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Apple's TV set top and its iTunes store are targets for artists

Apple may be in trouble with its Apple TV set top player and the iTunes store. Two lawsuits filed this week claim that Apple knowingly infringed on copyrights, one of which belongs to a Louis Psihoyos, an artistic photographer. The second suit is a civil complaint that claims Apple and pop star Avril Lavigne knowingly infringed on a song written in 1979.

One of the Apple TV's well known advertisements uses a visual representation of a "video wall," consisting of many small videos playing at once with an Apple TV box in the middle. According to the lawsuit which was filed in Boulder, Colorado, the similarity between Apple's video wall and Psihoyos’ photo is too close to be merely coincidence. In fact, Apple and Psihoyos had been in negotiations over the use of his photo or concept.

Unfortunately for Psihoyos, Apple never reached an agreement with him. Instead of developing another concept for its advertisements, the complaint noted that Apple went ahead and used Psihoyos' material anyway. Psihoyos' attorney Richard Kaudy wrote in the complaint that Apple knowingly ignored Psihoyos' "rights and feelings" and any profits that Apple generated from Psihoyos' work were kept for itself.

A separate civil complaint charges that Apple's iTunes music store is an acting catalyst for music infringement. According to the suit, Avril Lavigne's hit single "Girlfriend" is based on another song from the 1970's called "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" by James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar. According to plaintiffs Gangwer and Dunbar, any company that sells and publishes Lavigne's song is infringing on their original work.

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Songs are fair game.
By cochy on 7/5/2007 11:01:03 PM , Rating: 1
I'm pretty sure, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but anyone can do a cover of a song or sing lyrics from another song or use the musical notes without giving any credit to the original artist. For example, did Madonna have to give credit to Abba for using all their music in her most recent album? To be nice I think they might ask for permission but I don't think it's required. Again this is what I heard a while ago, I may be wrong.

RE: Songs are fair game.
By highlandsun on 7/6/2007 6:59:03 AM , Rating: 2
Not quite, but for anything that has been recorded, there is a compulsory license called a "mechanical license." This means that once you've recorded a song and distributed the recordings, any other artist can also record that song without your permission, but they still have to pay you a royalty for the use. The statutory rate used to be 6.6 cents per track, 10 years ago. I guess it's gone up a penny or two since then.

RE: Songs are fair game.
By Spivonious on 7/6/2007 9:54:57 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone can cover a song live and not pay royalties. In that case, the venue pays a general fee that covers this.

Anyone cannot record a cover. You must first get permission to do so from the owner of the song. Royalties are paid by the artist/record label in this case.

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