Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


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11Walgreens Denies Woman Copies Of Bible Scriptures, Citing Copyright Laws

A Gulfport, Mississippi woman claims she’s been fighting Walgreens after a local store denied her request to have copies of Bible scriptures made. Kelly Taylor, 48, says she was initially told that her online copy order was denied because of technical issues, but according to her account, they later changed their reasoning, saying that it infringed on copyright laws.

The initial response from the store read, “"Hello Kelly! Due to a technical issue we were unable to process your print order at this time. For more details, contact a photo team associate -- they’re happy to help! Just have your order number handy."

When Taylor called the store to see what the problem was, she was told they couldn’t print out the scripture quotes because of copyright issues.

“I told the lady my Father wrote them and who exactly would I get the approval from?” said Taylor. "I’ve seen so many Bible verses printed out - surely they didn’t all get permission from the publisher.”

A Walgreens spokesperson made a statement to Fox News defending their decision.

"Speaking for the company, I can tell you that the document in question contained not only text but an artist’s graphic design featuring images of the sky, clouds and stars. It is possible that our employee had concerns about copyright protection for the artist’s work," said company spokesman James W. Graham. "In any case, we decided any copyright concerns could be addressed by asking the customer to sign a waiver. We were sorry for the inconvenience this caused our customer and we printed the document for her at no charge."

Even though Taylor now has her images, she says, “We’re praying that Walgreens learns that the Bible doesn’t belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone,” and hopes the company learns from this experience. 

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Legality Issues: A Senator Reads 'Green Eggs & Ham' On The Floor

You may have heard that Senator Ted Cruz spent a fair bit of time on the Senate Floor doing an old fashioned filibuster. Of course, what seems to be drawing almost more attention than the thing he was filibustering about was... the fact that, as part of that, he read aloud the classic Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham (though many people pointed out that he appeared to totally misunderstand the meaning of that book).

But more interesting from our standpoint are the copyright questions this raises. Some even pondered if his reading the book on the Senate floor would impact the public domain status of the book. The answer to that is no, though some other questions may be a bit more obscure. I've emailed some copyright lawyers for their take on the question, but we might as well discuss them here in the comments. The book is clearly covered by copyright. Cruz's reading of it is likely protected by the speech or debate clause, and even potentially a fair use claim. The bigger question is about everyone else who's showing it. Are TV news programs who show it violating the copyright? It may depend very much on how they present it, and it seems likely that many would have a very strong fair use claim -- it's newsworthy (in some sense), it's unlikely to negatively impact the work, etc. Of course, if a TV program decided to use it, instead, as a "storytime hour with Senator Ted Cruz" in which he reads the book to entertain children... there might be some copyright questions raised. Still, it's worth noting that the owner of the copyright, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, has a history of going legal over pretty clear fair use claims.

Still, there is a larger point in all of this: this is yet another example of a politician realizing that there's benefit in being able to use copyright covered material for his personal benefit, without the permission of the copyright holder. This is why fair use is important, and why attempts to limit it are so problematic. While I've never seen Senator Cruz involved in any copyright debates, but it will be interesting to see, should copyright reform issues ever finally reach the Senate floor, if he's willing to stand up for expanded fair use, based on his own recognition of the value of being able to, say, read an entire book to try to make a point.

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11Arkansas Restaurant To Pay BMI 37K In Music Licensing Fees

Conway, Arkansas Mexican restaurant La Huerta has been ordered by Arkansas courts to pay a large fine for playing unlicensed music. Broadcast Music Inc. of New York (BMI) received a default judgment of $30,000 as well as $7,000 in lawyer fees against the restaurant and it’s owner, Julio Nunez, after a lawsuit filed by BMI last year in a Little Rock federal court.

According to court records obtained by Arkansas Business, Nunez played 12 copyrighted songs in his restaurant in 2011 but failed to secure licenses for the songs from BMI. When served with the lawsuit, Nunez failed to reply, giving BMI a default ruling. BMI spokeswoman Leah Luddine said that officials from BMI attempted to contact Nunez and the restaurant “dozens of times over an extended period,” with no success.

The disputed music included songs such as “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About,” and “When Did You Stop Loving Me?”

Luddine explained the importance of securing licensing for songs played in public. “We act as the facilitator between the music users and the music creators,” she said. “The legal responsibilities to license music are covered under the U.S. Copyright Act. The purpose behind copyright protection is to enable songwriters to earn a living from their music so that they can continue to create it.” Luddine went on to state that BMI would rather have handled the issue out of the courts, but was given no choice by Nunez’s silence.

The majority of business owners who play music in public obtain licenses from BMI, which are relatively easy to get and can cost less than $30 per month. Without such blanket licenses, business owners would have to personally receive permission from the songwriters, composers, and publishers of each song played at their establishments.

Source: Arkansas Business

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11Student to Pay $675K for Sharing 30 Songs on the Internet

The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the $675,000 penalty handed down to a Boston student who shared 30 songs online.

Joel Tenenbaum used a peer-to-peer file-sharing program called Kazaa to download and share music on the web back in 2004. In 2009, a jury ruled Tenenbaum was guilty of “willful infringement” of copyright and awarded the Recording Industry Association of America $22,500 for each song listed in the case.

In the ruling, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reminded the court that at the time Congress was trying to stamp out file sharing – suggesting that Tenenbaum was being made an example of. But few people today have any recollection of Kazaa. Now anyone can stream music from their computer for free.

In fact, according to NBC News, in 2012 illegal music sharing was down by 17 percent and music sales were up – the first revenue increase the industry saw in 13 years.

Tenenbaum attempted to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court and argued that the damages awarded against him were unconstitutional, according to TorrentFreak. In May 2012, his request was denied. On Monday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2009 ruling will stand.

“Tenenbaum invites us to assume that he is 'the most heinous of noncommercial copyright infringers,'" the ruling states. "We need not go so far as to accept his offer. The evidence of Tenenbaum's copyright infringement easily justifies the conclusion that his conduct was egregious. Tenenbaum carried on his activities for years in spite of numerous warnings, he made thousands of songs available illegally and he denied responsibility during discovery. Much of this behavior was exactly what Congress was trying to deter when it amended the Copyright Act.”

The damages are meant to have a “deterrent effect.” But where will Tenenbaum find $675,000? Perhaps the only lesson he will learn is to charge for file sharing.

Sources: techdirt, torrentfreak.com

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11Samson Manufacturing Files for Bankruptcy After Losing Copyright Dispute

Samson Manufacturing has filed for bankruptcy after losing a copyright dispute to rival Troy Industries Inc.

Samson and Troy both design gun accessories such as rails, mounts, and sights. The two companies recently butted heads in the courtroom over copyright complaints. Both Samson and Troy filed a patent, but Samson beat Troy to the punch. Troy filed suit against its rival and won in federal court in Boston. The Massachusetts-based victors may have had a home court advantage against Samson, which is based in New Hampshire.

The federal judge ruled that Samson pay $933,000 in damages and attorney fees to Troy. You can find a full explanation of the ruling here.

Samson executives requested that they pay the sum over a period of time, but Troy refused to negotiate and filed a motion in New Hampshire's Cheshire County Superior Court to seize the company’s property.

To counter this move, Samson filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Peter Tamposi, an attorney for Samson, explained that Samson still plans to pay all of their creditors – just not Troy. Tamposi also reported that the company has received “overwhelming support” from their creditors. He dismissed Troy and their attempts to seize Samson property: “This is very much just a result of an overaggressive competitor. I don't expect any long term ramifications from the filing.”

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at the factory. The Samson website promises, “Samson's business remains strong and the company continues to grow. We do not anticipate any delay in filling orders or slowing down of our production lines… Please bear with us while we deliver a quick and well-deserved smackdown.”

Samson executives might be able to chalk up the Troy rivalry as unavoidable growing pains. The company recently moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, which has more lenient taxes and a more gun-friendly culture. They also upgraded the size of their facility from 12,000 square-feet to 20,000 square-feet. Whether Samson flourishes or withers in their new home, however, will depend largely on whether or not filing for bankruptcy stops their corporate arch-enemies.

Source: Union Leader

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