The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

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

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Around this time last year, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those IP-ish lawsuits that I’m supposed to know about. So...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

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Paint — Sue! VARA Claim Filed Against Detroit Real Estate Company

News of up-and-coming Detroit-based artist, Katherine Craig, splattered across headlines in the art world when she recently filed a lawsuit under Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). The complaint requests injunctive relief...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

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

The Next Copyright “Fantasy” is Headed to The Supreme Court

The last time the U.S. Supreme Court tackled the issue of attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act was in Fogerty v. Fantasy. In that case, John Fogerty was sued for alleged copyright infringement over his song “The Old Man...more

No Monkeying Around: Judge Rules That Animals Cannot Hold Copyrights, Do Not Have Standing to Sue

In a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III said he would dismiss a lawsuit brought by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on behalf of Naruto, a crested macaque monkey. PETA’s suit...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

Legal Trends: Intellectual Property

The previous federal government committed Canada to sweeping changes to the legislation and regulations governing virtually every category of intellectual property in the country. Some of these changes have largely already...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

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

The Idea of Yoga Versus the Expression of It - Bikram’s Yoga College of India v. Evolation Yoga, LLC

Affirming the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that a sequence of yoga poses and breathing exercises was directed to the idea or process of...more

Three Point Shot - December 2015

Keep Off the (Patented) Grass - Maintaining a beautiful lawn usually requires a lot of work, unless you are friends with Edward Scissorhands or install a "Brady Bunch" lawn of artificial grass instead. Installing...more

Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FilmOn X, LLC - USDC, Distric of Columbia, December 2, 2015

District court holds Internet television streaming service is not eligible for compulsory license under Section 111 of Copyright Act because it does not meet definition of “cable company” and therefore infringed...more

A Brief History of the Broadcast Reproduction Right

The following is a timeline of broadcast reproduction copyright developments, leading to yesterday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision in CBC v. SODRAC. 1980’s: SODRAC, a copyright collective society managing (largely...more

Keeling v. Hars - USCA, Second Circuit, October 30, 2015

Second Circuit affirms denial of summary judgment on defendant’s counterclaim seeking declaration that plaintiff’s theatrical script parodying 1991 motion picture “Point Break” was not entitled to copyright...more

Posturing for Protection: Yogi Chooses Wrong IP Tool to Protect Yoga Sequence

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Bikram’s Yoga College of India, L.P. v. Evolution Yoga, LLC, et al. is a stark reminder that ideas, processes and systems are not copyrightable, even if a book describing such is.  This...more

Federal Circuit Review | October 2015

Federal Circuit Revives Possibility of Permanent Injunction in Apple-Samsung Patent Dispute - In Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Appeal No. 2014-1802, the Federal Circuit reversed for abuse of discretion the...more

“Raging Bull” and the Patent Act: Laches Still Available in Patent Cases - SCA Hygiene Products AB et al. v. First Quality Baby...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit convened an en banc panel to examine the Supreme Court’s “Raging Bull” decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. in the context of deciding whether laches remains a...more

Advertising Law - October 2015 #4

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Application of VPPA to Free App - The latest decision interpreting the application of the Video Privacy Protection Act in the context of twenty-first century technology provides positive news for...more

Fahmy v. Jay Z - USDC, C.D. California, October 21, 2015

District court grants defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that songwriter’s heir did not have standing to sue for copyright infringement because he had conveyed all his economic rights (copyright) to the...more

The Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. USCA Second Circuit, October 16, 2015

Second Circuit affirms district court's holding that Google's creation of searchable, digital copies of tens of millions of books constitutes fair use under Copyright Act, because Google's search service merely provides...more

Second Circuit Holds That the Google Digital Books Project Is Protected Under the Fair Use Doctrine

On October 16, the Second Circuit ruled that Google’s scanning of millions of books without the copyright holders’ permission, for use in its “Google Books” database, is permissible under the fair use doctrine. Google Books...more

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