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Your Digital Millennium Copyright Registration May Be About To Expire

Last November, we wrote about the Copyright Office’s decision to ditch its paper registration system for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor and start a new online system completely from scratch. If you...more

A Recipe For Sanctions: “No reasonable copyright attorney … would have filed this complaint.”

If you are going to file a copyright infringement complaint based on a cookbook, beware. Copyrights in cookbooks are considered “thinner” than copyrights in many other types of literary works. There are several reasons for...more

Who Owns The Copyright In The Photograph That Launched A Thousand Pleadings?

Over a decade ago, a lawyer snapped a photograph of the Indianapolis skyline, thus opening the gates to perhaps the most prolific flood of copyright litigation in the history of Indiana. Over the last five years or so, this...more

Are False Accusations Of Copyright Infringement Defamatory?

Is it defamatory to falsely accuse someone of infringing intellectual property? Last month, the California Court of Appeal, in FilmOn.com v. DoubleVerify, Inc., affirmed the dismissal of a defamation action in which the...more

Registration v. Application: A Copyright Circuit Split

Registration is not required for valid copyright ownership, but it is required before you can bring a copyright infringement lawsuit. Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act provides that...more

Copyright Office Ditches Paper And Announces Electronic Renewal Requirement For DMCA Designated Agents

Since the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in 1998, online service providers wishing to avail themselves of the DMCA’s safe harbors (from liability for copyright infringement) have been required to...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

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

Harry Potter And The Cursed Legal Update

It has been about a year since we published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them, my attempt at a comprehensive review of Harry Potter-related litigation. Why update the article now? Two reasons. First: The...more

The Pleads Of The Many: 50 Years of Star Trek Lawsuits

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original series of Star Trek, which first aired on NBC in September 1966. On July 22, this milestone will be marked in earnest when Paramount Pictures releases...more

Shakespeare and Copyright: 5 Things You Should Know

Last year, I made a terrible mistake. When I published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them on this blog, I pronounced that “Ms. Rowling and her works pop up in court more than any author since Charles Dickens.” I...more

The First Circuit’s “Scungy” Backpage: Copyright And Right Of Publicity Claims Ineffective Against Sex Trafficking

In Doe v. Backpage.com, the First Circuit affirmed the District of Massachusetts in holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) shields from civil liability a website used by third parties to facilitate...more

Justice Scalia on Trademark and Copyright: Dastar, Penguin-Shaped Cocktail Shakers and “Guilt by Resemblance”

When we decided to mark the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia by recounting a few of his copyright and trademark opinions, we were somewhat surprised to discover that there really hadn’t been that many. In fact, we located...more

Star Wars Copyright and Trademark Litigation: The Empire Sues Back

Haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie yet? The pop culture zeitgeist recommends that you binge-watch all six of the prior Star Wars movies before going to see Episode VII, The Force Awakens and, according to the Washington...more

The Twelve Res of Christmas: Yule-Themed IP Matters in 2015

It is often said Christmas is creeping ever-backwards, each year striving to begin its domination of our collective consciousness and consumer dollars at an earlier date. In the realm of litigation, Christmas creep manifests...more

Authorship Credit for Scholarly and Creative Works: The Elusive American Attribution Right

What if were to tell you that I jointly authored this article with a colleague, but that I’m not going to give her any credit or attribution because I don’t feel like it? Can she sue me for copyright infringement? No, because...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

Ninth Circuit “Dancing Baby” Copyright Decision: A Quick Read for the Busy Practitioner

Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Northern District of California’s denial of cross motions for summary judgment in Lenz v. Universal Music. In an opinion by Judge Richard Tallman, the Court held that the...more

Harry Potter Lawsuits And Where To Find Them

On July 31, 2015, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling celebrates her 50th birthday, according to muggle sources. The enormous success of Rowling’s literary creation and its associated multimedia empire has spawned countless...more

The Bermuda Triangle of Online Defamation: Copyright, Clickwrap and the CDA

We have written many times about attempts to use copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. Because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) prevents a defamation plaintiff...more

Carta de Error! Copyright Takedown Notice To iTunes May Give Rise to Misrepresentation Liability

Section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes parties who issue copyright takedown notices liable for any “knowing” misrepresentations in those notices. However, the Ninth Circuit in Rossi v. Motion Picture...more

Default Is In Our Stars: Allegedly Overreaching Copyright Claimants Fail to Show

Taking legal action to enforce a copyright is often an expensive proposition so, before you go down that road, you better make sure you own the copyright in question. But what if you have already initiated copyright...more

And the Lawsuit Goes to . . . An Oscar-Time Guide to “Best Picture” Intellectual Property Litigation

The film that wins the Best Picture Oscar this year is certain to attract more viewers and more box office receipts than it had before receiving the award. But Best Picture winners also tend to attract more lawsuits,...more

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle 2014: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Heading into this year’s Super Bowl party season, there are two things every lawyer should be concerned about. First, why can’t your team get it together? Second, what do you do if you are asked to explain to your friends and...more

When Can You Be Sued For Introducing Copyrighted Works At Trial? Almost Never, But Plaintiffs Keep Trying

Professor Nimmer once identified the “weakest infringement claims of all time” as those involving attempts by copyright holders to prevent their copyrighted work from being used as evidence against them in court. “It seems...more

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