The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

A Tale of Two Cakes: Can Copyright Law Protect this Cake Design?

Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes, one of our hometown heroes in Baltimore, a.k.a. the Ace of Cakes, created a striking cake for President Obama’s 2012 inauguration. The cake design caught the eye of the incoming presidential...more

Copyrighting a Dream

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

Canadian IP law and practice in 2016: reviewing the highlights

As the calendar turns the page from 2016 to 2017, we take the opportunity to review Canadian IP law and practice highlights from the past year....more

Is There Copyright in a Screenshot?

Ever wanted to remove something after it had been swallowed up in the gaping maw of the internet? Then you will relate to this story about an individual’s struggle to have certain content deleted from the self-appointed...more

NY Common Law Does Not Provide Creators With Control Over Public Performances of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On December 20, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) issued a landmark state copyright law decision, holding in response to a certified question from the Second Circuit in Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius...more

Seven IP Cases to Watch in Early 2017

SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products. LLC (Docket No. 15-927, S. Ct.) - In SCA Hygiene AB v. First Quality Baby Products LLC,the Supreme Court will consider “[w]hether and to what extent the defense of laches...more

Not Gone with the Wind: IP Rights Despite Public Domain Images

In 2006, Warner Bros. filed suit against A.V.E.L.A., X One X Productions, and ArtNostalgia.com, Inc. (collectively, “AVELA”) for copyright and trademark infringement under the Copyright Act, the Lanham Act, and state law....more

New Electronic System for DMCA Safe Harbor Agent

If your company hosts or operates an interactive website that allows users to post or upload materials, you need to have a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy. A DMCA policy gives copyright owners the opportunity...more

Website Operators Must Use New Online System to Qualify for DMCA Safe Harbor

On December 1, 2016, online service providers (including most website operators, cloud service providers and online communication services) must qualify for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor by using a...more

Federal Copyright Preemption of State Law Claims – Still a Powerful Defense Tool in Commercial Litigation

Recently our colleagues Natalie Arbaugh and Rex Mann discussed the Fifth Circuit’s decision in GlobeRanger Corp. v. Software AG USA, Inc., 2016 WL 4698270 (5th Cir., Sept. 7, 2016), focusing on the Court’s discussion of the...more

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

The closely watched case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands was argued in front of the the Supreme Court on Monday, offering anxious fashion designers a glimpse into how the Justices may rule. ...more

We’ve Got the Copyright, How ‘bout You? Supreme Court Grapples with Cheerleader Uniforms

On Halloween, the highest court in the land heard oral argument on whether cheerleader uniform designs are subject to copyright protection. Varsity Brand, Inc. (“Varsity”), the country’s largest maker of cheerleader uniforms,...more

Is a Cheerleading Uniform’s Design Separable from its Utilitarian Aspects and Therefore Copyrightable? - Star Athletica V....

On October 31, 2016, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Star Athletica V. Varsity Brands. At the core of the case is whether the design of a cheerleading uniform, including patterns, graphics and colors,...more

“Gimme a C!” (for Copyright): Supreme Court to Weigh Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

Are cheerleading outfits functional “useful items” that normally are ineligible for copyright protection? Or do they contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership? ...more

Are You Allowed to Jailbreak Your Car? As of Today, the Answer is Yes.

Modern automobiles are operated by dozens of computers, known as Electronic Control Units or ECUs, which control almost all of the main functions in a vehicle, including engine control, fuel efficiency, and breaking. The...more

Fearing Trolls, Some “Friends of the Court” Turn to Laches for Solace While Others Urge Reversal in SCA Hygiene v. First Quality...

On November 1st, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to decide whether “Raging Bull” applies in patent litigation. At issue is whether and to what extent a laches defense may bar a claim for damages in patent...more

SPINAL TAPPED OUT: Harry Shearer’s Lawsuit is No Laughing Matter

For many of us, This is Spinal Tap remains the benchmark (if not the first great example) of the so-called “Mockumentary” genre of film. Since its first release in 1984 (it had a subsequent theatrical release thereafter) to...more

Make sure you get what you pay for with Independent Contractors: Pitfalls of a “Work Made for Hire” Agreement

As the owner or manager of a newly minted business, you are likely inclined to engage independent contractors to design your web site, create your marketing materials and perhaps even provide services to your clients....more

Ninth Circuit Provides a Second Look at Willful Copyright Infringement **WEB ONLY**

In a case stemming from a copyright dispute over photographs of the legendary hip hop group Run-DMC, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a music...more

Australian designs law — what is really going to change and when?

The Australian Government recently responded to the series of recommendations for designs law reform made by the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) in its final report of March 2015. The ACIP Review of the...more

Hot News, Shredded Wheat and Wool Underwear: Brandeis On Copyright And Trademark

October 9 marks the 100th anniversary of Louis Brandeis’ first session as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (October 9, 1916 was the second Monday in October – in 1917, the Court began meeting on the first...more

Australian designs law - where is reform headed?

It was back in 2012 that Australia’s Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) was first tasked with conducting the Review of the Designs System. In 2013 ACIP published an issues paper and in 2014 an options paper....more

Supreme Court Corner: Q3 2016

CASES WE ARE WATCHING - Lee v. Tam TRADEMARK – Cert. Pending Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al. TRADEMARK – Cert. Pending ISSUE: Whether the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause violates the...more

REDUCING RISKS: Court Finds Copyright Act Does Not Preempt State Trade Secret Claim

Over the years, it has proven difficult to fit software in any one category of IP protection. And while software’s ability to seemingly transcend patents, copyright, and trade secrets provides software developers and...more

Piracy Pays (The IP Owner) – Judge Whyte Grants Motion for Default Judgment After Awarding Sanctions in Unauthorized Software...

Order Granting Motion for Default Judgment, Adobe Systems Inc. v. Software Tech, et al., Case No. 5:14-cv-02140-RMW (Judge Ronald M. Whyte) - Everyone in the software field (and probably every computer user) is familiar...more

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