Archive for: April, 2016

the shade rooms facebook page shut down for repeated copyright infringement

Facebook Shuts Down The Shade Room’s 4.4 Million-Strong Page for Copyright Violations

Owned by Nigerian-American Angie Nwandu, The Shade Room‘s Facebook page got shut down this week. Undoubtedly one of the fastest growing entertainment platforms, the page had 4.4 million followers in just two years since its launch.

The Shade Room is a gossip and entertainment platform, especially about African-American movie, TV, music and reality stars.

BuzzFeed News and Nieman Lab contacted both the founder and Facebook and this is what they had to say –

Facebook: “A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the reason for The Shade Room’s removal was due to copyright violations.”

Angie Nwandu had said on Monday to Nieman Lab that although they had been reported for violations in the past, she felt they were being targeted. She was clueless to what brought the take down as she was the only one approving posts for the page.

“nothing was posted that violated any rules to my knowledge.”

“We have been targeted on [Facebook] and have been receiving numerous reports over things that don’t violate the terms,”

“The amount of reports have been excessive.”

As Facebook has not reinstated the page, the platform has popped up again, and at the time of publishing, now has over 1,000 followers. Here’s the video they posted on their new page –


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Bill Withers sues Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is being sued for copyright infringement over Bill Withers song

 

In what’s becoming an increasingly common occurrence, a popular musician is being sued for allegedly stealing another, older artist’s song. The Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar was sued Thursday for using a “direct and complete” copy of Bill Withers’ 1975 song “Don’t You Want to Stay” for his 2009 hit “I Do This.” The company that says it owns the 77-year-old singer’s 1975 song “Don’t You Want To Stay” claims that Kendrick Lamar ripped off the track for his own song, 2009’s “I Do This.” “I Do This” was distributed on a free mixtape by Lamar back in 2009. Can you be sued when you didn’t profit off of the music? The copyright infringement suit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, claims Lamar rapped over a “direct and complete copy” of Withers’ music. Mattie Music Group stated in the legal documents that Lamar’s track “consists of nothing more than new rap and hip hop lyrics set to the existing music of ‘Don’t You Want To Stay.’” They are pursuing damages and want Lamar to stop playing his song.

Filed by Golden Withers Music and Musidex Music, the complaint said Lamar sampled the music “with a thumb to the nose, catch me if you can attitude.”

Listen to the songs here and judge for yourself.

Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising considering in 2014, Lamar was also sued by Eric Woolfson and his group, The Alan Parsons Project, who believed he had improperly sampled their song “Old and Wise” without consent on the track “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain),” which appeared on Kendrick’s Section.80 project.

This time it looks more serious though. Golden Withers Music and Musidex Music are seeking unspecified damages, and the suit was filed in the same court that awarded Marvin Gaye’s family more than $7 million for the “Blurred Lines” trial in March 2015.

That same court will also decide if  Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” copied Spirit’s “Taurus.”

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More People Recognizing Copyright’s ‘Free Speech Problem’

 

For many years now, we’ve written about the fact that copyright law and the First Amendment are actually in quite a lot of conflict. After all, copyright is regularly used to stifle speech, and the First Amendment isn’t supposed to allow for the barring of speech. Over the years, legal experts have been increasingly starting to realize this. A few years back, we wrote about a paper wondering why copyright law doesn’t require a showing of harm, as should be required under the First Amendment. We’ve also pointed out that the more that you explore the fact that copyright and the First Amendment seem to be in conflict, the more you recognize how screwed up copyright law has been. I’m even aware of two whole books that both focus on this problem: Neil Netanel’s Copyright’s Paradox and David Lange & H. Jefferson Powell’s No Law (as in “Congress shall make no law…”).

But, for whatever reason, copyright system supporters always seem to wave off this issue as if it’s some kook theory, unwilling to confront the stark reality that copyright law has a serious First Amendment problem. And, no, the argument that “well the two coexisted for over 200 years” doesn’t cut it, because copyright was very, very different for the first 200 years of its existence in the US. Nor does the claim that copyright law is some sort of magic exception to the First Amendment because the Copyright Clause in the Constitution “came first.” That sounds good… until you remember that the First Amendment is called that because it’s an amendment and you remember that it’s the later part that should take precedent.

Hopefully, though, more people are beginning to recognize this issue. Law Professor John Tehranian (who has written a wonderful book on copyright excesses himself, called Infringement Nation) has an excellent article at legal trade publication The Recorder detailing the simple fact that Copyright Law Has a Free Speech Problem. It starts with a perfectly clear example of this, where two celebrities sought to punish a news tabloid for publishing proof that they had married by buying up the copyright to the photographic evidence of their wedding, and then suing for copyright infringement:


First, Monge and Reynoso purchased the copyright to the photographs. Then, they sued Maya for copyright infringement for its unauthorized use of the photographs—not to vindicate any real value in the copyrighted work but as a means of suppressing and punishing truthful speech. The gambit worked. Although a district court originally found Maya’s activities protected under the fair-use doctrine, the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit ultimately reversed and, in a 2012 published decision, deemed Maya liable for infringement.

We wrote about this case when it was ruled upon, noting the ridiculousness of the ruling at the time. As Tehranian notes, this is just one of many examples of copyright now being used to stifle First Amendment protected free expression:


By fetishizing property interests in copyright works at the expense of the public right of access to factual information, the decision effectively provided future plaintiffs with significant cover for disingenuous uses of copyright law to punish legitimate free speech on matters of public interest. And lest one think that the Maya decision only governs seemingly frivolous celebrity scandals, the precedent could just as easily be used to attach liability to the next publisher of the Pentagon Papers or other unpublished materials containing eminently newsworthy secrets.

And, no, he notes, this is not just one case. It’s happening all over.


In recent years, creationists have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to force the takedown of critical materials put online by evolutionists. Abortion-rights activists have brought infringement litigation to enjoin speech by pro-life forces (Northland Family Planning Clinic v. Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, 2012). Military personnel have ginned up copyright claims to suppress photographs documenting human-rights abuses (Four Navy SEALs v. Associated Press, 2005). And a prominent political talk show host has sued to prevent unauthorized reproductions of his broadcasts in order to suppress criticism of his hate-filled rants (Savage v. CAIR, 2009).

Tehranian — rightly — slams the federal judiciary for allowing this to happen, and basically ignoring the First Amendment issues, usually with the wave of a hand about how fair use solves all the problems. But, as he notes, that leaves many in the unfortunate (and nearly impossible) situation of not being able to rely on the First Amendment to protect free speech, but to try to force it directly into copyright law itself.

Because of this issue, he offers a potential solution, saying that we need a NY Times v. Sullivan for copyright. We have, of course, discussed that case many times in the past — most recently in the context of Donald Trump’s apparent ignorance of its existence or meaning. But it’s the seminal case that made defamation law “okay” under the First Amendment, by strongly favoring free expression (around public figures) by limiting defamation to cases of “actual malice.”


Courts have had no problem with imposing carefully circumscribed First Amendment limitations on tort liability in a variety of scenarios. In New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), the Supreme Court famously held that defamation claims brought by public officials should be subject to a critical First Amendment check: a showing that the defendant acted with actual malice by either intentionally disregarding the truth or acting with reckless indifference towards it. The Supreme Court has subsequently extended the holding of New York Times to all manner of defamation, false light (Time v. Hill, 1967), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Hustler v. Falwell, 1988) and invasion of privacy (Cox v. Cohn, 1975) cases involving public figures or matters of public concern.

These doctrinal innovations have a common goal: preventing the courts themselves from being used by private individuals to effectively suppress speech on matters of public concern. However, the courts have left a gaping exception: copyright law. The adoption of a New York Times v.

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Justin Timberlake sued for alleged copyright infringement

 

Cirque du Soleil is not doing flips over Justin Timberlake s hit song “Don t Hold the Wall”.

Timberlake’s song appeared on his 2013 double album The 20/20 Experience, which has sold more than two million copies.

Justin is accused of borrowing the single Steel Drum from the acrobatic troupe’s 1997 album Quidam, according to TMZ.

A spokeswoman for Timberlake has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.

However, Don’t Hold the Wall never cracked the Billboard Hot 100 on its own. They also name Sony Music as a defendant in the suit filed on March 31 in a NY federal court.

And 1970s band Sly, Slick And Wicked sued him for borrowing elements of their track Sho’ Nuff for his hit song Suit And Tie in January. The group is seeking payment for the damages.

Timbaland had produced the album for Justin Timberlake, which released in 2013.

The suit doesn’t specify how the song allegedly infringes on the Cirque du Soleil song, but claims that the infringement is “willful and deliberate”.

Timberlake’s co-writers were also named in the lawsuit.

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Japanese Government Considering Copyright Law Revision to Eliminate Video Sites with Anime, Films

 

Yomiuri reported on April 7 that the Japanese Government has established a policy to revise the copyright law, in order to eliminate the so-called “Reach Site,” which collect links to illegally uploaded anime and films. By setting up clear measures, the government hopes to make it easier to arrest malicious site owners, forcibly shut down their sites, and remove them from search engines. The policy was submitted by Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters at the 8th Next Generation Intellectual Property System Committee held in Tokyo yesterday.

The owners of the Reach Site don’t directly upload or sell the illegal video contents by themselves. They usually depend on the ads on their sites as a source of profits instead. Because they are only introducing the videos, under the current copyright law, their illegality have not been stated. However, the latest research proved that most of the illegal videos are watched via those Reach Site. So the Japanese Government has finally decided to take legal action against them.

As we recently reported, the damage caused by piracy of Japanese films, anime, broadcasting programs,

music, and manga outside of Japan in 2014 was estimated at 288.8 billion yen (about 2.5 billion US dollars),

which was more than double of the sales through legitimate distribution routes of the year, 123.4 billion yen

(1.1 billion US dollars).

Source: Yomiuri

*the thumbnail photo is provided by Photo AC

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Timbaland’s Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Dismissed

 

Sidney Swanson sued the hip-hop producer, bosses at MJJ Productions and Sony Music in 2014, alleging they illegally used his song On the Move as a sample for Jackson’s track Chicago.

He demanded unspecified damages and asked a judge to issue an injunction against the parties to block them from distributing the song. However, Timbaland requested to have the lawsuit dismissed last year (15), claiming he didn’t own a valid copyright to his original song.

Last month (Mar16), Swanson dropped the lawsuit due to unspecified reasons and has testified he has not received any damages or funds from Timbaland. He also agreed not to file anymore lawsuits against the parties, according to TheJasmineBrand.com.

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YouTube Sensation Opens Up About Her Revenge Porn Legal Battle

 

(NEW YORK) — Chrissy Chambers is one half of the YouTube sensation “BriaAndChrissy,” a singing duo whose message of LGBT empowerment has earned them hundreds of thousands of followers.

But it was a different kind of attention that suddenly spun Chambers’ world out of control. One day, she started getting disturbing comments like these from followers calling her a “slut,” a “hypocrite” and “disgusting.”

Chambers said she had no idea what was happening, but eventually she discovered that a sex tape of her with her ex-boyfriend had been posted online.

“It was single handedly probably one of the hardest moments of my life,” Chambers said. “I found out after Googling myself it was just — it was such a horrific pain like to be hit with a baseball bat. … I literally just collapsed on the floor.”

It wasn’t just the shock that a sex tape had been made public. It was also that it existed at all because Chambers said she has no memory of making the video.

Chambers said her ex-boyfriend secretly taped himself having sex with her while she was passed out drunk then allegedly released the video online three years ago. She calls it an online attack.

“I had been assaulted because I was unconscious when the videos were filmed,” she said. “Someone was posting on our channel links to the videos to our fans and we couldn’t even keep up … that this person you cared about so much could betray you in such an intense way. It was horrific.”

Chambers said the trauma surrounding her alleged cyber assault impacts every aspect of her life.

“The biggest thing I feel I lost in my life was the feeling of control … control over my own body, my image, it was just so damaging in so many ways but that invasion of privacy is such a sharp sword,” she said.

And with a public career built around sharing her life with fans though posting videos online, it was those viewer comments she said that cut deep.

“It was really hard because after the videos came out we heard from some of our subscribers, you know, ‘I’ve been watching for a while but I can’t respect somebody who would do this, or is a slut and a whore, I can’t look up to you,’ and it broke our hearts every time we read something like that,” Chambers said.

Chambers said she is one of many victims of revenge porn, which is a form of non-consensual porn or the distribution of sexually graphic images without consent.

Carrie Goldberg, a New York-based attorney who handles Internet privacy and sexual consent cases, said revenge porn “could be a rape video that’s gone viral or pictures that were originally created and distributed with the context of an intimate relationship.”

There are an estimated 2,000 websites dedicated to revenge pornography worldwide — websites where often jilted exes post intimate photos or video at a former lover’s expense. It’s a cyber-threat that’s difficult to track and even harder to prosecute.

“The biggest frustration that I hear from clients is, I mean, everyone wants their images taken down, and they want to sue the website,” Goldberg said. “There are actually federal laws that immunize online service providers for content that other people post.

“It’s still oftentimes really, really hard to get law enforcers to take complaints seriously and to get investigators and detectives to use their limited resources to investigate these cases, and to get prosecutors and judges to also see these cases through the end,” she added.

Goldberg said 80 percent of her cases are related to revenge porn.

“When clients contact me, they are in the middle of a tornado. It’s a crisis moment,” she said. “They’re often hysterical, crying. They can’t see beyond this and so they think for the rest of their life they’re always going to be exposed on the Internet.”

For Chrissy Chambers, the road to justice has already been long and hard, complicated in part because Chambers said her alleged offender posted the footage in England, forcing her to file suit overseas. ABC News’ efforts to reach the ex-boyfriend were not successful.

“They didn’t have a revenge porn law yet and just felt like we were getting shunned and pushed away. We felt so helpless,” Chambers said. “They would say, ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you, but we can’t help because we don’t have a revenge porn law,’ or ‘since he was in another country that was just too much. It’s out of our hands.’ And while it was in enraging it was just more devastating.”

England and Wales have a revenge porn law on the books now, but the law doesn’t apply to Chambers’ case because her alleged assault happened before their law was in place.

Attorney Ann Olivarius and her team plan to bring a civil suit against Chambers’ alleged offender. While a civil suit is often an option in the United States, it would be the first of its kind in England.

The fight against revenge porn has come a long way in recent years, spurred on by other advocates, with 27 states and the District of Columbia passing specific criminal laws to protect against it. Activist groups like the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative are working for victims to provide online resources, legal support and even a crisis helpline. Tech companies like Twitter, Google and Microsoft now offer tools for users who wish to de-link or remove images they claim to be revenge porn.

Chambers and her girlfriend Bria Kam have been chronicling their journey on their YouTube channel, and there are also notes of hope. Some viewers have commented that they sympathize with Chambers’ situation.

“It’s just incredible how, like we have seen the darkest side of the Internet. But we’ve also seen the most beautiful side of the Internet,” Kam said.

Chambers has also used their YouTube channel as a platform to encourage reform and her quest for change has also led her to petition for a federal law to criminalize revenge porn.

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