Oct
2
2013

Dash v. Floyd Mayweather: Copyright Damages Require more than mere Speculation

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In 2005, Musical artist Anthony Lawrence Dash composed a track titled, "Tony Gunz Beat."  Floyd Mayweather, Jr., arguably the greatest professional boxer of all time, used a variation of that track with lyrics added as his entrance music during two World Wresting Entertainment "WWE" events, WrestleMania XXIV in 2008 and on WWE RAW in 2009. Although Dash created Tony Gunz Beat in 2005, the track was not copyrighted until October 2009, after both of Mayweather's […]

Aug
27
2013

Copyright Renewal Rights Must be Transferred with Specificity

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Under the 1976 copyright act, artistic works still in their initial term of copyright protection on January 1, 1978 were given two terms of protection.  An initial term of 28 years and a renewal term of 67 years. Gary Friedrich, the creator of the popular Ghost Rider comic book character first published by Marvel Comics in 1972, sued Marvel claiming copyright infringement of by Marvel for publishing Ghost Rider works after 2000, the expiration of […]

Jun
9
2013

Mobile Phone Carriers not Indirectly Liable for Text Message Copyright Infringement

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The Plaintiffs Luvdarts LLC and Davis-Reuss, Inc. produce and sell greeting card style messages which are sent using a mobile phone's Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).  Within the electronic greeting cards is a notice that the greeting card may be shared only once.  There is not, however, any copy protection preventing someone from sharing the greeting card numerous times.  Not surprisingly, users ignore the one-time share notice and share the greeting cards with lots of people. […]

May
14
2013

Can you get Copyright Protection on an Informational Diagram?

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Plaintiff Enterprise Management Limited holds copyrights for the following diagram: Defendant Donald W. Warrick, who teaches in the organizational development field, copied the diagram and incorporated it in his course materials after receiving a copy from a student.  At the trial court, Warrick moved for summary judgment arguing that the diagram was not entitled to copyright protection.  The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the case. The Plaintiff appealed. Warrick argues that Plaintiff's diagram […]

Apr
11
2013

WNET v. Aereo: Is renting a TV antenna copyright infringement?

TV Antenna

Aereo, Inc. allows subscribers to watch broadcast television over the internet.  The Aereo system also allows subscribers to record content and watch is later.  Owners of the television content sued Aereo for copyright infringement. After filing suit, the content owners moved for a preliminary injunction to shut down the Aereo service.  The district court found in favor of Aereo and the content holders appealed to the United States District Court for the Second Circuit. The […]

Mar
17
2013

SOFA Entertainment v. Dodger Productions: is use of a seven second video clip fair use?

Jersey Boys

A seven second clip of Ed Sullivan introducing the Four Seasons on The Ed Sullivan Show was used in the musical Jersey Boys about the group.  The defendants argued that it used the clip for its historical significance.  The district court agreed and the plaintiff appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals first reviewed the definition of fair use. 17 U.S.C. § 107 states, "[T]he fair use of […]

Feb
13
2013

Harney v. Sony Pictures: Is a recreated photograph copyright infringement?

Father and Daughter

Plaintiff Donald A. Harney is a professional photographer who took a picture of a father, Clark Rockefeller, and daughter, Reigh Rockefeller, leaving church on April 1, 2007.  The photograph appeared on the front page of the local newspaper and Harney filed a copyright registration for the photograph. In July 2007, Clark Rockefeller kidnapped his daughter during a bitter divorce.  As it turned out, the name Clark Rockefeller was merely an alias and Mr. Rockefeller's life, a […]

Jan
26
2013

Blehm v. Jacobs: Can you Infringe the Copyright of a Stick Figure?

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Plaintiff Gary Blehm is the creator of series of stick figures named "Penmen" (pictured on the left).  The defendants, Albert and John Jacobs, created their own series of stick figures named "Jake" (pictured on the right). Blehm developed the Penmen characters in the 1980's and had several posters of the Penmen characters copyrighted.  Around 1994 defendant John Jacobs first drew Jake.  Initially Jake was just a head, but later a body was added to Jake […]

Dec
17
2012

What is a United States Work under Copyright Law?

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In Kernel Records v. Mosley, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the court attempted to sort out whether the song Acidjazzed Evening was published, and if so, if it was simultaneously published in every country of the world the instant it was (allegedly) posted to an Australian website. Under U.S. Copyright Law, a work first published in the United States (or simultaneous in the United States and one or more foreign […]

Sep
28
2012

Huge Copyright Awards are Constitutional - Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset

Capitol Records

Jammie Thomas-Rasset was accused by various record companies of using the file sharing program KaZaA to commit copyright infringement.  During the trial Thomas-Rasset claimed she had never heard of the file-sharing program KaZaA.  The record companies, however, put on evidence that showed Thomas-Rasset replaced the hard drive in her computer after being notified of the copyright infringement claims.  A jury found Thomas-Rasset guilty of willfully infringing copyrights of twenty-four songs.  The jury awarded damages of […]

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