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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

 

Bill Withers sues Kendrick LamarIn 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

 

Not their best The album topped the Billboard's 200 Albums Chart though Justin and Timbaland's song Don't Hold the Wall didn't crack the Hot 100

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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Will PETA Now Sue To Control The Copyright In These Cat Selfies?

As noted recently, PETA isn’t giving up in its quixotic quest to argue that it can represent the interests of an Indonesian selfie-taking monkey, and further that the photos in question have a copyright and that copyright belongs to the monkey (and, by extension, PETA). UK IP professor Andrés Guadamuz recently wrote an interesting paper arguing that there is a copyright in the photograph and it belongs to the guy who owned the camera, David Slater, based on UK copyright law. It’s an interesting read, though others have convincingly argued the opposite, noting that UK law requires a “person” to have created the work.

Either way, it seems this question may not be going away any time soon. Guadamuz has now also posted an amusing blog post highlighting the next potential battleground: a cat who loves to take selfies. I mean, just look at them. While there are some clearer shots, I think this one is clearly the best, based entirely on the cat’s “I’m concentrating here” tongue:



Guadamuz notes that it’s not entirely clear how much control the cat really has in these pictures, and they may really be the camera owner holding the camera itself, and snapping the photo when the cat is incentivized to reach in. In that case, there’s a stronger copyright claim for the original camera owner — an Instagram user by the username “youremahm”. But, as Guadamuz notes, the real question is whether or not PETA will now sue on behalf of the cat.

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French Politicians Want To Create Ancillary Copyright In Thumbnail Images

copyright laws vs search enginesDespite the fact that copyright has been repeatedly extended and strengthened over the years, the thought never seems to cross publishers’ minds that they could ever have too much of it, or that the public might have some countervailing rights here. As a consequence of this insatiable appetite, there have been a number of recent moves to create an ancillary copyright, also known as a “snippet tax,” “link tax” and “Google tax,” since it aims to make it obligatory to pay for making even short excerpts or linking to copyright material — for example, in search results. Rather amazingly, publishers are still pushing for this new monopoly “right” despite abundant evidence from their own research that it [the online cultural collection] their businesses.

Undeterred by these facts, some politicians in France are pushing for the creation of [The European Commission]. That idea was [the online cultural collection] a long time ago in the US, but as the public domain advocacy group Comunia explains, in France, the following is still a real possibility:

A new right that would require search engines and indexing services to pay royalties for the use of thumbnail images of copyright protected works. According to French proposal, which has been approved by the French Senate, this new right would be managed by one or more collecting societies, regardless of the intention of the rightholders whether to be financially compensated for the use of their works by search engines.

In an [The European Commission] (pdf) Comunia explains why this is a really stupid idea:

Its scope will impact many online services and mobile apps, from search engines to creative commons models and [the online cultural collection] Europeana. Money would be collected arbitrarily and without any realistic way of redistributing it accurately. Basic, every day activities of online users, such as posting, linking, embedding photos online, would be subject to a cloud of legal uncertainty.

It would isolate France in the European Union, at a time when courts across Europe have made
clear these were lawful activities under national, European and international laws. It would isolate France globally, as a country where using images online would be subject to restrictive and unworkable practice.
Unfortunately, France isn’t the only part of Europe that is considering the introduction of ancillary copyright. This week, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the idea of [the online cultural collection] — in other words, ancillary copyright:

[The European Commission] is seeking views on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain, including the possible extension to publishers of the neighbouring rights. Publishers do not currently benefit from neighbouring rights which are similar to copyright but do not reward an authors’ original creation (a work). They reward either the performance of a work (e.g. by a musician, a singer, an actor) or an organisational or financial effort (for example by a producer) which may also include a participation in the creative process.

The European Commission paints European publishers as somehow missing out on the ancillary copyright currently enjoyed by those in the music or theatre worlds. The intention is clearly to suggest that this kind of extra right is perfectly normal, and that it should — of course — be granted to those poor, struggling publishers, who barely have any copyright at all, apparently. However, that framing rather skates over the fact that posting an article on a website is hardly a creative act on a par with performing a song, or appearing in a play. So it’s not entirely clear why the European Commission thinks it deserves an extra layer of legal protection on top of standard copyright — other than the fact that publishers want that new monopoly in the hope of extracting money from Google.

Fortunately, the consultation is open to everyone, including those outside the EU, which means [The European Commission] using the online questionnaire. As a bonus, you can also give your views on the so-called “[the online cultural collection]” — another area where lobbyists are working hard to make copyright even less fit for the digital age than it is now.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160323/10492033994/french-politicians-want-to-create-ancillary-copyright-thumbnail-images.shtml

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Judge Allows the Lost Boys of Sudan to Pursue Copyright Against ‘The Good Lie’ Film Producers

 

Incredible in scope and rife with inherent drama, it is little surprise that Hollywood sought to make a film based on lives of the estimated 20,000 boys and girls who fled Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War during the early 2000s.

The Lost Boys of Sudan’s journey encompassed thousands of miles and thousands of dangers — enduring disease, escaping wild animal attacks and evading forced recruitment into the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.

While The Good Lie, a 2014 drama starring Reese Witherspoon that was based on their story, didn’t have much box office success, it is becoming grounds for an intriguing legal battle swirling around authorship and rights.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May will allow The Lost Boys to continue their copyright and fraud claims lawsuit, originally filed in February 2015. Fifty-four of the displaced Sudanese people living in Atlanta filed lawsuits against Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and other producers on the film for breaching their initial contract terms for compensation and joint authorship.

The plaintiffs state in the lawsuit that they, “partnered with Defendants to create The Good Lie’s script, in part, based upon their promise that a non-profit foundation organized and run by the refugees would be the sole beneficiary of any fundraising efforts associated with The Good Lie.  However, neither the refugees nor their Foundation have been compensated in any fashion for sharing their traumatic personal stories and assisting with the creation of the script for The Good Lie.”

According to the lawsuit, the Lost Boys met with film producer Bobby Newmyer and screenwriter Margaret Nagle in 2003 to conduct recorded interviews to provide facts, background, and stories for the eventual screenplay. In her decision, U.S District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that the Lost Boys have enough facts to support findings of copyright infringement and a possible future injunction.

“The Interviews, however, did not consist merely of  ‘ideas, facts and opinion made during a conversation,’ like the interviews by journalists in the cases Defendants cite,” Judge May states. “Rather, the Interviews were a creative process designed to create material for a screenplay and film. All that an ‘original work’ must possess is ‘some minimal degree of creativity’ … even a slight amount will suffice. Plaintiffs’ telling of their personal stories in response to questions designed to elicit material to create a fictional script for a feature film likely includes enough creativity to render the Interviews an original work of authorship.”

Judge May concludes, “Plaintiffs have stated a cognizable claim for protection against continuing infringement by Defendants that, if proven, warrants entry of a permanent injunction.”

It’s not an uncommon practice in “based on true events” movies for screenwriters to conduct interviews to mine facts and incorporate them into the screenplay.  It’s also not uncommon for writers to move things around, create composite characters and other events, which is why the term “based on true events” exists.  When these types of films come out, there’s always the question of how much is true, what role the subject plays and how much input they have in the story.

If The Lost Boys of Sudan get a favorable verdict, this changes the game on how contributions from the subject influence authorship and original work on “fact-based” films.

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David Lowery Sues Spotify for Copyright Infringement, possible $150 Million

David Lowery is an advocate for musicians’ rights. He is suing over copyright violations.Spotify has been sued for copyright infringement in a case that accuses it of failing to properly license songwriting rights in the United States. The suit highlights an escalating fight over the complex system of royalties for online music.

David Lowery, the leader of the rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, and an outspoken advocate for musicians’ rights in the digital age, filed the suit on Monday in federal court in California. It contends that the company makes many songs available on its service without properly securing — or paying for — “mechanical rights,” which date back to the era of piano rolls but are still a major kind of music copyright.

Mechanical rights refer to a copyright holder’s control over the ability to reproduce a musical work. Mr. Lowery’s suit contends that Spotify copies and distributes versions of his songs on its service, which streams music to some 75 million people around the world, 20 million of whom pay for monthly subscriptions.

In his suit, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Mr. Lowery applied for class-action status, arguing that Spotify has failed to handle the mechanical licensing for a huge but unspecified number of songs by many songwriters. Citing statutory damages for copyright infringement, which range from $750 to $30,000 — or $150,000 for each instance of willful infringement — Mr. Lowery’s suit says that Spotify could be liable for up to $150 million.

“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny,” Jonathan Prince, a spokesman for Spotify, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong or incomplete.”

As streaming has grown, the songwriting rights — which are handled separately from those of recordings — have become more valuable and their licensing increasingly contested. Songwriters like Mr. Lowery often complain of low royalty rates or of not being paid at all, while online outlets and music publishers alike say that incomplete or conflicting data often hampers proper accounting.

In October, Spotify removed from its service thousands of songs from Victory Records, an independent punk and metal label, after the label’s publishing arm complained that Spotify was not paying for millions of streams. Spotify said it did not have enough data to resolve the issue, but Victory and Audiam, a company that administers its royalties, disputed this, saying they had provided data with years’ worth of information.

Victory’s songs were quietly restored to Spotify a few weeks later, but the issue has continued to simmer. The National Music Publishers’ Association estimates that 25 percent of the activity on interactive streaming services like Spotify is not properly “matched” to the right data to let songwriters and their publishers get paid.

Last week, Spotify announced that it would create a “comprehensive publishing administration system” to fix the problem of faulty royalty information.

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