Posts Tagged: "Copyright Office"

The Unimagined Consequences of Star Athletica’s ‘Imaginative Separability’ Test

Like other opinions in the IP arena, the Supreme Court’s decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands has created a new legal rule with limited practical guidance that will inevitably lead to less predictability in an already-murky area of copyright law.  Its new “imaginative separability” test for copyright eligibility for useful articles, such as footwear, clothing, and furniture, may be so easy that few designs will fail to qualify.  Yet, ultimately, Star Athletica may have the unimagined consequence of making copyright protection less desirable for qualifying designs. For those who seek the benefits of the Court’s undeniable expansion of potential copyright protection for useful designs, a bit of caution may be the appropriate response.

How New Musicians Can Protect Their Music’s Intellectual Property

It’s not just businesses and corporate environments that need intellectual property protection – artists of all kinds must protect their work too. Specifically, musicians have a lot to copyright and trademark – band names, original music, and album art, to name a few… When it comes to YouTube, today, musicians should pay close attention to monetization of their IP rights, according to Umanoff. This means making sure that YouTube has reference files, which are samples of the copyrighted materials, so that YouTube can attempt to recognize an artist’s work when incorporated in user-generated content.She said, “The artist must also ensure that their reference files contain accurate metadata so that YouTube knows who to pay when copyrighted works are streamed. Independent companies specializing in confirming that YouTube content is monetized by uploading reference files and manually checking metadata are emerging and growing a new frontier of music technologists.”

Jacqueline Charlesworth, former General Counsel of U.S. Copyright Office, Joins Covington

Jacqueline Charlesworth has joined Covington’s Intellectual Property Rights and Media and Communications practices in the New York office. She most recently served as General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Year End Review: Insiders Reflect on the Biggest Copyright and Trade Secret Moments of 2016

It is one again time to take a moment to look back on the year that was, reflecting on the biggest, most impactful moments of 2016. For us that means looking backward at the most impactful events in the world of intellectual property. This year we received such a good response from our panel of experts that we decided to break this column into two…

Faster, Cheaper Designation of Agents to Accept DMCA Take-Down Notices

The DMCA mandated that the Copyright Office establish a registry of designated agents for service of take-down notices. The initial system now appears to have been primitive. … Beginning December 1, 2016, service providers will be able to submit and update the names and contact information for their designated agents for receipt of take-down notices using a new electronic system. What is more, the fee charged for a paper filing, $105, will be reduced to just $6 for an electronic filing, reflecting the reduced claim on Copyright Office resources to input data and maintain a reliable resource.

Using ‘Borrowed’ Images in Your Blog

An engaging image, be it a photograph or other graphic, can capture the reader’s attention and drive interest in an online post. Bloggers, especially, are well aware of the attention grabbing benefits of a great photograph or graphic. In striving to find just the right image, one may well not think twice about the apparent harmless use of a graphic poached from some obscure corner of the internet. Doing so, however, implicates a wide range of intellectual property rights governing the use of images.

NYIPLA Proposes Supreme Court Adopt a New Test for Copyright Protection in Cheerleader Uniform Case

This case concerns Star Athletica’s alleged infringement of Varsity Brands’ purported copyrights in the design of certain cheerleading uniforms. Under the Copyright Act, because clothing possesses an intrinsic utilitarian function (covering the body, providing warmth and protection from the elements, etc.), clothing designs historically have not been protected by copyright unless the claimed design is physically or conceptually separable from the garment’s utilitarian features. The district court found in favor of defendant Star Athletica, concluding that the design elements in Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms were not separable from the uniform’s function. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, and in doing so, devised a new test for assessing the copyrightability of a design of a useful article.

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.

Intellectual Property Professors Call on Congress to Modernize the Copyright Office

As the Library of Congress ushers in a new era with a new Librarian, the time is ripe to ensure that the Copyright Office has the accountability and authority to best serve all of its stakeholders—most of all the American public. The nomination of Dr. Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress provides us with the opportunity to clarify the importance of the roles both the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office play in creating, cataloging, and administering the systems that preserve and promote our nation’s culture, by ensuring that the two talented leaders have a close partnership and a direct working relationship, with appropriately defined authority and responsibility for their respective areas of expertise.

Copyright Office, Mason Law School Announce Academic Partnership

The United States Copyright Office and George Mason University School of Law announced last Friday that they have formed an academic partnership, working through Mason Law’s recently-launched Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic, directed by Professor Sandra Aistars.

Copyright Office issues DMCA exemptions for automotive software, jailbreaking smart TVs

Automotive software exemptions were only one class of circumvention made allowable by the recent copyright rules which may be exciting for some DIY tech enthusiasts. Jailbreaking, or the process of accessing a device’s operating software to execute software which otherwise could not be run, is now legal in some limited forms for an array of electronic devices. For smartphones and tablets, the Copyright Office favored an exemption for circumvention of operating system software to execute lawfully obtained software applications, or to remove unwanted software from the device. This exemption only applies to “portable all-purpose mobile computing devices” and so only doesn’t extend to specialized devices like e-book readers, vehicle-embedded systems or handheld gaming devices. This rule closely reflects requests made in a petition by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) despite opposition from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) as well as the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s (NTIA) opinion that the exemption should also extend to e-book readers and other specialized devices.

Copyright Office asked to investigate software copyright issues by Senate Judiciary

At the end of her speech Pallante mentioned that she had just received a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee, specifically sent by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who Chairs the Committee, and Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The letter from Grassley and Leahy asked the Copyright Office to undertake a study and to report back on a number of software copyright issues. Pallante read a portion of the letter received from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which said: “As software plays an ever increasing role in defining consumer interactions with devices and products, many questions are being asked about how consumers can lawfully use products that rely on software to function.” She then remarked that this inquiry goes away from copyrights merely protecting expressive content, and further pointed out that the Senate is asking about works that are protected by copyright but still functional.

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.

Copyright Office Playing Government Shutdown Games

As of the writing of this article the USPTO website remains up and appears to be fully functional. So if the USPTO can keep its website full of publicly available, free information up during a government shutdown why did the Copyright Office need to remove everything from its website and pretend that this is required by a government shutdown? For crying out loud they have the funds to keep the website live on the Internet and post this ridiculous notice.

Comprehensive Copyright Reform on the Horizon in the US

The Copyright Office has told Congress that the copyright laws are showing their age and need Congressional attention. With the prospect of comprehensive copyright reform on the horizon the familiar battle lines are being drawn between those who absolutely need copyright protection to survive and create versus those who are a part of the infringement culture. Without a solution to the growing culture of infringement original creation of copyrightable works will continue to experience downward pressure, which will ultimately curtail original creation by all those other than corporate conglomerates that have the resources to police and enforce. Do we really want to see the market squeeze out independent content creators due to copyright laws that don’t function given the new age technological realities?