Case study: “copyright-free” in-store music and collective management


Company A (a Greek company) provides music programmes – based on a specific repertoire and intended to function as background music – to retail stores and, more broadly, to commercial or workplaces. Such music is used as a background for the broadcasting of advertising messages that are heard in such commercial spaces on a daily basis. The advertising messages are played at a higher volume than the music.

In order to carry out this activity, company A signed contracts with certain suppliers from which it acquired all of the copyrights and related rights regarding the specific musical repertoire. Continue Reading

“What’s Mine Is Not Yours To Give Me”—Nor To Take Without Just Compensation: A New Jersey Reaction To Sovereign Immunity, Intellectual Property, & Takings

I have to give it to creative, resilient lawyers (and in fact, I have lauded them in the past here and there).  When the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Allen v. Cooper, 140 S.Ct. 994 (2020), a decision holding that the sovereign immunity of individual states prevented a copyright holder from recovering damages for infringement, I was a bit disheartened.  Seeing no immediate litigation alternative, I called for “common sense Congressional legislation to make States directly liable for damages for copyright infringement,” because I felt it unfair that, after Allen, copyright owners “would find themselves defenseless from state-sponsored copyright piracy.”  Flynn, Queen Anne’s Revenge, Indeed!: Copyright Conundrums, Sovereign States, and IP Piracy (2020).  Then some creative, resilient lawyers said, “Not so fast,” arguing that the 11th Amendment’s bar on infringement damages actions does nothing to lessen a copyright holder’s claim for just compensation for the taking of property under the 5th and 14th Amendments, and that unlicensed use of another’s intellectual property is a form a taking from the owner a defining strand of the bundle of rights that define copyrights as “property.” Continue Reading

Damages for Copyright Infringement before You Register Your Copyright

Let’s suppose that you have not registered your copyright in a book with the U.S. Copyright Office and you find someone has infringed your copyright by copying substantial portions of your book.  Let’s also suppose you are able to prove that the alleged infringer has infringed your work and you have notified the alleged infringer regarding the infringement of your copyright. Let’s further suppose that you cannot prove that the infringement caused you lost sales, lost opportunities to license, or diminution in the value of the copyright. Continue Reading

Related to cryptocurrency? You will not be allowed to participate in organized securities trading in Russia

The Central Bank of Russia did another “shot” at the rights of cryptocurrency holders on July 19, 2021. The Bank issued an Information Letter No. IN-06-59 / 52 “On certain types of financial instruments” on this day.

Now Russian and foreign issuers, if their securities payments depend on:

  • digital currency rates;
  • prices for foreign digital rights;
  • prices for digital rights that can be accepted as means of payment; or
  • prices of contracts related to the transfer of digital rights,

will not be admitted to organized securities trading. Continue Reading

The importance of identifying the correct applicant in Australian trade mark applications

When preparing a trademark application, a significant amount of attention is often given to the drafting of the specification of goods and services. Whilst the goods and service classification is important, care should also be taken to ensure all other details contained within the trademark application are correct, including confirming the true identity of the applicant and that it is the actual owner of the mark.

Whilst it might seem innocuous, incorrectly identifying the applicant in a trademark application could have some damaging consequences, including that a registered trademark owner may be unable to enforce its rights in the mark on the basis that it is not the true owner. Continue Reading

FTC To Focus on Subscription Services — Hints at Taking Action Against “Dark Patterns”

The FTC has issued a new Enforcement Policy Statement Regarding Negative Option Marketing (Policy Statement), generally warning companies about their compliance obligations relating to negative option programs and against using website design features to deceive consumers into signing up for subscription services (i.e. by using “dark patterns”).

The Policy Statement was released in light of an uptick in the number of consumer complaints citing harm caused by deceptive recurring subscription practices, such as billing consumers for unauthorized charges or making it difficult for consumers to cancel a subscription. Continue Reading

Reverse Class Actions in Canada: A New Form of IP Litigation

On September 8, 2021, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) in Canada released its decision in Salna v. Voltage Pictures, LLC, 2021 FCA 176 which considered whether a reverse class action, a term used colloquially to describe where a plaintiff seeks certification of a respondent/defendant class proceeding, could be pursued in connection with a copyright infringement claim. Rather than in a typical class action where the plaintiff is the class, in these proceedings, the respondents/defendants make up the class. A reverse class proceeding is a proceeding where a plaintiff or specific plaintiffs bring a proceeding against a class of respondents/defendants for common or similar facts. Continue Reading

THE PARASKAVEDEKATRIAPHOBIA PRECEDENT: Why Friday The 13th Decision Raises Fear Of Slashing Long-Held Copyrights

Admittedly, the second word in that title is a mouthful—but Paraskavedekatriaphobia is a real word, with an etymology and definition.  It even has a synonym, friggatriskaidekaphobia.  Each means “fear of Friday the 13th.”    Though I am tempted to write this October piece about Halloween (whether it is the day or the movies by that name, including one out again this season), I cut over instead to a different set of haunts and howls caught on film.  (But I will pause along the way to note that the Seuss/Star Trek mash-up case about which I have written before has recently settled, which I had to mention, of course.) Continue Reading

Establishment and operation of CMOs in Greece

Legal forms of CMOs

According to article 8(1) of Law 4481/2017 on the collective management of copyright and related rights, “collective management organisations operate under any legal form under the terms of article 3(a)”.

Therefore, upon the establishment of a collective management organisation (CMO) in Greece, the members (ie, the rights holders) themselves are free to choose the legal form that best serves their interests. Continue Reading

Can You Register a Copyright on a Website or Web Page?

Suppose that you have expressed your idea into a tangible form such as a website or web page.  Although your copyright exists upon the moment of creation, do you have a valid copyright on the website or web page?  Should you register your copyright on the website or web page with the U.S. Copyright Office?  The answer is YES! Continue Reading