The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

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

Bozo’s Flippity-Flop and Shooting Stars: A Cautionary Tale About Rights Management

If you’ve ever taken piano lessons then titles like “Bozo’s Flippity-Flop”, “Shooting Stars” and “Little Elves and Pixies” may be familiar. These are among the titles that were drawn into a recent copyright infringement...more

Pay Now or Pay Later – Challenges Facing Spotify, Tidal, and Other Media Streaming Services Following a Series of Copyright...

Spotify USA Inc. (“Spotify”), the popular music streaming service with over 100 million active users and 30 million paying subscribers, continues to grow as an industry leader. Spotify launched in 2006 and reached over 20...more

Led Zeppelin Prevails in Copyright Infringement Case: Now on Appeal in Ninth Circuit

In May 2014, the Trust acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe (a/k/a Randy California) of the rock group Spirit filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin related to the first chords in the band’s most...more

Legal Concerns for Social Media Influencers: Intellectual Property

Social media “influencers” – individuals who are powerful, popular and relevant enough to influence others within their online social sphere – generate ad dollars, product endorsement opportunities and other revenue streams...more

Don’t Think About Copyright Law on Labor Day

Labor Day is the wrong time to think about copyright law, especially in 2016, because this year marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service, 499 U.S. 340...more

Notice and Notice Regime Does Not Change Law for Obtaining Norwich Orders

Unlike many countries which provide an effective “notice and take down” remedy for copyright owners whose works are wrongly posted on internet sites, Canada has implemented a “notice and notice” regime. In Voltage Pictures,...more

Paying for software development? Make sure you own it!

In a digital society dominated by the saying, “there’s an app for that,” copyright protection is essential. Paying to have a work created does not automatically vest ownership of the copyright in the paying party. When making...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2016

Supreme Court Expands Discretion to Award Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement and Eliminates the Federal Circuit’s ‘Seagate Test’ - In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court...more

Dancing Baby May Be Headed To Supreme Court

On August 12, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) petitioned the Supreme Court on behalf of its client, Stephanie Lenz, to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 801 F.3d 1126...more

DOJ declines to modify consent decrees, angers PROs.”

Greenberg Glusker music law partner William I. Hochberg was quoted in an August 4, 2016, Daily Journal article, “DOJ declines to modify consent decrees, angers PROs.”...more

The Supreme Court Clarifies Standard For Attorney Fee Awards In Copyright Cases

Copyright infringement litigation has been on the rise in recent years, particularly in the Central District of California, with the apparel industry feeling the brunt of this uptick. In a typical case, a plaintiff alleges...more

Alert: Copyright Office Letter Raises New Questions About FCC Set-Top Box Proceeding

A recent letter by the US Copyright Office has raised questions about the FCC's proposal to adopt new rules intended to open up the market for cable television set-top boxes and what actions the FCC ultimately will take. The...more

Second Circuit Revives Copyright Claims Against Sony and Ghostface Killah

In Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 15-1778, the Second Circuit recently revived claims against Sony and Ghostface Killah, holding that although third parties may raise a work for hire defense, here there were factual...more

A House of Cards: How Much Copyright Protection Remains for Architectural Works

Although copyright protection in the United States was extended to architectural works in 1990, this protection has become increasingly narrow. A recently issued Eleventh Circuit opinion, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Inc. v. Jewel...more

Burning Man Bus Not a Protected Work of Visual Art Under VARA

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of a Nevada district court when it determined that the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) of the US Copyright Act did not apply to a used school bus that had...more

Kirtsaeng II: Fees in Copyright Cases Depend on Reasonableness of Litigation Position

Under 17 USC § 505, a “court may . . . award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party.” However, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act’s fee-shifting provision, 17 USC § 505, the...more

European Court of Justice Strengthens Rights of Authors, Performers and Phonogram Producers

A new judgement issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) requires a business offering television or radio programs in its facilities to pay license fees to national collecting societies if the programming...more

Supreme Court to Clarify Test for Copyright Protection of Useful Articles

On May 2, 2016, the Supreme Court granted certiorari from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to resolve a multi-circuit split over “the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is...more

TV Broadcasters Filing Royalty Claims Will Need to Hustle

TV broadcasters know that every July 31st, they need to file with the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to claim a share of the royalty fund for out-of-market carriage of their programming by cable and satellite TV systems. The...more

What You Need to Know About U.S. Law: You Really Need to Register Your Copyrights

As explained by the United States Supreme Court in Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, registering a copyright is an essential element of a cause of action for copyright infringement. Lesser appellate and trial courts have...more

Supreme Court 2015-2016 Intellectual Property Case Review

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2015 term came to a close. The Court issued written decisions in three intellectual property cases during that term, the same number of cases as during the previous term,...more

Brumley Heirs Win Fight over Rights to Old Gospel Song *WEB ONLY**

Addressing the termination right given to authors and their heirs under the Copyright Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that four siblings could use their right to terminate the transfer their...more

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