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To stations! Our content and copyright is breached!?

Have you ever felt like Neo from the matrix? Bending over backwards, dodging potential copyright breaches? We’ve all been there and we know it’s painful every time content is stolen or systems are breached. As painful trying to write the content schedule whilst painstakingly ensuring you in turn are not breaching someone else’s copyright. Lest you and your organisation be struck with a massive © logo.

Copyright breach and infringement is a serious threat

These breaches and infringements are a serious threat. The Government’s Asset Publishing Service finding some surprising statistics between 2016-2017 alone. “15% of all UK internet users aged 12+

(equating to approximately 6,525,000 people) consumed at least one item of online content illegally in the ‘past three months’.

This estimate is based on a combination of our 6 key content types (Music, Film, TV Programs, Computer Software, eBooks and Video Games).” In reverse, that’s thousands of organisations that have had their copyright’s and content rights infringed upon.

They are far from alone, but some breaches bring good humour

This week we focus in on 5 particularly amusing cases where the breach is not necessarily all it seems to be. We also discuss how one of these breaches personally amused us, linked to a group a little closer to home.

1. The Puuurfect loop is a hit with EMI Music

Cat sleeping on the carpet, like the puuurfect loop

Our first amusing copyright case comes in the form of an unexpected email from none other than the record label EMI Music. A YouTuber, Digihaven, received the message as the record label believed that they he had plagiarized one of their songs. We all distinctly recall that famous purr-like backing beat to that pop beat way back when. More bizarrely in this case, the same cat purring sound had been looped for an hour.

Whilst the track is a banger, we’ll stick with the charts. For anyone hoping to take to the decks, and bark out a great sequel beat, just check out commonly discussed music copyright rules online.  It wasn’t made clear as to why EMI’s algorithm identified that video as one of their songs. However, this case was shortly sorted out as soon as it hit the news.

     2. Movie fans experienced the dark side of the force

Image of toys from a galaxy far far away

Next, we have a copyright error example that is out of this galaxy. It occurred not long before the official release of a range of Star Wars films. A super fan had managed to snap up a Rey action figure a day early. The fan ran a fan club on Facebook, which in turn nearly saw legal action taken against it.

Disney, wanting to keep the toy a secret until it’s launch day and immediately complained (Filing a DMCA). Naturally, the fan group in question, and its members were in uproar. One member at the time said, “It’s not unreleased if you can walk into Walmart and buy the damn toy!”

There was a round 2 to the saga

A fair point on the face of it. The Facebook group owners politely went on to ask if they could re-upload the image to which Disney said yes. The image was then uploaded with the caption “It pays to take the high road”.

In a matter of minutes Disney was back on them and reported the re uploaded image to Facebook. This resulted in the person who placed the caption to be blocked on Facebook for three days.

3. Not all are currying favor with the golden arches

Image of golden arches fries being consumed

How often do you go to McDonalds? The international fast food provider has previously won court battles in the past for content and copyright breaches. They previously took other fast food restaurants such as ‘McCoffee’ and ‘MacJoy’ to court and came out on top. Their luck turned quickly as they lost an eight-year battle with a Malaysian restaurant called ‘McCurry’. They lost as federal courts couldn’t confuse the two. McDonalds then tried to copyright the ‘Mc’, but the court overruled. They felt that the chain didn’t provide significant proof they had used it over the past five year period.

Fast food related lawsuits, whilst debatable legitimate between businesses can become more hilarious at the consumer level. Consumers have sued Starbucks for putting ice in its iced teas and coffee beverages. Sued Papa John’s for texting him too many pizza offers via its automated marketing system. One man sued Popeye’s for giving him a spork instead of a knife. All petty lawsuits mentioned are compliments of Eater.

4. Hope finally brings creatives and copyright together

Image of Barack Obama in Hope poster

Regardless of whether Obama personally represented hope to you, many of us remember the iconic poster of the previous president. He is looking off into the distance with the word ‘HOPE’ underneath. This poster didn’t just inspire a lot of people, but it also caused a content and copyright breach.

The poster was first designed by the street artists Shephard Fairey. He based this art piece on an image taken by the freelance press photographer Mannie Garcia. The artist and photographer came together in a private settlement and agreed to split the profits of the work.

5. Photography business quickly becomes monkey business

Image of a selfie with a monkey

Possibly one of the most famous copyright cases recently, who the photo belongs to the monkey or the photographer? It all started in 2011 where the British photographer, David Slater. He went to Indonesia for a once in a lifetime photograph wherein a monkey got control of his camera and took a selfie.

This was a monumental photo that caused a stir of emotions as the animal welfare organization Peta took Mr. Slater to court over this image. The reason for the lawsuit was about whether the rights for the image belonged to the monkey or the photographer. This debate went off for over a year where the lawyers of Peta . Eventually they decided that 25% of the commission from the image should go to the monkey sanctuary where the monkey is.

Why is this case close to home?

This last copyright case particularly amused the team at CiT Digital, we know David Slater. David is a well renowned British Wildlife photographer. For the last 20 years has prided himself on photographing wildlife in its natural surroundings. David is one of several hundred photographers who work with and deliver some of the finest bird and wildlife photography. They do this in collaboration with our partner and client, RSPB Images. Check out David’s and others work here