Tag Archives: Copyright

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

Singers Chris Brown and The Weeknd Resolve Copyright Disputes

Last year, songwriter Nayeri Gregor filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Chris Brown, Benny Benassi, and others, claiming Brown’s 2012 song Don’t Wake Me Up infringed her 2009 song of the same title. According to Gregor, in 2011 she played her song for Irish singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy. Gregor further claimed that Kennedy memorized the music … Continue Reading

Can Software Be Created As a Work-for-Hire?

In early February a decision out of the Southern District of New York added another layer of dicta supporting the notion that software created by an independent contractor can qualify as a work-for-hire. In Stanacard, LLC v. Rubard, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15721 (S.D.N.Y. February 3, 2016), the court found in dicta that work … 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

9/11 Photo Fair Use Case, North Jersey Media Group v. Fox News, Settles on First Day of Trial

Fox News and North Jersey Media Group have announced they have settled their copyright dispute over the use of the iconic photo taken in the aftermath of 9/11, “Raising the Flag at Ground Zero,” that was posted on Facebook by Fox News. And so it appears we will not get the jury’s guidance on the … 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

Author’s Family Gets an Early Christmas Gift and Wins Back Rights to Song

Back in October, the Second Circuit reversed a district court’s ruling that the heirs of John Frederick Coots, the author of the song “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” could not terminate the copyright assignment currently held by music publisher EMI.  (Baldwin v. EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.)  In doing so, it held that EMI’s copyright … 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

SoundExchange to Audit Pandora and Others to Ensure Accurate Reporting of Music Plays

On January 22, 2016, the Copyright Royalty Board published SoundExchange’s notices of intent to audit broadcasters — including Beasley Broadcast Group Inc., Greater Media Inc., Saga Communications Inc., Townsquare MediaBroadcasting, and Univision Communications Inc. — and commercial webcasters — including Pandora Media Inc., Batanga, DMX, and Muzak Inc. — for payments each made to SoundExchange … Continue Reading

The Monkey in the Machine

In 2011, a Celebes crested macaque took a shot that was heard ’round the world. In a jungle in Indonesia, it depressed the remote trigger button of a photographer’s camera, effectively taking a selfie. The “monkey selfie” has ignited a great deal of commentary musing on the nature of copyright ownership. The human photographer claimed … Continue Reading

Department of Commerce Issues Recommendation on Statutory Damages

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a long-awaited report titled White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, which recommends amendments to U.S. copyright law. The task force report makes recommendations on three separate issues referenced in its title, though with respect to remixes and the first-sale doctrine, the recommendation is to … 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

Pandora Enters Into License Agreements With ASCAP and BMI

Following the Copyright Royalty Board’s ruling to raise Pandora’s royalty rates, last week Pandora announced new licensing agreements with the country’s two largest performing-rights societies, Broadcast Music Inc. and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Although the precise terms remain under wraps, these blanket licenses will govern Pandora’s right to play ASCAP’s and … Continue Reading

Copyright Royalty Board Issues Rate Increase to Pandora

On December 16, 2015, the Copyright Royalty Board released its much-anticipated ruling, increasing the royalty amount that Pandora and other digital streaming services must pay to stream music in 2016. The CRB’s ruling, which will be released in full after the parties redact confidential information, distinguishes between nonsubscription and subscription services. The CRB cracked down … 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
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