Paramount was handed a victory this week in its battle over who owns the domestic rights to the classic La Dolce Vita. “Partial summary judgment is granted in favor of Plaintiffs with respect to their First Claim …
UPDATE, 12:04 PM: The MPAA says that today’s Supreme Court decision “will hinder American businesses’ ability to compete overseas to the detriment of the long-term economic interests of the United States, and particularly its creative industries.” The trade group adds that it will “study the decision further before determining the most appropriate action for us to take.”
PREVIOUS, 9:55 AM: The 6-to-3 decision just handed a big defeat to the MPAA and other content providers by potentially undermining companies’ ability to charge different prices for books, CDs, DVDs, software, video games and other works in different countries. In the case, Kirtsaeng v John Wiley & Sons, entertainment companies sided with the book publisher against an entrepreneurial Thai college student studying in the U.S. Supap Kirtsaeng discovered that textbooks cost far less in Thailand than in the U.S. He turned that into a business, importing textbooks that he re-sold here for less than the publisher charged. Wiley said that violated its copyright; Kirtsaeng said it complied with the first-sale doctrine that enables people to freely re-sell content that they’ve bought. The MPAA and RIAA said in a brief supporting Wiley that extending the first-sale doctrine to works sold abroad “could impede authors’ ability to control entry into distinct markets, limit their flexibility to adapt to market conditions, or undermine territorial licensing agreements.”
“This is the most comprehensive effort to modernize our copyright laws in over a decade,” James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, said about the country’s controversial new Copyright Modernization Act. The new law — also known as Bill C-11 — aligns Canada more closely with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The country’s long reluctance to update its anti-piracy laws made it a regular on the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual Priority Watch List. In February the International Intellectual Property Alliance said that Canada’s effort to combat piracy “falls far short of what should be expected of our neighbor and largest trading partner, with ineffective border controls, insufficient enforcement resources, inadequate enforcement policies, and a seeming inability to impose deterrent penalties on pirates.” Canada’s new law includes a provision that the U.S. strongly supported that makes it illegal for consumers to break so-called digital locks, including copy protection mechanisms on CDs and DVDs. It also increased the penalties for infringment:
Ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday that will look at how to combat online IP theft, members of both the House and Senate talked today about the continuing harm the practice causes the U.S. economy. The reaffirmation was welcome news to Hollywood’s unions and guilds, who have long urged Washington to make tougher laws.