Copyright Strikes as a Tool for Censorship, Bullying, Extortion

With the advent and then explosion of consumer internet access in the 1990s, a concomitant threat of massive, anonymous, and difficult-to-trace copyright infringement also arose. Congress faced significant pressure from two major industries: traditional media producers and internet service providers. Traditional media producers feared the practical death of their intellectual property through unstoppable and untraceable internet file-sharing, while internet service providers feared endless lawsuits for the infringing activities of their users. Congress responded.. Read More

What Does EU’s New Copyright Law Mean for Online Service Providers?

A new copyright directive approved by the European Union on February 13 might fundamentally change the landscape for online service providers (OSPs). While the bill still awaits confirmation from European Parliament, once formally approved, it will compel OSPs to either obtain licenses or affirmatively screen for uploads of copyrighted materials. Article 11 and Article 13 are the most controversial provisions in the new directive. According to the final text (compiled by Member of.. Read More

Oracle v. Google and the Brain Teaser of API Copyright Protection

Since the beginning of the digital revolution, copyright law has had to adapt to the advent of new technologies and their impact on the world of creation. Software protection, mainly, raised a lot of issues that still fuel the judicial debate. Indeed, while it is well established that software can be copyrighted as literary works, the extent of the protection keeps on raising questions. In early cases, courts recognized the copyrightability of original.. Read More

1970s Musicians v. UMG & Sony: A Second Chance or Works For Hire?

On February 5, 2019, UMG Recordings (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (Sony) were sued by a group of musicians in a class action separately in Southern District of New York for violation of musicians’ right to a “second chance” under 17 U.S.C. §203, and thus violated §106 for copyright infringement, by refusing to honor termination notices stating their intention to reassert their copyrights over certain works. The group of musicians, with named plaintiffs.. Read More

Why the Innovative Design Protection Act Is a Good Thing

Although U.S. intellectual property laws cover a wide range of industries, they have lagged behind in the world of fashion design. U.S. laws are much less protective of fashion designs than European laws. Although the U.S. does afford some protection to designers, they currently cannot copyright articles of apparel. Over a century ago, the U.S. Copyright Office decided that all clothing is functional. Because a “useful article” cannot receive copyright protection, clothing designs.. Read More

DRM and Blockchain: A Solution to Protect Copyrights in the Digital World?

In the artistic world, the development of the Internet, while creating a tremendous way for artists to spread their work worldwide and gain in notoriety, created an environment very much in favor of online piracy, which right holders are still trying to circumvent. The development of new technologies made possible the transmission of unlawful high-quality copies of protected works to millions of individuals worldwide in a single click. But technology is also used.. Read More

“We’ve been Banksy-ed”: Intellectual Property Ramifications of Self-Destructing Art

On Friday night, October 5, 2018, attendees at Sotheby’s Auction House in London, got quite the surprise.  Moments after being sold for $1.4 million (£1,042,000) to the highest bidder, the painting, “Girl with Balloon,” proceeded to self-destruct.  The artist, Banksy, took credit for the stunt, posting the phrase “Going, going, gone…” on his Instagram page.  He also left a video, explaining, “a few years ago I secretly built a shredder into a painting…in case it was.. Read More

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