Posts tagged as:

copyright

Who’d have guessed that movie studios would entrust populist Mississippi Attorney General and longtime Overlawyered favorite Jim Hood with key water-carrying tasks in pushing their rights as copyright owners against online services and search engines? Not I [Eli Lehrer, Weekly Standard] More from Mike Masnick at TechDirt: “it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google.” Related: The Verge.

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  • Supreme Court suggests sanctions against patent practitioner over eccentric if not incomprehensible certiorari petition [Will Baude]
  • Some copyright and patent owners pursue market-based self-help remedies against infringement [Glenn Lammi/WLF, more]
  • DC Comics sues Spain’s Valencia soccer team because its bat logo is too similar to that of Batman [Yahoo]
  • Federal judge dings California lawyer $87K, finding suit against online news aggregator to be baseless [ABA Journal]
  • “Evidence from opera on the efficacy of copyright” [Michela Giorcelli/Petra Moser, SSRN via Tyler Cowen]
  • Go ask Alice: patent litigation takes a hit after SCOTUS ruling [Legal Ethics Forum, Alex Tabarrok]
  • Adam Carolla managed to crowdfund defense against patent plaintiff, usual cautions against trying this at home [Above the Law]

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Because if there was any rationale for creating the Department of Homeland Security, it was to ensure that America was not threatened by unlicensed panties suggestive of baseball-team logos. [Tim Cushing, Techdirt]

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Louis Menand on copyright

by Walter Olson on October 18, 2014

At the New Yorker.

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  • “Our mangled patent system,” Cato podcast [with Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center] Critique of federal circuit [Dourado at Cato Unbound]
  • Since SCOTUS’s June decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, many courts have struck down software patents as too-abstract [Timothy Lee, Vox]
  • Iqbal-Twombly principles as remedy for patent trollery? [Daniel Fisher]
  • ISP resists mass copyright enforcement enterprise’s demand for customer list [DSL Reports]
  • Win for Personal Audio in E.D. Tex.: “Jury finds CBS infringes podcasting patent, awards $1.3 million” [ArsTechnica]
  • “Premier League Uses Copyright To Pull Down YouTube Video Of Professor Advocating For Stronger Copyright For Premier League” [Mike Masnick, Techdirt]
  • A new leaf? “Silicon Valley’s Most Hated Patent Troll Stops Suing and Starts Making” [Business Week]

Silencing oldies radio?

by Walter Olson on September 25, 2014

Under a potentially far-reaching ruling by a federal judge interpreting California state law, satellite and streaming music services like SiriusXM and Pandora — and maybe bars and restaurants too — could be liable for vast sums for having broadcast pre-1972 recordings without obtaining “public performance” permission under California state law. [Hollywood Reporter's THR Esq; plus a very informative take from Jesse Walker]

“If you say anything remotely critical about the Ecuadorian government, you may face a copyright takedown,” wrote Maira Sutton at EFF in May. A Spanish firm that represents the government of Ecuador, Ares Rights, has sent out many such takedown demands, related to media accounts of surveillance, corruption, and the country’s Lago Agrio legal dispute with Chevron. More recently, following growing scrutiny of its own activities, Ares Rights has aimed takedown demands citing supposed copyright infringement against its own critics, including Adam Steinbaugh. Details: Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Ken at Popehat. It has also represented the government of Argentina.

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No, the monkey doesn’t own copyright in the picture it reportedly snapped of itself. But does anyone own it, or is it public domain from the time of the click? [David Post/Volokh, The Passive Voice with comments, GigaOm, BuzzFeed]

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  • “Kanye West Sues Coinye Altcoin into Oblivion” [CoinDesk]
  • Not new, but new to me: animated riff on Hindu “Ramayana” saga winds up in public domain because of inability to clear copyright on songs of Jazz-Age vocalist Annette Hanshaw [Nina Paley, "Sita Sings the Blues"]
  • “Update: Supreme Court Issues Two More Patent Law Rulings” [WLF; Limelight and Nautilis]
  • On copyright, more litigious not always better: “The Authors Alliance vs. The Authors Guild” [Alex Tabarrok quoting Virginia Postrel]
  • “Thwarting ‘patent trolls': Not as easy as it sounds” [Michael Rosen, AEI] “Trolls and Trial Lawyers Should Curb Their Enthusiasm Over Patent Reform Timeout” [Cory Andrews, WLF]
  • “I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit” – [Elon Musk, Tesla; Brad Greenburg, Concurring Opinions]
  • Ready for Hillary is latest political campaign to fire off takedown demand against satirical product [Paul Alan Levy]

Ken at Popehat has the story on a court’s ruling for fees and costs in Ergun Caner v. Jonathan Autry, filed by a religious leader who had come under criticism for less-than-forthright descriptions of his own past. “The court ruled that Caner (1) pursued the case after Autry took the videos down, (2) demanded, as a condition of settlement, that Autry’s young children sign a non-disparagement agreement, (3) delayed the case, (4) failed to seek discovery, opposed the motion to dismiss on the grounds that he needed to take discovery, but could not articulate what discovery he needed, (5) contradicted himself, (6) made unreasonable legal arguments without any support (like the ‘you must be qualified to criticize’ argument), and most importantly (7) filed the case to silence criticism.” Under the prevailing “American Rule” on fees it’s extremely hard for the victim of a meritless suit to recover attorney’s costs, but this one was extreme enough to be an exception.

“…settle instead for $20 per song.” Rightscorp, a new for-profit copyright cop, “is now preparing technology that could flood the Internet with ‘hundreds of millions of notices’ to alleged copyright infringers.” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]

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  • Supreme Court tackling patent law in several cases this term [Sartori and Aga, WLF; Richard Epstein; Kristen Osenga/Prawfs] New fee-shifting regime announced in Octane Fitness already bringing relief to litigants [Ars Technica on Lumen View/FindTheBest case]
  • Copyright claims on intrinsically newsworthy material: curious claim concerning suicide note [Eugene Volokh] “Is it copyright infringement to post a lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter?” Australian university seems to think so [same]
  • Fate of Prenda Law model spirals downward [Ars Technica, Volokh, EFF]
  • Comedian Adam Carolla has “decided to make himself the focus of the Personal Audio suit against podcasters.” [Steven Malanga]
  • Why, as a textbook author, Alex Tabarrok has concluded copyright law is out of control [Marginal Revolution]
  • Remembering when patent examiners were celebrities (in the 19th Century) [Slate]
  • Someone sends Jim Harper a dubious DMCA takedown notice, and this is his response [Cato]
  • Federal judge invalidates two patents Intellectual Ventures had used to sue banks [Ars Technica]
  • Is there an actual debate over the economic effects of stronger vs. weaker IP protection, or are people talking past each other? [Simon Lester, Cato]
  • “Teller Wins Lawsuit Over Copied Magic Trick Performance” [Hollywood Reporter] Custom, informal law enforce joke “property” among comedians [McGraw/Warner, Slate]
  • I read the news today, oh boy/ And now I have to pay a license fee/ [ABA Journal on actions against song lyrics sites; earlier here and here; h/t for joke to Rogers T.]
  • “Paper” town, placed by cartographer on map to foil plagiarism, springs into real life [Now I Know]
  • Unsuccessful courtroom demand for access to list of donors to “Save Podcasting Campaign” [EFF]
  • Idea of giving people copyright in their faces (as against facial-recognition systems) “has two demerits: it is unconstitutional, and it is insane. Otherwise, it seems fine.” [Info/Law via @petewarden]

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Music rights organization BMI has sued a Cleveland bar seeking up to $1.5 million over one night’s performance by a cover band that allegedly performed ten well-known songs without paying license fees, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “You Really Got Me,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” [OnStage]

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Way back in 2000 we noted that copyright litigation over quilt designs had gotten to be a hot area and that it was even possible for lawyers to specialize in “quilt law.” If you thought the only targets were large retailers and home furnishing lines with IP lawyers on retainer, though, think again.

“A number of years ago, an Amish woman created a pattern for the quilt,” Ken Treadwell said. “A friend of hers got her to register it, but being Amish, she truly didn’t enforce the copyright.”

But [Treadwell's company] Almost Amish bought the copyright, and the owners intend to vigorously enforce the design rights.

“We have stopped numerous people from selling and making this quilt,” Treadwell said. “We have an attorney that has informed the Mennonite Central Committee that they can’t sell it anymore.”

Local fire company officials were the latest to get the notice.

[Lancaster Online]

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  • “The patent had an interesting enforcement clause: that anyone who copied [ship designer] Brunelleschi’s work would have their own designs set on fire” [Jeremy Kolassa, R Street]
  • British government investigates problem of orphan copyright works [U.K. Intellectual Property Office, earlier]
  • Hookah’s design not copyrightable, per Ninth Circuit, O’Scannlain, Garber, Bea [Inhale v. Starbuzz Tobacco]
  • From EFF’s “Copyright Week”: what if the penalty that accompanied a parking ticket varied unknowably and might amount to a year’s salary? [Mitch Stoltz] “Copyright’s not getting its work done” [Cathy Gellis]
  • Nineteenth Century’s sewing machine patent wars resembled today’s smartphone wars, but ended more or less happily [Adam Mossoff, Slate]
  • Universities that post papers by their own scholars hear from Elsevier’s lawyers [ABA Journal]
  • Likelihood of confusion? Underwear maker Hanes cease/desists hummus maker in Saskatoon, Canada with name derived from “Yohannes” (= “John”)[ABC News, Craig Lederhouse, CBC (auto-plays radio)]

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WordPress is fighting back. [its blog via BoingBoing, Popehat] Will YouTube? [Popehat re: Colorado assembly hopeful]

  • Trademark infringement claims as way to silence critics: Jenzabar gets comeuppance in form of court award of more than $500,000 in attorney costs [Paul Alan Levy, earlier and more]
  • Court holds Google Books project to be fair use [Matthew Sag]
  • Questioning the ITC’s patent jurisdiction: “Why should we have a trade agency litigating patent disputes?” [K. William Watson, Cato, more, yet more, related]
  • Courts come down hard on copyright troll Prenda Law [Popehat]
  • Annals of patent trollery: New York Times et al rout Helferich [EFF, Liquid Litigation BLLawg] Monolithic Power Systems v. 02 Micros [IP for the Little Guy] Resistance by Newegg, RackSpace, Hyundai, etc. [WLF]
  • Re: copyright terms, US government shouldn’t endorse view that longer always means better [Simon Lester, Cato]
  • Legal tiff over use of hotel carpet patterns in costumes [Io9]