Posts Tagged: "Copyright Office"

The Right to Repair of Medical Equipment is Not an IP Issue

How does it make any sense that fixing something, which you bought and paid for, is a violation of the manufacturer’s copyright? It’s not, and here’s why. Fixing things is legal under multiple sections of Copyright Law. Repair doesn’t modify books, music, videos or licensed software, so it’s absurd that copyright law is even being used to restrict repair.

SCOTUS Grants Government’s Request to Participate in Case Interpreting PRO IP Act Language on Copyright Invalidation

The U.S. Supreme Court today granted a motion made by the Acting U.S. Solicitor General to participate in oral argument as an amicus in the case of Unicolors v. H&M. The case asks the Court to decide whether the Ninth Circuit properly construed the language of 17 U.S.C. § 411 relating to whether courts must have evidence of intent to defraud before referring copyright registration validity questions to the Copyright Office. Oral argument is set for November 7.

U.S. Copyright Office Issues New Final Rule on Group Registration for Albums

On Tuesday, February 23, the United States Copyright Office issued a final rule that creates a new “group” registration option for albums of music and works related to that music. The new option, or  Group Registration for Works on an Album of Music (GRAM) allows applicants to register either a group of up to 20 musical works or a group of up to 20 sound recordings and associated literary, pictorial, or graphic works contained on an album of music. An “album” is defined as “a single physical or electronic unit of distribution containing at least two musical works and/or sound recordings embodied in phonorecords…” Artists can take advantage of the copyright rule to protect their original music beyond the basic protections automatically bestowed to them once it is fixed in a format in which others can hear it.

WIPO and U.S. Copyright Office Team Up to Talk Copyright in the Age of AI

Earlier this month, the U.S. Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a joint event titled, “Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” (AI) at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The event explored how global copyright law and intellectual property law, as well as broader policy, may currently address AI technology, and included dialogue about changes that may be needed. Panelists also shared how AI is being utilized now and what future technology deployment and innovation may look like. The event was part of a series of conversations organized by the U.S, Copyright Office and WIPO both in the United States and Europe, with the next conversation scheduled for May 11 and 12 in Geneva, Switzerland. The summit illustrated that AI presents unique opportunities for innovation, assuming intellectual property rights are respected, but questions remain in several areas, including whether machine learning is producing “original” work and whether the product of such software is inherently reproductive, derivative or the result of a system or process devoid of human action.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, November 15: SCOTUS to Hear Booking.com Trademark Case, AG Barr Backs FCC Plan Against Huawei and ZTE, Copyright Office Eliminates Physical Material Submission Options

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit strikes down a district court’s finding of design patent infringement on summary judgment; the USPTO advises trademark attorneys to monitor filings to prevent against the unauthorized use of their names; the U.S. Copyright Office issues final rules eliminating options for physical material submissions for newspaper and serial registrations; the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Booking.com’s appeal of the rejection of its trademark application by the USPTO; AG Barr supports the FCC’s plan to restrict Huawei and ZTE equipment purchases through the Universal Service Fund; Nirvana’s copyright case against Marc Jacobs moves past a motion to dismiss; Biogen loses $3 billion in market value after PTAB hearing; and Amazon seeks an injunction against a patent owner asserting infringement claims against Amazon Fire product retailers.

Filling in the Holes: The CASE Act is Where Good Intention Meets Good Policy

While there are a number of falsehoods being spread about the CASE Act by those who philosophically oppose any legislation that will help the creative community, there are a few honest critiques that are based on simple misunderstandings about the bill rather than malice. Take, for instance, an article published earlier this week on this blog which characterizes the CASE Act’s intentions as noble, but argues that there are “three gaping holes” that make for bad policy…. The CASE Act will not bring an end to copyright infringement, nor is it intended to. Subversive parties that intend to infringe and skirt the law are unlikely to be brought to justice under the CASE Act. But the CASE Act is good policy for achieving what it is intended to do: provide an alternative to federal court where consenting parties who presently cannot afford to, might finally get their day in court.

The Case Act: Good Intentions but Bad Policy

On October 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 410-6, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (the “CASE Act”). The Act proposes to set up what is in essence a voluntary administrative procedure conducted in the U.S. Copyright Office whereby artists and other copyright holders can protect their copyrights without the cost, expense and difficulty associated with filing a full-blown copyright infringement litigation in federal court. Based on the vote in the House, the CASE Act appears to enjoy widespread, bipartisan support in Congress—a rarity these days, to be sure. The appeal is simple: give individual artists and small companies an affordable mechanism to enforce their rights in their creative works. But although the political appeal of the CASE Act is obvious, the practical reality of the CASE Act is something entirely different. Indeed, there are three gaping holes in the CASE Act which may cause the small claims process it sets forth to have only very narrow appeal and to be an effective dispute resolution mechanism in only a narrow subset of cases.

Other Barks & Bites, October 5: USPTO Rulemaking Updates, Federal Circuit Weighs in on 101, and DOJ Tells SCOTUS to Deny Google Appeal

This past week in Other Barks & Bites: the USPTO delays the effective date for mandating electronic trademark application submissions and issues a proposed rulemaking on Patent Term Adjustments in light of Supernus; UKIPO report shows that women inventors represent only 12.7 percent of inventors worldwide; trademark dispute leads street artist Banksy to open a retail store; the Federal Circuit upholds the invalidation of method of manufacture claims as being directed to a natural law over a dissent from Judge Moore; the screenwriter of The Terminator files a copyright termination notice; Tesla stock drops after missing analyst expectations on car sales; Seinfeld beats copyright case over Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee; and the Department of Justice tells the Supreme Court not to review Google’s appeal over the ability to copyright Java code.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, September 27: CAFC Partially Vacates PTAB Decision, Colarulli Appointed to Head LESI, and Copyright Office Seeks Comments on Music Modernization Act

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision reversing the PTAB regarding proper primary reference and CBM review findings; USPTO Director Iancu told IPO Annual Meeting attendees that subject matter eligibility guidelines are working; an EPO-EUIPO report shows IP-intensive industries contribute nearly half of EU GDP; the producers of the Broadway musical Hamilton have filed a motion to dismiss copyright claims filed in connection with a museum exhibit; eBay CEO Devin Wenig stepped down; the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the en banc rehearing of the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright case; the U.S. Copyright Office is seeking public comments regarding the blanket licensing structure under the Music Modernization Act; and Sandoz has moved forward with a PTAB challenge on patent claims covering AbbVie’s Imbruvica.

Clarifying the U.S. Approach to Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright is one of the most important intellectual property rights for any individual in America. The power to grant protection of copyrights “by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” is given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. As an author and computer programmer, I find that many of my colleagues misunderstand these rights and the protections that they afford. For this reason, I think it is important to clear up some misunderstandings in the recent IP Watchdog article, “A Question of Morals: The U.S. Approach to Plagiarism, ‘Moral Rights’, and Copyright Infringement” by Dave Davis.

Register of Copyrights Testifies on Copyright Office Modernization, Streaming Piracy and Music Modernization Act Implementation

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property convened an oversight hearing of the U.S. Copyright Office featuring testimony from Karyn Temple, the Register of Copyrights and Director of the Copyright Office. Much of the hearing focused on the Office’s efforts to modernize its information technology infrastructure and business processes, although implementation of the recently passed Music Modernization Act (MMA) and new forms of digital piracy were also discussed.

It’s Time for Congress to Modernize the United States Copyright Office

Every single day, millions of Americans enjoy the benefits of a robust copyright system that has been responsibly guided and carefully enacted by the U.S. Congress over the past two centuries.  Indeed, only just recently, Congress updated the incredibly complex music provisions of the law, and we continue to have hearings on issues that show the deep regard of this Nation when it comes to incentivizing music, movies, books and art—works that speak to our values and progress as a Nation.  By its very design, the copyright law encourages artists big and small, ultimately fueling the public domain for ages to come. And copyright is an economic powerhouse. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) 2018 report Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy, copyright intensive industries contribute $1.3 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, representing almost 7% of the entire economy. These industries also employ close to 5.7 million American workers with an annual average salary of almost $100,000.  In a word, copyright is essential—both to American public life and the broader American innovation economy. Unfortunately, Congress has fallen behind in one crucial aspect of the copyright system: ensuring that the American people have a nimble, state-of-the-art, and efficient Copyright Office at their service.  

Why Creators Like Me Are Lining Up in Support of the CASE Act

I have heard it said that a right without a remedy isn’t really a right. This saying completely and accurately sums up my experience with copyright infringement in the modern age. I am not an attorney, let alone a copyright lawyer. I am a small business owner whose livelihood is constantly affected by the lack of reasonable avenues for pursuing infringement of my work. For more than a decade, I have been making my living as a commercial photographer and filmmaker. During that time I have witnessed my works infringed online—an exceedingly easy thing to do in the digital age—but also in print. A most memorable example of this was finding my photo enlarged as the backdrop to a competitor’s trade show booth while my paying client was rightfully using the same artwork across the room at their own booth. An act like this is both unlawful and egregious. But the extraordinary costs of pursuing a copyright infringement suit in federal court prohibit me from seeking recourse this way without taking on the additional risk of bankruptcy.

CASE Act Promises Long-Overdue Access to Justice for Individuals and Small Businesses in the Arts

Jenna Close is a freelance commercial photographer and owner of a small business that licenses still images and videos to both domestic and international clients. She and her partner work 60-80 hours a week booking work, shooting, billing, accounting, marketing, and continuing to develop and maintain their skills. Jenna’s images are widely infringed online. She’s found exact reproductions of her work on competitors’ websites, on websites falsely advertising that the photographs are free to use, and she’s even come across instances where companies have photoshopped their own products into her images. Despite the brazen misuse of her images that she frequently encounters, Jenna does not generally pursue claims against her infringers because it is too expensive and time consuming to do so. It’s just not worth the cost—even though she registers at least some of her images for copyright protection, and so would be entitled to statutory damages and attorneys’ fees with respect to those images in case of a court victory. Unfortunately, Jenna’s story is not unique. For countless individual artists and small businesses, combating the unauthorized use of their creative works online is a source of enduring frustration. The frequency and ease with which photographs, sound recordings, videos, and other works of authorship are shared on the Internet leaves those without significant time and resources little recourse when they encounter infringement. But now, after years of advocacy by creators like Jenna, new legislation promises long-overdue support for these marginalized groups in the ongoing fight against overwhelming infringement in the digital age.

Opt-Out Provision Could Undermine CASE Act’s Small Claims Solution for Copyright

On May 1, Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) officially reintroduced H.R. 2426, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, into the U.S House of Representatives. The bill was originally introduced in 2017 during the 115th Congress but expired after committee review. Along with the House bill, S. 1273, the U.S. Senate version of the bill, has been introduced by another bipartisan group including Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The proposed legislation seeks to establish an alternative forum for resolving disputes involving small claims of copyright infringement. If passed, the CASE Act would create the Copyright Claims Board, which is served by three full-time officers and two full-time attorneys who are appointed by the Register of Copyrights. The Board would be able to render determinations on copyright infringement, declarations of non-infringement or claims for misrepresentation in association with claimed infringement, and would also be able to award damages up to $30,000 to aggrieved parties. The bulk of the bill’s language deals mainly with how the Board will operate as an alternative forum to U.S. district court, with final determinations ultimately reviewable by district court.