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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Two blogs about copyrights

A new blog titled "What is Fair Use?" began in February and now has 107 posts. The "About this blog" statement in the sidebar says,

The "authors" of this blog are Peter Friedman and the students in his Legal Analysis & Writing classes at Case Western Reserve University of Law during the spring 2008 semester. As their last writing project of the year, the students wrote cross-motions for summary judgment in a fictional lawsuit brought by ASCAP and the owners of the copyright to "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." The Plaintiffs (represented by half of my students) alleged infringement of their copyright in Que Sera, Sera by the KLF, the creators of a recording entitled "K Cera Cera."

K Cera Cera (mp3) is a recording of the Red Army Choir singing an amalgam of Que Sera, Sera and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Happy Xmas (the War is Over). The Defendants also include Arista Records, the U.S. distributor of K Cera Cera, and Arista's corporate parent, Sony BMG. The second half of the students, of course, represents the Defendants.

In the course of the students' work in researching and writing their summary judgment briefs, the professor and classes posted items here that raise and explore the legal and policy implications implicit in and related to the infringement claim and Defendants' fair use defense.

Here are the relevant documents from the lawsuit:
(1) Plaintiffs' Complaint filed in the fictional action.
(2) Defendants' Answer filed in the fictional action.
(3) Excerpts from the deposition of Joyce Hatto, Senior Director of A&R for Defendant Arista Records.
(4) Excerpts from Plaintiffs' Responses to Defendants' Requests to Admit.
(5) A discussion regarding ASCAP's standing as a plaintiff is contained in the comments to William Patry's blog post here.

William Patry's "The Patry Copyright Blog" has several hundred entries and began in April 2005.

The above moot case is not entirely fictional -- the Red Army Choir sang "Sweet Home Alabama" in English at a concert and the challenged recording is partly based on a Lennon/Ono song, and Ono is actually suing over an alleged copyright infringement of a Lennon song (though Ono is not a plaintiff in this moot case). Oddly, neither blog discusses or mentions what could be the most celebrated of current fair use cases, Yoko Ono v. "Expelled." Maybe the reason for that is that the bloggers on these blogs consider the suit to be frivolous? Even so, IMO these bloggers should at least mention the suit and if they think that it is frivolous, then they should say why they think it is frivolous. Anyway, these two blogs, "What is Fair Use?" and "Patry's Copyright Blog," may be good sources of ideas for the defense in Yoko.
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3 Comments:

Anonymous Peter Friedman said...

Sorry not to have commented on the Ono v. Stein case, but honestly I hadn't even heard of it. I've got to find out more regarding the allegations before I can render an opinion, though if it is only 10 seconds of "Imagine" that the movie quotes, that would militate in favor of a finding of fair use. I presume too that the use is one that subjects Lennon to criticism, which again would militate in its favor. Then again, the movie is a for-profit enterprise, so the use is commercial. I'll take a look to see if I can find out more. Thanks for the mention, and thanks for the head's up on this case.

Monday, May 12, 2008 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Peter Friedman said...

see http://whatisfairuse.blogspot.com/2008/05/imagine-that.html

Monday, May 12, 2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Peter Friedman said,
>>>>> I've got to find out more regarding the allegations before I can render an opinion <<<<<

I have several posts about the case under the post label "Yoko Ono lawsuit". This post label is also listed in the sidebar.

Monday, May 12, 2008 12:41:00 PM  

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