Often times when creating and recording a song, the record label retains the copyright over the song. In exchange, the artist receives a share of the proceeds from record sales and the benefit of the record companies’ advertising and promotional arms.
What happens to those rights over time? Are the record labels’ rights infinite time-wise? Enter The Copyright Act and an important revision in 1976. Among other things, that revision gave the musicians termination rights that allowed them control of their own works after 35 years.
Now, 35 years later, recording artists are lining up to assert those rights and the reeling record labels are not happy about it. In an article published yesterday, The New York Times details the back and forth between the record labels and the artists and planned Congressional action to clarify any ambiguities from the 1976 amendment.
WikiLeaks has leaked itself. As reported in Der Spiegel,
Since the beginning of the year, an encrypted file has been circulating on the Internet containing the collection of around 251,000 US State Department documents that WikiLeaks obtained in spring 2010 and made public in November 2010.
So, all the information carefully redacted by news organizations has now leaked out because of the extreme carelessness of the WikiLeaks “organization.”
Further reading here (English): http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,783084,00.html
Lamebook.com is a website dedicated to finding and posting “lame” Facebook statuses and postings. From their website:
Lamebook is a fun humor blog that allows us to all share and marvel at the funny, ridiculous, and outright crazy posts that can be found on your favorite social networking site. Because let’s be honest, we all have one of those friends. The website documents user-submitted content that ranges from family members sharing too much personal information to cringeworthy conversations between lovers to bizarre and hilarious photos. But don’t worry, the names and faces are blurred to protect the guilty.
Facebook was not amused and sent (via Law.com) a threatening letter to Lamebook citing Lamebook’s infringement on Facebook’s trademark (probably thinking the Lamebook folks would fold their tens and go home). That was not to be, however, as Lamebook brought a preemptive suit against Facebook.
Now the parties have (smartly) reached a settlement. In the settlement (reported by mediapost.com), Lamebook adds a disclaimer to their website (which they can continue to maintain) and agrees to not seek to trademark the Lamebook name.
Everyone wins – especially those who like laughing at the expense of others.
Last week Google announced it settled the US investigation into its advertisement practices in which Canadian pharmaceutical companies and resellers were able to target US citizens through Google Adwords.
Google has long denied liability, but in the settlement agreement, Google did not just give up $500 million – it also took the unusual step of admitting liability.
Worse still, the WSJ reports that the Government is convinced that Larry Page knew of the illegal practices for years, yet allowed them to continue.
The money quote from the article:
“Larry Page knew what was going on,” Peter Neronha, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the probe, said in an interview. “We know it from the investigation. We simply know it from the documents we reviewed, witnesses that we interviewed, that Larry Page knew what was going on.”
This would help explain why Google settled for such a large amount and admitted liability.
EDIT: The WSJ notes that individuals could still be subject to prosecution, though that is unlikely.
MTV has an interesting story that has been floating around the internet for the past few days:
Def Jam’s lawyers are about to get busier. According to a post on “archival record label” and publisher the Numero Uno Group‘s blog, acclaimed R&B/soul singer Syl Johnson is considering a lawsuit against the Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West) for an uncleared sample of one of his songs on their album Watch the Throne. A sample of Johnson’s 1967 song “Different Strokes,” which appears on the track “The Joy,” was allegedly never properly cleared.
These kinds of lawsuits are not uncommon and usually quickly end in settlement. It is interesting to read the various posts about it. None of them indicate a lawsuit has been filed, but that one will be filed. We’ll monitor this case and check back with updates.