The first edition of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, was published in 1818, two hundred years ago. Originally offered to the public as an anonymous work, Frankenstein was both the apogee of the gothic horror novel and the birth of the science fiction genre.
Tag Archives: Fair Use
No, Virginia, You Can’t Just Copy Stuff You Find On the Internet, Even if You Don’t Notice the Copyright Notice
This is an exception. A recent decision by the Eastern District of Virginia may cause some individuals and non-profits to believe that it’s permissible to copy and use “publicly available” photos from the internet, as long as they don’t know whether or not the photos are protected by copyright.… More
It’s been a while since we felt compelled to revisit the topic of political fair use, that is, the extent to which the use of copyrighted works in political campaigns qualifies as a fair use pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 107. Back in 2014, we discussed the Northern District of California’s holding that the use of a candidate’s photograph by her political enemies was fair use.… More
Earlier this week, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals released its blockbuster decision in Oracle America, Inc. v. Google LLC, which held that Google’s unauthorized use of certain aspects of Oracle’s Java software was not fair use. In the past few days and in the coming weeks, nearly every lawyer who has ever had occasion to turn to Title 17 is going be writing,… More
On past Presidents’ Days, we have discussed the critical roles in the development of U.S. copyright law played by Abraham Lincoln (who extended copyright protection to photographs) and George Washington (whose correspondence was at the center of the dispute that gave rise to the fair use doctrine). This year, it’s Gerald Ford’s turn to ascend to our Mount Rushmore of Copyright.… More
Are you sick and tired of the Christmas spirit? Apparently, you are not alone. Meet Matthew Lombardo, the author of a comedic play called Who’s Holiday! Billed as “the show Dr. Seuss doesn’t want you to see,” Who’s Holiday! is a one-woman play running Off-Broadway until December 31 featuring Cindy-Lou Who as a down-and-out, hard-drinking, Who-Hash-smoking, 45-year old woman recovering from her disastrous relationship with the Grinch.… More
When Judge Richard Allen Posner abruptly retired from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last month, we were so caught off guard that it took a few weeks to get our tribute machine up and running. Why a tribute to Posner on the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog? Well, among the many legal areas profoundly influenced by this prolific jurist and author (the list of areas he did not affect would almost certainly be shorter),… More
If you are a television news producer or documentary filmmaker, you have almost certainly faced this issue: You are putting together a story about a past event, and you want to make the point that this past event was once the subject of media coverage. The easiest way to do that is to show some of that media coverage, for example, by including a short clip from the evening news or by panning across a newspaper article headline.… More
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
In BWP Media USA v. Gossip Cop Media, a case sure to bring cheer to paparazzi and tabloid publishers everywhere, a judge in the Southern District of New York has found after a bench trial that a gossip website willfully infringed copyrights in photos showing celebrities Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Pattinson, and Liberty Ross.
The plaintiff in the case,… More
Last month, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright case involving Google’s Google Books project. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place the Second Circuit’s October 2015 decision in favor of Google and brings to a close this highly publicized and closely watched litigation, more than a decade after it began. … More
We’ve taken advantage of past Presidents Days to recount George Washington’s role in the history of U.S. Copyright law, specifically the birth of fair use. That role was not insubstantial, but it was posthumous and, therefore, unwitting. By contrast, Abraham Lincoln’s contribution to copyright law was likely quite intentional.
On March 3, 1865, President Lincoln signed into law “An Act to Amend Several Acts Respecting Copyright,” the galley of which contained the subheading: “Photographs … may be copyrighted.” This was the first U.S.… More
Most readers of this blog are well-acquainted with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the anti-circumvention provisions codified therein, 17 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq., which prohibit the circumvention of technological measures that control access to a copyrighted work, even in the absence of copyright infringement. The anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA are often criticized for their failure to include an explicit fair use exemption like that included elsewhere in the Copyright Act,… More
Are You Sure This Isn’t About Copyright? Chicken Sandwiches, Monkey Selfies and the Boundaries of Copyright Law
Last week, a wild crested macaque named Naruto (but really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against photographer David John Slater in the Northern District of California. The suit alleges that Slater infringed Naruto’s copyright in the famous “monkey selfies” (taken by Naruto with Slater’s camera). The complaint requests that the Court order Slater to disgorge any profits he has realized from the distribution of the images and establish a trust,… More
As a leader of a start-up company, you are probably aware of the importance of protecting your company’s innovative products, services and technologies through patent filings. If you are savvy, you are also aware of the importance of having a trademark and branding strategy as well (see our guide entitled “Trademark Strategies for Start-Up Companies”). Most start-up companies overlook copyright issues, however, and this can create problems down the road. … More