Star Athletica and the Future of Design Litigation

For decades, the fashion industry has gone without the rigorous copyright protections that other creative industries have enjoyed. That may be rapidly changing. Historically, copyright law has provided little protection to clothing designs. This has led to a thriving, and perfectly legal, market for knock-offs. This is because unlike paintings, movies, songs, or sculptures, clothing designs have long been considered too utilitarian to fit naturally under copyright law – a legal regime built.. Read More

Richard Prince, Copyright, and Appropriation Art: A Personal Perspective on Graham v. Prince , 265 F.Supp.3d 366 (S.D.N.Y. 2017)

The purpose of Copyright Law as enumerated by the United States Constitution is to “promote the progress of Science and useful Arts.” Artistic works are protected by copyright so that artists will be incentivized to keep creating. Appropriation art is a style in which the artist takes an existing object and uses it with little to no transformation. Appropriation art seems antithetical to copyright’s original purpose because there is a lesser incentive to.. Read More

Copyright Office Review Board Denies Copyright Registration for Two Corporate Logos

Despite the growing pressure on corporations and organizations to strengthen legal protection of their corporate logos, their attempts to enlarge the utility of copyright law for this purpose have proven futile. Two recent decisions by the Copyright Office Review Board (“CORB”) are particularly illustrative. The first decision concerns the Union des Associations Européennes de Football’s (“UEFA”) “Starball” logo. Comprising a pattern of black stars and white polygons that are “warped” within a white.. Read More

Music Modernization Act: A Bill to Help Songwriters Pay Their Bills?

In the past twenty years, the state of the music industry has changed dramatically. Between 1998 and 2014, the industry was in crisis. Total revenue from U.S. music sales and licensing dropped from $15 billion to $7 billion. CD sales were on the decline, pirating was on the rise, and even when consumers purchased their music legally, they tended towards buying .99 cent singles rather than full albums. Since 2014, streaming has taken.. Read More

An Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object: A Glimpse at the Emerging Effects of the DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Provision on the Internet of Things

Next year will mark the twentieth anniversary of the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), Congress’s controversial response to novel copyright protection issues posed by digital media and new technologies that facilitate piracy and other infringing activity.  Signed into law by President Clinton a mere seven months before the release of the infamous pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing platform, Napster, the DMCA presciently provided copyright owners and prosecutors with a powerful new.. Read More

Interview: Professor Fromer and the Star Athletica case

In this interview, Jeanne Fromer, professor at NYU School of Law, discusses her experience filing an amicus brief in the Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. case decided this past year. The Court ruled that the useful article doctrine did not pose a bar to Varsity Brands’ enforcement of copyright against Star Athletica in five designs of Varsity Brands’ cheerleading uniforms. Jeanne Fromer also discusses her views on and critiques of the.. Read More

Theatrical Parody in an Age of Uncertain Fair Use in the Second Circuit

Fair use doctrine has been challenged and stretched by the technological leaps and bounds of recent years. In the recent Second Circuit case, Author’s Guild v. Google, the court grappled with the issue of whether Google Books snippets were fair uses of the copyrighted works. These determinations are far beyond the scope of what is contemplated by the Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act, which sets forth factors courts should consider when.. Read More

COPYRIGHTABILITY OF FASHION DESIGNS: Legislative Suggestions for Taiwan’s Copyright Law

The debate over whether or not fashion designs should be protected by copyright law is in full swing in the United States. Several legislative attempts to pass a “fashion bill” to protect three-dimensional fashion designs in the United States have been launched. A similar issue in copyright law has emerged in Taiwan, where the copyright law does not protect the cut and shape of a three-dimensional fashion design, but only the pictorial and.. Read More

Teenagers throughout the world would tell you that sports video games have vastly improved over the last 20 years. Game controls have become more sophisticated, player movements have been refined, and depictions of sports venues have become infinitely more detailed. Yet, the most striking difference between the games of today and those of the mid-to-late 90’s are the depictions of the actual bodies of the players. The generic figures of early video games.. Read More

3D Printing as a Copyright Infringement

South Africa has achieved another technological milestone. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s renewable energy laboratory recently constructed one of Africa’s largest 3D printers. With the emerging market for 3D printing, there are concerns regarding the intellectual property implications of these products. “When you think about it,” Likonelo Magagula, director of Norton Rose Fulbright based in Johannesburg, said, “making an authorized copy of something can constitute either patent or copyright infringement, it matters not what.. Read More