Supreme Court Agrees to Review Filmmaker’s Copyright Lawsuit Against North Carolina — The Supreme Court this week announced that it will be adding the word “abrogate” to copyright lawyers’ everyday vocabulary. The grant of cert in Allen v. Cooper adds a copyright case to the Court’s docket after several months without one, and it will give the chance for the Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act, which was enacted in 1990 but long considered dead letter.
US Dept. of Justice Reviewing ASCAP & BMI Consent Decrees — Also this week, the DOJ announced it will be reviewing the antitrust consent decrees that govern the Performing Rights Organizations ASCAP & BMI. As Billboard reports, the announcement was welcomed by ASCAP and BMI, along with the National Music Publishers Association, the Recording Academy, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International, but drew concerns from the MIC Coalition and National Association of Broadcasters. The DOJ is taking public comments through July 10.
AAP Honors Jerry Nadler as House Judiciary Launches Tech Antitrust Probe — Rep. Nadler also said at the Association of American Publishers’ annual meeting Monday, “An effective copyright system enables a broad range of independent and diverse voices to emerge, secure in the knowledge that they will be rewarded for their efforts.”
Movie Studios Aim for Tens of Millions of Dollars at VidAngel Copyright Trial — Having previously found the service liable for copyright infringement, despite its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink defense, a jury will determine damages for VidAngel next week, including the question of whether the infringement was willful, which increases the maximum amount of damages that can be awarded and makes the judgment nondischargeable in bankruptcy.
Consolation Prize: Barcroft Media and the Case for a Copyright Small Claims Court — “Because the costs of bringing an infringement claim very often far exceed the likely damage award, such threats are frequently ignored. Sending a cease and desist letter can be effective in getting an infringer to stop the infringing use (by taking down a photo from a website, for example), but it is next to impossible to get an uncooperative infringer to voluntarily agree to compensate the copyright owner for that infringing use, much less reimburse the costs of enforcing the copyright owner’s rights. … One possible solution is to establish a “small claims” court to adjudicate low-value, uncomplicated copyright infringement claims in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. A copyright small claims court would help to level the playing field and correct the imbalance in negotiating power between copyright owners and users, making fair settlements more likely.”