is an attorney in Womble Bond Dickinson’s. Houston office. She focuses on assisting clients in protecting their intellectual property rights in the areas of patents, trademarks, and copyrights, advising on strategies for pursuing protection, filing domestic and foreign applications, and prosecuting applications to allowance. In addition, Kristin guides clients in intellectual property litigation, as well as IP licensing.
For more information or to contact Kristin, please visit her Firm Profile Page.
Blackbeard and his band of pirates pillaged and plundered up and down North Carolina’s Outer Banks more than 300 years ago, inspiring stories (both true and fictional) that capture imaginations to this day. On March 23, the battleground shifted from the watery landscape of Davy Jones’ Locker to the decidedly more law-abiding U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices unanimously ruled that North Carolina’s display of copyrighted footage showing recovery of the legendary pirate’s ship does not violate copyright law. The Supreme Court’s decision is a key victory for advocates who say sovereign immunity should shield states from copyright infringement suits by an individual.
That an open government is inseparable from a free society is one of the basic tenets supporting American democracy. If people are to be ruled by laws, they have a fundamental right to access those laws. To that end, in 17 U.S.C. § 105, the U.S. Copyright Office makes clear that binding and official government edicts may not be copyrighted by the United States government. However, the Supreme Court has not addressed the issue as it pertains to state governments since a series of cases in the late 1800s. But are there limits to that access, or are there certain situations in which government edicts may, in fact, fall under the scope of copyright protection? The U.S. Supreme Court hopefully will provide some clarity on this issue when it hears the case Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. in the upcoming term.