TIME chicken sandwich

This Man Found Out the Hard Way that You Can’t Copyright a Chicken Sandwich

Fast-Food Ban
Damian Dovarganes—AP A Church's Chicken restaurant.

Food isn’t considered ‘intellectual property’

Norberto Colón Lorenzana recently filed a lawsuit against South American Restaurant Corporation (SARCO) claiming it stole his idea for a chicken sandwich recipe. He lost.

Colón was working at SARCO, an operator of Church’s Chicken locations in Puerto Rico, when he developed a concept for a new chicken sandwich. The company then performed taste tests with this original idea in mind, and the result was a new menu item that Colón called the “Pechu Sandwich.” Years later, SARCO decided to protect themselves by trademarking the name.

Colón then accused the company of stealing and capitalizing on his “intellectual property,” claiming that he should receive a percentage of the profits. The district court of Puerto Rico dismissed his case, and the appellate court affirmed its decision.

In explaining the court’s decision, Chief Judge Howard listed the eight categories of intellectual property that qualify for copyright protection:

(1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works.

Not surprisingly, “chicken sandwich” does not fall under any of these categories. Howard said a recipe is simply a list of “functional directions to achieve a result,” and does not qualify for copyright protection. This particular recipe listed fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayo.

As for the name “Pechu Chicken,” the law states that words and short phrases are not copyrightable.

TIME twitter

Twitter Sees 52% Spike In Government And Copyright Info Requests

<> on November 7, 2013 in London, England.
Bethany Clarke—2013 Getty Images

The company released its latest transparency report, which now also includes trademark notices and email privacy practices.

Like any other major Internet company, Twitter constantly receives various information requests from governments and copyright notices, and it’s been publishing that data twice a year since 2012.

Along with its latest report on Tuesday, the company added two new categories: trademark notices and email privacy practices, though data for these is only available for the latest reporting period. It’s also redesigned the report’s website to make it more mobile-friendly and easier to navigate.

Overall, the most notable data point is the 52% increase in account information requests since Twitter’s last report six months ago, for a total of 4363 requests. The company says that this is the biggest bump in requests it’s seen since it started publishing the data. This spike affected 78% more accounts, Twitter said. The U.S. remains the top source of these requests with2,436 made in the time period. Turkey, a country which has banned Twitter on multiple occasions, made 2% fewer requests since the last report.

In total, removal requests went up by 26% and copyright notices by 11%.

The company is also continuing to update Chilling Effects, a database of government-issued content takedown requests it receives.

TIME

Universal Pictures Was Pirating Jurassic World Itself

Chris Pratt as Owen in "Jurassic World."
Universal Pictures Chris Pratt as Owen in Jurassic World

Universal Pictures France discovered itself as a culprit for seeding Jurassic World.

On July 15th, a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint was sent from Universal Pictures France to Google regarding the new “Jurassic World” film. A DMCA complaint is a request owners of material can submit in order to copyright infringing material removed from websites—in this case, removed from appearing in search results.

Jurassic World, reboot of the original 1993 franchise, quickly became the fastest film to gross $1 billion. In fact, it also ranks number 2 on PCMAG’s “Most Pirated Movies” list. And one of the culprits responsible for seeding (uploading and sharing) the film: Universal Pictures France.

This DMCA request—typically a common request considering the extensive pirating of movies online—deviated from the usual requests. In a Chilling Effects report (a database that collects DMCA requests to Google) it cites one of the domains hosting copyrighted material to be: “http://127.0.0.1:4000/#fr/”

For non-techies, 127.0.0.1 (localhost) essentially means “home,” inferring that the location the film was being seeded from was the servers at Universal Pictures France.

Universal Pictures France seems to have stumbled onto itself, likely utilizing automated detection programs when searching for copyrighted material on the web.

While an odd request, other media companies like NBC have produced similar DMCA complaints in the past.

After all, “there’s no place like 127.0.0.1”

TIME movies

Frozen Story Was Stolen, Author Claims

Frozen
Walt Disney Pictures

An author says the story was taken from her book

A Kuwaiti author has filed a federal lawsuit claiming Frozen took parts of its narrative and characters from a story in her book.

Muneefa Abdullah says the popular Disney movie took plot points from her story “The Snow Princess,” which appeared in her book New Fairy Tales in 2007, according to the Detroit News. The suit names Disney as well as the screenwriter and co-director, Jennifer Lee.

Disney has previously promoted the film as being based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen,” originally published in the mid-19th century. All three stories feature ice, snow and a princess or queen with frosty powers. Disney has reportedly not yet commented.

[Detroit News]

TIME Germany

Hitler’s Mein Kampf Will Be Reprinted in Germany for the First Time Since World War II

The new edition will be presented as a historical document and heavily annotated with analysis and criticism

Reprints of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf will be hitting bookstores across Germany once more — the first time since the Nazi leader’s death.

A ban on reprinting the Nazi manifesto in the country has been in place since the end of World War II. The state of Bavaria has held the German copyright ever since but it expires in December, reports the Washington Post.

The new edition, which is being produced and published by the taxpayer-funded Institute of Contemporary History, will be a heavily annotated 2,000-page volume that features mostly criticism and analysis.

The institute says Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is an important historical and educational tool.

But opponents, including many Holocaust survivors, are outraged with the reissue, with many seeing it as giving a fresh voice to a ruthless and deranged dictator who was responsible for the deaths of more than 11 million people.

“This book is most evil; it is the worst anti-Semitic pamphlet and a guidebook for the Holocaust,” said Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community in Munich.

Though republication of Mein Kampf has been banned in Germany, the book is widely available online and in many other countries including the U.S. and Canada.

The first print run is due out early next year.

Read next: The ‘Death Penalty’ and How the College Sports Conversation Has Changed

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME trademarks

Why Taylor Swift Is Going to War With Twee Retailer Etsy

Musician Taylor Swift
Michael Stewart—WireImage Taylor Swift has also trademarked our hearts.

She's not gonna shake off trademark violations

The Taylor Swift trademark crackdown continues. The pop star has singled out Etsy sellers hawking wares featuring her likeness and sent them cease-and-desist letters, according to BuzzFeed. Several Swift-themed items, including candles adorned with lyrics from her hit “Blank Space” and mugs that mimic the album art for 1989 are no longer available on the site. One Etsy seller told BuzzFeed that she was “shocked” to receive a cease-and-desist letter from Swift’s rights management company and said she was making her items for fun, not for profit. Etsy’s policies ban products that violate trademarks or copyrights.

Earlier this year Swift applied to trademark several phrases from 1989, including “this sick beat” and “party like it’s 1989.” One musician wrote a metal song titled “This Sick Beat” in protest.

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Music

Tom Petty Has No Hard Feelings About Sam Smith Song

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Performs At The Forum
Paul R. Giunta—Getty Images Tom Petty of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers performs onstage at The Forum on October 10, 2014 in Inglewood, California.

"Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this.”

Tom Petty says there is no ill will between him and Sam Smith after the artists reached an agreement announced this week over similarities between a song of his and Smith’s recent hit, Stay With Me.

A representative for Sam Smith announced on Monday that Tom Petty and his co-writer Jeff Lynne would be credited as co-writers on Smith’s song because of similarities between it and Petty’s 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down.

“Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of “Stay With Me” listened to “I Won’t Back Down” and acknowledged the similarity,” the representative said in a statement. “Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of “Stay With Me” along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips.”

Now Petty has confirmed that the two artists have reconciled their differences amicably. “Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this,” Petty said in a post to his website. “A musical accident no more no less.”

Here’s the full statement:

“About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all.”

 

Here are the two songs, for you to compare:

 

 

 

TIME Music

Universal Sues Companies That Sell Mixtapes for Prisoners

Claims selling the mixtapes, which include artists like Steve Wonder, Eminem and the Jackson Five, is copyright infringement

Universal Music Group has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a group of companies their lawyers suspect of distributing unauthorized mixtapes to prisoners.

The companies, including the Centric group and Keefe group, are accused of selling “care packages” for families to send their incarcerated loved ones that contain mixes of songs by artists like Steve Wonder, Eminem, LL Cool J, James Brown, and the Jackson Five.

“The ‘mixtape’ label is frequently a cover for piracy,” Universal said in the lawsuit, adding, “the infringing copies of Plaintiffs’ sound recordings and musical compositions, in which Defendants unlawfully transact and from which they unjustly profit, are contraband personified.”

Universal is demanding the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each copyrighted work infringed. Keefe and Centric group have not yet made public comment.

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Music

Judge Rules That Shakira’s Hit Song ‘Loca’ Broke Copyright Laws

Eduardo Nicolau/Estadao Conteudo—Agencia Estado/AP Colombian singer Shakira smiles during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, before the final match between Germany and Argentina, at Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil, on July 13, 2014.

Damages have yet to be fixed

A federal judge in New York has found that the Spanish-language version of Shakira’s hit song ‘Loca’ breaks copyright laws.

The song, which has sold millions of copies since its 2010 release, was found to indirectly infringe on a song by Dominican singer Roman Arias Vazquez, the BBC reports.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled Tuesday that ‘Loca’ was based on a song by Dominican rapper El Cata, which in turn resembled Vazquez’s 1990s song ‘Loca con su Tiguere.’

El Cata, whose real name is Eduard Edwin Bello Pou, denies the resemblance, the BBC says.

Damages for the plaintiff, Mayimba Music, haven’t yet been determined.

The English version of ‘Loca’ was “not offered into evidence” at the trial.

[BBC]

TIME movies

Zero Theorem Director Terry Gilliam Is Being Sued Over a Mural

Celebrity Sightings In London -  June 1, 2014
Simon James/GC Images Terry Gilliam sighted arriving at BBC studios on June 1, 2014 in London, England.

Plaintiffs say he used their work without permission

Three prominent graffiti artists, whose work is well known in Argentina, are suing director Terry Gilliam for copyright infringement, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The plaintiffs, Argentines Franco Fasoli (also known as Jaz) and Nicolas Romero (who works under the name Ever), as well as Derek Mehaffey of Canada (who operates under the pseudonyms of Troy Lovegates and Other) claim their rights to a mural collaboration have been violated in Gilliam’s forthcoming movie The Zero Theorem.

The mural, known as Castillo, was completed in 2010 in Buenos Aires’ famous zona de graffiti — an area known for its street art. The artists say they later had the mural copyrighted in Argentina in 2013.

“The Copyrighted Artwork has achieved international recognition in the art world, and is widely recognized by the public in Argentina and abroad. Castillo is so important that it is one of the few public artworks that have survived for years in that particular zona de graffiti,” says the lawsuit.

Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem — which stars Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton and Chistoph Waltz — was shot primarily in Bucharest, Romania, but the artists claim that an exterior shot of a chapel “features a colorful mural that is a blatant misappropriation of Plaintiffs’ Copyrighted Artwork.”

Voltage Pictures and Amplify Releasing are also named as defendants.

The plaintiffs are seeking a “preliminary and permanent” injunction to the late-August video-on-demand release, and September 19 theatrical release, of The Zero Theorem, as well as statutory and punitive damages, profits, and costs for legal representation.

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