News & Analysis as of

The Copyright Act

Two layers of photo ownership in conflict in street photography case

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

“I own the photos.” It seems like a simple statement, but in copyright law, ownership isn’t simple. One person can own physical photographs, but not have the right to use them, because someone else owns the copyrights....more

Practice Tips for Copyright Owners in the Wake of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

After considering almost a year’s worth of substantive briefing (including fifteen separate amicus briefs), oral argument, at least ten distinct tests employed in courts throughout the country, as well as numerous novel tests...more

All infringements aren’t equal

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Are all copyright infringements created equal? Or should courts distinguish between different levels of intent, significance, and harm? Results in two recent cases suggest that circumstances have significant effects on...more

Media Law Bulletin: To Sample or Not to Sample?

by Sedgwick LLP on

Conflict is brewing among the United States Courts of Appeals as to when a musical artist’s use of a sample from another artist’s musical work is non-infringing. Three key opinions analyzing this issue were decided by the...more

Eleventh Circuit Joins Split Court Decisions on Registration Precondition for Copyright Suits

Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act generally requires copyright registration, or a refusal of registration, before a copyright action may be filed. This has led to a variety of decisions from the Circuit and District Courts...more

The Jury Is Still Out On What “Registration” Means Under Section 411 Of The Copyright Act.

by Weintraub Tobin on

The Copyright Act provides that “Registration” of a copyright is a precondition to filing suit for copyright infringement. 17 U.S.C. § 411(a). We are still trying to figure out exactly when registration occurs....more

Got Registration? You Better if You’re Filing a Copyright Case in the 11th Circuit

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act provides, in pertinent part, that “no civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright...more

Registration v. Application: A Copyright Circuit Split

Registration is not required for valid copyright ownership, but it is required before you can bring a copyright infringement lawsuit. Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act provides that...more

Best Practices for Using Third-Party Content on Your Company’s Website

Does your company’s website include or link to third-party content? If so, there are potential legal issues that may arise under copyright law and website terms of use that can be minimized or avoided by implementing some...more

Application or Registration? Eleventh Circuit Widens Circuit Split

The Eleventh Circuit has widened the circuit split on whether a copyright application or completed registration is required before filing a copyright infringement lawsuit. In Fourth Estate Public Benefit v. Wall-Street.com,...more

No Compulsory License for Internet Retransmissions of Broadcast TV

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Reversing the district court’s partial grant of summary judgment in favor of an internet streaming service, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit relied on the US Copyright Office’s interpretation of § 111 of the...more

You’ve Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

by Foley & Lardner LLP on

The US Supreme Court’s ruling in Star Athletica v Varsity Brands provides a path to copyrightability for pictorial or graphical elements of clothing designs and useful articles. Laura Ganoza and Julie McGinnis of Foley &...more

Give Me an E: Cheerleading Uniform Designs Eligible for Copyright Protection

by McDermott Will & Emery on

In a 6–2 decision authored by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court of the United States provided guidance as to whether aesthetic designs of a cheerleading uniform, such as stripes, chevrons, zigzags and color blocks, are...more

Entertainment Litigation Update - May 2017

Ninth Circuit Confirms That “Volitional Conduct” Is Still Required for Direct Copyright Infringement Post-Aereo. Earlier this year, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc., 847 F.3d 657 (2017), the Ninth Circuit re-affirmed...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

Something for Designers to (Maybe) Cheer About: Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

Historically, fashion designers, as well as other designers whose creative efforts are incorporated into useful/functional articles like clothing, shoes, and furniture, have struggled successfully to assert copyright...more

Limiting Statutory Damages in Internet Copyright Cases

One of the most significant legal concerns for Internet service providers is the risk of exposure to liability for the copyright infringements of their users. The concern is not unreasonable. Because Internet service...more

Supreme Court Announces Broad Separability Test in Applying Copyright Law to Useful Articles

by Ward and Smith, P.A. on

This article continues the discussion in an earlier article addressing the scope of copyright protection as it applies to useful goods under copyright law. At the time the first article was written, Varsity Brands, Inc. v....more

Separating Art from Function: Supreme Court Creates Copyright Test for Designs

by Holland & Knight LLP on

In a landmark 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved "widespread disagreement" among lower courts and held that the artistic elements in a functional article ­– such as the cheerleading uniform at issue in this case –...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

First judicial consideration of information location tool under the Copyright Act– Trader Corporation v. CarGurus Inc.

by Dentons on

On April 6, 2017, the words "information location tool", as they appear in s. 41.27 of the Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42 (the Act), were given their first judicial interpretation. S. 41.27(1) provides that a copyright...more

Litigation Alert: Ninth Circuit Rules on Copyright Preemption of Right-of-Publicity Claims

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Last week, in Maloney v. T3 Media, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that claims under state right-of-publicity law are preempted by the Copyright Act “when a likeness has been captured in a...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - April 2017

by Morrison & Foerster LLP on

Supreme Court Restricts the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law for Exported Goods - On February 22, 2017, the Supreme Court in a landmark decision held that the supply of a single component of a multicomponent...more

Cheerleader Uniform Designs Protectable Under Copyright Act

The Supreme Court recently held in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., that the designs on certain cheerleader uniforms may be protected copyrights. The 6-2 decision clarified the test to be applied when...more

What do Raging Bull and Adult Diapers Have in Common?

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Apparently, quite a bit according to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has dipped its toe into the waters of intellectual property law again and has decided to overturn 150 years or more of common law precedent in its...more

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