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The Give and Take of the 2015 Library of Congress Sec. 1201 Copyright Exemptions

I used to love working on cars. As a teenager I had a 1972 Karmann Ghia, which I could repair, MacGyver-like, with rubber bands, tinfoil, and sticks of chewing gum. But as automotive technology advanced, the prospect of...more

Fourth Age Limited v. Warner Bros. Digital Distribution Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, October 28, 2015

Ninth Circuit affirms district court’s holding that Warner Bros. can assert counterclaims against estate of J.R.R. Tolkien in action over right to make digital merchandise based on Tolkien’s books, as counterclaims were...more

Spooky Songs Done Wrong: Copyright Consequences for Unlicensed Haunted Houses

It’s that time of year: costumes and candy, haunted houses and hayrides. And all those tricks and treats add up to a $7.4 billion commercial industry around the holiday, a figure that exceeds the annual revenue of the...more

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Social Media and Intellectual Property Issues

Social media platforms are very useful, but they also create legal issues. Without question, social media has changed the way businesses communicate with their clients and consumers. Likewise, social media has changed the way...more

Baldwin v. EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. - USCA, Second Circuit, October 8, 2015

Second Circuit overturns district court ruling and holds that notice of termination sent to EMI for song “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” successfully terminated 1981 grant of rights because, despite the lack of recordation of...more

Happy Birthday to All

On September 22, 2015, a California district court issued an opinion that may change birthday celebrations forever. In Rupa Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., the court held that Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. does not own a...more

Royalty Allocations for Royalty Pools Must Be Well Reasoned and Based on a Record - Settling Devotional Claimants v. Copyright...

Addressing the reasonableness of the Copyright Royalty Board’s (Board) decision allocating a pool of royalties among several parties for the retransmission of copyrighted material by cable system operators, the U.S. Court of...more

Licensing Agent Has Standing to Bring Copyright Infringement Suit - Minden Pictures, Inc. v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Addressing the issue of whether a photograph licensing agent has standing to bring an infringement suit under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court decision, concluding...more

Intellectual Property: Happy Birthday to You (10/15)

If you have ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, odds are you have heard this birthday jingle. Perhaps you have also heard different birthday greetings at other chain restaurants. More likely than not, you have not heard any...more

First Circuit Clarifies Rights of Co-Author of Joint Derivative Work to Make Further Derivatives

In a squabble between two psychologists over rights to books about “explosive” children, the First Circuit weighed in this summer with an opinion holding that a work of authorship under the Copyright Act can be simultaneously...more

Rights of Publicity: A Potentially Catastrophic Pitfall for the Unwary Marketer as told by Jordan v. Dominick’s Finer Foods

Most marketing departments for large companies have at least a basic understanding, if not a proficient grasp, of the type of legal vetting that needs to be conducted before using an image in an ad or marketing piece. They...more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US: Court Rules That Happy Birthday to You is In the Public Domain

In a prior blawg post, I wrote about the then-recently filed case of Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., in which the issue was whether or not the song, Happy Birthday To You, is still...more

From Phonograph Records to Musical Sound Recordings: USPTO’s Pilot Program May Bring Life to Outdated Registrations

Own a trademark registration covering goods or services that have become obsolete due to technological advances? Does your trademark registration cover content delivered by floppy discs that are now provided as on-line...more

Second Circuit Rules That Movie Directors Generally Don’t Have A Copyright Interest In Their Individual Contributions To A Movie

The Second Circuit was recently asked to decide whether a contributor to a creative work, whose contributions are inseparable from and integrated into the work, can maintain a copyright interest in his or her contributions. ...more

Aretha Franklin Is Looking For A Little Respect From Telluride And Toronto Film Festivals

On September 4, 2015, a long running legal battle over the right to use footage from a 1972 concert by Aretha Franklin took a twist right out of a Hollywood movie when the Queen of Soul sought, and was granted, a temporary...more

9th Circuit Confirms Duties for Posting DMCA Takedown Complaints

As Canada begins to settle in with the new “notice and notice” provisions under the Copyright Act (Canada) which came into force January 2, 2015, copyright owners in Canada still need to address infringing content posted on...more

Seattle Seahawks Initiate Opposition to Stop Registration for "Power of 12"

The Seattle Seahawks are known for several things amongst National Football League (“NFL”) fans. One of the most well known facts about the Seahawks is that they have deemed their notoriously loud and rowdy fans as “The 12s.”...more

Alert: Ninth Circuit: Copyright Owners Must Consider Fair Use Defense Before Sending Takedown Notices

On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that parties who send "takedown notices" under the authority of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") must consider whether the subject work constitutes a...more

Intellectual Property Alert: DMCA Takedowns Require Consideration of Fair Use

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that copyright holders must at least consider fair use before issuing a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The decision, in Lenz v....more

Ya Down With TPP?: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Answer the Question of Artists’ Termination Rights in Sound Recordings

In a recent blog, I wrote about whether the U.S. Copyright Act’s work-made-for-hire doctrine applies to copyrights in sound recordings as that status affects artists’ termination rights in transfers. The responses I received...more

Supreme Court Corner – Q3 2015

In Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, the Supreme Court upheld a long-standing precedent that restricts the ability of a patent holder to charge a royalty beyond the term of a patent. In a 6-3 decision, the Court declined to...more

Shame on You Productions, Inc. v. Banks - USDC, C.D. California, August 14, 2015

Plaintiff Shame on You Productions, Inc., was assigned a screenplay titled “Darci’s Walk of Shame” by its author, Dan Rosen. Shame on You sued defendants, including actress Elizabeth Banks, for copyright infringement and...more

Atlanta Rapper Rich Homie Quan Seeks Cancellation or Transfer of Trademarks and Over $2,000,000 in Damages

Think It's A Game Entertainment, LLC ("TIG"), an Atlanta-based production company, Fly Merchandise Enterprises, LLC ("Fly"), and Girvan Henry ("Henry"), have left Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan feeling "some type of way."...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - July 2015

INTERNET EU: The end of roaming charges and the emergence of net neutrality - The European Commission has secured an agreement with the European Parliament and the Council to end roaming charges and to introduce the...more

Attorney Fees Awarded In First Impression

In Ryan v. Editions Limited West Inc., 2015 DJDAR 5455, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit decided an important issue of first impression: does the Copyright Act of 1976 preclude enforcement of a contractual...more

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