Category: Copyright

Copyright infringement in literature, art, and film from 1923 to present. Enjoy a nefarious tale or two about intellectual property theft, on me, gratis.

Tattoo You!

Is it copyright infringement if I take a photograph of the tattooed lady at the circus? Or of the guy who was so fashion-minded he permanently engraved a Louis Vuitton logo on his head? How about my attempts to nab a celebrity photo courtside at the Lakers' game? Could this be copyright infringement?

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Collaboration Blues

This is a tale with a simple premise. You and a friend decide to collaborate on a screenplay. He's got a great idea for Godzilla meets Colossus meets Gigantor meets angry mythological Greek from Wrath of the Titans, and you've got massive writing chops, as evidenced by the 14 screenplays you've got moldering in a box in the back of your closet.

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Faulkner Goes Folksy On Fair Use

While the astute reader may have noticed that the company that owns William Faulkner’s literary rights sued Sony for copyright infringement based on a misquoted snippet of a sentence that appeared in Midnight In Paris, it was news to me when I stumbled across the article in the ABA Journal this morning. Given that I try and keep abreast of happenings in the world of copyright, and this should really have been BIG NEWS (in all caps, even), I was shocked that the coverage was so ho-hum, with nary a vitriolic diatribe to be found anywhere. Given that Wilson is time-travelling back to 1920s Paris at the time he makes the statement, it’s more a reflection of his actual condition (i.e., the past is not past because he’s currently living in the past) than a comment on Faulkner’s line of dialogue

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Who Owns Your Facebook Account When You Die?

It's the first month of January 2013 and you're driving through Malibu in the new Audi coupe your lovely wife bought you for Xmas when, out of nowhere, a truck comes barreling through the intersection right next to D'Amore's Famous Pizza and the last thought you have is "What the . . . ."

Ten days later after the funeral your wife decides she wants to turn your Facebook page into a memorial page for all your friends to post pictures of you and tell intimate stories. So what happens when we die? As Lionel Barrymore famously said, "You can't take it with you when you go."

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Owning Copyright

Today the European Court of Justice ruled that software is like a book. Once you buy it, you can lend it, you can resell it, you can light it on fire, you can lose it, you can laugh when it crashes your computer, and you can transfer it electronically. Although the Court was far too recondite to articulate the true implication of their ruling, the upshot really is that – at least in the EU – if you buy software, you “own” it.

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First Sale!! First Sale!!

The United States Supreme Court is soon to hear the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., which involves the application of the copyright laws to the time-honored American tradition of buying cheap and selling dear.

The facts in Kirtsaeng are straightforward. A foreign graduate student studying mathematics at USC realizes one day that he can buy educational textbooks in his home country – in English – at a fraction of the price the publisher is selling them for in the United States. He decides to capitalize

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Creative Copyrights

Many of us applauded the vision behind the Creative Commons project in the same way we applauded Open Source. When Larry Lessig came up with the idea for the Creative Commons, he intended to create an alternative licensing system that would solve the problems with copyright registration in the United States. While admirable, what he did in some respects served to enshrine the current copyright regime . . .

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