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Updated: 3 days 8 hours ago

Inside the windowless bunker where Disney stores its 'secret weapon'

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 12:00

The Walt Disney Animation Research Library, which houses 65m items from sketches of Mickey Mouse to the original Pinocchio puppet, is an Aladdin’s cave of intellectual property

Disney staff used to call it the morgue, a windowless bunker of a building near corporate headquarters which stored drawings and sketches dating back decades.

The very first pencilings of Mickey Mouse, drafts of the forest in Sleeping Beauty, underwater sequences in The Little Mermaid and millions of other scenes and fragments from films, all diligently stored in the building’s 11 vaults in Glendale, Los Angeles.

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In punishing tech giants, the EU has made the internet worse for everyone | James Ball

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:00

Searches will become more difficult and competitors deterred by these unnecessary changes to copyright law

The world is in the middle of a global debate on how to curb the power of the tech giants, prevent the exploitation of the world’s information ecosystem by Russia and other bad actors, and make the internet work for all of us.

Given that situation, it may seem that two motions passed by the European parliament this week are positive ones – at the last moment, they were inserted into legislation, having previously been rebuffed. Both motions are unwelcome to the tech giants, and will serve to regulate the internet – but both are wrongheaded and counterproductive, and will make the internet worse.

Related: How the EU can make the internet play fair with musicians | Letters

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EU copyright law may force tech giants to pay billions to publishers

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 15:57

Legislation opposed by firms like Facebook and Google and groups warning of detrimental consequences for the internet

Music companies, film-makers and media publishers could be in line for billions in payouts after EU lawmakers voted to accept controversial changes to copyright rules that aim to make tech companies including Facebook and Google share more of their revenue.

The proposed legislation, that surfaced two years ago with the aim to update copyright for the digital age, has unleashed a ferocious lobbying war pitting the likes of Paul McCartney, Placido Domingo, Adele and film-makers including Mike Leigh, against the Silicon Valley giants and their respective supporters, including internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Catastrophic Article 11 vote: The European Parliament just endorsed a #linktax that would make using the title of a news article in a link to it require a license. #SaveYourInternet #SaveTheLink pic.twitter.com/hWti1XyoQi

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Battle over EU copyright law heads for showdown

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 16:09

Brussels to vote on directive, supported by artists and news agencies, that opponents say could destroy the internet

It is an argument that has drawn in the likes of Paul McCartney, Plácido Domingo and the Vienna Philharmonic, as well as pioneers of the internet from Tim Berners-Lee to the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales.

Fought with hashtags, mailshots, open letters and celebrity endorsements, the battle over the European Union’s draft directive on copyright heads for a showdown this week.

Related: How the EU can make the internet play fair with musicians | Letters

Related: Big tech's double trouble: political heat from Trump and the left may signal reckoning ahead

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YouTube and Facebook escape billions in copyright payouts after EU vote

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 14:44

Controversial new law that critics claimed threatened internet freedom is rejected

Google, YouTube and Facebook could escape having to make billions in payouts to press publishers, record labels and artists after EU lawmakers voted to reject proposed changes to copyright rules that aimed to make the tech companies share more of their revenues.

The proposed new rules, which have been going through the European parliament for almost two years, have sparked an increasingly bitter battle between the internet giants and owners and creators of content, with both sides ferociously lobbying their cause.

Related: YouTube to launch new music streaming service

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How the EU can make the internet play fair with musicians | Letters

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 18:54
This week’s vote on the proposed EU copyright directive is not about censorship but support for creators and users

After three years of debate, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to come before the European parliament is going to the vote on Thursday (Brussels vote may force YouTube to pay billions extra in fees, 2 July).

It is about copyright, and specifically about the rights of creators versus those of the internet giants, and whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace. If we cave to the pressure of these giants, the future of our creative industry is at serious risk.

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'We're righting a wrong,' say the artists taking on YouTube

Sun, 07/01/2018 - 17:36

This week sees the final episode in the battle for the musicians fighting for a fairer deal

The music industry and YouTube are set to go head-to-head this week in a crucial vote in Brussels that could force the digital giant to pay billions of dollars in fees to popular artists such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry.

For years the music industry has argued that YouTube exploits the lack of legal protection around music videos being viewed on its service to pay minimal amounts to artists and labels.

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PUBG drops Fortnite game lawsuit without explanation

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 17:22

Maker of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds withdraws copyright lawsuit against Fortnite creator Epic Games, barely weeks after it was revealed

A lawsuit against the creator of hit online game Fortnite has been quietly dropped, according to Bloomberg.

In May, it was reported that PUBG Corp, the company behind successful PC title PlayerUnknown’s Battleground had filed a lawsuit in South Korea against Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. The suit alleged that Epic had copied ideas from PUBG Corp’s game, notably its “Battle Royale” structure, in which 100 players descend on an island and then fight until only one remains.

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YouTube faces paying billions to music stars after copyright vote

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 14:02

Platforms could have to seek licences for videos after European parliament action

YouTube stars from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and Jay-Z could be in line for big paydays after the video giant lost a crucial vote in Brussels over new copyright laws that will force it to pay billions of dollars in fees for users watching music videos.

For years the music industry has argued that YouTube exploits the lack of legal protection around music videos being viewed on its service to pay minimal amounts to artists and labels when they are viewed. The music industry has lobbied that this “value gap” between the true worth of the music videos and what YouTube decides to pay needs to be addressed with legislation.

Related: EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a 'tool for control'

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EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a 'tool for control'

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:49

MEPs defy warnings from internet pioneers, civil liberties groups and commercial interests

A European parliament committee has voted for legislation that internet pioneers fear will turn the web into “a tool for surveillance and control”.

In a key vote on a draft law to overhaul EU copyright rules, the parliament’s legal affairs committee on Wednesday voted for measures that would require the likes of Google and Microsoft to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials.

Related: YouTube faces paying billions to music stars after copyright vote

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Spotify to pay out $112m in royalties to songwriters after settlement

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 11:53

The streaming company will recompense songwriters not paid enough royalties, but one unhappy music publisher claims ruling is ‘a free pass on wilful infringement’

Spotify will pay out $112m (£83.5m) in a settlement agreement, following two lawsuits that claimed songwriters hadn’t been paid enough in royalties for their work being streamed on the service.

The class action, a combination of the two lawsuits, originally came from David Lowery, an musicians’ rights advocate from the band Camper Van Beethoven, and Melissa Ferrick, a songwriter and owner of a music publishing company. They each asserted that Spotify had failed to obtain proper licences to songwriters’ work; Ferrick accused them of “wholesale copyright infringement”.

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The Script sue James Arthur for copyright infringement

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 13:29

The Irish band say the former X Factor winner’s 2016 single Say You Won’t Let Go is too similar to their The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

Irish band the Script are suing James Arthur for copyright infringement. The group claim that the X Factor winner’s 2016 comeback single Say You Won’t Let Go rips off their 2008 single The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Arthur denies all of the claims.

The Script are being represented by Richard Busch, the lawyer who represented Marvin Gaye’s estate in its successful lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song Blurred Lines.

Related: Has pop finally run out of tunes?

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Lenovo, the Chinese giant that plays by the rules … and loses

Sat, 05/12/2018 - 17:00
Contrary to the accusations levelled at China’s tech sector, the firm bought its patents fair and square. But is it facing losses?

The war of words between the US and China over trade has many subtexts, but treatment of intellectual property (IP) is a major factor. Donald Trump believes that the world’s second-largest economy gains an unfair advantage over its main rival due to an overly aggressive and sometimes underhand approach to IP – the patents and copyrights that underpin big tech, manufacturing and creative breakthroughs.

So what happens when China plays the game fairly and buys American IP to gain a foothold in the world’s biggest economy? In the case of Lenovo, one of China’s biggest tech firms, doing so has been no guarantee of success. The Beijing-based company has bought three respected US tech businesses since 2005: IBM’s PC arm and low-cost server unit, and Motorola smartphones. None of them has worked out.

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Dr Dre loses trademark battle with gynaecologist Dr Drai

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 14:33

The rap mogul argued there would be confusion between his name and that of the Pennsylvania doctor, but the US trademark office disagrees

Rapper and music mogul Dr Dre has lost a dispute over his name, after he tried to prevent gynaecologist Draion M Burch from trademarking the name Dr Drai.

As well as practising gynaecological and obstetric medicine, Burch is the author of books including 20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina, and is a public speaker on women’s health issues.

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Mood Music review – Joe Penhall's clash of the hitmakers

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 15:40

Old Vic, London
A row over intellectual property is at the heart of a fascinating and topical drama starring Ben Chaplin and Seána Kerslake

Joe Penhall is very good at showing how a crisis can be exacerbated by the intervention of experts. In Blue/Orange (2000), a black mental patient became a ping-pong ball in a game between white doctors. In this fascinating and highly topical new play, a conflict over ownership of a song escalates once the legal and psychiatric parasites enter the arena.

Switching between consulting rooms and a recording studio and moving around in time, Penhall doesn’t just give us a contest: he demonstrates the illusion that any piece of art has untainted solo authorship. Cat is a Dublin-born singer-songwriter who has had a big hit that led to an American tour. Bernard is the artist-producer who put an album together with songs by the pair of them. Battle is joined over Bernard’s claim of sole credit for the hit single, but we see how the conflict is intensified as both parties resort to lawyers and seek to sort out their problems through psychotherapy.

Related: Songs in the key of strife: the explosive force of musical conflict

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Golf carts to soybeans: products targeted in US-China trade war

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 11:48

Tit-for-tat tariffs cover $100bn worth of imports as both countries issue list of items affected

The tit-for-tat trade dispute between the US and China has moved up a gear. The Trump administration is imposing tariffs of 25% on 1,333 Chinese products – imports worth about $50bn (£36bn) a year.

China immediately hit back, imposing 25% tariff on 106 items imported from the US, also worth $50bn a year.

Related: China retaliates to Trump tariffs with new levies on US products

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Lana Del Rey claims her copyright dispute with Radiohead is over

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 17:30

Radiohead’s publishers had asked for a writing credit on Del Rey’s Get Free for its resemblance to the band’s song, Creep

Lana Del Rey has claimed that her legal difficulties with Radiohead are over. In January, the songwriter said that the Oxford band were suing her over her song Get Free for bearing a similarity to their 1993 breakthrough hit Creep. The band refuted her allegations via their publishers, who said no lawsuit had been filed, but that the two parties had been in discussion.

Addressing fans during her set at the Brazil leg of the Lollapalooza festival this weekend, Del Rey apparently confirmed that the dispute had been settled. After performing Get Free as part of her encore, she told fans, “Now that my lawsuit’s over, I guess I can sing that song any time I want, right?”

Lana Del Rey talking about ‘Get Free’ pic.twitter.com/Dxe0BQbv6o

Related: Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras

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Crocs loses EU court battle over patent claim

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 20:57

Judges back decision by EU intellectual property office to cancel protection of design

Crocs, the manufacturer of a range of plastic clogs, has lost a battle to protect its design from copycats.

Judges in Luxembourg backed a decision by the EU’s intellectual property office (EUIPO) in 2016 to cancel legal protection for the shoe.

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Taylor Swift copyright lawsuit dismissed by US judge

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 13:02

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler alleged the singer stole the lyrics to their song Playas Gon’ Play for her 2014 hit Shake It Off

A California judge has thrown out a copyright lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift. Songwriting duo Sean Hall and Nathan Butler alleged that Swift stole lyrics from their 2000 song Playas Gon’ Play, written for the US girl group 3LW, for her 2014 hit Shake It Off.

The 3LW hit includes the lyrics, “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate”. The chorus to Swift’s single features the lines, “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Related: Taylor Swift: Reputation review – superb songcraft meets extreme drama

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Radiohead rebut Lana Del Rey's plagiarism lawsuit claims

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:43

After the singer said the band’s lawyers ‘have been relentless’ in their pursuit of publishing rights to her song Get Free, a representative has said no lawsuit has been filed

Radiohead have refuted Lana Del Rey’s claim that they have filed a lawsuit against her that demands publishing rights to her song Get Free, thanks to its similarity to their song Creep.

After rumours of the lawsuit circulated, Del Rey had tweeted: “It’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing – I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.”

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