Just because you cannot copyright an idea, does not mean you cannot steal it

In Forest Park Pictures v. Universal Television Network, Inc., 683 F.3d 424, 2012 (2nd Cir. 2012), a television show developer filed a lawsuit against USA Network for using its television series idea without compensation. In 2005, plaintiff Forest Park Pictures developed an idea for a television show called Housecall about a doctor who was expelled from his practice for treating patients who could not pay, moved to Malibu, California to become a concierge doctor to […]


Oracle v. Google – Can you Copyright a Computer Language?

In Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc., Case No. C 10-03561 (U.S. Dist. Court, Northern District of California, 2012), Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement for “replicating elements of the structure, sequence and organization of the Java application programing interface.” Like many lawsuits, this one started after negotiations broke down.  Back in 2005 Google attempted to license the Java operating language from Oracle for the Android platform.  When no deal was reached, Google decided to […]


No Skipping Commercials – Dish Network vs ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX

At least one lawsuit has been filed and two more may have been filed related to satellite company Dish Network’s various commercial skipping technologies. The services in question are “PrimeTime Anytime” and “Auto Hop.”  PrimeTime Anytime records ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX every night for the three hours of “primetime” and keeps those recordings for eight days on a two terabyte  DVR known as the Hopper.  Combined with Dish Network’s Auto Hop feature, “a viewer […]


Viacom vs YouTube Another Round in the Fight

Viacom lives to fight another day against YouTube.   The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a trial court ruling which summarily dismissed Viacom’s copyright infringement claims against YouTube. Viacom and the other joint plaintiffs in the action sued YouTube in 2007 for copyright infringement of approximately 75,000 video clips.   After discovery, both sides moved for summary judgment.  The trial court ruled that YouTube was protected from any copyright infringement claims based […]


Is the sale of “used” digital tracks music piracy? Capitol Records vs. ReDigi

ReDigi bills itself as the first “online marketplace for pre-owned digital music.”  Users upload their “used” digital music to the ReDigi marketplace for sale.  ReDigi then sells the “used” music for 79 cents, pays the user 10 cents, keeps 69 cents and (according to Capitol Records) pays the record companies nothing. According to the ReDigi website, ReDigi is the world’s first and only online marketplace for pre-owned digital music. Its genius is in its ability […]


Artist sues Green Day, Looses, Slapped with Attorney’s Fees

In 2003 artist Derek Seltzer created a work titled “Scream Icon” show below: Seltzer printed posters and stickers of his art and placed them around Los Angeles on buildings, street signs and other public places.  In 2008, Roger Staub, who would later become a set designer for Green Day, took a photograph of a graffiti wall in Los Angeles that included one of Seltzer’s posters.  The photograph taken by Staub is show below: In 2009, […]


Restricting Software to Certain Hardware is not Copyright Misuse – Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corporation

These days, software is not “sold” it is “licensed.”  Although you bought and paid for the software, you do not own the software and never will.  One of the primary reasons software is licensed is to get around the “first sale doctrine.”  The first sale doctrine allows someone who has purchased a copyrighted product to resell their copy of the product without restriction.  When software is licensed, you typically cannot resell it (which means the […]


Astrology Company Claims Copyright in What The Local Time was Yesterday

Astrolabe, Inc. an astrology (not astronomy) company based in Massachusetts is claiming copyright ownership to the world’s historical time zone data. In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts, Astrolabe has sued Arthur David Olson and Paul Eggert, the founding contributor and current maintainer of the TZ Database which is used by computer programs and operating systems around the world to calculate historical time zone information. Astrolabe is apparently claiming it owns the factual […]


Rival Photographer with Similar Style is not Copyright Infringer

Photographer Janine Gordon (“Gordon”) filed a lawsuit against rival art photographer Ryan McGinley (“McGinley”) claiming that McGinley infringed more than 150 of her photographs.  Gordon also sued three galleries that exhibited McGinley’s works and Levi Strauss & Co., which used certain of the McGinley photographs in advertising campaigns. Gordon alleged in her complaint that McGinley’s photographs are substantially similar to hers and, in fact, represent a pattern of infringement. Side-by-side examples were dissected in detail […]


Perfect 10 v. Google — Copyright Infringement does not Automatically Result in Injunctive Relief

Perfect 10 is a website which sells subscriptions to view its collection of nude photographs. The photographs are in a password protected area of the Perfect 10 website and are not publicly available.  Certain third party websites copied Perfect 10’s photographs and republished them on the internet without permission.  Once the photographs are on the public internet, Google indexes these third party websites and creates a thumbnail image of the photograph which it retains in […]