Posts Tagged: "copyright law"

Apple Patent App Seeks to Disable iPhone Video Recorder

Apple doesn’t have to worry about being an infringer under the copyright laws of the United States even if someone uses an Apple device to make an unauthorized recording or capture unauthorized images. That is because there are so-called substantial non-infinging uses capable for the iPhone, for example. So why then would Apple pursue disabling technology and put the keys to your iPhone in the hands of a third party who can disable certain functionality at will without your permission? That is a good question indeed.

Copyrights Last for a Limited Time, At Least in Theory

Currently, the term for copyright protection is life of the author plus 70 years. To put this into perspective for you, Steamboat Willie initially aired in 1928. The copyright is ruled by the 1909 Act and has a shorter term of protection that the current scheme. Steamboat Willie is due to go into the public domain in 2023 unless Congress extends the copyright term again. I’m not sure if nearly one hundred years is a limited term (almost everybody alive during the initial air date will be dead before they can use it), but I guess Congress and Disney think so.

Prince and the Copyright Compulsory License Scheme

Imagine a world where the dulcet tones of “Inagaddadavida” never graced the airwaves. Gasp you should! According to the artist currently known as, but formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as, Prince,” once a song is covered the original artist’s version doesn’t exist anymore. Soooo…Iron Butterfly’s iconic song no longer exists because Slayer remade it in the late 1980s. Yeah, I don’t think so, but let’s explore, because Prince does make an interesting point and he’s kind of right to be miffed, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. He was talking about the compulsory licensing requirements in copyright law and the “original work is banished to music purgatory once it’s covered” argument is his way of explaining his indignation.

The Google Book Settlement and Orphan Works

I don’t think anyone will disagree that a digital library of this size would provide access to works that would otherwise never be seen, or worse, destroyed. The idea of a digital library is, quite frankly, awesome and one that I thoroughly applaud. More people would have access to works, the knowledge base of humans would increase exponentially, and there would be more availability of audio and Braille books for the hearing and vision impaired. Out of print and otherwise forgotten and falling apart books would be rejuvenated, precious written words would be rescued from certain ruin, and a whole world heretofore unheard of would take center stage. The heavens will part, champagne will fall from the sky, and unicorns will prance gleefully in the tulip fields. Ok, maybe not that last part, but still…

Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China

The China Road Show is a series of two-day China IP events that the USPTO is hosting across the country to help educate businesses about the realities of piracy and counterfeiting—which cost the American economy approximately $250 billion annually. Day 1 is largely devoted to understanding the patent, trademark and copyright laws in China, as well as enforcement of those rights. Day 2 of the seminar will address § 337 Infringement Investigations by the International Trade Commission (ITC), the challenges presented by counterfeiting and piracy on the Internet and the development of global IP strategies even for small businesses.

Intellectual Property from the Land Down Under, 2010 Part 1

While 2010 was quite an eventful year for IP in Australia and New Zealand, this still does not equate to dozens of potential stories to pick from, given the relatively small populations involved. So in the end it was not hard to come up with a “top eight.” As for my selection criteria, I have simply chosen those cases, events and themes that seemed significant to me from a professional perspective, or that captured the attention – and even the imagination – of the broader public.

Combating Copyright Infringement: DMCA Take Down Notices

We shouldn’t fool ourselves and try and pretend that the lack of respect for intellectual property rights is limited to those who seek to share movies, music or make a buck selling knock-off products. Everyone who produces original content on the Internet is at risk of having that content stolen; simply cut and pasted onto some other website or blog. Even if it is not passed off as original content and you do get “credit” the copyist is using your work for their own benefit. They are stealing eyeballs, diverting traffic and likely costing you money. At the very least, they are free riding, which is a hard pill to swallow.

Supreme Court Punts on Costco First Sale Copyright Case

United States Supreme Court issued a non-decision in the matter of Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Omega, S.A. The Per Curiam decision simply read: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court. Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.” Unfortunately, this non-decision could well signal the beginning of the end for the first sale doctrine given that goods manufactured and sold outside the United States can apparently be controlled downstream by the copyright owner without the copyright owner having exhausted rights through the sale.

Copyright Trolls: The Meaner Stepsister of Patent Trolls

Copyright trolls are a relatively new beast, and it’s hard to nail down a definition, so I’m just going to fall back on the immortal words of Justice Stewart’s famed copout “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . but I know it when I see it . . .” Boy, you said it, Justice Stewart. Of course, he was talking about obscenity and I’m talking about troglodytes. But to me, copyright trolls are like patent trolls. They have very little or no interest in the progress of the arts and brandish their copyright like a sword. They threaten to sue anyone and everyone who even looks at their copyrighted material without permission.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Costco Copyright Case

The dispute arose because Omega, S.A., sought to prevent the petitioner, Costco Wholesale Corporation, from reselling genuine watches originally sold by Omega to authorized foreign distributors. Omega, a Swiss company that manufactures watches in Switzerland, did not authorize the importation of the watches by Costco, despite the fact that Costco legally purchased the watches abroad. Thus, the question in this case will be whether copyrighted materials made abroad and legally purchased abroad can be imported without the express permission of the copyright owner. In other words, does the first sale doctrine extinguish the rights of the copyright holder when the goods are made abroad and sold abroad.

Don’t Copy My Blue Suede Shoes: Copyright Protection for Fashion Designs

The fashion industry claims it loses millions of dollars in revenue every year because of copycats buying one very expensive handbag or shoe or other item, deconstructing it, farming it out (usually to some factory in Asia), and making copies of it to be sold for a fraction of the price. There is now proposed legislation attempting to address and put a dent in the very lucrative knock-off market. Enter the “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act” (S.3728), courtesy of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Now, imitation is the no longer the sincerest form of flattery, it’s the basis for a lawsuit. Swell. Sen. Schumer is proposing to amend Chapter 13 of the Copyright Statute- Protection of Original Designs. (See the text of his proposed amendment) Fortunately, dear readers, I’m here to make sense of this, or at least give it a hero’s try. It is copyright, after all, and I can only do so much.

Copyrights Meet Politics: Joe Walsh (Rockstar) v. Joe Walsh (Republican)

Anyone who has spent any time at a political rally or watching video from such a rally on the evening news understands that music and politics go together.  Sometimes they mix well, for example when Bruce Springsteen is playing live for INSERT LIBERAL DEMOCRAT HERE, and sometimes they do not mix very well, almost like oil and water, for example…

DOJ Says Google Copyright Book Settlement Not Appropriate

The United States Department of Justice on Friday filed papers with the United States Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the settlement reached by Google and the plaintiffs in the copyright litigation challenging how Google is digitizing books and offering them for free. The DOJ told the court in a 32 page filing that the…

Zoominfo’s Blatant Copyright Infringement

Every once in a while we do an Internet search to find out what is out there quoting to or me personally.  We also try and make sure that others are not infringing upon our works by republishing our content without permission.  It is flattering in one sense to have people want to steal your stuff and copy it…

Understanding Intellectual Property Basics

Intellectual property is probably best thought of (at least in general terms) as creations of the mind that are given the legal rights often associated with real or personal property. The rights that are given are a function of statutory law (i.e., law created by the legislature). These statutes may be federal or state laws, or in some instance both…