Skadden brokers record-breaking settlement deal; Legal panel announced for Unilever

Historic bank deal brokered by Skadden… Unilever appoints its first former legal panel… ex-cop calls for an Aussie copyright court… Apple gets bitten in court… and a lawyer says a monkey is unlikely to claim ownership of ‘selfie’…

Skadden brokers record-breaking settlement deal; Legal panel announced for Unilever
Historic bank deal brokered by Skadden
The bank of America’s US$16.6 billion settlement with the US Justice Department over allegations of fraudulent mortgage transactions is a record-breaking figure; the largest single entity settlement ever. It was brokered by a team from Skadden, led by partners John Carroll and Charles Smith.
 
Legal panel announced for Unilever
The first formal legal panel has been announced for multinational manufacturing giant Unilever. Places on the panel have been awarded to firms including Baker & McKenzie, Slaughter & May and Mayer Brown; 16 in total.
 
Should Australia have a copyright court?
In the digital world piracy is rife; it’s always been a problem but technology makes it easier than ever. An anti-piracy investigator is calling for a dedicated Australian court to handle copyright infringement. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald Micheal Speck, an ex-cop who now works for the music industry, says the enforcement of copyright is “dysfunctional” and the costs of prosecuting a case are prohibitive. Some argue that copyright infringement is ‘theft’, however Robert Gregory of Maddocks points out that downloading for personal use is not theft but a civil matter. Although the creation of a dedicated court is perhaps unlikely, it’s clear that the creative industries will continue to push for tougher action on those who seek to enjoy their work for free.
 
Apple gets bitten in court
Apple has won a US$1 billion settlement in its dispute with Samsung but will have to pay its own legal costs. The case saw Apple accuse Samsung of copyright infringement in using some design features of the iPhone. Samsung argued that the breach was not significant and it should not have to pay Apple’s legal costs; the judge agreed.
 
Lawyer says monkey is unlikely to be copyright holder
It’s one of the most bizarre intellectual property disputes; Wikipedia has used an image and photographer David Slater claims he owns the copyright. The twist is that the picture, although taken on Slater’s camera, was technically a ‘selfie’ taken by the subject of the photograph; a monkey. Quoted by IT blog The Register, Serena Tierney, head of the intellectual property practice at BDB says that if Slater can prove that he had enough of an input into the creation of the image then he should be able to claim ownership. Tierney says it’s unlikely that the monkey could claim copyright. The US Copyright Office refused to register the copyright of ‘monkey selfies’ last week.

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