The use of a bird’s furcula, or “wishbone,” for divination purposes dates back to the ancient Etruscans, and the ritual of two people pulling on the furcula to determine who would get married first has its origins in late medieval Europe. From there, some version of the custom likely was brought to America by the pilgrims, who would have referred to the bone as a “merrythought.” Given all that history,… More
Tag Archives: originality
The Thin Dull Line: Are These Auto Interiors Sufficiently Creative for Copyright Protection?
Are automobile interior designs eligible for copyright protection? Last month, we wrote about the Copyright Office Review Board’s (CORB’s) allowance of the registration of a three-dimensional pattern for an automotive floor mat. Does this mean that every little feature of your car is now eligible for copyright protection?
Not according to CORB, which recently released its opinion in the matter of Novem Car Interiors.… More
Star Athletica and the Expansion of Useful Article Protection: Copyright Office Permits Registration of Automotive Floor Liner
The Supreme Court’s decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands established a new and simplified test for determining whether useful articles can obtain copyright protection. Many have wondered, in the year since it was decided, about the practical effect of the ruling. Are there really that many items that would not have merited protection before Star Athletica, but that will get it now? … More
Don’t Think About Copyright Law on Labor Day
Labor Day is the wrong time to think about copyright law, especially in 2016, because this year marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service, 499 U.S. 340 (1991). That’s the case that took the “labor” out of copyright jurisprudence by ending the “sweat of the brow” doctrine.
Why was “labor” a factor in the first place? … More
Jimi Hendrix Portrait Denied Copyright Protection For Lack of Originality
France is often presented as a country which is quite protective of IP owners, especially in the field of trademarks and copyright. However, a recent decision rendered by the Paris District Court in relation to a portrait of Jimi Hendrix clearly goes in the opposite direction.
Gered Mankowitz is an English photographer who is the author of many portraits of pop and rock stars,… More
Eleventh Circuit Mops the Floor With Invalidity Ruling: Faux-Hardwood Gets Copyright Protection
Last year, the District Court in Home Legend v. Mannington Mills gave three reasons for its holding that the designs on faux-hardwood flooring material, which are intended to look like real maple floors, were not subject to copyright protection. On April 29, 2015, however, a unanimous Eleventh Circuit decision held that these reasons were against the grain, and shipped the matter back to District Court for pulping.… More