The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

“Raging Bull” Settles but Its Repercussions Persist

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., et al., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (U.S. 2014) delivered a clear message to copyright holders and those who wish to capitalize on those copyrights. The...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2015

Copyrighting Player-Generated Content in Video Games - Last year, consumers spent more than $21 billion on the video game industry. The Entertainment Software Association reports that almost 60% of Americans—roughly...more

With Highly Anticipated Copyright Decision, The AutoHop Litigation Is Coming to a Close

In 2012, DISH Network announced two novel product offerings that would result in considerable backlash from the four major broadcast television networks and set in motion a three-year, wide-ranging, multi-front battle with...more

Virginia Court Dismisses Webcaster’s Suit Concerning Geofencing Workaround to Copyright Royalty Obligations

We previously wrote about a Virginia federal magistrate judge’s report recommending dismissal of a declaratory judgment action brought by several radio stations asking the court to rule that webcasts limited in scope via...more

American Broadcasting Co. v. Aereo and its Aftermath

The U.S. Copyright Act in 17 USC 106 specifically gives copyright owners the exclusive right to control “performances” of their works. 17 USC 101 defines public performance as including “transmission” of the work. In 17 USC...more

Monkey Selfie Redux

When we last examined the intellectual property issues raised by a self-portrait taken by a talented female Indonesian crested black macaque—popularly known as the “Monkey Selfie”—we concluded that there was unlikely to be...more

The Transformative Nature of The Fair Use Doctrine: The On-going Debate

While the 7th Circuit, in Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, 766 F.3d 756 (2014), affirmed a finding of fair use, the court’s analysis expresses skepticism about the approach used in Prince v. Cariou, 714 F.3d 694 (2013) and may...more

American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.

USDC, Southern District of New York, October 23, 2014 - In light of Supreme Court’s recent decision that defendant Aereo, Inc., engaged in public performances under Copyright Act by capturing over-the-air broadcast...more

Apparel Designs and the “Metaphysics” of Copyright Protection

Metaphysics is usually thought to be the province of philosophers or theologians. A recent decision by a U.S. District Court in Tennessee, Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athletica, LLC, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1150 (W.D. Tenn. 2014),...more

Supreme Court’s Footnote About Auckerman in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Does Not Create New Law: Cordis’s Laches Defense...

Medinol Ltd., v. Cordis Corporation and Johnson & Johnson Case Number: 1:13-cv-0148-SAS In March, Judge Scheindlin found that laches formed a complete defense for Cordis in this matter. Medinol did not appeal...more

Emerging Technology and Existing Law: Can Geofencing Provide Radio Webcasters a Workaround of Digital Performance Royalties?

New technology continues to generate business models that test the limits of intellectual property laws enacted before such technologies were ever contemplated. The latest example is the use of “geofencing” in an attempt to...more

California Court of Appeal Rules Models’ Right of Publicity Claims Assignable, Not Preempted by Copyright Act

The California Court of Appeal held earlier this month that certain right of publicity claims are freely assignable, and that the Copyright Act does not preempt a right of publicity claim where the defendant has no legal...more

The Challenge of the Unlocatable Copyright Owner – Checklists!

As this blog has documented on numerous occasions, Canada’s Copyright Act contains an “unlocatable owner” licensing mechanism (sometimes referred to as the “orphan works” mechanism), which enables prospective users of...more

Copying Is Not the Ultimate Test for Copyright Infringement

Paycom Payroll, LLC v. Richison - Copying alone is insufficient to establish copyright infringement, according to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In an infringement action involving computer...more

Monkey See, Monkey Do… However Monkey Does Not Enjoy Copyright Protection

I know this story crested a few weeks ago, but who can resist it? A famous 1998 Molson Canadian ad posed a Canadian version of the infinite monkey theorem. The cheeky ad, showing a seemingly endless array of monkeys on...more

Copyright Law Protects Course Syllabi From Disclosure Under Missouri Sunshine Law

Last month, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, held that a public university was not required to turn over copies of certain course materials, including course syllabi, in response to a public records request....more

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. - USCA Ninth Circuit, August 22, 2014

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. - USCA Ninth Circuit, August 22, 2014: On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that doctrine of laches could not bar plaintiff's copyright infringement claims involving...more

Management’s Ignorance Is Not a Defense to Copyright Infringement Claims

One of the most common reactions to an initial software audit letter is that management had no knowledge of any potential violations, that the IT personnel behavior violated corporate policy, and that management did not...more

Supreme Court Decision Threatens Internet Television, But There Is Hope

When Congress last completely overhauled the Copyright Act in 1976, disco topped the charts, Charlie’s Angels was making its television debut, and fax machines were revolutionizing how people communicated. But it was this...more

Termination and Reversion of Copyright Grants and the Termination Gap Dilemma

The 1976 Copyright Act (the “Act”) has been in effect since January 1, 1978. Since that time, the Act has provided authors (and some heirs, beneficiaries, and representatives) with the right to terminate prior grants of their...more

Funkadelic Master Sound Recordings Can Be Involuntarily Transferred to a Court-Appointed Receiver to Satisfy Judgment

Hendricks & Lewis PLLC v. Clinton - Addressing the issue of whether a lower court abused its discretion by appointing a receiver and authorizing the sale of master sound recordings to satisfy monetary judgments, the...more

Stop the Music (or Be Vicariously Liable)

Broadcast Music, Inc., et al v. Meadowlake, Ltd. - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found a restaurant owner personally liable where the restaurant played recorded and live music without authorization,...more

Raging Bull Decision Riles Hollywood, Thrills Plaintiffs

In June, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision affecting copyright claims and defenses. The copyrighted work at issue was the popular motion picture Raging Bull, in which Robert DeNiro plays famous boxing champion Jake...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - August 2014 (Global)

BROADCASTING - US: Following loss before the Supreme Court, Aereo “astonishes” broadcasters with new legal strategy - New York-based Aereo asserts in federal district court that it is entitled to a compulsory license...more

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