and had no right to distribute the film without permission of the original author.
The lawsuit was originally filed by author Edwyna Brooks against the entrepreneur Damon Dash. According to Brooks, Dash and her entered into a partnership to create a film based on her book series, Mafietta. Dash directed, with Brooks handling screenwriting duties. However, at some point the partnership broke down and Dash proceeded to release the movie anyway, claiming to be a co-author in the work.
However, the lower court disagreed, saying that Brooks’ testimony along with contracts signed by the two showed no indication that there was intent to create a work of co-authorship and, thus, Dash was infringing. Dash appealed, and now the Second Circuit has upheld that decision, including the $300,000 in damages.
Next up today, Mathieu Rosemain at Reuters reports that France’s anti-trust watchdog is expected to issue a decision shortly about the behavior of Google when negotiating with French publishers.
Recent changes in EU law requires Google to negotiate with publishers for the use of thumbnails, snippets and headlines in their products. However, many publishers have complained that the negotiations are not in good faith, a requirement under the law.
Though Google was able to reach a deal with a lobby that represents most of the major French publishers, no other deals have been struck pending the outcome of this antitrust matter.
Finally today, Murray Stassen at Music Business Worldwide reports that musician Chris Brown has been sued by the UK music publisher Greensleeves Publishing Ltd. over allegations that the March 2017 Brown song Privacy is an infringement of a 1997 dance song named Tight Up Skirt.
Tight Up Skirt was originally performed by dance artist Red Rat though he is not mentioned in the lawsuit. According to Greensleeves, Brown “took the core musical feature” of their track and used it in Privacy without permission. They go on to add that they own and administer exclusive publishing rights for Tight Up Skirt, making them the correct party to file the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also names Sony Music Entertainment as a party and is requesting actual damages and profits “in an amount in excess of $1.5 million” though the exact amount is to be determined at trial.