The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

Rupa Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music Inc. - USDC, Central District of California, September 23, 2015

District court grants plaintiffs summary judgment, holding that defendants never acquired rights in and do not own valid copyright to lyrics of “Happy Birthday to You.” In 1893, the Hills assigned their rights to the...more

What Happens if You Wait Too Long to File Your Patent Case?

Patent owners recently were reminded that delay in pursuing patent infringers can be fatal. A patent lawsuit that is not filed timely can be blocked by the doctrine of laches, even to the extent of preventing the patent owner...more

Laches As a Defense to Patent Damages Survives – For Now

In last week’s 6-5 decision in SCA Hygiene Prod. v. First Quality Baby Prod., LLC, No. 2013-1564, 2015 WL 5474261 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 18, 2015), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, reaffirmed that...more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US: Court Rules That Happy Birthday to You is In the Public Domain

In a prior blawg post, I wrote about the then-recently filed case of Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., in which the issue was whether or not the song, Happy Birthday To You, is still...more

Copyright Protection Goes ‘To the Batmobile!’ says the Ninth Circuit

While the Caped Crusader drives around in his Batmobile protecting Gotham from its fringe, copyright law protects the Batmobile from infringers—this, according to the Ninth Circuit in DC Comics v. Towle. The Batmobile is more...more

THIS IS JUST BANANAS: PETA Files Suit Over Monkey Selfie

In a prior blawg post, I discussed the strange case involving British nature photographer, David Slater, and his claims of ownership over a photo “selfie” that had been “taken” by a monkey (the “Monkey Selfie”) and were...more

Copyright Strategies for Start-Up Companies

As a leader of a start-up company, you are probably aware of the importance of protecting your company’s innovative products, services and technologies through patent filings. If you are savvy, you are also aware of the...more

Second Circuit Rules That Movie Directors Generally Don’t Have A Copyright Interest In Their Individual Contributions To A Movie

The Second Circuit was recently asked to decide whether a contributor to a creative work, whose contributions are inseparable from and integrated into the work, can maintain a copyright interest in his or her contributions. ...more

En Banc Federal Circuit Preserves The Patent Laches Defense Over Dissent

In a divided en banc decision in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, the Federal Circuit preserved the defense of laches for patent cases even though the Supreme Court eliminated that defense in copyright...more

Aretha Franklin Is Looking For A Little Respect From Telluride And Toronto Film Festivals

On September 4, 2015, a long running legal battle over the right to use footage from a 1972 concert by Aretha Franklin took a twist right out of a Hollywood movie when the Queen of Soul sought, and was granted, a temporary...more

Rethinking Fair Use in the DMCA Context

On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in Lenz v. Universal Music Group, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16308 (“Lenz 2015”), affirmed the denial of the respective parties’ motions for summary judgment... In...more

9th Circuit Confirms Duties for Posting DMCA Takedown Complaints

As Canada begins to settle in with the new “notice and notice” provisions under the Copyright Act (Canada) which came into force January 2, 2015, copyright owners in Canada still need to address infringing content posted on...more

Original Policeman in the Village People Get His Copyrights Back, and $500,000 in Attorneys’ Fees

On September 15, 2015, the Southern District of California awarded over $500,000 in attorney’s fees to a songwriter who successfully prevailed on his right to terminate grants of copyright under 17 U.S.C. § 203 because...more

Alert: Ninth Circuit: Copyright Owners Must Consider Fair Use Defense Before Sending Takedown Notices

On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that parties who send "takedown notices" under the authority of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") must consider whether the subject work constitutes a...more

Ninth Circuit Requires Fair Use Evaluation Before Issuing DMCA Take-Down Notices

In a highly anticipated opinion in the so-called "Dancing Babies" case, the Ninth Circuit clarified this week the steps under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that copyright holders must take before issuing a...more

The DMCA Through the ‘Lenz’ of Fair Use: The Ninth Circuit Finds Fair Use Analysis Required Before Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Monday, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in the heavily followed “dancing baby case,” holding that copyright owners must consider an alleged infringer’s defense of fair use before sending a notice under the Digital...more

Before Sending DMCA Takedown Notice, Copyright Owners Face Duty to Consider Fair Use, Says Appeals Court

On September 14, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that copyright owners have a “duty to consider—in good faith and prior to sending a [DMCA] takedown notification—whether allegedly...more

Intellectual Property Alert: DMCA Takedowns Require Consideration of Fair Use

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that copyright holders must at least consider fair use before issuing a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The decision, in Lenz v....more

The Dancing Baby Grooves to Mixed Victory in the Ninth Circuit: Court Holds That DMCA Takedown Notices Require Consideration of...

Behind the scenes of the Internet’s current swirl of memes, mash-ups, and other viral content is a massive system of takedown notices and counter-notices passing back and forth between content owners, web hosts, and users,...more

Ninth Circuit Says “Let’s Go Crazy” On Fair Use of Prince Song In YouTube Video

n Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. et al, the Ninth Circuit held that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) requires copyright holders to consider fair use before sending a takedown notice and that the failure to do...more

Copyright Preemption Notwithstanding No Copyright Protection and No Copyright Claims - Spear Marketing, Inc. v. BancorpSouth Bank

In a suit alleging trade secret theft of ideas related to a software program, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed both a lower court’s denial of remand to state court based on complete copyright...more

A Joint Author Does Not Own Derived Material - Greene, et al. v. Ablon, et al.

Addressing joint and derivative works under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found the district court erred in ruling that a single work cannot be both joint and derivative. Greene, et al. v....more

“GIVE ME A … ©?” – Cheerleading Uniforms, Fashion Design and Copyright Law

The old adage may hold that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but fashion designers are understandably dismayed when perfect replicas of their creative apparel are sold at deep discounts to lower-end markets soon...more

Brown v. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - USDC, E.D. Kentucky, August 27, 2015

Pro se plaintiff Rhonda Kay Jackson Brown, author of the novel Jackson Road and the related screenplay, “Mother’s Son,” brought copyright infringement and unfair competition claims against Twentieth Century Fox and...more

Using Copyright Protection in Architectural Works to Police Unauthorized Photographs

Can I stop photographers from taking, displaying, and selling photographs of my building? The answer is, like the answer to so many other questions, maybe. This issue often arises in the context of photographers who...more

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