Category Archives: Copyrights

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Sublicenses By Exclusive Licensees Of Copyrights – Copyright “Clarification” May Change The Law

A change in the rules on copyright licensing may be coming in the near future and from an unexpected and unanticipated source. The rules deal with whether the owner of an exclusive copyright license may sublicense such right without the approval of the licensor. The clear and unequivocal answer in the Ninth Circuit has long … Continue Reading

It’s Not Over For MGA’s Bratz Doll Line Yet

The Ninth Circuit recently stayed an injunction entered against MGA Entertainment, Inc., that would have otherwise required MGA to ensure that none of its popular Bratz dolls, the subject of a copyright dispute with toy giant, Mattel, Inc., are available on store shelves as of January 21, 2010. The injunction’s requirement that MGA also turn … Continue Reading

What Is the Jurisdictional Pre-Requisite for Copyright Litigation?: Do Denim v. Fried Denim

On June 17, 2009, Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York dismissed the copyright claims of jeans maker Do Denim against rival manufacturer Fried Denim Inc., holding that the mere filing of the copyright applications, fees and deposits did not satisfy the jurisdictional requirement that a copyright be registered before a … Continue Reading

Copyrights: First Amendment Trumps Copyright Restoration

On April 3, 2009, the District Court for Colorado entered a groundbreaking copyright decision, treading on new judicial territory by directly applying the First Amendment to invalidate a provision of the Copyright Act. The case, Golan v. Ashcroft, Civil Case No. 01-cv-01854-LTB, found that, at least as applied to the plaintiffs, the copyright restoration provisions … Continue Reading

Hot News Meets DMCA

Hot News! … for IP lawyers. Hot news is still good law. After 90 years, a dusty 1918 Supreme Court case (International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918)), often overlooked and generally ignored, was resurrected from the judicial cobwebs by Judge Castel. The case before Judge Castel involved the same news gathering … Continue Reading

UMG Records v. Veoh Networks: Central District Decides Certain Activities Fall Within A DMCA Safe Harbor

In a recent case, UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc., 89 U.S.P.Q.2d 1449 (C.D. Cal. 2008), the Central District decided a question of first impression—whether certain activities of a website operator fit within the section 512(c) safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") (found at 17 U.S.C. § 512).… Continue Reading

Open Source Licensing Finds Protection Before The CAFC

Open source licensing of software got a recent boost from an unlikely source, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  The CAFC normally decides patent and trademark issues but rarely deals with copyrights.  In an appeal from the Northern District of California, the CAFC reversed and remanded for further factual findings after holding, as … Continue Reading

UMG v. Augusto: Allowing the Sale of Promotional CDs Under the First Sale Doctrine Could Affect Much More than the Music Industry

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for technology licenses of all types, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently held that the first sale doctrine permits a recipient of promotional CDs to sell them online without violating the license pursuant to which the CDs were distributed and without being … Continue Reading

The National Geographic Gets The Picture

A recent en banc ruling of the 11th Circuit helps to clarify and solidify a media-neutral trend in copyright law while adding certainty to what publishers may do with valuable libraries of outdated paper. Such outdated paper will have little utility unless made available for republication in more accessible new media.… Continue Reading

Injunctions in Trademark and Copyright Infringement Cases: Trending Against the Irreparable Harm Presumption?

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. Merc-Exchange, IP plaintiffs who plan on relying on the presumption of irreparable harm when seeking injunctive relief (whether a TRO, preliminary or permanent) may want to rethink that strategy.  The days of relying on a general "presumption" of irreparable harm, without actual proof of such harm, are … Continue Reading

Developers of musical ringtones may benefit from using the statutory license created by Section 115 of the Copyright Act

The Register of Copyrights has issued a formal opinion finding that, in most instances, musical ringtones for cell phones and related mobile devices fall within the scope of the statutory license under Section 115 of the Copyright Act.  See Docket No. RF 2006-1.  The Register rendered its opinion at the request of the Record Industry … Continue Reading

The Copyright Office Makes An Improvement For The Worse

The Copyright Office recently issued a press release in their "Newsnet," Issue 341, April 14, 2008, announcing what everyone else already knew. The Copyright Office is getting seriously behind in processing copyright applications and issuing registration certificates. In fact, the official time lag for receiving a certificate is now "up to 8 months." This is … Continue Reading

First In Line: Registration Before Litigation

Like New Year’s resolutions which remain unfulfilled, a decision late last year of a federal district court sent still another reminder that copyright law in the United States remains far from the formality free regime envisioned by Berne Convention rules.  In November, Goss International Americas, Inc. v. A-American Machine & Assembly Co., 2007 WL 4294744 … Continue Reading

Lord to Commoners: Copy Away!

Our friends across the pond are considering a new proposal that would change the rules regarding the copying of movies and music. Specifically, the proposal would allow the copying of legitimately acquired music and movies between storage devices for "private use." Current law in the United Kingdom makes private copying such as this illegal. The … Continue Reading

Gambling with the Video Gaming Industry

Antigua and Barbuda, small island nations known for their sizable online gambling operations, may be entering a new business: legalized piracy. (The Hollywood Reporter, "U.S. copyright waived in tiny nation") The World Trade Organization, which administers trade disputes between members, has granted Antigua and Barbuda the right to waive U.S. intellectual property rights worth up … Continue Reading

Fans: Friend or Foe?

In a time long long ago, fans of certain fictional worlds portrayed in games or on television were relegated to relative obscurity. User generated content was generally confined to a well-crafted Klingon warrior outfit, the occasional love sonnet written in elvish, or a meticulously crafted sculpture of a twenty-sided die; however, the internet and the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Heightens Federal Pleading Standard

In a case likely to impact intellectual property litigation, the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that alters the pleading standard necessary to support civil complaints filed in federal court, which governs most IP disputes.  In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ____ (2007), the Court heightened the pleading standard, requiring that a complaint … Continue Reading
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