Tag Archives: Copyright

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:

No civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until . . . registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title. In any case,… More

French Court Finds Jeff Koons Appropriated Copyrighted Photograph That “Saved Him Creative Work”

Jeff Koons is a well-known U.S. sculptor. In 2013, one of his “Balloon Dog” sculptures was purchased for $58.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist. Koons is also famous for having faced several copyright infringement lawsuits in the U.S. and other countries.

On March 9, 2017, the Paris District Court determined that Koon’s one meter-tall porcelain sculpture,… More

Supreme Court Establishes Test for Copyrightability of Two-Dimensional Designs Incorporated Into Useful Articles in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court established a test for determining whether a design that is incorporated into a useful article is entitled to copyright protection. In its much-awaited opinion in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the Sixth Circuit and held that the two-dimensional designs appearing on the surface of cheerleading uniforms were entitled to copyright protection because they were sufficiently separable from the utilitarian aspects of the uniform.… More

Jersey Boys: The Curtain Call For Two Copyright Claims

Last month, the Broadway hit-musical Jersey Boys closed its doors after a spectacular eleven-year run.  As someone who hails from the great state of New Jersey and who saw the show twice, I thought it was only appropriate to give Jersey Boys a formal send off.  And what better way for a copyright lawyer to honor Jersey Boys than to write about two Jersey Boys-related copyright suits?… More

New York Fashion Week: A Lineup of The Most Fashionable Trademark and Copyright Claims

It’s that time of the year again when New York City becomes the most fashionable place on the planet. While I would argue that Manhattan is always fashionable, New York Fashion Week adds a bit of extra excitement, glamour and coolness to the mix.  Fashion Week kicks off this Thursday, February 9 through Thursday, February 16, and as usual, the fashion world is all abuzz over who will be the designer-to-watch. … More

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle III: The Year In NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Two years ago, I started worrying about what would happen if someone at a Super Bowl party asked me to explain an NFL-related lawsuit, particularly one of those intellectual property lawsuits that sports fans assume IP lawyers know about. This anxiety led me to put together the Sue-per Bowl Shuffle I and Sue-per Bowl Shuffle II: guides to trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property disputes concerning the NFL during 2014 and 2015 respectively.… More

Charles Dickens And Copyright Law: Five Things You Should Know

One hundred and seventy five years ago, on January 22, 1842, Charles Dickens first set foot in America, specifically in Boston, after a twenty day steamship voyage from Liverpool. Dickens, only a few days shy of his thirtieth birthday, was already an acclaimed author, and was greeted with great adulation. However, the trip was soon ruined by, and was to become best-remembered for, Dickens’ ugly spat with the American press over the issue of international copyright.… More

French Justice In A California Court: Copyright, Picasso And The “Astreinte”

boatThe peoples of France and the United States tend to view things very differently — Jerry Lewis, berets and processed cheese food, to name just a few.  Law sometimes transcends this divide – for example, French and American intellectual property lawyers can communicate based on shared fundamental understandings about copyright, trademarks and patents, even as our cultural differences persist. In other instances, however, a shared understanding of legal concepts by lawyers of different jurisdictions is much more difficult. … More

Watch: Social Media for the Generalist In-House Counsel

Joshua Jarvis and David Kluft recently presented a webinar offering guidance on social media issue spotting for in-house legal practitioners and executives, with a focus on intellectual property, publicity rights and advertising.

Social media platforms present countless and varied opportunities for companies looking to connect to consumers and clients in real time. But, like so much else in our connected age, these opportunities come with a host of risks ranging from minor public relations blips to unpleasant regulatory run-ins with government agencies,… More

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

copyrightSince 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 register the identity and contact information of a designated agent. Designated agents serve as the point of contact for copyright holders who spot infringement online and need to serve a DMCA takedown notice to get the offending content removed.… More

10 Copyright Cases Every Fan Fiction Writer Should Know About

fan-fictionIf you are a Star Trek fan, the name Axanar has almost certainly crossed your lips or your computer screen recently. Axanar is a film (well, at least a very good trailer aspiring to be a film) set in the Star Trek universe, which tells the back story of Garth of Izar, a character who appeared in one episode of the original Star Trek series.… More

Happy Birthday To Me: An Iconic Song Enters The Public Domain After Copyright Settlement

Birthday chocolate cake with burning candles as a number fifty on brown background

As I turn 50 years old this week, I can’t help but think of the famous Happy Birthday song and the class action that resulted in its entering the public domain earlier this year.  The class action plaintiffs in that case filed a declaratory judgment action in the Central District of California against two music companies that had been enforcing the copyright in Happy Birthday and requiring the payment of royalties in some circumstances where it had been used commercially,… More