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Lee Burgunder

has been a professor of business law and public policy at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for over 30 years. He is recognized as an innovative teacher at the university, having received numerous honors for instructional effectiveness, including the prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award. Professor Burgunder has published a wide array of articles in various journals primarily dealing with intellectual property and technology law, and is the author of The Legal Aspects of Managing Technology, which is currently in its 5th edition.

Recent Articles by Lee Burgunder

The Changing Landscape of Copyrights Part II: The Warhol Case Continues Trend in Favor of Fair Use

In my previous post, I explored how times have changed for photographers who once appeared to have the upper hand in copyright infringement disputes with appropriation artists and others. As discussed there, the high-water mark for photographers may have been several years ago, when the Associated Press used its leverage to reach a settlement with Richard Fairey regarding his Obama Hope poster. However, since then, photographers have suffered a series of losses, beginning in 2013 with Cariou v. Prince and continuing in 2018 with Rentmeester v. Nike, Inc. The most recent case to strike a blow against photographers is The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith (S.D.N.Y. 2019).

The Changing Landscape of Copyrights: Hope Shifts from Photographers to Users

Copyrights protect original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. When photographers take pictures of individuals, there are substantial questions regarding the elements that should be attributed to the photographer’s creativity so that the work has the requisite originality for protection. Typically, the photographer’s choices regarding composition, lighting, focus, depth of field, and filtering, among many other elements, provide a sufficient basis to extend copyright protection to almost any photograph. Thus, when artists reproduce or use a photographer’s image in their pieces without permission, the photographer has a legitimate basis to complain.

ReDigi 2.0: The Legal Debates Regarding Digital Resale of Copyright Music Likely to Continue

Just after Capitol Records filed its complaint in this litigation, ReDigi launched a new service, called ReDigi 2.0. With ReDigi 2.0, customers would originally download iTunes music files directly from Apple onto a specific physical location on ReDigi’s server, from which they could then stream their music or download it for personal use on their own media devices.  When a customer chose to sell a digital file, ReDigi would retain the file in the same server space and simply assign “title” to the new owner.  Thus, there would be no duplication of files, and the content would be transferred along with the original physical media. For now, we don’t know the legal status of such a system because it was introduced too late for it to be reviewed in this litigation.

District Court Challenges Legality of Embedding Copyrighted Content

On February 15, 2018 a New York district court judge – in Goldman v. Breitbart News Network – challenged the reasoning of Perfect 10, and she concluded that one who embeds content may be engaged in a public display, thus making the practice far more risky… In Goldman v Breitbart News, Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that the Ninth Circuit was wrong to rely on the Server Test, and that a website thus can face direct liability, under particular circumstances, for making a display by embedding a copyrighted work in a website. The case involved a copyrighted image of Tom Brady, Danny Ainge and others that was first posted by the photographer as a Snapchat Story, but was soon copied by several individuals on Twitter with accompanying tweets.