The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

TCA TV Corp. v. McCollum - USCA, Second Circuit, October 11, 2016

Second Circuit rejects fair use defense in copyright action brought by Abbott and Costello heirs for use of comic duo’s “Who’s On First?” routine in play “Hand to God,” but affirms dismissal on grounds that plaintiffs failed...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

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

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