Sep 15, 2021 • 12M

🗞️ An epic decision in Epic v. Apple

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Episode details

This week: The Epic-Apple lawsuit is over (until the appeal) and Texas passed a social media law. Plus, why copyright law and music is such a big deal right now.

🍏 The judge’s decision in Epic v. Apple is a loss for both 

We reached the end of one of the biggest tech lawsuits in recent years and neither Apple, nor Epic is likely happy about the conclusion. 

  • Judge Yvonne Gonzalez went for a compromise verdict: According to The Verge, she ruled that Apple must allow app developers to tell users other ways to pay for products other than through the App Store. The ruling may also let developers include payment mechanisms within the apps, the exact move Epic attempted last year. 

  • That may sound good for Epic, but it’s a pyrrhic victory at best: The judge also ruled Epic breached its contract with Apple and that Apple can continue to keep Epic out of the App Store. So Epic might not be able to take advantage of any loosened restrictions. Epic basically lost the battle for itself, but won the war for other tech companies.  

There’s another alarm bell for Apple

As the WSJ pointed out, Gonzalez hinted in her ruling that Apple was nearly a monopoly in the video game market. If other judges agree, Apple may find it difficult to win even bigger cases in the future.

The Verdict

Apple is likely to appeal the ruling as it continues to fend off legal action here and abroad.

Texas passes a law banning censorship of social media

The free speech/tech wars have reached a boiling point in Texas. 

  • Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill outlawing censorship on social media: Companies like Twitter and Facebook are now banned in Texas from kicking somebody off their platform over political viewpoints. It’s a response to the de-platforming of Donald Trump and other conservative figures. 

  • The law has a structure similar to the state’s controversial 6-week abortion ban: Texans will be able to sue the social media giants for violating the law. The AG will also be able to sue. 

If this sounds legally squishy to you, then…

You’re probably right. Florida introduced a similar law this year. It was blocked by a judge almost immediately. That’s because the judge ruled telling private social media companies what they could and couldn’t do was “not a legitimate governmental interest.”  

The Verdict

These laws will likely keep happening in various states. As unlikely as they are to stick, they are yet another issue for Facebook, Twitter et. al.

🧑‍🎤 Deja sue: What the fight over Olivia Rodrigo songs says about copyright law 

As if dealing with a tough ex who drops you just before you learn to drive isn’t enough hurt. Olivia Rodrigo, one of the biggest music sensations in 2021, is feeling financial pain, too, after assigning royalties to the likes of Taylor Swift and Paramore. 

The tale of Rodrigo provides interesting insight into the state of music and copyright law, according to The Ringer.

  • Musicians used to build off one another without much fear of legal issues: But then came the decision that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” infringed on a Marvin Gaye song. While the legal questions at hand were very esoteric and specific, artists began worrying about making songs that simply sounded too much like tracks from the past.

  • This is what happened to Rodrigo: Her songs clearly sound like they have been inspired by the likes of Swift and Paramore even though she says she didn’t purposefully take from those artists. But to avoid any litigation, Rodrigo assigned writing credits to Paramore for the song “Good for You,” which is musically similar to “Misery Business.” She did the same to Swift for “Deja Vu.” 

Music copyright cases usually turn on this major factor 

One attorney told The Ringer “intent doesn’t matter.” But “you still need to prove access.” I.E. the artist has to somehow be aware of the song they are allegedly taking from. 

The Verdict

Sometimes legal damages just boil down to whether a musician cares. Lorde’s summer hit “Solar Power” sounded just like Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” but he didn’t mind, saying on Twitter, “It’s how rock and roll works.”  

💌 What else we're forwarding 

DC lawsuit says Amazon has troubling relationships with wholesalers: Here’s something new in all the antitrust allegations against Amazon -- the accusation that its cozy dealings with wholesalers leads to higher prices on other ecommerce platforms

Why listening to women will lead to better gender diversity in law: Lawyer Megan Elizabeth Gray explains something that should be obvious.

💬 What we’re discussing

​One of the buzz phrases of the moment, legal ops is everywhere!

​Are you a GC who isn't sure how you could use a legal ops professional in your team? Or are you a legal ops specialist looking for tips and tricks on getting ahead? Join Deanna DeFrancesco (COO Legal, WeWork), Reeta Sharma (Legal Ops Lead, Notion), and Guilherme Tocci Salcedo (Global Legal Ops, Gympass) as they share their experiences and discuss;

  • ​how to get buy-in from the C-Suite

  • ​the challenges faced when implementing solutions ... and how to get around them!

​​It's an open discussion and attendees are more than welcome to participate in the conversation via Zoom. RSVP here to join the discussion on Thursday 23rd at 12pm PT / 3pm EST.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to The Upsetters, the house band of Jamaican producer Lee “Scratch” Perry. Known for working with Bob Marley, Beastie Boys, and The Clash , Perry used remixing techniques to update existing reggae tracks. The Upsetters have released over 10 albums and we are listening to Return of Django, which is packed with danceable riffs.

Return of Django - The Upsetters
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music

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See ya next week!

✌🏽 Raad