Category Archives: Copyright

Posts on copyright law

Fan Fiction Gets Weird

Popular author L.J. Smith of the Vampire Diaries series was terminated by her publisher and replaced with a ghostwriter. Some fans are content to continue reading the now ghostwritten series. Other fans are buycotting. What did L.J. Smith do? She is writing new Vampire Diaries stories as “fan fiction”. Fan fiction is understood as meaning stories […]

Fair use ruling for Richard Prince stands, Supreme Court declines to hear Patrick Cariou’s appeal

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear Patrick Cariou’s appeal requesting a rehearing of his case against Richard Prince. The decision came one week after district court Judge Deborah Batts* accepted amicus briefs from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Rauschenberg Foundation encouraging consideration of the opinions of art historians […]

Dear Friends: Copy and paste Facebook Privacy Notices are SPAM. Kindly stop reposting!

Or perhaps the notices are a hoax virus– spread by friends bullying friends to spam others to show respect for the poster’s privacy and copyrights. Posting and re posting the Facebook Privacy Notice will not change Facebook’s policies.  If privacy is a concern, adjust privacy settings or avoid using Facebook for private communications. If controlling content is a concern, […]

No “Happy Birthday” for Trolls? Filmmaker seeks public domain judgement on song’s copyright

“Happy Birthday to You” is protected by copyright? The song is based on the tune from “Good Morning to All,” written in the late 1800’s. Over the years families adapted the tune for singing birthday greetings. Vexed with paying synch fees for use of the song in a film, producer Jennifer Nelson of Good Morning Productions asked a court to determine that “Happy […]

Cariou v. Prince: A victory for appropriation art

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a lower court opinion today in the case of Cariou v. Prince and handed another victory to the perhaps surprisingly robust world of contemporary collage artistry and appropriation art generally.  The story of the case is relatively straight forward.  In 2000, Patrick Cariou published […]

You Bought It, Now Dispose Of It How You Please

The Supreme Court recently ruled in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Docket No. 11-697) that the copyright “first-sale” doctrine trumps a copyright holder’s right to control distribution of products embodying copyright protected material. The decision has received a fair amount of attention in the legal sphere but less so in […]

Supreme Court: “first sale doctrine” permits sales of used foreign books in US without infringing US copyright owners’ rights

Under the doctrine of “first sale,” owners of objects are permitted to resell them without violating the exclusive right of distribution accorded copyright owners under US copyright law. Last week, the US Supreme Court, the court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley found that the doctrine of first sale was not limited to US copyrighted works […]

Performance Artist FORCE Launches Spoof with Long Legs

A group of performance artists from Baltimore known as “FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture” took advantage of a much anticipated media event to bring attention to the importance of consensual sex. The VS All Access Victoria’s Secret fashion show is an such an event, gluing billions of eyeballs to its prime time telecast. For FORCE, the […]

Can a celebrity’s post mortem right of publicity enter the public domain?

Banking on a dead celebrity’s right of publicity being public domain is an extremely dangerous advertising practice. Rights of publicity are a suite of legal rights that have developed from invasion of privacy and trademark law since the early 20th Century. There is a web of state and federal laws that can protect dead celebrities– even celebrities from […]

Turning Lemons into Lemonade: How one Trademark Owner Protected its IP and Avoided being Branded a Troll

That old saying seldom rings more true than it does with the recent cease and desist letter sent out by Jack Daniel’s. It seems that Patrick Wensink, an author, used a cover for his book that was quite similar to the trademarked label of Jack Daniel’s. Rather than send him a scalding and legalistic attack letter, […]