Fair Use

News & Analysis as of

Carlos Santana is Everywhere

Seeing Carlos Santana this weekend while watching the Super Bowl with friends reminded me about the recently filed copyright infringement suit against BuzzFeed. You might be thinking, “that was Chris Martin of Coldplay, not...more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update - February 2016

Be Reasonable: The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review the Standard for Awarding Attorneys' Fees to the Prevailing Party in Copyright Infringement Suits - Why it matters: On January 15, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court...more

Nominative Fair Use, as Illustrated by Colorful Balls

If you watch any amount of T.V. or happened to catch either of the AFC or NFC Championship games last weekend, you’ve probably seen one of the recent cell phone carrier ball commercials....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

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

iPhone 6, Can You Say Nominative Fair Use?

We cover a lot of topics related to nominative fair use of trademarks. Does the example below on product packaging from J. Crew qualify for fair use of the iPhone 6 mark?...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

The “Poo” People Use: Who Owns Emojis

Emojis – those cute images you may find in a keyboard on your Android or iPhone device – have changed the way many people communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings and concepts. They can add a certain level of pizzazz to an...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

Pinterest fails to pin Pintrips on trademark infringement and dilution claims | World Trademark Review

In Pinterest Inc v Pintrips Inc (No 13-CV-04608-HSG, October 21 2015), the US District Court for the Northern District of California has held that the PINTRIPS and PIN marks used by Pintrips did not infringe or dilute...more

"New Infringements?" Richard Prince's Latest Collection is the Subject of Copyright Claims

Richard Prince, the controversial appropriation artist, has once again found himself in the crosshairs of the copyright law. On December 30, 2015, Donald Graham filed a copyright infringement suit against Prince in...more

Using “Borrowed” Images in Your Blog

An engaging image, be it a photograph, line art or other graphic, can capture the reader’s attention and drive interest in an online post. Bloggers, especially, are well aware of the attention grabbing benefits of a great...more

TCA Television Corp. v. McCollum - USDC, S.D. New York, December 17, 2015

District court dismisses plaintiffs’ claim of copyright infringement, finding that use of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” routine in Broadway play “Hand to God” is transformative use and is protected by fair use...more

"Let's [Not] Go Crazy" with Copyright Takedown Notifications

Stephanie Lenz posted a short home video on YouTubein February 2007 of her two young children dancing to a barely audible recording of the Prince song “Let’s GoCrazy.” In June of the same year, YouTube received a takedown...more

December 2015: Entertainment Litigation Update: Ninth Circuit Holds That Copyright Holders Must Consider Fair Use Before Sending...

In Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., No.13-16106 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2015), the Ninth Circuit became the first federal court of appeals to address the question of whether fair use constitutes “authorization under the law” under...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

“Borrowing” Images for Presentations: Fair Use or Copyright Infringement?

Everyone loves a good joke, which is why presenters try to liven up an otherwise dull subject matter with stock cartoons, movie footage or other humorous material. This is particularly helpful after lunch breaks and, with...more

Rights of Visual Artists

The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) is part of the U.S. Copyright Law and is found at 17 U.S.C. §106(A). This law went into effect in 1990 and grants certain rights to visual artists. It is akin to moral rights laws which...more

Broadway Production Scores Home Run over Its Use of “Who’s On First?” Comedy Routine

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were a vaudeville comedic juggernaut. Among the duo’s many accomplishments during their heyday was the creation of “Who’s on First?” which is still widely considered one of the most famous comedy...more

Hashtags, Trademarks and One #ProudMama

We have previously discussed how the use of the hashtag in trademarks is continuously evolving. As it turns out, the latest evolutionary wrinkle might have started to form this past March, thanks to one of pop culture’s more...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2015

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...more

Fair Use’s Jedi Knight

This isn’t necessarily new news, but I thought it deserved a post regardless. Back in late November, Google announced a new policy of pushing back against copyright holders issuing DMCA takedown notices regarding videos...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

Google Gives Fair Use on YouTube a Fighting Chance

Last month, Google announced a groundbreaking policy that may help shift the balance of power between copyright claimants and those who upload YouTube videos that may be covered by fair use. According to Google’s Public...more

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