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Constitutional Law Copyright Law

Monkey Can See, Monkey Can Do, But Monkey Can’t Own

On Wednesday, a federal judge said the macaque who famously snapped a picture of himself cannot be declared the owner of the image’s copyright. The photo in question was taken in 2011 on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with a camera owned by nature photographer David Slater. But Slater didn’t trip the shutter: the macaque […]

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Constitutional Law Copyright Law

Plot Thickens in “Happy Birthday” Suit

Two years ago I reported here on a lawsuit filed by NY filmmaker Jennifer Nelson trying to strike Warner Music’s copyright in the song “Happy Birthday.” She had been filming a documentary about the song and was charged $1,500. by Warner to use the song in her film. She then filed her suit seeking return […]

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Constitutional Law Copyright Law Fashion Law Intellectual Property

Nike “Jumpman” Case Shows Difficulty With Copy-Cat Infringement Cases

A Federal Court in Oregon dismissed photographer Jacobus Rentmeester’s claim that Nike’s famous “Jumpman” infringed on his original photograph which inspired the logo. The case doesn’t really break new ground nor is it very controversial; the judge correctly applied the proper legal parameters in my opinion. I’m writing about it though because it’s the kind […]

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Copyright Law Entertainment Law

Copyright Lawsuit Filed Against Joss Whedon Over “Cabin In the Woods”

Filmmaker Joss Whedon is being sued for $10 million by a writer who claims they stole his idea for the hit horror film Cabin in the Woods. Writer Peter Gallagher has filed the lawsuit against the Avengers director and his co-writer/director Drew Goddard. In his lawsuit filed this week in Federal Court in California, the […]

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Constitutional Law Copyright Law Entertainment Law Intellectual Property Litigation

“Blurred Lines” Verdict Will Blur the Lines of Copyright For Years To Come

Yesterday a federal jury awarded the Estate of Marvin Gaye $7.3 Million finding that the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, songwriters of the hit song “Blurred Lines,” had infringed on the Marvin Gaye song “Got to Give it Up.” Even though the judge rejected the Gaye family’s most dangerous argument – – that a song’s […]

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Constitutional Law Copyright Law

You Gotta Fight For Your Right To . . . Legal Fees!

To quote Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run.”  Emergy drink company Monster should have heeded Kenny’s advice in the lawsuit brought by the great and influential rap group Beastie Boys against the company.   A court in […]

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Constitutional Law Copyright Law Intellectual Property

US Court Deduces That Sherlock Holmes Is Now Public Domain

A US Federal judge has ruled that iconic literary character Sherlock Holmes and the most familiar elements of his stories are in the public domain.  But what’s as important is that  in a strongly worded opinion the court criticized the Arthur Conan Doyle estate for its troll-like practices. It’s the third time an American judge has […]

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Copyright Law Intellectual Property Litigation

Federal Appeals Court Explains Significant Limits on Architecture Copyright

Architect James Zalewski had apparently seemed to do everything right. He drafted plans for his version of an American Colonial house; he filed and obtained copyright registration for the plans; when two local builders wanted to use his plans to develop homes, he made them pay for licenses to use the plans; when they then […]

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Copyright Law Intellectual Property Litigation

Ex-Wife Uses Copyright To Ban Use of Hubby’s Suicide Note

Chris Mackney, a Virginia father of two, took his own life in December 2013, leaving behind a four-page note blaming his suicide on a “broken” family court system that stripped him of his parental rights. The note is somewhat nasty towards his ex-wife, Dina, and reveals personal information about his kids; it’s also clearly Chris’ […]