Month: May 2016

Legal phasers fired to protect Klingon language

vubpu’ jon nuchpu’. jonbe’ tlhInganpu. That translates to “Cowards take hostages. Klingons do not.” The Language Creation Society, based in Ridgecrest, Calif., has declared war. The group, as Randazza Legal Group PLLC, has filed an amicus brief to speak up on behalf of the Klingon language, which is under fire as part of the lawsuit Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions Inc. The brief, liberally sprinkled with the language spoken by characters like Commander Worf (actor Michael Dorn) from the long-running hit TV and movie franchise, Star Trek, essentially argues that no one can copyright a language, even one that has been entirely artificially created. In their continuing mission to explore strange new worlds and protect their copyrights, CBS and Paramount sued Alec Peters and his crowdfunded production Axanar late last year in a Los Angeles federal court. The studios seek damages for direct, contributory and vicarious infringement as well as an injunction to stop production. Let’s translate what’s going on here–minus the requisite insults, (as described in the video above by a German lecturer on Klingon in a promotion for a video game): A contested, crowdfunded movie As discussed in a recent article on this blog, crowdfunding is a hot new way to raise money for a project that could not normally get made through the traditional channels. Individuals who want to support the project can donate small amounts towards the...

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A legendary rock dispute finally rolls to trial

A federal district judge has put Led Zeppelin on the stairway to a jury trial, denying the legendary rock band’s motion for summary judgment on a copyright infringement claim against it over the classic tune Stairway to Heaven (a tip of the hat to Courthouse New for posting the judge’s ruling). The trial has been scheduled for May 10, and if the trust for rocker Randy Craig Wolfe (aka Randy California), of the band Spirit, is victorious, it could force Led Zepplin to reliquinish part of the song’s profits. Those are estimated to amount to at least $562 million between royalties and record sales. The trust, as part of its lawsuit, also is seeking a songwriting credit for Wolfe. The dispute over this song has been as long and almost as legendary as the iconic tune itself, with the court noting the controversy’s roots dating to the late Sixties. So, besides listening and comparing the two songs in videos (above), how this case finally gotten to trial? In May, 2014, Wolfe’s trust sued the remaining Led Zeppelin members, alleging the band had copied the guitar riff in rock band Spirit’s song Taurus, recorded in 1967. Plaintiff’s expert stated, “80% of the pitches of the first eighteen notes match, along with their rhythms and metric placement.” Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin raised the defenses of abandonment,  defective deposit copy, and that the...

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