By , March 26, 2021.

A Collective Made NFTs of Masterpieces Without Telling the Museums That Owned the Originals. Was It a Digital Art Heist or Fair Game? — “By minting versions of historic works of art [in the public domain] on the blockchain, Global Art Museum was ostensibly creating a new way to own masterpieces housed in some of the world’s most famous institutions. On OpenSea, the company listed digital files of artworks from the Rijksmuseum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the UK’s Birmingham Museums, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The gems of each museum’s collection appeared: Woman in Blue Reading a Letter by Johannes Vermeer, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, George Washington at the Battle of Princeton by Charles. The backlash was immediate.”

Houdini and the Magic of Copyright — “Magicians do not always reveal their tricks, even when they register their copyright claims. The legendary Hungarian immigrant Harry Houdini registered three of his famous illusions as “playlets,” or short plays, with the U.S. Copyright Office between 1911 and 1914. The playlets were registered as dramatic compositions, which have been eligible for copyright protection since 1856. Houdini’s deposited playlet scripts are now held within the Reader’s Collection, Library of Congress Copyright Office Drama Deposits.”

Court Hears Arguments in Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Appeal — “[Internet Service Provider] TekSavvy went up against major media companies including Bell and Rogers in Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal this week. The Court, which has to decide whether the country’s first pirate site blocking order can stay in place, heard arguments from both sides and intervening parties including the Canadian domain name registry.”

Throwing Good Money After Bad: How Canadian Universities Wasted Millions by Not Securing a Copyright Licence — “Beginning May 21, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) will hold initial hearings in the cross appeal by York University and The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright) of a recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) in this long-running case. York is contesting the Appeal Court’s decision upholding the 2017 ruling of the Federal Court that York’s fair dealing guidelines failed to prevent—indeed tolerated if not encouraged—infringement of copyright. For its part, Access Copyright is appealing the FCA’s ruling that the ‘mandatory tariffs’ certified by the Copyright Board of Canada for the use of any material in its repertoire by unlicensed users are not, in fact, mandatory, allowing York to opt-out and not pay the certified tariff despite making widespread unlicensed copies of published works.”