Monthly Archives: February 2011

Not Quite Fair Use: Canada’s Fair Dealing Exception to Copyright Infringement in the Political Spotlight

When the Canadian Conservative Party released a raft of attack ads last month against Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff, it was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”) that led the counterattack. Why? In constructing their ads, the Conservative Party used without permission CBC’s copyrighted file footage of Ignatieff. The CBC claimed that the use of its footage in partisan ads undermined its reputation as an independent news source, and has accused the Conservatives of copyright infringement. The Conservatives responded that the ads were “free speech.” Besides,… More

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Concludes Plaintiffs Can’t Use State Law Claims to Circumvent Copyright Law

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently reaffirmed the rule that state law claims based on copyright are preempted by the preemption provisions of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 301. In Curtis v. Herb Chambers I-95, Inc., 458 Mass. 674 (2011), Curtis, an individual who had produced advertising materials for car dealerships, filed a complaint against car dealerships and a printing and distribution business to protect his advertisement design. He had never registered a copyright for his design. Curtis based his claims on copying of trade dress under common law, a breach of the implied covenant of good faith… More