copyright law

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'Happy Birthday' Lawyers Score $4.6M in Fees

Judge awards money after copyright case

(Newser) - The lawyers who helped bring the song "Happy Birthday" into the public domain will be handsomely rewarded. A judge this week awarded the legal team $4.6 million after last year's successful copyright lawsuit , reports Courthouse News Service . The money will come out of a $14 million class-action... More »

'Happy Birthday' May Finally Belong to All

Warner Music agrees to pay $14M in proposed settlement

(Newser) - "Happy Birthday to You" will finally be in the public domain if a proposed settlement is approved. Warner Music has announced it won't fight a move to make rights to the song public and will spend $14 million to end a class-action lawsuit in search of royalties paid... More »

'Smoking Gun' Found in 'Happy Birthday' Lawsuit

They're presenting evidence that song is in the public domain, not owned by Warner

(Newser) - In what the New York Times called the "lawsuit of the ages" when it was first filed two years ago, a new development is making the case even juicier with "smoking-gun evidence" that one of the world's most popular songs is in fact in the public domain,... More »

Why MLK's Family Sues People Over 'the Dream'

To protect its copyright, which lasts until 2039

(Newser) - The new film Selma avoided quoting Martin Luther King's civil-rights speeches because his family owns the copyrights and has sued over them—and it's all perfectly legal, Politico reports. The MLK estate has successfully sued USA Today, CBS News, and the Emmy-winning documentary series Eyes on the Prize,... More »

Bar Owner Fined $21K— Over Karaoke

Her establishment wasn't registered with BMI

(Newser) - A few weeks after some newly-returned vets sang patriotic Toby Keith songs at a Colorado Springs bar's karaoke night in 2012, the bar owner found herself slapped with a $21,000 fine for not having permission to play the songs in her bar. LeShawn Carey registered the Carey-On Saloon... More »

Sherlock Holmes in Public Domain, Says Judge

Or at least, all his stories from before 1923

(Newser) - Are you dying to share your Sherlock Holmes fanfic with the world? Well, that's just become (sorry, we have to do this by law), elementary, my dear reader. A federal judge has ruled that Holmes, Watson, and all 50 stories they appeared in before Jan. 1, 1923, are now... More »

Piracy-Fighting Plan: Teach Copyright Law to Little Kids

MPAA backs planned 'Be a Creator' program

(Newser) - The Motion Picture Association of America wants young people to know that piracy is a crime—and the group is hoping to get the message out early. It's teaming up with the Recording Industry Association of America and Internet service providers to push an anti-piracy program in elementary schools,... More »

'I Have a Dream' © All Rights Reserved

Martin Luther King's family keeps tight control of historic speech: Lauren Williams

(Newser) - With the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's iconic speech on the National Mall coming up, Lauren Williams at Mother Jones has a dream of her own. "I have a dream," she writes, that black and white children will be able "to sit down together at... More »

Court Sides With Student on Textbook Copyright

Publisher loses case at Supreme Court over resales

(Newser) - The Supreme Court ruled today that textbooks and other goods made and sold abroad can be re-sold online and in discount stores without violating US copyright law. The outcome was a huge relief to eBay, Costco, and other businesses that trade in products made outside the US. In a 6-3... More »

Japan's New Fine for Illegal Downloads: 2 Years in Jail

New penalties take effect today

(Newser) - Japan is really cracking down on online piracy: As of today, anyone who possesses illegally downloaded music or movies could go to prison for as long as two years, CNN reports. They also face fines of nearly $26,000. Possessing content that infringes on copyright laws has been illegal in... More »

Pinterest Reassures Users Over Copyright Concerns

Social networking site releases statement

(Newser) - Pinterest is quickly following up on the copyright concerns that were recently raised by a lawyer and photographer, whose blog post on the potential issues went viral on the social networking site . "Pinterest is a platform for people to share their interests through collections of images, videos, commentary, and... More »

Why You May Want to Think Twice Before Using Pinterest

After copyright concerns raised, site wants to avoid becoming 'next Napster'

(Newser) - Pinterest quickly racked up millions of users, all of whom love sharing Internet finds by "pinning" images to the website. But one Pinterest user, who also happens to be a photographer and lawyer, delved into copyright law and the site's terms of use—and discovered that Pinterest protects... More »

Reid Delays Anti-Piracy Vote

As Republicans solidify PIPA opposition

(Newser) - Harry Reid has postponed Tuesday's test vote on the Senate's anti-piracy bill, after a storm of online protests convinced several of the bill's co-sponsors to switch sides, the AP reports. Democrats have now emerged as the main backers of the PROTECT IP Act, the Wall Street Journal... More »

Megaupload Founder Hid From Cops in Panic Room

Police raid Kim Dotcom's fortified mansion

(Newser) - New Zealand police raided the fortified mansion of Megaupload founder "Kim Dotcom" today, and the arrest did not go smoothly. Police tell the AFP that when they arrived, Dotcom, who is also known as Kim Schmitz, "retreated into the house and activated a number of electronic locking mechanisms,... More »

SOPA Author's Own Website Violated Copyright

Meanwhile, Senate author of piracy bill says it needs 'more study'

(Newser) - SOPA author Lamar Smith is being roundly mocked thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of VICE , who found that as of July, Smith's own website violated copyright, using a background image without attribution. The photo was under a Creative Commons license, so if Smith had just credited the photographer,... More »

US Cuts Off Funding to UNESCO Over Palestine

Political workaround unlikely to go anywhere

(Newser) - The US has officially cut off all funding to the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization over its acceptance of Palestine as a full member. The impact will be felt immediately, because the US had a $60 million dues payment due in November, the AP reports. The Obama administration’... More »

Massachusetts' New Political Party: Pirates

Pirate Party now accepted as a political designation

(Newser) - Avast there, Massachusetts voters! A’fore ye register f’r some lilly-livered party like the “Democrats” or “Republicans,” ye might want to consider signin’ on with the state’s newest crew: the Massachusetts Pirate Party. That’s right, the Massachusetts Election Division has officially approved the swashbuckling... More »

Sorry, You Can't Copyright Your Tweets

The law doesn't cover short phrases, no matter how profound

(Newser) - No matter how brilliant, your tweets just aren't copyright material, writes Jeffrey Zeldman. The law covers "fixed phrases," but that doesn't apply to names, titles, or short phrases. At 140 characters max, tweets are most definitely in the latter category, making them fair game in the public domain.... More »

Danish Man Turns Himself In for Copying DVDs

He hopes to test-anti piracy law in court

(Newser) - A Danish man has reported himself to police for copying his DVD collection to his computer. Henrik Anderson is looking to test two contradictory Danish laws—one that allows the creation of "personal use" backup copies and another that prohibits the breaking of DRM, or digital rights management, to... More »

Fairey Admits Lying Over 'Hope' Photo

Artist tried to conceal mistake with false evidence

(Newser) - An unexpected twist in the Shepard Fairey copyright fight: The artist admits that he lied about which AP photo he used for his Obama Hope poster and submitted fake evidence to support his claim. His lawyers have now dropped him as the legal fight continues. "I am very sorry... More »

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