Derivative Works

News & Analysis as of

“The Man Who Brought the Beatles to America” is Bringing Them Back…to a U.S. District Court

Sid Bernstein was a legendary promoter and producer of iconic rock-and-roll performers including the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues and, of course, the Beatles. Bernstein earned his moniker as “The Man Who Brought the...more

Paying for software development? Make sure you own it!

In a digital society dominated by the saying, “there’s an app for that,” copyright protection is essential. Paying to have a work created does not automatically vest ownership of the copyright in the paying party. When making...more

Originality in Remastering: CBS Secures Victory in War Over Rights to Play Oldies

CBS recently secured a potential landmark victory that could benefit radio stations, streaming services, and satellite radio providers—many of whom have been mired in litigation for years with owners of sound recordings of...more

ABS Entertainment Inc. v. CBS Corp.- USDC, C.D. California, May 30, 2016

CBS defeats claims that it infringed copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings by performing recordings on radio broadcasts, successfully arguing that it performed only post-1972 remastered versions of recordings and that those...more

Nobody Puts Trademark Claims in a Corner (Except when Copyright Law Preempts Them)

Nostalgia is a big seller these days. Hollywood continues to produce remakes (and remakes of remakes), politicians lament the better days of yesterday, and companies capitalize on feelings of nostalgia in order to make money....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

Judge Leval Illuminates Google Books Fair Use Issues Second Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Defendant in Massive Copying Case

Based on the defense of fair use, the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Google in the decade-long copyright battle between an authors group and the Internet search giant. The lawsuit concerned Google’s right to...more

Transformative Parody Entitled to Independent Copyright Protections - Keeling v. Hars

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court in a rare instance where a playwright’s derivative work—a parody—fell within the fair use doctrine and acquired sufficient originality to warrant...more

When a Quirk of Copyright Law Creates a Christmas Classic: It’s a Wonderful Life and the Public Domain

George Bailey stands on a bridge begging for another chance at life. Upon being granted a second chance, he joyously runs home to embrace his family. As the community of Bedford Falls rallies around him and raises funds to...more

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

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

A Joint Author Does Not Own Derived Material - Greene, et al. v. Ablon, et al.

Addressing joint and derivative works under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found the district court erred in ruling that a single work cannot be both joint and derivative. Greene, et al. v....more

Richard Prince’s Instagram Art: Do You Know Where Your Face Is?

Social media, it seems, has turned us all into photographers. Anyone with a Facebook page, an Instagram account or any of the other methods for socializing on the web, can post original photos for all the world to see,...more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

What is ‘Blocking IP’?: Why You Should Care When Licensing Source Code

A client this week asked me to help him with a source code license. What started as a simple request with crafting a paragraph inevitably grew due to the concept of “blocking intellectual property.” While I would argue that...more

Corbello v. DeVito - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 10, 2015

Ninth Circuit reverses and remands district court’s grant of summary judgment to members of “Four Seasons” music group and others involved in producing musical “Jersey Boys,” holding that agreement between band member Thomas...more

Marvel Prevails in Copyright Termination Case: Famous artist Jack Kirby found to have created his comic drawings as a “work made...

In what can fairly be interpreted as a favorable decision for any business whose success depends upon copyrighted intellectual property, on August 8, 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Marvel...more

Controversial Film “Escape From Tomorrow” Shows Need to Protect Intellectual Property

“Escape From Tomorrow,” one of the most controversial films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, has put copyright and trademark law, as well as the question of what constitutes parody, in the spotlight. The film reminds...more

Navigating The Rocky Shoals Of Software Copyrights

Originally published in Chapter 17 of the State Bar of Texas - Advanced Intellectual Property Law. Contents: I. Introduction II. In Which Our Hero is Dashed on the Rocky Shoals of Software Coypright A....more

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