Tag: Copyright Protection

1
A Modern Melody for the Music Industry: The Music Modernization Act Just Passed Congress and Awaits Presidential Approval
2
Court of Milan Grants Copyright Protection to Après-ski Boots Moon Boots
3
“Blank” blocking orders on “alias” targeted web sites cannot be issued
4
In Role-Playing Card Games, Where is the Line Between Protectable Expression and Unprotectable Rules of the Game?

A Modern Melody for the Music Industry: The Music Modernization Act Just Passed Congress and Awaits Presidential Approval

By Mark Wittow, Katie Staba and Trevor M. Gates

On September 25, 2018, the House concurred in Senate amendments to the newly-named Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (the “MMA”), sending that act to the president for signature.[1] The MMA is intended to “modernize copyright law” as applied to songwriters, publishers, digital music providers, record labels, and others involved in the creation and distribution of music. The MMA consists of three parts:

  • Title I establishes a licensing collective for digital music service providers to grant blanket mechanical licenses to such providers and collect and distribute royalties to rights owners;
  • Title II creates a royalty structure to compensate owners of pre-1972 sound recordings; and
  • Title III provides a statutory right for producers, mixers, and sound engineers to collect royalties for digital transmissions of sound recordings.

The MMA is the result of unprecedented alignment among Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. House and Senate, and music industry stakeholders.[2] Nonetheless, this major update to copyright licensing law in the music industry may cause upheaval within the complex music marketplace structure, which encompasses songwriters, studio professionals, artists, record labels, and digital streaming services.[3]

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Court of Milan Grants Copyright Protection to Après-ski Boots Moon Boots

According to the Italian court, an industrial design can enjoy copyright protection if it has an artistic value 

According to the Italian court, an industrial design can enjoy copyright protection if it has an artistic value

In July, the Court of Milan issued an interesting decision that granted copyright protection to the famous après-ski boots “Moon Boots” on the basis that they have recognized artistic value. In fact, the court recognized that Moon Boots have a particular aesthetic appeal capable of deeply changing the concept of après-ski boots, so that they have become an actual icon of Italian design.

In this case, the producer of the famous après-ski boots sued the producer and the distributor of a similar type of boots, called “Anouk Boots”. They alleged they constituted copyright infringement, infringement of the registered community design as well as unfair competition and asked for applicable remedies and compensation.

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“Blank” blocking orders on “alias” targeted web sites cannot be issued

According to the Court of Milan, such  injunctions would be contrary to local procedural rules as well as to Italian and European fundamental principles of law

In July, a famous Italian broadcaster asked the Court of Milan to block access to a specific portal, in order to stop its unlawful communication to the public of football matches of major Italian teams and of the UEFA Champions League to which the broadcaster holds the exclusive broadcasting rights.

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In Role-Playing Card Games, Where is the Line Between Protectable Expression and Unprotectable Rules of the Game?

By Mark Wittow and Eliza Hall

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas recently examined the scope of copyright protection for role-playing card games, parsing the use of parallel themes and characters.  The court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of a distributor accused of infringing a role-playing card game by creating a substantially similar game, but in a parallel (different) setting. This case provides guidance to companies that create games in traditional or digital media, clarifying where the line should be drawn between the protectable expressive aspects of a game and unprotectable rules or underlying ideas and concepts. The court’s decision also provides a helpful illustration of the differing standards applied to motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment.

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