Category Archives: Fair Use

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 (...) [Read More]

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 (...) [Read More]

Appropriation of famous logo is trademark infringement? You be the judge.

Banksy on branding. The elusive street artist is seemingly frustrated with his own commercial success. To him great street artists need to remain criminal to keep their art pure. Most appropriation art could violate commercial law but is not criminal, unless it involves a violation of Copyright law’s DMCA. The image above is not a copyright infringement, but is potentially trademark infringement and dilution of (...) [Read More]

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 (...) [Read More]

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 (...) [Read More]

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 (...) [Read More]

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, (...) [Read More]

Lady Gaga left “Speechless” after domain name dispute ruling.

Despite all of “The Fame,” even Lady Gaga doesn’t win them all. Recently, Gaga was on the losing end of a domain name dispute regarding the domain “ladygaga.org.” Gaga had brought a domain name complaint under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (“ICANN”) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) against a fan (...) [Read More]

Facebook of Sex — Trademark Infringement or Parody?

Facebook has sued Various, Inc., the owner of Penthouse, adultfriendfinder.com and other adult-themed websites, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, for trademark infringement based upon Various’ creation of website called Facebook of Sex with the URL: facebookofsex.com.  Various has defended the name and the website saying, among other things, (...) [Read More]