Archives: Copyright Infringement

Subscribe to Copyright Infringement RSS Feed

Spanski Enterprises, Inc. v. Telewizja Polska, S.A.: How Far Is Too Far When It Comes to the Extraterritorial Reach of US Copyright Law?

As a general matter, acts of copyright infringement that occur outside the jurisdiction of the United States are not actionable under U.S. copyright law. “The Copyright Act, it has been observed time and again, does not apply extraterritorially.” Kirstaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 1351, 1376 (2013) (Ginsburg, J. dissenting). The general … Continue Reading

Is There Copyright Infringement in Whoville?

The name “Cindy-Lou Who” likely invokes thoughts of the holiday season and Dr. Seuss’s beloved How the Grinch Stole Christmas (“Grinch”), which reminds us that the holidays are not all about toys and trinkets. But what happened after the Grinch “carved the roast beast”? Matthew Lombardo’s play Who’s Holiday! (the “Play”) tells us that story … Continue Reading

Is hyperlinking copyright infringement? EU vs. US

Over in Europe, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been hyperactive in the area of hyperlinking and copyright, at least as compared with the United States. The CJEU issued a much-anticipated ruling in September concerning hyperlinking’s legality in GS Media v Sanoma Media Netherlands and Others (C-160/15). It held that posting … Continue Reading

A Darker Shade of Red Flags: Second Circuit Raises the DMCA Bar for Proving Internet Service Providers’ Knowledge of Copyright Infringement

In a significant across-the-board victory for internet service providers hosting user-generated content (UGC), on June 16, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its much anticipated decision in Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC.  The ruling reaffirmed and clarified the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor for hosting potentially infringing UGC when they … Continue Reading

A Circuit Split at Last: Ninth Circuit Recognizes De Minimis Exception to Copyright Infringement of Sound Recordings

For the past 10 years, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has stood alone in having addressed the issue of whether a de minimis amount of copying used in a song sample constitutes infringement of a copyrighted sound recording. While the Sixth Circuit’s admonition of “get a license or do not sample” has gained little … Continue Reading

“And if You Listen Very Hard” . . . Zeppelin Going to [Trial in] California

Central District of California Judge Gary Klausner ruled the founders of rock band Led Zeppelin – and more particularly, front men Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – must face a jury trial to determine whether the band’s most famous song, “Stairway to Heaven,” infringed a copyright belonging to the band Spirit. In 2014, the trustee … Continue Reading

Where’s the Beef?: Locating the Situs of Injury for Jurisdictional Purposes in Cross-Border Copyright Infringement Cases

In spring 2015, plaintiffs Pablo Star Ltd. and Pablo Star Media Ltd., each a company organized under the laws of Ireland and the United Kingdom, sued the Welsh government and various content-providing companies for copyright infringement. At issue were two photographs of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, allegedly improperly used by the Welsh government as part … Continue Reading

The Beastie Boys Fight for Their Rights and Win

On Wednesday Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ordered record label TufAmerica, Inc. to pay the Beastie Boys (Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, and Adam Yauch), Universal-Polygram International Publishing, Inc. and Capital Records LLC, $845,597.23 in attorneys’ fees and costs. TufAmerica brought suit in 2012 against … Continue Reading

Copyright Content & Platforms – This Week’s Odds & Ends

Fear the Walking Dead. Popularity and piracy go hand in hand. The most tormented television shows are Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. In many instances, episodes of those shows are available for illegal download before they air. This week, AMC took action by rolling out a new watermarking technology, which will not directly … Continue Reading

Russia’s Primary Social Network in Hot Water Again Over Failure to Police Infringement

Russia’s Facebook, vKontakte, is under fire for its allegedly poor handling of pervasive copyright infringement on its platform (literally translated from Russian, “v kontakte” means “in contact”). The Association for the Protection of Copyright on the Internet, or AZAPO, has sued vKontakte in Moscow City Court on behalf of author Zahar Prilepin for his book “Resident.” … Continue Reading

Timberlake & Will.I.Am Sued by Disco Artist’s Estate

In a new case that is sure to draw comparisons to the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, Justin Timberlake and Will.I.Am have been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit from the estate of a disco artist. The suit alleges that key portions of their pop hit “Damn Girl” were taken from the relatively obscure 1969 jazz song … Continue Reading

Copyright, Content, and Platforms – This Week’s Odds and Ends

Copyright Office May Get $15 Million Budget Increase for 2017 The increase—about twenty-five percent over this year’s budget—could help towards the Copyright Office’s goal of making registration and other transactions simple, transparent, and technologically savvy, as laid out by the 5-year plan released by Maria Pallante, United States Register of Copyrights. It will also help … Continue Reading

1 in 5,000: How John Doe Defeated Porn Producer Malibu Media

Litigation-friendly pornography producer Malibu Media has suffered a rare loss, which may spell trouble as it proceeds with more cases. According to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Malibu Media has filed 5,207 copyright lawsuits in the past four years, only two of which have reached judgment. Malibu Media typically brings its cases as “John Doe” … Continue Reading

Buzzfeed Sued for Copyright Infringement

News and entertainment website BuzzFeed, Inc., known for its quizzes and listicles, was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit last week in California district court. Photographer Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly sued BuzzFeed and five unidentified (or “Doe”) defendants for allegedly displaying, reproducing, distributing, and creating derivative works of her copyrighted photograph of guitarist Carlos Santana, taken … Continue Reading

Copyright, Content, and Platforms – This Week’s Odds and Ends

Copyrights in Tattoos? Can tattoos be copyrighted? That will be the central question in a new lawsuit filed by Solid Oak Sketches, which brought a copyright infringement claim against Take Two Interactive. According to the lawsuit, Solid Oak owns the copyrights to many of the tattoos visible in the NBA 2K14, NBA 2K15, and NBA … Continue Reading

Artist Richard Prince Sued for Use of Photo from Instagram

It is not the first time artist Richard Prince has made headlines for appropriating others’ artwork into his own without attribution or license. But this time, he has done so in a way that may have implications on the use of photographs posted on social media. He is being sued on one of the 37 … Continue Reading

FilmOn and the Copyright Act §111 Compulsory Licensing

Web-based television streaming services have been dealt another blow in their campaign to transmit large broadcasters’ copyrighted programs.  In the latest decision on the issue, a federal judge rejected FilmOn X LLC’s claims that the company could stream protected broadcasts without committing copyright infringement.  Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FilmOn X LLC, No. 13-758-RMC (D.D.C. … Continue Reading

A New Lenz: Google Weighs In on Fair Use

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act creates a liability “safe harbor” for online service providers that post content that may be protected by copyright. It facilitates the takedown of an infringing work by providing a relatively simple “notice and takedown” procedure. However, the DMCA has been criticized for making it more difficult for individual creators to … Continue Reading

Judge Halts Pornographer’s Subpoenas Against Potential Infringers Identified Through IP Addresses

Online content providers continue to struggle with the challenge of copyright infringement by BitTorrent users.  One of the most aggressive tacks is the one taken by Malibu Media, which, after instituting over 4,500 lawsuits in four years, has become one of the most controversial copyright litigants, responsible for over 40 percent of copyright litigations during that time. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit: “Holy Copyright Law, Batman!” The Batmobile Is Copyrightable

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Batmobile is a copyrightable character. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion explaining its ruling begins with the sentence “Holy copyright law, Batman!,” and goes on to quote Adam West and invoke other pop culture references.  “ Since 1939, Batman has been featured in numerous publications by DC Comics, … Continue Reading

Another Step in the Long March from Campbell v. Acuff-Rose toward Fair Use Free-for-All?

Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., 2014 WL 4444043 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 9, 2014) TVEyes is a media-monitoring subscription service that “records the entire content of television and radio broadcasts and creates a searchable database of that content.” This service allows subscribers to search keywords or phrases to determine and review an aggregation of instances … Continue Reading

Apparel Designs and the “Metaphysics” of Copyright Protection

Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athlectica, LLC, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1150 (W.D. Tenn. 2014) Metaphysics is usually thought to be the province of philosophers or theologians.  A recent decision by a U.S. District Court in Tennessee, Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athletica, LLC, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1150 (W.D. Tenn. 2014), reminds us that copyright law can also … Continue Reading
LexBlog