by Michael Adelman
Copyright Suit Fails to Prevent Memorial Day Weekend Release of The Hangover: Part II
On Tuesday May 24, the New York Times reported that Judge Catherine D. Perry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri denied tattoo artist Victor Whitmill’s preliminary injunction that would have halted the release of the film The Hangover: Part II over Memorial Day weekend. Mr. Whitmill claims that Warner Brothers has infringed on his exclusive rights to the Maori-inspired tattoo which he designed and inked on boxer Mike Tyson’s face by putting it on the face of the character Stu, played by Ed Helm, in the film and promotional merchandise. Wired reports that the litigation has prompted an about face by the nation’s preeminent copyright scholar, UCLA law professor David Nimmer, who testified that tattoos should not be copyrightable while serving as an expert witness for Warner Brothers. Likelihood of Confusion noted that Judge Perry strongly indicated Mr. Whitmill stands to recover on his claim in the future, but that she declined to issue the injunction after finding the public interest in letting the movie be released outweighed the harm of infringement.
G8 Nations Issue A Statement on Internet Governance
Ars Technica reports on the recent G8 summit that produced a Declaration of Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy, which extolled the power of the Internet in increasing democratic participation and as a driver of economic growth. The document emphasized the need to safeguard against “arbitrary or indiscriminate censorship” in preserving the Internet as a democratic forum. The G8 nations also announced their commitment to enhancing protections of intellectual property (copyright in particular) through greater international cooperation of governments and private entities.
New Legislation Would Make Unauthorized Internet Streaming a Felony
Ars Technica reported on the testimony of new Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, before the House Judicicary Committee about whether illegal online streaming should be upgraded from the current misdemeanor status to a felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail. Pallante asserted that increased bandwidth and greater scrutiny of file-sharing networks have made video streaming sites that display pirated material increasingly popular, and that the law needed to be adjusted to keep pace with technology. This is also the position espoused by the Obama Administration’s White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement. But Techdirt warned that by making “performance” of a copyrighted work a felony, the proposed bill (via GovTrack.us) could potentially render the act of embedding or hosting an infringing video a felony.
Amazon Launches New Mac Software Store to Compete with Apple’s App Store
Amazon has recently launched a subsection of its online downloads store specifically oriented to Mac OSX software. Ars Technica reports that Amazon has called this service the “Mac Downloads Store”, probably to avoid another legal dispute with Apple. Slashdot has covered Apple previously filed lawsuit against Amazon for trademark infringement over Amazon’s ‘Appstore for Android’. ComputerWorld analyzes some of the differences between Amazon’s Mac Download Store and Apple’s Mac App Store, speculating that these differences are largely driven by differences in Amazon and Apple’s licensing agreements with software developers.