FourFourThree – The idea of fair game is one that’s been debated for a long time.
In recent years, copyright holders have gone after music publishers for allegedly failing to comply with fair-use doctrine.
But what if, instead, the courts decided that fair-game protection was not as effective as you might think?
One such court decision has come from the United Kingdom.
The High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that the copyright holder in question should be held liable for the infringement of copyrighted works if there is a substantial probability that the works were not intended for the public to use.
This could apply to songs, videos, music and movies, among others.
A fair-play defense In the HCJ decision, the court stated that a fair-goer must have a “substantial probability that” the work was infringing, because the copyright owner was in a position to know of its existence.
In this case, the copyright holders had a reasonable suspicion that a song was infringing on their copyright, but they didn’t know of the existence of the song.
This was a controversial decision, and it has led to some debate.
The HCJ noted that the doctrine of fair-playing, or contributory fair-gaming, was not universally accepted.
“Fair-play is a concept which recognises the possibility of contributory infringement by the use of material that is in a form that the owner may find offensive,” the HCZ said in its decision.
However, the HCW said that contributory “will be a defence for a work that is lawfully made, and may be brought to a conclusion only if the contributory factor is established”.
This was because it was a “matter of public concern”.
In this situation, the case is one of contributor fair-games.
If you’re in the music publishing business, you could be liable for copyright infringements if you fail to protect copyrighted material.
But the HCU and HCJ have also stated that fair play in copyright law does not always equate to contributory.
The Supreme Court of Canada in 2013 struck down the contributorship defense in a case involving the music publisher Jammie Thomas.
In that case, a plaintiff was charged with copyright infringement because a recording of a song by Thomas was illegally posted online without permission.
As it happens, Thomas had the rights to the song and had previously purchased the rights from the recording artist, so the courts found that the defendant was not responsible for the sale of the rights.
The court also ruled that there was a contributory defense in copyright cases, but only for works that the plaintiff could reasonably foresee would be used for infringement.
The High Court also rejected the contributor defense in 2014 in the case of the electronic dance music (EDM) band Kano.
A copyright holder had sued the band, claiming that the EDM band had illegally copied a track from Kano’s upcoming album, and that the song was being used without permission of the band.
Despite the High Court ruling, there was still debate about whether a contributor approach should be adopted in the EDMP world.
In 2016, the High-Court ruled that contributor protection is not necessarily a defence in the context of copyright infringement, but the courts have not decided whether a court should make a contributer fair-gamers defense.
However, this decision may still have a big impact on the future of copyright.
In May this year, the United States Supreme Court rejected a contributors defense in the death of an electronic dance artist, who was killed by a police officer who mistook him for a known thief.
In the case, Justin Rauch, a music producer and DJ, was accused of illegally downloading a song from Rauches label, and was killed when a police car mistakenly fired on his car.
Rauch was acquitted of copyright charges.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court pointed out that in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which defines contributory, contributory and contributory contributoryfair play, the term “fair game” does not refer only to copyright infringement.
In the case before the Supreme Courts, the Court said that the term was also used to describe the rights a person has to his/her own work, but that this term does not include the rights of others to copy his/ her work.
What do you think about this case?
Should a contributorship fair-gamer be a fair defense?
Let us know in the comments section below.