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]

US Supreme Court to take on the patentability of software. Can the decision reduce the incidence of troll attacks?

Mathmatical algorithms are unpatentable. Software is a collection of algorithms expressed in machine code. Under current law, only software that involves a specific machine or physical result. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted cert in a case,  Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International (docket 13-298), involving financial software to mitigate risk in settlement transactions. The trial (...) [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]

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]

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 (...) [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]

Eminem And The Temptations Have More Than Just Detroit In Common

While digital piracy continues, major record labels seem to have gotten a handle on making money from digital copies of songs from their music catalogs thanks in large part to the legitimacy conferred on digital music sales distribution by Apple’s iTunes store. Now the labels are finding themselves tripped up by long existing contracts with (...) [Read More]

Evil MegaUpload is Down, so too ProtectIP and SOPA?

Rupert Murdock’s tweets do not seem to have convinced Google or anyone else in the tech community to support SOPA and/or ProtectIP.  Last night however, FBI agents working with New Zealand authorities claim to have “shutdown” Megaupload.com. Despite cyberattacks by Anonymous that briefly took down the DOJ, MPAA, RIAA and Universal Music Group websites last (...) [Read More]