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News Update: July 2023

  • Valve Rejects Games Over Copyright Concerns

A developer took to Reddit to share their rejection from Valve, a video game publishing company, after their game was denied a place on their digital sale platform, Steam. The game used AI-generated content within its gameplay. Valve stated that they could not publish games for which the developer did not have all the necessary rights. It further clarified that since ownership of AI-generated art is unclear, using this technology in games creates a legal blunder. The company clarified its position and stated that they are not against the use of AI in games, however, since they are unclear as to ownership and possible copyright infringement, they expressed reservations about shipping games that used AI-generated art assets.

  • Dua Lipa’s 2020 Chartbuster “Levitating” is Allegedly an Unauthorised Copy

Music producer Bosko Kante filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Los Angeles alleging “Levitating” to be an infringing copy. It is claimed by Bosko’s lawyers that the suit was filed after multiple attempts to resolve the issue failed. The plaint clarifies that Bosko conceded that the sound would be used in the original song.However, the record label released multiple remixes with Madonna, DaBaby, and Missy Eliot, which is currently being challenged. Bosko has claimed $20 million in damages. This is the third lawsuit British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa has faced over the same song.

  • Nintendo Deals with ‘The Last of Us’ Copycat

The Nintendo e-shop saw the introduction of The Last of Us knock-off, The Last Hope- Dead Zone Survival. The copycat is a lower-quality version of the game with sub-optimal graphics and undeveloped screenplay. Sony, the rights holder for the original game, responded to the game’s trailer and its availability on Nintendo’s e-shop by requesting a takedown on the basis of copyright infringement. The game and the trailer have subsequently been taken off on both platforms post the takedown request.

  • Tussle between Unions and Tech Companies, Australian Government Set to Decide

The Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance expressed their concerns about threats that AI posed for artists, musicians, photographers, and other members it represented. The Union called for the protection of artists that can potentially be replaced by AI and the legal use of the artist’s work by AI for generating further works. The Union has called for a system to be set up to allow easier tracking and payment of royalties rightfully owed. In contrast, big tech firms have urged the government to not entertain this request, calling attempts to make AI-specific laws ‘premature’.

  • CoCoMelon Wins $23.5 Million in a Copyright Lawsuit against BabyBus

Moonbug, the owner of the CoCoMelon franchise, won a copyright infringement lawsuit that it filed against BabyBus. BabyBus released a Youtube Series called SuperJojo and the characters in the series were held to be infringing copyrights vested in Moonbug’s characters JJ and his family. The trial took place in the Northern District of California, where the jury unanimously decided in favour of Moonbug.

  • H&M Drags Fast-Fashion Brand Shein over Copyright Infringement

The Swedish fashion company, H&M sought damages and an injunction against the Chinese fast fashion company, Shein, in a Hong Kong court. H&M submitted photographs of swimwear and sweaters as evidence to show the designs stolen by Shein. This is, however, not new to Shein, since they have, in several prior instances, been accused of copyright infringement. Recently, the company was hit by a lawsuit filed by Independent designers under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act) in California.

  • “The Modi Question” Faces Issues with Reach Due to Copyright Infringement Claims

The BBC documentary exploring the role of Prime Minister Modi in the 2002 Gujarat Riots has come under considerable flak for political reasons. The documentary has been taken down on various platforms on the grounds of copyright infringement. The BBC has taken active efforts to take down the streaming of unauthorized copies. Previously, the Indian government had issued takedown notices to Twitter. The accessibility has further been reduced due to BBC’s takedown requests.

  • Reddit Wins Trademark Suit Against Reddit Moderator Jamie Rogozinski

The Nothern District of California dismissed WallStreetBets’s moderator Jamie Rogozinski’s allegations of trademark infringement and dilution against Reddit. Rogozinski sought to register WallStreetBets as a trademark and filed a suit against Reddit when the company sought to register the same. The court reasoned that althoughRogozinsk worked to moderate that subreddit for years, Reddit was the one carrying out commercial transactions under that name. Further, Rogozinsk’s claims regarding unfair competition, breach of contract, right of publicity, and breach of duty of good faith, all failed.

  • Ford’s New Patent Application Hints at Technology that Allows EV Charging While Driving

Ford has filed a new patent application with the US Patents and Trademarks Office on the 30th of July 2023 named “Roadway Charging Coil Alignment and Monitoring”. The technology allowing wireless charging of Electronic Vehicles has existed since 2017, but charging while driving was proving to be ineffective as the vehicle had to be perfectly aligned to the charging coil for it to transmit electricity. Ford, with its new technology, successfully managed to recharge an electronic truck on a small stretch of road in Sweden, post which the patent was filed. To implement this technology, roads would have to be embedded with hardware that would enable the transmission of electricity. The feasibility of it is yet to be determined.

  • Conflict Over Cancer Immunotherapies Drug Comes to an End as Bristol Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca Reach Settlement

The two companies, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and AstraZeneca (AZ) had filed three patent infringement suits against each other over their cancer immunotherapies blockbuster drug, PD-1 Inhibitor Opdivo, and CTLA-4 agent Yervoy in the Federal Court of Delaware. AZ reportedly is set to shell out $510 million as a part of this settlement. BMS and its partner company Ono Pharmaceuticals previously received a whopping $625 million in a settlement over patent infringement claims for the same drug against Merck & Co.

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