Happy New Year! I hope all my readers enjoy a happy and healthy 2019.

Argument preview: When has registration of a copyright claim “been made”? — On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear its first copyright case this term, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v Wall-Street.com. University of Michigan School of Law professor Jessica Litman takes a look at the issue involved: “whether a prospective plaintiff who submits an application to register its copyright may proceed immediately to file suit, or whether Section 411(a) requires the copyright owner to wait until the Register has either registered the owner’s claim or denied registration.” The difference, given the current pendency times at the Copyright Office for processing registration claims, may be one of 6 months or more.

Justice Alito ‘Unrecuses’ for 9th Time, Rejoining Oracle Copyright Case — Less than a week later, the Supreme Court will hear a second copyright case, Rimini Street v Oracle, and the National Law Journal reports that Justice Alito is no longer recused from the case, likely because he has since divested himself of any Oracle stock. So, no potential for a tied vote. The question for the Court is whether a statutory provision outside the Copyright Act limits the types of costs a prevailing party may recover under 17 USC § 505.

Looking Back at International Copyright Developments in 2018 — Hugh Stephens covers the world in just over a dozen paragraphs, reviewing a selection of major copyright developments over the last year in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

Meet Skull Snaps, a Forgotten Funk Band That Soundtracked Hip-Hop — Aaron Carnes, writing for Bandcamp’s newsletter, interviews the Skull Snaps, a funk band you may not have heard of, but whose music you’ve likely heard. A drum break from their track It’s a New Day has been reportedly sampled on nearly 500 records.

“Immediately everyone’s thoughts went to, ‘Oh my God, they’re here to sue us,’” Culley says. “But they found out it was just the opposite. We wanted to meet those people who had used that sample,” Culley says. “All of them were like, ‘You know how many careers you saved, how many lives you saved with that breakbeat?’ That’s amazing. And they’re still using it.”

Stezo, on the other hand, thinks that some of these rappers, particularly the more famous ones, should do the honorable thing and cut Skulls Snaps a check.  

“They live. They’re here. They’re healthy. Talk to them now while they can enjoy the money. Not when they’re gone,” Stezo says.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. — A disturbing but essential read on all the ways the internet is fake, from ad fraud, to bots, to counterfeit content. One of the questions for policy folks is how much of this fakery is a consequence of the (often inadequate) copyright rules that shaped the internet.