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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.

Second Circuit: Songs for Italian movies not works made for hire

An August 21 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit illustrates the concept of the work made for hire in U.S. copyright law -- and the similar concept of commissioned works in Italian law. Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd. looked at the nature of an agreement between a composer and a movie company to write musical scores for Italian movies.

Songwriter alleges copyright infringement by Lady Gaga

We have written recently in this space about the controversy over whether it is appropriate to allow copyright ownership for very small note combinations in songs. Some argue that a short progression of notes is just a basic, generic element of a musical composition and too basic to grant intellectual property rights to it.

We can buy technology to record TV shows ... thanks to Justice Stevens

On July 16, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens passed away at 99. He served on the high court almost 35 years. He regarded himself as a judicial conservative, but he gained a reputation over time for opinions viewed as liberal.

Copyright: Court finds Andy Warhol’s use of Prince photo was fair

The New York federal judge in a high-profile copyright infringement lawsuit found on July 1 that painter Andy Warhol did not infringe on Lynn Goldsmith’s copyrighted photograph of Prince when he based a series of portraits on it. The court concluded that Warhol did not infringe because of the “fair use” defense.

Texas school district owes $9.2 million for copyright violations

Last month, DynaStudy, a small, relatively new Austin, Texas, educational publisher of study guides was victorious in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Houston school district. According to the Houston Chronicle, the jury found "dozens" of district employees committed "hundreds" of copyright violations that prompted the large damage award.

Did "No Handlebars" use recycled parts of "Handlebars"?

Copyright protects a creative work from copying by someone other than the owner or licensee when the copied work is "substantially similar." Creating a substantially similar copy without permission constitutes copyright infringement.

Artificial intelligence generates real copyright issues

When lawmakers passed the first federal copyright law in 1790 to protect rights in maps, charts and books, they could hardly have conceived of an issue under consideration today: Whether the creations generated by computers using artificial intelligence should enjoy copyright protection.

Fourth Estate: SCOTUS says registration approach is correct one

The verdict is finally in. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation v., LLC. The court held that to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit under the federal Copyright Act, the Register of Copyrights must have acted on the copyright application in question by either granting or denying the registration.

Court greenlights mashup of Seuss and Star Trek as fair use

On March 12, a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California released an opinion that discusses at length the concept of fair use of a copyrighted work. We have previously written about fair use -- a legal doctrine that allows limited uses of copyrighted works without permission in narrow categories.

US Copyright Office rulings on requests for dance copyrights

We recently posted a blog about three lawsuits alleging that the owner of Fortnite, the popular video game, violated copyrights in three dances reproduced in the game without permission or credit. As we described, dance choreography can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, but the copyright requirements for dance are complicated and significant.

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