Category: Copyright

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Picking: A Few IP Collectibles Since My Last Post

There is a popular television show in the United States called American Pickers, which follow the adventures of antique and collectible “pickers” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz.  Wolfe and Fritz travel around in a van with the logo Antique Archeology to buy, or “pick,” various items for resale, for clients, or for their own personal … Continue Reading

CarGurus Enters Canada – Suit Ensues For Statutory Damages under the Canadian Copyright Act

The plaintiff in a copyright infringement action has the option to choose to receive statutory damages rather than to establish its actual quantum of damages it has suffered. Statutory damages range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $20,000 for the infringements related to a given work. A plaintiff might choose statutory damages … Continue Reading

Can You Register a Copyright on an Artistic Element in an Industrial Design?

Suppose that you have expressed your idea into a tangible form such as two-dimensional artistic elements incorporated into an industrial design.  Although your copyright exists upon the moment of creation, do you have a valid copyright?  Should you register your copyright on the two-dimensional artistic elements with the U.S. Copyright Office?  Can you stop a … Continue Reading

IP Court has clarified that the use of a “plot generating object” in a movie may constitute copyright infringement

In mid-February, the Russian Intellectual Property Court issued an interesting decision, in which it indicated when filmmakers have to obtain a copyright owner’s consent for use of a movie prop. Under the auspices of the case, Pan Press Publisher filed a lawsuit against Ren-TV TV Channel and AN-film Production Company claiming that its book cover … Continue Reading

Oh, Where Cases Like That Will Go: HOW A CEASE AND DESIST LETTER STOPPED THE PLAY BUT STARTED THE SUIT

Lombardo et al v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., case number 1:16-cv-09974, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is an interesting case for intellectual property practitioners, especially those involved in copyright matters and curious as to how the parody/fair use discussion started in my last post for ILN IP Insider … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Sets the Bar Higher for Obtaining Damages for Design Patent Infringement

Bottom Line:  The Supreme Court’s decision sets the bar higher for design patent holders to recover for infringement and opens the door to apportionment of damages. Parties looking to file for design patents will likely consider claiming their patents more broadly, in order to avoid the specter of reduced damages in the event the design … Continue Reading

Maybe Axanar Could Klingon To Its Fair Use Defense In A Parallel Copyright Universe

On January 3, 2017, in Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. et al., a United States District Court held that Axanar could not rely on a fair use defense during the upcoming trial over whether Axanar infringed Paramount’s copyright in the popular Star Trek television and motion picture franchise.  Axanar has an existing twenty-one … Continue Reading

New Copyright Office Regulations Require Websites to Re-Register for DMCA Safe Harbor Protection

BOTTOM LINE Website operators and other online service providers must re-register their DMCA designated agents using the Copyright Office’s new online filing system by December 31, 2017 to avoid losing DMCA safe harbor protection. The Copyright Office recently implemented new regulations governing how websites and other online service providers must register a designated agent for … Continue Reading

Food Fight and Road TRIPS!!!!!: Treaties And Product Names Getting Messy

Two words, uttered in a certain tone and with a certain speed, are apt to suggest a bit of wastefulness, a touch of anarchy, and yet a sense of communal participation.  Those two words, from Faber College of lore to present discussions of law: Food Fight!!!!!.  And, we see the long smoldering discussions of geographical … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Narrows ‘Red Flag Knowledge’ Exception to DMCA’s Safe Harbor Protections for ISPs

In a long-standing case brought against the video platform Vimeo by several music publishers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently set the bar high for copyright owners to succeed in their infringement claims against service providers based on allegations of “red flag knowledge.” The Second Circuit, shedding some light on what is … Continue Reading

A PRIVATE PARTY TOO BIG TO BE PRIVATE

The Danish court has recently decided that a party may be too large to be considered private, at least when it comes to the understanding of the wording “Public performance” in Danish copyright law. The court therefore ruled that the staff party held by Novo Nordisk should be considered as public in connection to the … Continue Reading

“…if you listen very hard…”: Stairway To Heaven Verdict May Have Unblurred Lines In Music Infringement Cases

Among the last few lines of Led Zeppelin’s rock ballad Stairway to Heaven are the lyrics “And if you listen very hard/The tune will come to you at last./When all are one and one is all…”  Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe brought suit against Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement, apparently thinking that one did not even … Continue Reading

Can a 3-D Work of Artistic Craftsmanship be Protected by a Copyright?

Suppose that you create a unique three-dimensional display. You find out that your competitor has copied your three-dimensional display. Can you claim that the design of the display is a three-dimensional work of artistic craftsmanship to apply for a copyright registration to enforce against your competitor? The answer may be YES! Under 17 U.S.C. § … Continue Reading

Can the First Amendment Trump the Right of Publicity?

Many states recognize a “right of publicity,” which prohibits the commercial use of an individual’s name, likeness, or identity without consent. When aspects of a well-known person’s identity are incorporated into an expressive work, however, what emerges is a tension between the individual’s right of publicity and the artist’s freedom of expression as protected by … Continue Reading

Expanding Reach of the Copyright Fair Use Defense

Fair use allows for the unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work in limited circumstances. Historically, examples of fair use have included copying for the purposes of criticism, comment, parody, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Now the application of the fair use defense applies far beyond this. Two court decisions in 2015 illustrate the expanding … Continue Reading

Publicity Exactly What Was Missing From Monkey Selfie Case

According to the “infinite monkey theorem,” a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare or at least a comprehensible original work.   But, according to a United States federal district court judge, that … Continue Reading

“Selfie” Copyright Does Not Belong To Monkey Who Took It

When is a photographer not the “author” of a photograph for copyright purposes?  According to a federal judge in San Francisco, when the photographer is a monkey! Sometime in 2011, a crested macaque monkey living on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, used the camera of nature photographer David Slater to take a number of self-portraits, … Continue Reading

IP HOUSEKEEPING – A CANTER THROUGH EU REFORMS COMING YOUR WAY DURING 2016

Here’s a quick “heads up” of what I see as the key reforms of IP laws in the pipeline at the European Union (EU) level that are likely to affect EU regional registrations of IP, as well as the national laws of each and every EU Member State.  You will no doubt be reading more … Continue Reading

Be Careful How You Get Over the Paywall: Recent Canadian Decision Holds That Non-Subscribing Reader of Paywall Article Infringed Copyright

A recent decision from the lowest court of the Province of Ontario has raised questions over how recent amendments to Canada’s Copyright Act regarding “technological protection measures” (“TPMs”), such as subscription “paywalls”, will be interpreted and balanced with traditional copyright analysis. In 1395804 Ontario Limited (Blacklock’s Reporter) v. Canadian Vinters Association, the central question considered … Continue Reading

Can 3-D Scanning and Printing be a Copyright Infringement?

Suppose that you have a unique configuration for your physical object. You find out that your competitor has scanned the configuration of your object and is printing the object with a three-dimensional (3-D) printer. Is there anything you can do?  The answer is YES! Let’s suppose you have created a physical object such as a … Continue Reading

ISP Obligations and Copyright Reform – Injunctions under 115A Copyright Act 1968

Of the many hurdles in enforcing copyright online, one of the preliminary issues (and often one of the most complicated) is the problem of jurisdiction. With infringements potentially taking place all over the world, a rights holder may be faced with the dilemma of working out where infringements are occurring, and figuring out how to … Continue Reading
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