IP Law Alert

IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Tag Archives: Copyright Infringement

Ghost Rider Copyright Case Lives On

Posted in Copyright
Last week, in Gary Friedrich Enters., LLC v. Marvel Enters., Inc., the Second Circuit reversed the lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Gary Friedrich, who created the comic book super hero "Ghost Rider," ruling that Friedrich could maintain his lawsuit against Marvel Enterprises Inc. regarding his ownership rights in the character… Continue Reading

The Laws of Physics and Copyright Law: SDNY Rules that First-Sale Doctrine Does Not Apply to the Resale of “Used” Digital Media

Posted in Copyright
Owners of books and music in physical media form need not fear if ever they decide to sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of these copyright-protected materials. The first-sale doctrine permits such activities by extinguishing a copyright owner's exclusive right of distribution of copyrighted items that have been lawfully sold or transferred. However, according to a recent federal court ruling, Capitol Records, LLC. v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (S.D.N.Y. March 30, 2012) owners of digital versions of the same works may find it more difficult to sell, rent, or otherwise dispose of their digital files… Continue Reading

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Lower Courts and Determines That International Copyright Exhaustion is Now the Rule

Posted in Copyright
Online resellers, used book stores, art galleries, and museums, among others, apparently can now breathe a sigh of relief and continue to display and resell goods originally sold or manufactured outside of the U.S., without the specter of a potential copyright infringement action looming on the horizon… Continue Reading

2013: The IP Law Year Ahead

Posted in Patent
Like 2012, 2013 promises to be a busy and significant year for intellectual property law. The Supreme Court is slated to decide a number of IP cases, including: Already, LLC d/b/a Yums v. Nike, Inc. (addressing the significance of a limited covenant-not-to-sue on declaratory judgment jurisdiction); Bowman v. Monsanto (determining whether the Federal Circuit erred by not finding patent exhaustion in second generation seeds and created an exception to patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies); Gunn v. Minton (pertaining to whether federal courts have exclusive "arising under" jurisdiction when legal malpractice claims stem from a patent case); Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (regarding international copyright exhaustion, i.e., how Section 602(a)(1) and Section 109(a) of the Copyright Act apply to a copy that was legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States); Federal Trade Comm'n v. Watson Pharm., Inc. (involving whether Hatch-Waxman reverse payment settlement agreements are legal); and most recently, Ass'n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, et al. (regarding the patentability of human genes and whether the petitioners have standing to challenge those patents)… Continue Reading

Freelancer of “Live to Ride” Logo and Harley-Davidson Settle Their Dispute

Posted in Copyright
Closing the loop on our previous report, freelance commercial artist Wayne W. Peterson and the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company have reached a confidential settlement in their copyright spat. Peterson had alleged that the iconic motorcycle maker stole his copyrighted "Live to Ride" logo, created in 1985 and the "Harley-Davidson University" logo, created in … Continue Reading

Freelancer Survives “Live to Ride” Logo Dispute with Harley-Davidson — For Now

Posted in Copyright
A pending action in the Eastern District of Wisconsin serves as a reminder of the need for clarity and specificity in any IP-related deal, and in this case, in a matter involving copyright. Wayne W. Peterson is a freelance commercial artist who produced various commissioned works for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company from the mid-1970s through the mid-2000s. Two of Peterson's works, the "Live to Ride" logo, created in 1985 and the "Harley-Davidson University" logo, created in 1991, are the subject of Peterson's Complaint… Continue Reading

USPTO Offers IP Awareness Assessment

Posted in Patent
Under the joint auspices of the US Patent and Trademark Office the National Institute of Standards and Technology/Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the IP Awareness Assessment is now in the beta stage and available for businesses and inventors to assess their intellectual property awareness. Dubbed "A business and inventor's IP education tool," this web-based offering is designed to assess IP knowledge and provide personalized training resources for businesses and inventors… Continue Reading

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Shelved

Posted in Copyright, Entertainment
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, thousands of internet companies including Google and Wikipedia protested against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) proposed by the Senate and its counterpart in the House, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). For example, Wikipedia blacked out its website while Google collected over 7 million signatures for its anti SOPA and PIPA petition. Since the high profile protests, key congressional supporters have withdrawn their support, questioning the viability of both bills… Continue Reading

Caveat Author: Understanding Copyrights, Revisited ….

Posted in Copyright
We previously reviewed a copyright case involving Marvel and a comic book author's relinquishment of any copyrights in the iconic characters Hulk, Spiderman, the X-Men and others because the works were determined to be "for hire." Marvel Worldwide v. Kirby. In an unrelated action, Judge Forrest of the Southern District of New York recently found in favor of Marvel, in Gary Friedrich Enters., LLC v. Marvel Enters., Inc. The court ruled that the plaintiff writer, Gary Friedrich, although he indisputably conceived of the character, "Ghost Rider," and wrote the initial comic book, had ceded all rights in the character to Marvel… Continue Reading

Copyrights in Works For Hire

Posted in Copyright
What can the Hulk, Spiderman and the X-Men teach us about copyrights? Well, artists and authors alike must understand the terms under which they are creating their works, or potentially lose any copyrights they, and their heirs, might otherwise enjoy. IP Law360 recently reported on Marvel Worldwide v. Kirby from the Southern District of New York, which underscores the importance of such understanding… Continue Reading

Library of Congress Says You Can Jailbreak Your Smartphone

Posted in Copyright
On July 26, 2010, the Library of Congress ruled that "jailbreaking" of smartphones is a fair use under the Copyright Act. Under the Copyright Act, the Librarian of Congress is required to review classes of works every three years for exemptions to the ban against circumventing technological measures that control access to copyrighted materials. The purpose for the triennial review is to determine whether users of copyrighted works are adversely affected by the anti circumventing ban in their ability to make noninfringing uses of copyrighted work. As part of its decision making process, the Copyright Office provides notice of its rulemaking, solicits input from the public and makes a final recommendation to the Library of Congress… Continue Reading

Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick: Copyright Registration is Not a Jurisdictional Requirement

Posted in Copyright
Last week, the Supreme Court issued its highly-anticipated decision in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick. The decision arose out of a class action settlement between publishers and authors following the Supreme Court's holding affirming copyright infringement in New York Times, Co. v. Tasini. The Southern District of New York certified the settlement, but the Second Circuit reversed, holding that pursuant to §411(a) of the Copyright Act, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to approve the settlement because the settlement covered both registered and unregistered works. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the registration requirement of §411(a) was a claim processing rule and not a jurisdictional requirement. It left open, however, the question of how strictly §411(a) should be applied… Continue Reading

Copy Machine or Copy Service? “Volitional Conduct” and Direct Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright, E-Commerce
Is a technology provider liable for direct copyright infringement when it provides the means for infringement instructed by its users? In the Cablevision case, Cartoon Networks LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008), the Second Circuit endorsed a line of cases holding that the provider is not liable absent "volitional conduct" that causes the copying to take place. Two recent district court decisions in the Southern District of New York appear to have applied this rule in seemingly inconsistent fashion… Continue Reading