News & Analysis as of

Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl”: a Derivative Work with a Co-Author

On January 1, 2016, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Joseph Goebbels’ diaries will both enter the public domain in most of Europe, where the term of protection ends 70 years after the death of a work’s author. One of the Nazi’s...more

Orwellian Enforcement of Orwellian Copyright?

George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 would describe this situation as “doubleplusungood.” Josh Hadley, an internet radio host and a self-described “harsh film critic with no sense of subtlety or tact,” recently met the ire...more


Earlier this week, the Sixth Circuit ruled the “Tomaydo-Tomahhdo Recipe Book” was not creative enough to warrant a copyright. The case started when Rosemarie Carroll (and related companies) sued her ex-partner, Larry Moore...more

Second Circuit Holds That Google Book-Scanning Project Is Fair Use

Last Friday, the Second Circuit ruled that Google’s project to digitize and index millions of copyrighted books without permission from the copyright owners is a non-infringing fair use. Through its book-scanning projects,...more

The Second Circuit’s Apple Ebooks Opinion

The Second Circuit affirmed the district court and held, 2 to 1, that defendant Apple Inc. had violated Section 1 by masterminding the creation, organization and implementation of a conspiracy by five publishers of ebooks...more

Authors and Booksellers to Justice Department: Investigate Amazon

We recently wrote about the Second Circuit’s June 30, 2015 decision affirming Judge Denise Cote’s decision that Apple conspired with five publishing companies to raise the price of e-books....more

Connecticut Court Sinks Claim That History Of American Submarine Infringes Copyright

A recent decision from Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in the District of Connecticut may make waves in the world of nonfiction copyright. The decision throws out a copyright case that, among other things, emphasized two...more

Gerritsen v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, June 12, 201

District court dismisses breach of contract and breach of guaranty claims in first amended complaint against Warner Bros. based on Oscar-winning motion picture "Gravity," holding that plaintiff Terry Gerritsen, author of...more

Screenwriter SLAPPs Down Libel-in-Fiction Claim

In a victory for all authors of fiction, a screenwriter of the film “What Maisie Knew” has successfully defended a lawsuit that sought to hold him liable for defamation based on the portrayal of a character drawn from an 1897...more

UK: Freedom of Speech - Unnamed artist to appeal publishing injunction in the Supreme Court

On 9 December a well-known British performing artist was granted permission to take his case to the Supreme Court, where he will appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in OPO v MLA & STL, reported here in October 2014....more

No Fair Use for Digital Excerpts

Cambridge University Press et al v. Patton et al. - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit vacated the district court’s decision holding that digital excerpts of books from three academic publishers provided to...more

How the Kirtsaeng Decision Could Ruin the U.S. Branded Drug Industry

The Constitution gives Congress the power to grant copyright and patent protection in the same part of Article I, specifically in Section 8, Clause 8...more

ECJ Rules on Digitization of Library Collections

Technische Universität Darmstadt v. Eugen Ulmer KG - The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the meaning of an exception contained in the European Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC), permitting the provision of...more

“Textbook Dictionary” Definitions Not Fair Use, Says Mass. Federal Court

On September 26, 2014, the District of Massachusetts shot down a plan to develop a “textbook dictionary.” James Richards, inspired in part by the Autobiography of Malcolm X, developed a project to convert the dictionary from...more

VAT Alert: K Oy (C-219/13)

Under EU VAT law, EU Member States may, at their discretion, apply a reduced rate of VAT to books produced on "…all physical means of support". The term "all physical means of support" has generally been interpreted to...more

Entrepreneur Chris Yeh (@chrisyeh) Discusses Co-Authoring "The Alliance" on @HsuUntied [Video]

Today, my Special Guest is Chris Yeh, Co-Author (along with Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha) of "The Alliance," a New York Times best selling book on managing talent in the networked age from the employer's perspective. Chris...more

Update: District Court Finds First Amendment Does Not Protect Former Guidance Counselor’s Sexually-Explicit Book

The Northern District Court of Illinois found that Rich Township High School District 227 did not violate the free speech rights of former guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach Bryan Craig when it dismissed him based...more

Imputations- jury decides whether ‘the antidote has overcome the bane.’

The New South Wales Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in the matter of Corby v Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd. In this case Rosleigh Jill Rose, Michael Corby Junior and Mercedes Pearl Esma Corby (‘the Appellants’)...more

Curtis v. Illumination Arts, Inc.

Curtis v. Illumination Arts, Inc. - USDC, W.D. Wa., July 17, 2014 - District court grants default judgment in copyright action and awards $50,000 in statutory damages against defendant publishers per book...more

Conan Doyle Estate’s Quixotic Attempt to Protect Sherlock Holmes

Led by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused what Posner called a “quixotic” attempt to extend copyright law. While the holding was perhaps to be expected, the opinion introduced a...more

The Scope of Copyright Protection over Sherlock Holmes Characters Is Far from “Elementary”

The copyright clause of the U.S. Constitution incentivizes the creation of original works of art by granting authors exclusive rights in such works for “limited Times.” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8. The idea is to strike a...more

Opening the Library Doors to the World: Second Circuit Finds Universities’ Book Scanning Project Constitutes “Fair Use” of...

On June 10, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decision in Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, No. 12-4547, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 10803 (2d Cir. Jun. 10, 2014), a case in which a group of...more

Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust

Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust - USCA, Second Circuit, June 10, 2014: Second Circuit rules that doctrine of “fair use” allows consortium of university libraries to create full-text searchable database of copyrighted...more

Second Circuit Confirms HathiTrust Digital Library's Full-Text Search Constitutes Fair Use in Copyright Case

Last week, the Second Circuit issued its decision in the closely watched Authors Guild, Inc. et al. v. HathiTrust et al. copyright infringement case. At issue was whether the use of copyrighted material in the HathiTrust...more

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd.

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. - USCA, Seventh Circuit, June 16, 2014: Seventh Circuit rules that editor of anthology of stories featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson characters did not...more

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