IP Intelligence

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Insight on Intellectual Property

Tag Archives: copyright

Apparel Designs and the “Metaphysics” of Copyright Protection

Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athlectica, LLC, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1150 (W.D. Tenn. 2014) Metaphysics is usually thought to be the province of philosophers or theologians.  A recent decision by a U.S. District Court in Tennessee, Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athletica, LLC, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1150 (W.D. Tenn. 2014), reminds us that copyright law can also … Continue Reading

What CLS Bank Taketh, Copyright May Giveth Back

CLS Bank and Its Impact on Software Patents Courts, commentators and clients will be struggling for some time to assess the impact on software patents of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank.  Interpreted one way, the decision kills patents directed at computer-implemented business methods.  Interpreted another way, it’s business as usual for … Continue Reading

Legislative Watch: Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2013

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published as a BakerHostetler Executive Alert on November 13, 2013 Authored by: Heather J. McDonald and Jenna Felz A proposed U.S. Senate Bill has the potential to change the way in which intellectual property infringement is reported and enforced. U.S. Senate Bill 662 (“S. 662″), the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization … Continue Reading

Cars Lawsuit Runs Out of Gas

The United States Supreme Court recently brought final resolution to Mandeville-Anthony v. Walt Disney Co., a dispute over the ownership of Disney and Pixar’s animated movies “Cars” and “Cars 2,” and the spin-off television series “Cars Toon.”  The plaintiff originally filed the case in 2011 in the Central District of California alleging two claims.  First, … Continue Reading

Creative, But Perhaps Too Creative, Lawyering

U.S. District Judge Rakoff ruled on whether copying legal filings amounts to copyright infringement.  His verdict: it does not.  Judge Rakoff granted summary judgment to defendants Lexis and Westlaw, dismissing plaintiffs’ allegation that reposting legal documents infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights.  Though the Court’s Order does not state the basis for the ruling, the defendants argued that the … Continue Reading

Publish or Perish: Sony Releases Compilation of 50-Year-Old Bob Dylan Bootlegs to Comply with EU Directive

  Authorship credit: David McMillan Exploiting a recent European Union Directive extending the term of copyright for sound recordings, Sony released an 86-track collection of Bob Dylan recordings, including studio outtakes and live recordings from 1962-63. The Directive, issued September 2011, extends the term of protection for sound recording copyrights by 20 years—from 50 years … Continue Reading

Controversial “Six-Strikes” Copyright Alert System Debut Delayed

The Center for Copyright Information, an organization founded and funded by media industry organizations, their members and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), yesterday announced that it would push back the start date and will likely begin to roll out its long anticipated “Copyright Alert System” in the early part of 2013.  The announcement comes on the … Continue Reading

Fifty Shades of Gray Market Artwork

Droit moral – the legal doctrine that grants artists a moral right to dictate certain treatment of their artwork even after sale – has a firm foundation in European law and elsewhere, but has never found much support in U.S. jurisprudence.  Certain moral rights are recognized under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, 17 … Continue Reading

Hulkamania is Running Wild: Let the Battle Begin (in Court)

Terry Bollea, better known as the professional wrestler with the stage name Hulk Hogan (“Hogan”), is involved in an unattractive legal battle that presents an unusual intersection of the First Amendment, copyright law, and privacy/publicity issues. Hogan filed two lawsuits arising out of a 2006 sexual encounter with Heather Clem (“Heather”), then the wife of … Continue Reading

Artist Resale Royalties: U.S. Copyright Office Seeking Comments

Should artists have the opportunity to benefit from the increased value of their works?  At the request of Congress, the U.S. Copyright Office is considering whether artists and/or their heirs should be granted a percentage of the proceeds from the resale of their original works of art.  On Dec. 15, 2011, Senator Herb Kohl and Representative Jerry Nadler introduced the … Continue Reading

The Use and the Fury: Faulkner Estate’s New Enforcement Efforts

In a pair of lawsuits filed about a week ago, Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC (“Faulkner Literary”), the owner of the literary rights to the late William Faulkner’s works, sued Sony Picture Classics (“Sony”), as well as Northrop Grumman Corporation (“Northrop Grumman”) and Washington Post Company (“Washington Post”) in the federal district court for the district … Continue Reading

Pocket Full of Kryptonite: California Court Rules that Superman Heirs Forfeited Termination Rights

The Copyright Act’s provisions concerning termination rights are complex and nuanced: these rights are available only under certain circumstances and only during specified periods of time.  And that is not surprising, as these rights allow an author or an author’s beneficiaries to recapture potentially valuable rights that were previously assigned—basically, an author or her heirs have … Continue Reading

Time is Relative: California Court Determines that Einstein’s Right of Publicity Expired in 2005

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once,” Albert Einstein once quipped.  But Einstein was not commenting on law, where the passage of time has a different significance—and now has resulted in a California federal judge ruling that Einstein’s right of publicity, which was claimed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (“HUJ”), has expired.  … Continue Reading

Whoa Nelly: Furtado and Timbaland Defeat Copyright Claim as Plaintiff Fails to Show Evidence

In what might have otherwise been a legitimate case of copyright infringement, Kernel Records–the plaintiff in Kernel Records Oy v. Timothy Mosley et al., had its case tossed out because of an evidentiary failure. Section 411 of the Copyright Act is clear: absent special circumstances, a plaintiff must attain a copyright registration, as discussed here.  One … Continue Reading

Illegal Music Downloaders Beware

For the second time in under a month, a court has confirmed a large statutory damages award against an illegal music downloader.  In the latest development in a six-year long dispute over illegal music downloads, the Eighth Circuit issued a unanimous decision last week and reinstated a $220,000.00 jury verdict against Ms. Jammie Thomas-Rasset.  Ms. Thomas-Rasset … Continue Reading

Welcome Back Demi, Now Please Stay Away From Viacom

Viacom is being sued for copyright infringement in California federal court for using a photograph of Demi Moore on VH1′s website, a popular site averaging approximately 2 million views a month.  According to the complaint, VH1′s site generates revenue through advertisements devoted to music and popular culture.  The Plaintiff, Los Angeles-based National Photo Group (“NPG”), … Continue Reading

Live to Ride

A new case, involving an artist’s accusation that Harley-Davidson Inc. has infringed two copyrights, will now delve into the complex relationship between the affirmative defense of laches and the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations.  The decision (available here), by Judge Adelman of the United States District Court for the District of Wisconsin provides the setting. Laches … Continue Reading

Madonna Sued in Sampling Lawsuit

VMG Salsoul LLC filed a complaint for copyright infringement on July 11, 2012 in California District Court against Madonna, Shep Pettibone, and other music industry-related defendants.  At the heart of the complaint is a claim for copyright infringement based on illegal sampling.  According to the complaint, the timeless Madonna classic, “Vogue” contains intentionally hidden illegal … Continue Reading

Copyright Etiquette

Pinterest is one of the world’s most visited sites, arising interest in and attracting both individual and business users.  As of December 2011, Pinterest entered the top 10 social networks in terms of hitwise data, with 11 million visits per week.  Today, it closely rivals both Twitter and Facebook in popularity.  Unlike, Twitter and Facebook however, … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Declares the Copyright Royalty Board Unconstitutional

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the Copyright Royalty Board—at least as currently established—is unconstitutional.  The D.C. Circuit’s decision in Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Copyright Royalty Board and Library of Congress, 11-1083, eliminated portions of the Copyright Act in order to extricate the offensive provisions … Continue Reading

WIPO Treaty Grants Audiovisual Performers New Rights

The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, signed on June 26, is an attempt to harmonize the substantive IP rights of audiovisual performers across the globe. Intended to complement the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 (the “WPPT”), which only covered audio performances, the Beijing Treaty grants audiovisual performers certain moral and economic rights in … Continue Reading

A Disturbance in the Force? The Second Circuit Clarifies (and Narrows the Application of) the Law of Copyright Preemption

Though it probably has nothing to with a high count of Midi-Chlorians, Hayden Christensen—the actor that played Darth Vader in the Episodes 2 and 3 of George Lucas’s Star Wars series—had the law in the Second Circuit clarified and reversed in his favor.  In what could signal a shift in copyright preemption cases, the Second … Continue Reading