Why Are Songwriters Suing the Justice Department?

In today’s digital environment, recorded music is more accessible now than ever before. Through online music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes radio, users have all of the world’s music at their fingertips. However, while users have benefited from the growth of streaming music, songwriters have had to face tremendous declines in their revenue (“My Song Was Played 178 Million Times and I Was Paid $5,769”). With their livelihood threatened, the.. Read More

Chasing YouTube: How Europe Plans to Hold Web Platforms Accountable

As the Internet gravitates toward social media and viral content, claims of ownership over online content become more and more difficult to enforce. Songs and music videos are posted illegally on dozens of sites, and even news articles are often compiled by aggregators before finding their way to large segments of the public. Record labels that previously enjoyed sizable profits on the music they produced have now seen their revenues decline sharply over.. Read More

Fashion Copyright and the Muddling of the Useful Articles Doctrine

“The law in this area is a mess—and it has been for a long time.” Such was the dissent’s blunt assessment of the state of copyright law as applied to garment design in Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica, a recent 6th Circuit case dealing with the copyrightability of the patterns on cheerleader uniforms. With respect to its eligibility for protection under copyright law, and in contrast to the much broader protections available under.. Read More

The Companies Behind the #WTFU

If you follow vloggers like Nostalgia Critic or Honest Trailers, you might be familiar with the hashtag #WTFU. No, it’s not an acronym for a rude phrase—it stands for “Where is The Fair Use?” Here’s the lowdown: YouTube videos that use clips or sound bites from other work have been facing an flurry of takedown notices for alleged copyright infringement. The problem is that these videos are only using bits and pieces of.. Read More

Copyright: The Right Move?

Whether it is General Zod, The Eradicator, or Lex Luther, no force has ever been able to defeat Superman. But over the past seventy years, there has been a force so powerful and extensive that even Superman has been unable to evade its reach. Its power lies in its ability to restrict and control the free flow of the fruits of creativity. To some it is a villain, and to others it is.. Read More

Copyright of Meme-Saturated, Appropriation Culture

In November 2015, a Twitter user by the name of @updog7 scanned and posted every page of Josh Ostrovsky’s (@thefatjewish) book, Money Pizza Respect, on Twitter. Updog7 does not appear to be affiliated with Ostrovsky, in fact, the name itself is thought to be a reference to an alleged front account Ostrovsky made (@uptownfunkdog) after backlash against the amount of “stolen” jokes he posted on his account without attribution. In theory, Ostrovsky would credit.. Read More

A Conversation With David Shields

David Shields is the bestselling author of twenty books, including The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, which was named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications. His essays and stories have appeared in Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and Slate, and his writing frequently addresses issues of copyright and the legality of artistic appropriation. His most recent release, War Is Beautiful, analyzes.. Read More

Baby Blue: A Bluebook Compatible Citation System in the Public Domain

The Bluebook describes itself as a “unique system of citation” on which “generations of law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals have relied.” One NYU Law professor is trying to change this reliance with a new project called ‘Baby Blue’ that aims to bring this citation system into the public domain. Learn more about Baby Blue from the interview with Professor Christopher Sprigman, below. Can you give an overview of the.. Read More

Instagram Deleted User Accounts for Posting Photos and Video Clips from Janet Jackson’s Tour

On October 20th, the New York Post reported that Instagram deleted accounts of individuals who posted videos and photographs of Janet Jackson’s live performances to the social networking application. Apparently, these users received emails explaining that “a third party reported that the content violates their copyright.” The coverage highlights how these fans, attending concerts of Jackson’s Unbreakable tour, lost all of the photos they had taken and posted to the app, “without warning.”.. Read More

You Used to Copy Me in Your Videos

Drake’s recent music video for his song “Hotline Bling” is of note for more than the exceptional dance moves Drake displays therein. A mere three days after the video was released, renowned contemporary artist James Turrell released an artfully worded statement indicating that he was in no way involved in the creation of the video: “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear.. Read More