News & Analysis as of

Fair Use

Social Links: SCOTUS strikes down law banning sex offenders from social media, denies cert in “dancing baby” case; Germany may...

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a North Carolina law that the state has used to prosecute more than 1,000 sex offenders for posting on social media is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment....more

Fair Use on The Loose For The Great Dr. Seuss!

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

You may remember, you may recall, A certain infringement suit filed last fall. It was filed by the heirs of the great Dr. Seuss, And now they’ve run smack dab into the doctrine of fair use....more

Top Ten Urban Legends of Intellectual Property

1. Poor Man’s patent/copyright: mail yourself a copy of what you want protected and don’t open it.The sealed information can then be used to prove ownership of the intellectual property contained in it. While this may...more

The Artist Formerly Known As…Warhol

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Lynn Goldsmith is a professional photographer who rose to fame in the 1970’s for her portrait photography, especially for her work with musicians and other entertainers. Her work has appeared on over 100 album covers....more

Fair use blocks out copyright claim over LeBron’s tattoo

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Courtside questions: Is it fair or foul to show a player’s tattoo in a video game? LeBron James is a talented individual: three-time NBA Champion; 13-time NBA All-Star. And he gave a more than respectable performance playing...more

A Steep Climb to Own a One Word Mark?

The grocery aisles are fertile grounds for my keyboard, as you know. And, while I’m generally far more interested in coffee grounds than tea leaves (unless we’re speaking of the iced variety or reading between the lines of...more

Third verse same as the first - Will Richard Prince’s transformation defense work yet again?

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Take a copyrighted photograph of Sonic Youth bass player Kim Gordon, crop it, and add an Instagram border and a few words of text and emojis. Have you “transformed” it sufficiently to avoid copyright infringement? And is it...more

Annotations to Georgia’s Legal Code Are Protected By Copyright

by Reed Smith on

The state of Georgia and the Code Revision Commission achieved a victory when a federal court granted their motion for summary judgment, holding that Georgia’s “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA) was protected by...more

Fair Use is Not Always Fair

Photographer TC Reiner sued Watkins Institute and its student Ryon Nishimori for copyright infringement when Nishimori incorporated one of Reiner’s copyrighted photographs into a mock advertisement for a classroom assignment...more

Lawsuits are the Inevitable Cost of YouTube Success

by Weintraub Tobin on

Whenever there is a report of a YouTube creator being sued for copyright infringement, the response from the creator and the community seems to be one of shock and surprise. The truth is, successful YouTube content creators...more

Transformative Use or Infringement

In Cariou v. Prince, 714 F3d 694 [106 USPQ2d 1497] (2d Cir. 2013), the Second Circuit said that a use of a copyrighted work need not comment on the original artist or work, or on popular culture, in order to constitute...more

Auction House Accused of Scraping Competitor’s Web Listings

Screen scraping is a problem that has vexed website owners since the early days of e-commerce – how to make valuable content available to users and customers, but prevent competitors from accessing such content for commercial...more

“Charging Bull” Sculptor Articulates VARA Complaint, But “Fearless Girl” Still Standing Firm

by Sullivan & Worcester on

After a recent discussion about whether the new Fearless Girl sculpture by Kristen Visbal in Lower Manhattan might implicate the copyright of the earlier Charging Bull sculpture that has been there for nearly three decades,...more

Yes—Copying Photographs from the Internet Can Get You into Trouble

by Bennett Jones LLP on

Although it happens all the time, reproducing photographs found on the internet for use in business is fraught with risk. Businesses should only copy images where there is clear permission to use them—or face a substantial...more

"Fearless Girl" Sculpture Near Wall Street Prompts Copyright Allegation That is More Bull than Bear

by Sullivan & Worcester on

The sudden appearance near Wall Street on March 8, 2017 of The Fearless Girl, a bronze life-sized depiction of a roughly ten-year old girl staring defiantly at the famous Charging Bull sculpture has prompted headlines...more

Do You Even Meme Bro? The Law of Internet Memes

by Gray Reed & McGraw on

You know you’ve chuckled at a few of them–the ubiquitous internet meme. But, have you ever wondered whether all this sharing, changing and going “viral” is legal....more

Jersey Boys: The Curtain Call For Two Copyright Claims

Last month, the Broadway hit-musical Jersey Boys closed its doors after a spectacular eleven-year run. As someone who hails from the great state of New Jersey and who saw the show twice, I thought it was only appropriate to...more

Copyrighting a Dream

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

This week we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s mission was to teach our nation the value of tolerance and mutual respect regardless of each person’s differences. These lessons still ring...more

Circuit Split Remains: SCOTUS Passes on Defining Nominative Fair Use

In a recent disappointment to those advocating clarity for the muddy waters of determining permissible use of third-party trademarks under the nominative fair use doctrine, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court...more

Boldly Going Where no Fanfic has Gone Before

Fanfiction refers to the art of creating fiction using another author’s characters or universe. I was first introduced to the concept in high school, when a friend began writing Harry Potter fanfiction. (Side note: this is...more

Does Louis Vuitton Lack A Sense Of Humor? The Parody Defense Is No Laughing Matter For Brand Owners

by Knobbe Martens on

On December 22, 2016, the Second Circuit gave tote bag manufacturer My Other Bag an early Christmas present by tossing out luxury giant Louis Vuitton’s claims of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and trademark...more

Of Klingons and Copyrights: Trekkie Fan Film Hits Fair Use Flameout

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

A Star-Trek fan-film is boldly headed to a jury trial to determine whether Axanar Productions—the company behind the fan-film—is liable for copyright infringement. Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios sued Axanar Productions...more

Does the Fair Use Exception Shield Ivanka Trump from Artists Who Want Nothing to Do with Her?

Much has been written about how the Trump family uses their name to market their own businesses, but the Trumps are equally gifted at trading on others’ notoriety to promote themselves and their businesses. Consider the...more

Louis Vuitton Left Holding the Bag

In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag, Inc., [16-241-cv] (December 22, 2016), the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for My Other Bag that its parody bag did not infringe or dilute Louis Vuitton’s trademark...more

Supreme Court Corner - Q4 2016

by DLA Piper on

CASES WE ARE WATCHING Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. - COPYRIGHT – Cert. Pending ISSUE: Whether, in sending a takedown notice under the DMCA, the copyright holder’s “good faith belief” of copyright infringement may be...more

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