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Nintendo Claims Advertising for “Let’s Play” Videos on Youtube

Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Computer Law, Copyright

                Youtube users started reporting this week that Nintendo has started claiming revenue for advertisement on user-created Youtube videos which feature content from Nintendo games.  Nintendo confirmed this news stating they became a Youtube partner in February of 2013 and registered their copyright content in the Youtube database.  Unlike most infringement cases, Nintendo is not asking Youtube to take down potentially infringing videos.  Instead Nintendo is issuing content ID match claims to place its own advertising before, within, or at the end of the videos. Nintendo is targeted videos featuring Nintendo-owned images or audio of a certain length.  The most common videos affected are “Let’s Play” videos.  These videos are show gamers playing through video games and can vary from a few seconds of gameplay to entire playthroughs of a game.  People upload these videos for humor, to demonstrate how to clear a certain part of the game, or just to show off how good they are.  “Let’s Play” channels can boast over 100,000 subscribers and individual videos can reach over 1,000,000 views. As a copyright owner Nintendo has the exclusive right to reproduce their works and to create derivative works under Section 106 of the Copyright Code.  Even though Youtube videos...

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Apple Found Guilty of E-Book Price Fixing

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Computer Law, Copyright

On July 10, 2013 the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Apple was guilty of anti-trust violations for its role in conspiring with book publishers to raise prices for electronic books.  The five publishers, Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan, Penguin Group Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc., had already settled with the Department of Justice.  Apple moved to trial because it claimed it was innocent.  The trial was conducted as a bench trial from June 3 to 20 to determine liability and injunctive relief. At its heart, the court’s ruling determined Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing the conspiracy to raise e-book prices.  In the court’s opinion, without Apple the conspiracy would not have been as successful.  Amazon was charging $9.99 for e-book versions of New York Times bestsellers and other newly released hardcover books.  Apple met with the five publishers in December of 2009 and January of 2010 and suggested prices of $12.99 to $14.99 for its planned iBookstore.  Apple promised to set those prices only if it could get agreements from the publishers allowing Apple to offer e-books simultaneously with their hardcover releases. At the iBookstore’s launch new release e-books were...

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Is Content Aggregation Copyright Infringement?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2013 in Copyright

A federal district judge in New York ruled for the Associated Press in the case of AP v. Meltwater. The ruling, if upheld on appeal, can have large ramifications throughout the blogosphere and for content aggregators. The Associated Press, or AP, is a not-for-profit group which creates news reports from all over the country. AP’s revenue comes from licensing fees it earns by licensing uses of its articles to newspapers, websites, and other subscribers. Meltwater is an Internet media monitoring service. Their news service is a method for their clients to keep tabs on how they are portrayed in the press. AP alleged that Meltwater is infringing AP’s copyright by republishing AP articles without a license. Meltwater uses a computer program to scrape news articles on the web and provides excerpts of those stories daily to its subscribers. Meltwater did not dispute that it took content from AP stories that is protected by the Copyright Act. Instead, Meltwater claimed an affirmative defense of fair use. Meltwater argued it is a search engine, albeit one which is a closed system for subscribers only. This case revolves around thirty-three Registered Articles of the AP which Meltwater copied and then delivered excerpts of to its subscribers. Meltwater News employs automated computer programs...

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Electronic Arts v. Zynga: Is it a clone? 0

Electronic Arts v. Zynga: Is it a clone?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in Computer Law, Copyright

Video game publisher Electronic Arts  (EA) has challenged video game creator Zynga in California Federal Court.  It appears that Electronic Arts suspects Zynga has been borrowing a few too many elements from its game, The Sims Social, and incorporated those elements into the Zynga game, The Ville.  From EA’s complaint it appears that various design elements of The Sims Social were copied directly into the Zynga game.  A few months ago it would have seemed that EA had an uphill battle on their hands but a recent case may have shifted the verdict in EA’s favor.  That recent case involved cloning the popular game Tetris (See Cloning Tetris).  It would be wholly unsurprising if EA’s recent action was spurred by the verdict of the Tetris case, firstly because of the many common elements with EA’s case against Zynga and the Tetris case and secondly and more importantly, the connection that EA has with the owner of the rights to Tetris.  It may be that EA’s actions against Zynga were started as a result of the Tetris case or it may be that the Tetris case was a result of some agreement that EA has with the owners of the rights to the Tetris game. The Tetris case and the...

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Cloning Video Games is Copyright Infringement: You Can’t Just Copy Tetris 0

Cloning Video Games is Copyright Infringement: You Can’t Just Copy Tetris

Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Computer Law, Copyright

On May 30, 2012, a Federal District Court in New Jersey granted summary judgment to Tetris in an infringement case against Xio Interactive, Inc. for their iPhone game “Mino.” In Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., the judge ruled that Xio infringed upon Tetris’ copyright and trade dress. The decision is an important gain for game developers, who are often offered little protection against infringement by game studios who produce clones of popular games for profit. Many game developers have trouble protecting their intellectual property rights against companies who create clone games to cash in on successful designs. Clones copy the look, feel, and mechanics of a popular game for a profit, but, until recently, the original developers had trouble proving these clones crossed the line into copyright infringement. Often, developers like Xio successfully argued that they copied only functional elements of the game, such as the underlying rules or theme, and not that game’s particular expression of them. The New Jersey court ruled for Tetris, however, holding that Xio’s clone copied various parts of “Tetris” that may have been acceptable individually, but, taken together, constituted infringement. While the holding is well argued, the court may also have ruled for Tetris after Xio openly admitted to downloading Tetris’...

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