Pokémon Go’s Virtual Trespass Suit Reaches Settlement Agreement

Can a video game company be held liable for placing virtual items on private property? The answer is – maybe. On February 14, 2019, the developer of the mobile game Pokémon Go, Niantic, reached a settlement agreement with class action plaintiffs who alleged that the game caused players to trespass and create nuisance on private properties. For those unfamiliar with the game, Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality” game where the fictional game.. Read More

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

Why Public Figures Should Receive Heightened Defamation Law Protection

At common law, defamation actions were meant to compensate individuals for any harm to reputation they suffered as a result of any defamatory communications made by speakers to third parties. This standard was generally protective of plaintiffs’ reputational interests rather than defendants’ free speech interests. Once a plaintiff made out his prima facie case, it was up to the defendant to raise certain defenses or privileges, such as truth or the litigation privilege… Read More

Kessler v. Duffer: A Conspiracy Theory and the Origin of Stranger Things

The success and mass cultural appeal of Netflix’s Stranger Things is in part due to the way in which it incorporates familiar story tropes and cinematic techniques to create a show that feels simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. While the influence of cultural giants like Steven Spielberg and Stephen King is obvious, at least one man feels that the show’s creators, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, took more from him than mere inspiration.            .. 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

Post-Sale Confusion

Traditionally, the main purposes of trademark law are consequentialist by nature. They are to reduce consumer search costs and to create incentives for producers to invest in product quality. If the source of a good is unclear or confusing, then markets will function less efficiently because consumers will expend wasteful resources searching for goods of a particular quality and producers, who will not derive the full benefit of their investments in product quality,.. 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

The Impending Arrival of Newly Proposed Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines: An Opportunity for Clarity?

On April 11, 2018, the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu, delivered remarks at the United States Chamber of Commerce Patent Policy Conference, stating that the law surrounding patent subject matter eligibility (35 U.S.C. § 101) has resulted in “a more unpredictable patent landscape that is hurting innovation and, consequently, investment and job creation.” During these remarks, Director Iancu said the USPTO was “actively looking for ways.. Read More