Copyright

07Jan 2021
New Copyright Laws

At the end of December 2020, Congress passed an “omnibus” bill which justifiably received significant attention for providing financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Included in the legislation, in addition to the changes to trademark law discussed above, were also new laws related to copyright: the CASE Act and the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act. The CASE Act […]

17Dec 2020
Fair Use

In addition to an award of statutory damages, the ability to obtain attorney’s fees is often touted as an advantage of registering a copyright.  Indeed, it is a strong incentive for some lawyers to take copyright infringement cases on a contingency basis. What’s not often discussed is that should plaintiff’s attorney fail on behalf of […]

19Nov 2020
Led Zeppelin

After six years of litigation, Led Zeppelin has finally won.  Michael Skidmore, the trustee for the estate of Spirit’s guitarist Randy Wolfe, sued in 2014, claiming that Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” infringed Spirit’s copyright in its song, “Taurus.”  On October 5, 2020, the Supreme Court denied Skidmore’s request for a writ of certiorari after the 9th Circuit Court […]

15Oct 2020
Paparazzi

Did you know that there has been a spate of lawsuits filed against celebrities for using unlicensed photographs of themselves?  It’s true. The list of defendants is a Who’s Who of social media, including Deshaun Watson, Justin Bieber, Emily Ratajkowski, Lebron James, Gigi Hadid, Katy Perry, Khloe Kardashian, and the list goes on. With the […]

01Oct 2020
Bill Murray

In the world of intellectual property, the “Cease and Desist” letter is king. These are letters from attorneys for the owner of a work or invention, sent to an alleged infringer of the owner’s intellectual property rights. The letters cite the legal basis for the owner’s claim, may threaten doom, destruction, and huge financial damages, […]

24Sep 2020

Dear Doc: It seems to me that every time I try to find out about intellectual property licensing, I end up more confused than ever. Are you able to help? Signed, Bothered and Bewildered Dear B&B: You are correct. Licensing is a complex area of business and of the law. Unfortunately, it is in the […]

17Sep 2020
Fair Use

Dozens of times over the past 10 years, we have written about the “fair use” exception to copyright infringement.  You may recall that “fair use” under the U.S. Copyright Act permits limited use of copyrighted works for purposes of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.” It’s a complex area and one that is continuously […]

23Jul 2020
Uploading Photos

Dear Doc: Last month, you explained how to avoid legal issues concerning the use of music in podcasts. While that was interesting, many more ugly “lawyer letters” stem from use of images on websites and newsletters. Do you have any sage advice on how not to be on the receiving end of a nasty-gram from […]

16Jul 2020

Photographers have long been able to utilize the copyright system for registering groups of photographs for a single registration fee, now $55.00. It has to be one of the best bargains in the IP world. Registration gives photographers and other authors of original content access to federal courts, a presumption of validity, a public record of ownership […]