Re:Create Recap – April 12, 2018

The “Blurred Lines” Between Inspiration and Imitation. What kind of impact has the “Blurred Lines” copyright lawsuit had on the music industry? Rolling Stone found that the verdict has resulted in “more infringement cases…even if the merits of the claim are ‘marginal.’” The industry is seeing more copyright lawyers and forensic musicologists as artists and labels witness growing uncertainty over potential infringement. “If one were to argue that the ‘Blurred Lines’ case was justified, you could bring a case against almost every song. Because almost every song has a relationship to another song.…We’re all influenced by things that we’ve loved in the past,” said songwriter Harvey Mason Jr.

Outlining Problems With The CLASSICS Act. R Street’s Sasha Moss and Public Knowledge’s Meredith Rose penned an op-ed for The Hill explaining concerns with the CLASSICS Act. “Simply put, the act is a handout to big content companies, tailor-made to legally mandate new payments (which prevent new music startups) while conveniently skirting many protections for libraries, consumers and artists,” wrote Moss and Rose. They also argued the bill will siphon money from the small, independent artists to the stronger record labels.

Copyright Trolling As Niche Business. The Hollywood Reporter showcased how Richard Liebowitz, a photographer and attorney in New York, has turned copyright enforcement into a business opportunity and drawn the condemnation of intellectual property experts and judges hearing his cases. The article quoted a ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote who wrote, “Plaintiff’s counsel, Richard Liebowitz, is a known copyright ‘troll,’ filing over 500 cases in this district alone in the past twenty-four months,” and has also ordered Liebowitz to take “ethics and professionalism training.” Notably, intellectual property lawyer Jesse Saivar expressed concern over how copyright statute incentives are driving this new business stating, “There’s no reason not to file the suit because you could potentially get statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.”

Public Domain Gives New Reason To Appreciate New Year’s Day. The Atlantic previewed the hundreds of thousands of works first published in 1923 that will enter the public domain on January 1, 2019. The report notes that the date will mark the “beginning of a new annual tradition” with new works entering the Public Domain each New Year’s Day for decades to come. Following an explanation of the complex history of copyright terms throughout the 20th century that led to the upcoming Public Domain celebration, the article cautions: “It’s possible this could all change again as corporate copyright holders start to get itchy about expirations.”

Critics Give Harsh Review Of Movie Studio Copyright Tactics To Silence Them. Polygon‘s Julia Alexander revealed the ways that movie studios are using DMCA takedown notices to censor bad reviews. The story profiled popular YouTuber Chris Stuckmann who has received so many DMCA takedown notices from Universal Pictures that it is “beginning to border on harassment” and may force him to seek legal council, which is a concern for many others. Alexander quoted video game industry attorney Mona Ibrahim: “For a lot of the influencers, the takedown is kind of a deal breaker. They don’t have the legal fees to fight it.”

Celebrate National Library Week. This week marks the 60th anniversary of National Library Week, which was started by the American Library Association in 1958 to generate support for libraries and their contributions to improving incomes and health and the development of strong and happy families. This year’s theme is “Libraries Lead,” and supporters are encouraged to share how a library led them to something of value in their lives and to post to the I Love Libraries Facebook page. Re:Create’s Copy This podcast recently featured Laura Quilter, Copyright and Information Policy Librarian at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to showcase the important role libraries play in education, research and learning.