House Judiciary Hearing on Copyright Office Reviews Music Modernization Act, Black Box Royalty Concerns — On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on oversight of the Copyright Office, the first such hearing since 2015, and the first to feature Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple, who was named permanent Register this past March. The hearing touched on a laundry list of current copyright policy issues, including the MMA, satellite television compulsory licenses, copyright small claims, Section 512 safe harbors, and modernization of the Copyright Office itself.
Supreme Court to Rule on Copyright Protection of State Annotated Legal Codes — “On June 24, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether states can claim copyright protection in annotated codes. State of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., No. 18-1150. Annotated codes, in addition to the text of the statute, include summaries of judicial opinions, regulations, and attorney general opinions related to the statute. Georgia, like many states, offers a free version of the statute but charges a fee for the annotated version.”
Brief of the Software & Information Industry Association as Amicus Curiae Supporting Petitioners — “Going forward, the people of Georgia will thus be left without the benefit provided by the current arrangement between Lexis and the State: access to high-quality, reliable exposition of Georgia law at a reasonable price. See Pet. App. 7a (noting that the price of the complete set of the print OCGA is capped at $404, while a competing unofficial annotation of the Georgia Code costs $2,570—more than six times as much). If ‘a full understanding of the laws of Georgia necessarily includes an understanding of the contents of the annotations’, invalidating copyrights is hardly the solution, since to do so removes the incentive to produce those annotations in the first place.”
Brief for Matthew Bender & Co., Inc. as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioners — “In that world, States and U.S. Territories and their citizens either will move to the Colorado-style model and have to absorb significant employee and publishing costs to create annotations themselves; pay a publisher market rates to create annotations, which would be significant; or hope that independent publishers will choose to create their annotations, such as West does now, but which cost users ten times the cost currently charged by LexisNexis under its contractually capped Contract. The States and their citizens who have relied on the Georgia-style structure will now face higher taxes and costs, and the significant loss of their copyrights and meaningful access to their laws and the robust legal resources. In short, they would suffer precisely the types of harms resulting from the destruction of economic incentives that the copyright laws are designed to avoid.”
Gigi Hadid: I Can Use a Photographer’s Photo Because I Smiled — Michael Zhang of PetaPixel reports, “The 24-year-old model had posted a copyrighted photo of her on a New York City street to her Instagram account @gigihadid, which currently boasts over 48 million followers. The post led to a copyright infringement lawsuit by Xclusive-Lee, Inc., which owns the copyright. Hadid then filed a motion asking the court to toss the suit. Hadid’s argument is that she didn’t violate the photographer’s copyright ‘because [she] posed for the camera and thus herself contributed many of the elements that the copyright law seeks to protect.'”