Copyright Infringement

News & Analysis as of

Naruto v. Slater - USDC, N.D. California, January 28, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement action brought on behalf of macaque monkey who took “selfies” using defendant photographer’s camera, holding that animals lack standing under the Copyright Act....more

Can Mike Huckabee Get an Amen! for his “Eye of the Tiger” Copyright Infringement Defense?

During his presidential campaign last September, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a well-publicized appearance at a rally for Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to...more

Monkey Business: A Primate Can’t Claim Copyright in Selfies

Order Granting Motions to Dismiss, Naruto, et al. v. Slater, et al., Case No. 15-cv-04324-WHO (Judge William Orrick) - Are photographic “selfies” a uniquely human conceit? Parties in a Northern District copyright lawsuit...more

Website HTML Is Copyrightable, Even If Look and Feel Is Not

In a notable ruling last month, a California district court ruled that the HTML underlying a custom search results page of an online advertising creation platform is copyrightable. In Media.net Advertising FZ-LLC v....more

ITC Section 337 Update – February 2016

Commission and Align Technology Petition for Rehearing En Banc in ClearCorrect - On January 27, 2016, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“Commission”) and Align Technology, Inc. petitioned for rehearing en banc in...more

[Webinar] Mitigating Intellectual Property Risks through Responsible Supply Chains - Feb. 10th, 8:00am, PST

Rapid supply chain expansion often results in an increasingly decentralized base of suppliers. While this expansion has helped organizations reduce costs and increase market share, it has also exposed them to supply chain...more

Business Litigation Report - January 2016

Legal Issues Raised by the Driverless Vehicle Revolution – PART 2 - Part 1 of this article, published in the December 2015 Business Litigation Report, described emerging driverless vehicle technology and related patent...more

Is LeBron James a “Medium of Expression” under the Copyright Act?  We May Soon Find Out.

Many professional athletes these days—particularly those in the National Basketball Association—have their bodies bedecked with all sorts of tattoos. It’s a trend that has steadily caught fire over the last several years...more

Relating a Software Copyright Infringement Claim Back to its Source

In a recent order, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts untangled a complicated timeline to decide motions for summary judgment regarding several copyright infringement and related claims on a statute of...more

Second Circuit Holds Google Books Is Fair Use

In a much anticipated decision, handed down in October of last year, the Second Circuit held Google Books to be a fair use of the copyrighted works Google digitized, catalogued, and offered for on-line searching. The Second...more

Court Enters Final Dismissal of “Monkey Selfie” Case

As anticipated, the judge presiding over the “monkey selfie” copyright case has dismissed the complaint for copyright infringement brought by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), ostensibly on behalf of a...more

Balancing Copyright Owners' Rights With ISP Immunities

When an online user violates copyright law, the copyright owner will frequently turn to the user's internet service provider (ISP) for relief. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) includes a safe harbor provision that...more

Copyright Infringement and the First Sale Defense

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in the case of Dolby Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, focuses primarily on the issue of which party bears the initial burden of proof with regard to a “first sale” defense in a copyright...more

[Webinar] Protecting Intellectual Property in Supply Chains: New Approaches and Initiatives - Feb. 11th, 5:00pm, CET

Fragmented, far-flung supply chains put valuable intellectual property (IP) at risk: counterfeits parts and counterfeits can enter legitimate supply chains, trade secrets can be compromised, and designs can be copied. For...more

Artist Sues Starbucks Claiming Copyright Infringement

New York artist Maya Hayuk was approached by an advertising agency working for Starbucks, to see if she would assist them with a proposed advertising campaign. Ms. Hayuk is known internationally for her paintings using bold...more

First Sale Defense Blocks “Slam Dunk” Copyright Violation

The Ninth Circuit recently addressed the burden of proof applicable to the first sale defense to a copyright infringement claim. That defense provides that, once a copy of a work is lawfully sold or transferred, the new owner...more

Copyright Case Against Famed Hip Hop Artist “50 Cent” Isn’t Worth Two Bits

In the summer of 2007, hip-hop artist Curtis Jackson—who performs under the stage name “50 Cent”—rapped his way to fame and riches with the smash hit “I Get Money.” After 50 Cent made a mint on this work (he sold more than 2...more

Simmons v. Stanberry - USCA, Second Circuit, January 15, 2016

Second Circuit affirms dismissal of infringement suit over hip-hop beat in 50 Cent song "I Get Money" after holding plaintiff's claim constituted dispute over ownership of copyright that was time-barred by Copyright Act's...more

Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag – Do You Get The Joke?

In a recent post, we discussed the trademark parody defense in the context of a California district court decision holding that the owner of the Superman “S” logo had adequately stated infringement claims asserted against a...more

Kirtsaeng Looks to Take Second Bite Out of the Supreme Court Apple

Supap Kirtsaeng (“Kirtsaeng”) already has one precedential U.S. Supreme Court case under his belt, and on Friday, January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court decided to give him a chance at a second when it granted certiorari of...more

Copyright Is Nothing To Joke About

Last summer, comedian Robert Kaseberg filed a copyright infringement suit against Conan O’Brien, among others, alleging that O’Brien incorporated four jokes written by Kaseberg in the opening monologues of his television show...more

FAN ART: Tribute or Tribulation?

“Fan Art”—you’ve probably seen it and didn’t know it. Maybe you’ve even purchased it, not knowing it wasn’t legally created. So what is it, exactly? Fan art is art created by fans of characters that were originally created by...more

The Complicated Relationship between DMCA Takedown Notices and the Word “Expeditious”

Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. When it comes to acting on copyright infringement takedown notices, just how fast is fast enough for social media platforms? Some recent (and not-so-recent) cases reveal how difficult the question...more

No Monkey Business Will Be Permitted in the Court

Under the U.S. Copyright laws “Copyright protection subsists … in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or...more

Online Infringement and Norwich Orders: an update

This is a case that became something of a lightning rod in the storm of subscriber privacy rights vs. copyright. As we wrote in our earlier post, a copyright owner can only enforce its rights against online infringement if it...more

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