Posts Tagged: "Copyright Act"

Tom Brady and a Ruling over Embedded Tweets Could Change the Internet and Online Publishing

Of all of the things NFL quarterback Tom Brady has been accused of ruining over the years, the internet is not necessarily at the top of the list, and certainly not based on an alleged copyright infringement that he had no part in perpetuating. Yet, a photograph of him and Danny Ainge, the general manager of the Boston Celtics, could in fact forever change the internet and online publishing as we know it.

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.

Not So Blurred Lines

Some IP commentators love to hate the Blurred Lines music copyright decision. A primary critique has stoked unnecessary fear in musicians that the decision blurs the line between protectable expression and unprotectable style or genre. Much of the animosity, however, is based on misunderstanding or misconstruing the law or facts. This post clarifies this aspect of the case to show why the district court decision was reasonable and should be affirmed in the current appeal at the Ninth Circuit.

PETA, photographer settle copyright ownership of monkey selfie

A complaint was filed in the Northern District of California on behalf of Naruto, at the time a six-year-old crested macaque residing in the Tangkoko Reserve located on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi… The plaintiffs argued that Naruto is the author of the monkey selfie and has the right to own and benefit from the copyright to that photo. “Had the Monkey Selfies been made by a human using Slater’s unattended camera, that human would be declared the photographs’ author and copyright owner,” the complaint reads. Although the plaintiffs acknowledge that claims of authorship by members of species other than homo sapiens are novel, they argue that 17 U.S.C. § 101 defines authorship broadly enough that Naruto should be afforded a claim of copyright ownership.

Trends in Copyright Litigation for Tattoos

An increasing trend in copyright infringement suits filed in the United States has tattoo artists bringing suit against entertainment entities, and in some cases against the tattoo bearer themselves, for the reproduction or recreation of tattoos they created. Most commentators would likely conclude that tattoos are eligible for copyright protection under the Copyright Act. However, it is important to note that a distinction can be made between the copyright in the design of the tattoo and the copyright in the tattoo as it is reproduced on the body of a person

Inspiration vs. Copying: Where’s the Line in Hollywood?

When it comes to television shows, it not always clear what is “copyrightable.” Sometimes, filmmakers and screen writers can get into serious trouble if they don’t follow specific television copyright laws accordingly. Austin-based filmmaker Lex Lybrand watched the June 4th episode of the hit HBO series “Silicon Valley” to shockingly find strong similarities between the episode “The Patent Troll” and his own film “The Trolls.” Jed Wakefield of Fenwick & West recently sat down with IPWatchdog to discuss Lybrand’s case and the impact of copyright infringement when it comes to movie scripts.

End of Laches Might Increase Declaratory Judgment Actions

Without laches, accused infringers might more frequently invoke declaratory judgment to clear their products and services upfront rather than tolerate a looming threat of suit for years…. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC (Mar. 21, 2017) eliminated the equitable defense of laches in patent cases.  While time will reveal the impact of the SCA decision, elimination of laches, an equitable defense against “unreasonable, prejudicial delay in commencing suit,” Id. at 3 (citing Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.(2014), provides greater security to patent owners who assert claims several years after discovering potential infringement.  Conversely, the decision removes one shield—albeit a relatively modest shield—from the accused infringer’s armament of potential defenses. 

Does Star Athletica Raise More Questions Than it Answers?

The Supreme Court recently issued its decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, which addressed whether copyright protection can extend to the graphic designs depicted on cheerleading uniforms. The sole inquiry in Star Athletica was the meaning of a provision in the Copyright Act which permits copyright protection for the design of a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work, but only to the extent that the design can be identified separately from, and is capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article. Essentially, the question in Star Athletica was whether a copyright could extend to a graphical design that allegedly made a useful product more desirable because it satisfied the aesthetic demands of target purchasers. But will the Supreme Court’s decision in Star Athletica lead to more expansive protection for clothing designs? The result, I fear, is that the decision will serve to raise more questions than it resolved.

Knock-Offs Beware: SCOTUS Makes a Fashion Forward Decision

The ruling has wide implications for both the fashion apparel and home furnishings industry, both of which rely on distinctive, eye-catching designs to sell products. The upshot for clothing and furniture companies is that the Varsity Brands ruling gives product manufacturers an additional tool to combat knock-off designs. With that in mind, manufacturers should review their product line to ensure their copyright-eligible products are protected under this new standard.

The Equitable Defense of Laches: SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products

The equitable defense of laches has been a useful tool for defendants in intellectual property litigation for over a hundred years, but a recent case in the U.S. Supreme Court could potentially remove the defense in patent infringement cases. In SCA Hygiene Products AB v. First Quality Baby Products LLC, the Supreme Court must decide whether the doctrine of laches bars patent infringement claims filed within the six-year statutory limitation period established under 35 U.S.C. § 286 of the Patent Act… Based on oral arguments, it is expected the Court will reverse the Federal Circuit’s decision and conclude that laches do not apply to patent infringement cases brought within the six-year damages period.

Ed Sheeran targeted by heirs of ‘Let’s Get It On’ co-writer in copyright infringement suit

On Tuesday, August 9th, Ed Sheeran was named as a defendant in a copyright lawsuit filed by three heirs of American singer-songwriter Lee Townsend. Townsend, who passed away in 2003, was Marvin Gaye’s co-writer for his famous song “Let’s Get It On.” The suit, which also lists among the defendants Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records UK, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Amy Wadge, Sheeran’s co-writer on “Thinking Out Loud,” alleges that the song “copied the heart” of “Let’s Get It On” and repeated copyright infringing melodic, harmonic and rhythmic compositions throughout the song. The case, Griffin et al v. Sheeran et al, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.).

Copyright Policy Should Be Based On Facts, Not Rhetoric

After nearly twenty years with the DMCA, the Copyright Office has launched a new study to examine the impact and effectiveness of this system, and voices on both sides of the debate have filed comments expressing their views. For the most part, frustrated copyright owners report that the DMCA has not successfully stemmed the tide of online infringement, which is completely unsurprising to anyone who spends a few minutes online searching for copyrighted works. Unfortunately, some commentators are also pushing for changes that that would make things even more difficult for copyright owners.

SCOTUS should adopt flexible, case-specific approach to attorneys’ fee awards in copyright cases

The IPO recently filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. supporting a flexible approach to awarding attorneys’ fees. Oral argument is currently scheduled for April 25, 2016. This case presents an important opportunity for the Supreme Court—consistent with its holding in Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517, 534 (1994)—to resolve a circuit split regarding how to weigh equitable factors in awarding attorneys’ fees in copyright cases. Attorneys’ fees should be based on a review of all equitable factors and not a product of a formulaic approach that disproportionately weighs certain factors more than others.

Commerce Recommends Amendments to Copyright Act Statutory Damages Provisions

Earlier today the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a report titled White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, which recommends amendments to U.S. copyright law that would provide more guidance and greater flexibility to courts in awarding statutory damages. However, the Task Force has found insufficient evidence to show that there is a change in circumstance in the markets or technology that requires action on amending the first sale doctrine.

Comic-Con Considerations: Cosplay, the Right of Publicity, and Copyright Concerns

For as much as Comic-Con is about comics, TV, and upcoming movies, it’s not hard to see that a large portion of its allure for fans is cosplay. Cosplay consists of fans who create and wear costumes and outfits based on their favorite characters in media, spanning all forms of entertainment but most notably, video games, comics, movies, and TV shows. Even though cosplay is about the characters, there are still normal people behind the armor (for a given value of normal), and these people all have their own right of publicity.