from the shouldn't-this-be-a-copyright-issue? dept
But... this isn't a copyright claim.
And that's where this gets a bit more interesting from the legal perspective. Whoever holds the copyright on the original video may have a very legitimate copyright claim here. But that's not who's suing. It's Katsuni, who is the woman who performs in the video. But she doesn't hold the copyright -- so, instead, she's using a publicity rights claim. We've talked a lot about how popular publicity rights claims have become lately, and the concept is a bit of a mess, in part because it's based on state laws, and they're all different. This one relies on California's publicity rights law, and claims that Bow Wow is using her "likeness and image to promote BOW WOW's career and music."
It's interesting to see how she's basically using publicity rights as a poor man's copyright here (though, perhaps the copyright holder will sue as well). It gives us a hint of what may happen much more frequently thanks to the performer's rights treaty signed in Beijing a few months ago, giving performers like Katsuni extra special copyright-like rights in all of their performances. We haven't changed the law in the US yet to implement that, but in the short term, it looks like publicity rights claims may get the job done.
Either way, once again, we're seeing how a major label -- the same ones screaming about others copying their stuff -- seems to think that different rules apply when they copy the works of someone else. Universal Music is the largest record label on the planet and one of the most aggressive in enforcing its copyrights. But, apparently it has no problem copying someone else's video...