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Copyright Law Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

The line between parody and copyright infringement

You probably know that you're not allowed to use a copyrighted song in your Youtube video. Such an action would be a violation of intellectual property protections. But why do roasts of popular songs on SNL get away with using other people's creative works? Today we'll discuss an important concept in intellectual property law: the fair use defense.

A primer on Creative Commons licenses

The concept of copyright is generally straightforward. When you create something original, the law says the control over use and distribution is exclusively in your hands. As we noted in a previous post, however, the evolution of the internet has created new opportunities for plagiarism to occur - even if it happens to be unintentional.

Tis the season to be wary

If you're doing any holiday shopping this season, chances are at least a portion of that activity will be happening online. Google and all the other search engines out there do an amazing job of delivering opportunities for getting just the right item at the best price. Sometimes the product comes direct from a manufacturer or brick and mortar retailer. Just as often, the same images and product descriptions appear on sites like YouTube, Amazon, eBay or Craig's List from third-party sellers.

2 years later, dispute over copyright on primate selfie settled

Philosophy is a tricky thing. The questions wrestled with often seem simple, but a deeper dive into an issue shows the complications. One example is the famous question, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Another that might warrant the same scrutiny is one we posed more than two years ago. "Who should own the copyright in a selfie that is composed, art-directed, and shot by a monkey?" Should it be the owner of the camera or the monkey?

What is a work made for hire and why should I care?

Copyright law is not as simple a matter as it was before the digital age. With the arrival of the internet and the explosion of social media outlets, the possibility of copyright infringement is greater than it has ever been, and the need for copyright protection is even more important. Avoiding the first and achieving the second can be a complicated endeavor without skilled legal help.

"Fair use" doctrine raised in Dr. Phil Show copyright infringement case

Many of our readers are familiar with the television personality, Dr. Phil McGraw, the celebrity psychologist known for his no-nonsense and sometimes hard-line approach to personal, interpersonal and psychological problems. Dr. Phil may have celebrity status, but he certainly isn't everybody's favorite guy. As recent evidence of this, consider a recent lawsuit involving a former CBS director who worked on the show.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds, P.3

In recent posts, we've been looking at the intersection of publicity rights and federal copyright protection. As we've noted, an important issue in this area is when federal copyright law takes precedence over state-law rights of publicity. Courts have enforced publicity rights in photographs over and against federal copyright protection when the images are used for advertising or the sale of products. A recent case from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, declined to enforce publicity rights in the context of commercial licensing of copyrighted images.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds, P.2

Last time, we began looking at the question of how publicity rights and copyright protection are addressed when there is a conflict between the two. As we noted, publicity rights are generally held to be applicable when a photograph of an individual is used for advertising or commercial purposes but, as between publicity rights and copryright,  it isn't always intuitive whether one or both will be applicable.

When copyright protection and publicity rights are at odds

Last time, we looked very briefly at some general points about copyright protection and its importance for authors and artists. One area where copyright protection can get dicey is with photography. While a photographer may have rights to a photograph under copyright law, the subject or subjects of the photograph also have privacy and publicity rights over their personal likenesses under state law.

A brief look at some of the basics of copyright protection

Copyright protection is an important area of law for authors, artists, and others who regularly produce original works of authorship. Understanding some of the basics of copyright protection is important for such individuals, as is working with an experienced attorney when the author’s rights under copyright law are infringed.

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