Tag Archives: Fair Use

Westlaw and Lexis Finally Agree: Providing Copyrighted Legal Briefs To Customers Is Fair Use

weleEvery attorney in the United States understands that West Publishing Corp. (“Westlaw”) and the LexisNexis Group (“Lexis”) are perennial rivals in the electronic legal research field. As such, they don’t agree on much, but there are some important exceptions.  Earlier this month, one of those exceptions came to a pleasing conclusion for both companies, when Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York issued his long-promised opinion in White v. West Publishing Corp.

The case was brought by Edward White, an Oklahoma-based IP attorney. Some of White’s… More

Second Circuit Hints At Possible Google Books Outcome In Finding HathiTrust Digital Library Project Protected As Fair Use

HathiEarlier this week, the Second Circuit issued its ruling in the HathiTrust case, a potential precursor to the long-awaited resolution of the more prominent, and related, Google Books case.  The decision upholds the district court’s finding that the non-profit defendant is protected by the fair use doctrine, but leaves room for a potentially different outcome in the Google Books matter.  As we have reported, the Google Books project aims to scan and digitize all the world’s books and make them full-text searchable.  As part of the “Library Project” arm of… More

Federal Circuit Copyright Decision in Oracle v. Google: A Quick Read for the Busy Practitioner

Capture

In its recent opinion in Oracle v. Google, the Federal Circuit reversed the Northern District of California and reinstated a jury’s infringement verdict against Google. The opinion is long and complex, and much ink has already been spilled by its critics. As a service to those of you sitting on the sidelines of this particular debate, here is our summary version of the case:

What’s the case about?

Oracle owns copyrights in software related to Java, a computer platform that allows a programmer to write one code and… More

Fox News Reports Copyright “Attack on Christians” – The Fair and Balanced Use Defense

Fox news recently reported on a dispute between Gulfport, Mississippi resident Kelly Taylor and her local Walgreens pharmacy.  Ms. Taylor, using Walgreens’ online Capturephoto service, attempted to print out a few pages of the Bible to hand out to members of her church. Walgreens refused, citing copyright law. When Walgreens told Taylor that it would require approval from the author, she informed the store that God was the author so “who exactly would I get the approval from?”

Ms. Taylor was “in total shock,” so she contacted Fox News and… More

“Munger Games” Political Copyright Case Fails to Survive Summary Judgment on Fair Use

On February 26, 2014, the Northern District of California issued its opinion in Dhillon v. Does 1-10.  Judge Susan Illston held that the use of a political campaign photograph by one’s political enemies is fair use.

The Munger Games is a political blog run by anonymous California conservatives who are not fans of socially liberal California Republican politics, exemplified in their eyes by businessman Charlie Munger. On February 12, 2013, the blog set its sights on Harmeet Dhillon, Vice Chair of the California Republican Party, by publishing “Meet Harmeet,” an article criticizing Dhillon’s involvement with the… More

A Presidents Day Copyright Story: George Washington And The “First” Fair Use Case

George Washington is responsible for a lot of “firsts.” For example, he was the first President, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and the first guy to have the George Washington bridge named after him. But President Washington was also indirectly responsible for what is widely regarded as the first American application of the copyright doctrine of fair use.

Jared Sparks, Charles Upham and the Washington Letters

When Washington died in 1799, he left his voluminous correspondence to his nephew, Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington. The rights to these documents were subsequently acquired by Harvard… More

After Long Battle, Google Books Ruled “Fair Use”

Google BooksWhen last we looked in on the Google Books dispute, the Second Circuit had overturned class certification in the suit, brought by the Authors Guild and multiple individual authors, on the basis that the District Court first should have resolved Google’s fair use defense, which could moot the class certification issue.  Last week Judge Denny Chin, still presiding over the Google Books dispute by designation, ruled that the copying envisioned by the Google Books project was protected under the fair use doctrine.

As we have More

Lawrence Lessig Files Copyright Suit Over “Bad Faith” DMCA Takedown Notice

Lessig

The District of Massachusetts may be becoming a center for takedown notice jurisprudence.  As we have previously reported, pending before the court is the matter of Tuteur v. Crosley-Corcoran, the outcome of which may determine how much good faith is required by a copyright owner before he or she may issue a takedown notice under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Now, the same court is entertaining another potentially high-profile takedown case.  On Thursday, August 22, 2013, Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig filed a complaint against Australian… More

Georgia State University Copyright Update: Publishers Appeal to 11th Circuit

GSU

Approximately a year ago, Judge Orinda Evans of the Federal District Court for Northern Georgia held that the electronic reserves practices of the library at Georgia State University (“GSU”) were, for the most part, fair use and not copyright infringement.  While some were surprised by the liberal breadth of the court’s interpretation and application of the fair use doctrine, no one ought to have been  surprised that the plaintiffs decided to appeal.  The parties — and about a dozen amici — completed their appellate briefing last week.

Background

More

Admissions of “Appropriation Artist” Not Fatal to Copyright Fair Use Defense

The first prong of the fair use defense in copyright infringement cases, the “purpose and character of the use,” is often described as an inquiry into whether the allegedly infringing work is “transformative.” In other words, does the allegedly infringing work add something new, thus altering the message of the original, or does it essentially just copy (and potentially usurp the market for) the original? A classic example of a transformative use is parody, where the new work “conjures up” (i.e., copies some of) the original in order to criticize it.

But what if the author… More

Copyright Fair Use Defense Not Available to Aggregator of AP News Clips

 

A U.S. federal court has held that the publication by a media monitoring service of excerpts from Associated Press news articles is copyright infringement for which the fair use defense is not available.  The Associated Press v. Meltwater U.S. Holdings, Inc. et al., 12 Civ. 1087 (March 21, 2013).  The case provides a victory for content owners in the ongoing legal war between creators and distributors of online content.

In granting summary judgment to The Associated Press (“AP”) on copyright infringement claims against the media monitoring… More

WINTER . . . I MEAN PRINTER . . . IS COMING: Game of Thrones Alleges Copyright Infringement by 3D Printer IPhone Dock

The inner twelve-year old boy in me doesn’t know which is cooler: the throne made entirely from swords for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, or the fact that 3D printer technology can now replicate that throne in my home at the touch of a button. It’s an interesting time to be a twelve-year old boy.  It may be an even more interesting time to be an intellectual property lawyer because, like the imminent clash in Game of Thrones between the Seven Kingdoms and the evil forces beyond… More

Republican Standing Committee’s Disappearing Copyright Brief Too “Awesome” for Publication

Last Friday, the Republican Standing Committee (“RSC”) published a report by twenty-four year old staffer Derek Khanna, a former Mitt Romney aide and graduate of Georgetown Law School, entitled: “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it.”  In less than twenty four hours, the report disappeared from the internet.

The RSC claims that the report was removed because it had been published without adequate review. But Techdirt and others, smelling scandal, speculate that the report was nefariously removed because it was… More

SORT OF THE RINGS: Will Trademark Fair Use Protect Age of the Hobbits?

In August of this year, Warner Brothers finally announced the release of Age of the Hobbits, Peter Jackson’s long-awaited follow-up to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novels. Age of the Hobbits tells the tale of a clever group of diminutive Indonesian tribesmen who convince Chinese actress Bai Ling to save them from a hoard of cannibals mounted on flying Komodo dragons.

Wait a second. Does that sound right? Actually, the Warner Brothers film is called More

Publishers Appeal Georgia State University Copyright Ruling

We’ve previously written about the academic publishing industry’s lawsuit against Georgia State University (“GSU”) and its library system’s electronic reserve practices.  In May, Northern District of Georgia Judge Orinda Evans held  that these practices were, with a few exceptions, fair use.

Last week, the publishers docketed their much-expected appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Among the issues that the Court will be asked to review whether Judge Evans misapplied the fair use doctrine and whether she failed to order the appropriate injunctive… More