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Category Archives: Copyright Law

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Your Facebook Copyright Notice is More Annoying than Farmville

Posted in Copyright Law

If you use Facebook, you probably already have noticed that many users are posting statements claiming that Facebook somehow acquires ownership of users’ intellectual property that has been posted to that site.  Reacting to this entirely erroneous proposition, many Facebook users have posted very scary and onerous status updates aggressively asserting their intellectual property rights… Continue Reading

Cambridge v. Becker – A Copyright Win For Publishers or an Enlargement of Fair Use?

Posted in Copyright Law

Recently the 11th Circuit addressed on appeal the question of whether fair use insulates from copyright liability a University which offers to its students a digital repository of reading material culled from third party publications without the benefit of a license.   Three academic publishers filed suit against Georgia State University claiming that the University infringed… Continue Reading

What is and What Should Never Be: Led Zeppelin Not Feeling a Whole Lotta Love in Pennsylvania

Posted in Copyright Law

On May 31, 2014, members of the band Led Zeppelin and its publishers were sued for copyright infringement by Randy California, the former guitarist and front man of the band Spirit.  The lawsuit, filed in the state of Pennsylvania, alleges that a significant portion of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was stolen from “Taurus,” a song… Continue Reading

Vicarious Liability Under the Lanham Act: The Amazon Affiliate Case

Posted in Copyright Law

In a sensible decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Amazon.com Inc. is not vicariously liable for copyright infringement based upon the conduct of its Associates who use copyrighted photos without permission on their linked websites. This decision is particularly important because there are an increasing number of “copyright trolls” patrolling various… Continue Reading

Copyright Ownership Claim Of Pictures Taken By Wild Ape is Monkey Business

Posted in Copyright Law

Recently, Wikimedia (the entity behind Wikipedia) has refused repeated requests from professional photographer David Slater to remove from one of his most famous photos from its royalty free photo collection website.  The photo at issue is a “monkey selfie.” Slater claims he owns the copyright to the photo and Wikimedia is using it without his… Continue Reading

When is Enough Really Enough? The Importance of Experts in Music Copyright Infringement Actions

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law

On June 17, 2014, a federal judge in Illinois granted summary judgment to Stefani Joanne Germanotta against plaintiff, Rebecca Francescatti, in a copyright infringement matter because he found that no reasonable trier of fact could find that Ms. Germanotta’s song, “Judas,” is substantially similar to Ms. Francescatti’s song, “Juda.”  You may wonder, why you should… Continue Reading

Funk, Copyrights, and Collecting Judgments

Posted in Copyright Law

Litigants know that obtaining a judgment against an adversary is only half the battle.  Sometimes the efforts a litigant must expend to collect on that judgment are just as significant, if not more so, than obtaining the judgment.  In looking for assets to satisfy a judgment, litigants are reminded that a defendant’s intellectual property, including… Continue Reading

Google’s Android: Was It Truly The First Generation?

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

With the prevalence of smartphones in today’s society, one cannot help but to have at least heard of Google’s Android operating system.  This operating system came about with the intent of competing with the superpower known as Apple’s iPhone.  Of course, when Google released this platform for the first time in 2007, the Android operating… Continue Reading

Raging Bull Revisited – Copyright Infringement and the Laches Defense

Posted in Copyright Law

This column addressed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in the case Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., et al., approximately 18 months ago.  The Ninth Circuit held that the equitable defense of laches could be asserted to bar a claim for copyright infringement even if it was filed within the three-year statute of limitations.  As the column pointed… Continue Reading

STAYED TUNED FOR THE COURT’S DECISION IN ABC v. AEREO

Posted in Copyright Law

On April 22, 2014 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of American Broadcasting Company (“ABC”) v. Aereo.  Although this case has been overshadowed by other matters on the Court’s docket and has received very little media attention, the Court’s decision will potentially have an impact on copyright law that is… Continue Reading

Will The Copyright Act be Amended to Include a “Making Available” Right

Posted in Copyright Law, Legal Info

Under the WIPO Internet Treaties, member states are required to recognize in their national laws  the exclusive right of  authors of works to ‘‘make [the works] available’’ and ‘‘communicate [the works] to the public’’, including through interactive platforms, such as the Internet. The United States implemented the WIPO Internet Treaties through the Digital Millennium Copyright… Continue Reading

Copyright Preemption and Its Interplay with Trade Secret Misappropriation

Posted in Copyright Law, Trade Secrets

By: James Kachmar A recent decision in the case Jobscience, Inc. v. CVPartners, Inc. (N.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2014) shows the interplay between the various theories of intellectual property claims. There, the plaintiff asserted claims for both copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation arising out of the alleged theft of its software code. The court… Continue Reading

GoldieBlox v. Beastie Boys – “Girls To Bring A Lawsuit”

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law, Trademark Law

 By: Scott Hervey From all appearances, it would have been a fight worth watching. In one corner was the Beastie Boys, the Brooklyn bread, 80s powerhouse rap group; they aggressively enforce their intellectual property rights and have never allowed their music to be used in advertisements.  (This commitment was so important to the group that in his… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit: Watch Out for Statute of Limitations for Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright Law

 By: Audrey A. Millemann              In Seven Arts Filmed Entertainment, Ltd. v. Content Media Corp. PLC, 2013 US App. LEXIS 22517 (9th Cir., November 6, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided an issue of first impression in this circuit: whether a claim of copyright infringement based on disputed ownership would be time-barred… Continue Reading

Weaving a Trademark

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

 By: Lisa Y. Wang This month, the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board ruled that Bottega Veneta, a luxury Italian fashion brand, well known for its "weave design" handbags and accessories, could register a trademark for that specific design. Bottega Veneta handbags and accessories do not have obvious logos on the outside, signifying its origin. Instead, the weave… Continue Reading

Roots, Reggae, Remixes – and Litigation

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law

By James Kachmar The great reggae musician Bob Marley passed away more than 30 years ago. Nevertheless, litigation surrounding his music legacy continues on. The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion in Rock River Communications, Inc. v. Universal Music Group, Inc. that dealt again with the issue of who owns the rights to Mr. Marley’s music.  Rock River… Continue Reading

A Dress’ Trade Dress

Posted in Copyright Law

By Lisa Y. Wang As New York Fashion Week carries on, so does fashion litigation. One brand that is constantly “copied” is Herve Leger, famous for their bandage dress. While a Herve Leger bandage dress can cost you thousands, stores and brands all over have copied the style and sold their own versions of the bandage dress for… Continue Reading

Craigslist Content Aggregator Continues To Face Copyright Infringement and CFAA Claims

Posted in Copyright Law

By Scott Hervey Craigslist operates one of the most well known and widely-used online classified ad services.  Craigslist claims that more than 60 million Americans visit and use Craigslist each month, and they collectively post several hundred million classified ads each year.  3Taps is a technology company that aggregates and republishes real time ads from… Continue Reading

Character Copyright — Is Sherlock Holmes in the Public Domain?

Posted in Copyright Law

By Anji Mandavia Currently pending before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is a case that will determine whether the Estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has any remaining copyright interest in the iconic character of Sherlock Holmes, and his friend and companion in sleuthing, Dr. John Watson.    The fictional detective… Continue Reading