A Copyright is an exclusive legal right granted to the creator of an original work to license, copy, sell, distribute, or otherwise exploit the work for his or her own benefit.
News & Analysis as of

Intellectual Property: Happy Birthday to You (10/15)

If you have ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, odds are you have heard this birthday jingle. Perhaps you have also heard different birthday greetings at other chain restaurants. More likely than not, you have not heard any...more

First Circuit Clarifies Rights of Co-Author of Joint Derivative Work to Make Further Derivatives

In a squabble between two psychologists over rights to books about “explosive” children, the First Circuit weighed in this summer with an opinion holding that a work of authorship under the Copyright Act can be simultaneously...more

On Slanted Arguments and Red Herrings

Last Friday, both slanted arguments and red herrings were present during the 90 minute en banc oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in In re Tam....more

A Trend for Retailers to Avoid – Copyright Infringement Lawsuits Over Clothing

Textile Copyright Infringement Claims on the Rise - Katy Perry received a lot of attention for the dress she wore to the Met Ball this year, and not all of it was welcome. A Brooklyn artist thought that the dress was an...more

Making a Monkey Out of Copyright

The Monkey Selfie Caper apparently has legs, as they say in the news business. Long legs with opposable toes. (For background, see our earlier post: Monkey See, Monkey Do… However Monkey Does Not Enjoy Copyright Protection)...more

Music Publisher Caught in Birthday Suit

In 2013, Good Morning to You Productions Corp., Rupa Marya and Robert Siegel (collectively “GMTY”) filed a class action suit against Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., one of the largest music publishing companies in the world and...more

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Copyright Holder’s Responsibility When Sending A Takedown Notice Under The DMCA

In July, this author wrote about Lenz v. Universal which, at the time, was pending before the 9th Circuit. On September 14, 2015 the 9th Circuit came down with a ruling which answered whether a copyright owner must consider...more

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

Common IP pitfalls every business can avoid

As a business owner or manager, you have probably experienced or at least heard about costly and disruptive intellectual property infringement lawsuits. You may also be very concerned about protecting your company’s customer...more

The state of laches: Is delay in patent law different from delay in copyright law?

Copyright and patent law, because of their shared origins in the same Constitutional clause, are inextricably linked. The rationale used in supporting decisions in the copyright context are often not just equally applicable...more

DC Comics v. Towle d/b/a Garage Gotham - USCA, Ninth Circuit, September 23, 2015

Ninth Circuit affirms that Batmobile is “character” entitled to copyright protection. In May 2011, DC Comics sued Towle in a California federal district court, alleging, among other things, causes of action for copyright...more

Rights of Publicity: A Potentially Catastrophic Pitfall for the Unwary Marketer as told by Jordan v. Dominick’s Finer Foods

Most marketing departments for large companies have at least a basic understanding, if not a proficient grasp, of the type of legal vetting that needs to be conducted before using an image in an ad or marketing piece. They...more

Do You Know Your IP Rights In Your Imagery and Other Data Products?

Two recent court cases highlight the need for businesses to carefully consider the intellectual property rights associated with building data products and services. This issue is of growing importance as companies...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2015

28 U.S.C. § 1782: A Powerful Tool in Global Disputes - As the number and complexity of cross-border and multi-jurisdictional disputes increase, companies can use 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to obtain evidence from U.S.-based...more

Holy Copyrightability Batman! The Batmobile Is Still A Superhero…

In the spring of 2013, this author reported on the then-recent decision, DC Comics v. Towle, 989 F. Supp. 2d 948 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2013), where Judge Ronald Lew determined that the Batmobile is a comic book character...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

CBP Offers IP Owners Better Tools for Combating International Counterfeits

Next month, intellectual property owners will have the benefit of a permanent federal rule that provides for the disclosure of information essential to blocking counterfeit goods from invading the domestic market. The rule,...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

Ninth Circuit: “Holy Copyright Law, Batman!” The Batmobile Is Copyrightable

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Batmobile is a copyrightable character. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion explaining its ruling begins with the sentence “Holy copyright law, Batman!,” and goes on to quote Adam West...more

Are You Sure This Isn’t About Copyright? Chicken Sandwiches, Monkey Selfies and the Boundaries of Copyright Law

Last week, a wild crested macaque named Naruto (but really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against photographer David John Slater in the Northern District of California. The...more

The Case of Prince, a Dancing Baby and the DMCA Takedown Notice

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her baby dancing in the kitchen with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” playing in the background. Claiming use of their song amounted to copyright infringement, Universal...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

Pow! Boff! Thwack! Batmobile Wins Copyright Litigation

It's not every day a Ninth Circuit court opinion includes, "Holy copyright law, Batman!," or “To the Batmobile!” But in affirming a district court’s ruling in a copyright infringement case by DC Comics against the maker of...more

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