Saturday, September 25, 2004

Should Have Known. Of course Larry provided pro bono services in the bootlegging case I discussed below. You can read Lessig's comments on the case here.
So "Limited Times" Means Something Less than "Forever." Reuters reports that "US Judge Anti-Bootlegging Law Is Unconstitutional." From the article: "U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled that the statute banning boot-legging was unconstitutional because it says that copyrights on live performances are protected forever. This, he said, conflicts with the 'limited time' requirements of copyright law."
That Play Sounds Awfully Familiar... The AP reports in "Playwright Lavery Accused of Plagiarism." From the article: "English playwright Bryony Lavery has been accused of plagiarizing passages from a criminal psychiatrist and a magazine writer in her Tony Award-nominated play about a serial killer and his psychiatrist."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

More on the Parks Case. E!Online reports that "Parks' Dementia Can't Stop Rap Suit."
Never Thought You'd See the Word "Star" Used to Refer to a Patent Lawyer, Did You? reports that "Bar Stars Shine in $82 Million Patent Case." From the article: "A case pitting two of the biggest names in IP law against each other came to a head Tuesday, when an Oakland, Calif., jury awarded $82 million to a San Jose, Calif., company, finding that Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. infringed two patents."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

When Old Agreements Attack. Sounds rather like the Apple/Beatles case... reports in "Putting a Legal Lock on 'Kryptonite'." From the article:
DC Comics filed suit alleging infringement, unfair competition and dilution of the trademark, as well as state law claims that Kryptonite Corp. was using kryptonite and other words containing "krypto" to confuse consumers into believing there was a connection between its products and the Superman legend.

The lock company counterclaimed for recision of its agreement with DC Comics, saying the purposes of the agreement had been "substantially frustrated."
Derrivative Work? CNN reports in "Artists sue O'Donnell over sketches." From the article: "Two courtroom artists are suing former TV talk show host Rosie O'Donnell for copyright infringement, accusing her of trying to pass off photographs of their sketches of her as work she produced."
New Revelation in the Rosa Parks Trial. The AP reports in "Lawyer: Rosa Parks has dementia, can't testify."
Not My Twinkies! Actually, I'm more of a HoHos fan. CNN reports that "Interstate Bakeries files for bankruptcy." From the article: "It said in a statement the filing was brought on by liquidity issues, resulting from declining sales, a high fixed-cost structure, excess industry capacity, rising employee healthcare and pension costs and higher costs for ingredients and energy."

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Took Him A While... reports that "Calif. Man Claims 'Apprentice' Producer Stole Show Idea." From the article: "Bethea, who claims he registered his show idea with the Writers Guild of America in August 2000, is seeking damages for copyright infringement, breach of implied contract and unfair competition."

Monday, September 20, 2004

Grandchild of Eldred? Wired reports in "Saving the Artistic Orphans." From the article: "Valuable resources are being lost to students, researchers and historians because of sweeping changes in copyright law, according to digital archivists who are suing the government."
It's That Time of Year Again. Merger season. reports in "Piper Rudnick in Early Merger Talks With Gray Cary" and "Fish & Neave Flirts With Ropes & Gray."

Friday, September 17, 2004

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Spam, Spam, Go Away... reports in "A Pattern Language For Spam." From the article: "Anti-spam vendor Commtouch said it has acquired a patent covering a method of identifying and eliminating spam."
Taking it to the ... Phones? Wired reports in "Big Anti-Induce Campaign Planned." From the article: "Thousands of people have signed up to call their congressional representatives Tuesday to protest the Induce Act, a controversial copyright bill that many fear would undermine the legal protections that allow consumers to make personal copies of music or movies they've bought."
Patent Litigators, Read Up. How Appealing reports on the recent en banc Federal Circuit ruling here, in which the court held that it is no longer appropriate to draw an adverse inference that an opinion of counsel was or would have been unfavorable from an alleged infringer's failure to produce an exculpatory opinion of counsel.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Eighth Circuit Affirms in Gateway. How Appealing reports here.
The Best Argument For Coming Up With a Distinctive Trademark. The Boston Globe reports in "The John Smith of banks." From the article: "A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Citizens must take its name off branches in parts of Western Pennsylvania, saying the name conflicted too closely with another Citizens bank, this one called Citizens National Bank of Evans City." Via How Appealing.
He Should Have Just Added "Sucks" to the Domain Name. The Washington Post reports that "AU President Challenges Web Site That Bears His Name." From the article: "Two and a half years after Wetmore started the Web site -- and a year after he graduated -- attorneys for AU President Benjamin Ladner have filed a complaint challenging Wetmore's right to the Web address, saying the site unfairly trades on 'the goodwill' associated with Ladner's name." (And yes, having quotes around the words "the goodwill," along with the later reference to ICANN, are some of my pet peeves with having non-lawyers write legal analysis pieces. Sigh.)
I Just Might Have to Get One of These. The LA Times has an op-ed about the newest Schwarzenegger bobblehead entitled "Schwarzenegger Is Fair Game." Via How Appealing. More on the previous case here.
Copyright Office Enters INDUCE Act Fray. Wired reports in "Copyright Proposal Induces Worry." From the article: "The copyright office proposed that a company that makes technologies that help individuals digitally transmit copyright materials to the public will be liable if the firm relies on such infringing activities to make money or attract people to its service." You can see Register Peterson's remarks here. What I want to know is what constitutes "rel[ying] on infringement for its commercial viability"? Would Apple's "rip mix burn" ad campaign run afoul of the INDUCE Act? Of course, Copyfight has the complete roundup here.
Fitting Revenge for Sending Us Crocodile Dundee. Wired reports that "U.S. Exports DMCA Down Under." From the article: "Australia appears ready to adopt U.S-style copyright laws, courtesy of a Free Trade Agreement deal negotiated between the two countries."
Nothing New Under the Sun? Check out this interesting post on BoingBoing about the genealogy of Hello Kitty: "Is Hello Kitty a Copycat? Update: Nope, she just shares DNA with a rabbit."
Sounds Like They're Trying to Copyright an Idea. Although, if it means that we on this side of the pond will be spared "The X Factor," I might be all for it. Reuters reports that "'Pop Idol' Creator Sues Cowell Over Rival Show." From the article: "The creator of U.K. talent show 'Pop Idol' and its U.S. spinoff 'American Idol' is suing his former collaborators, including Simon Cowell, claiming that their new project is a rip-off of the global 'Idol' format." Of course, you can count on Page Six for the gossip behind the headlines.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Friday, September 10, 2004

So Does Filming Emergency Room Patients for a Political Ad Receive More or Less Protection Than Filming for an Emergency Room "Reality" Show? reports in "Tort Reform Infomercial Sparks Privacy Suit."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Lessig on Sixth Circuit Sampling Ruling. You can read Lessig's comments here.
Your Congress in Action. We can't get them to act on a bill to overturn Mosely, but they're more than willing to further criminalize copyright infringement (frankly, if the punishments provided for by the current Copyright Act aren't enough to deter P2P, I'm not sure this will). Reuters reports in "House Panel OKs Copyright, Spyware Bills."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

This Seems to Go Too Far. The AP reports in "Court: Sampling May Violate Copyright Law." From the article: "A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that rap artists should pay for every musical sample included in their work — even minor, unrecognizable snippets of music." Copyright liability for sampling three notes seems to run afowl of the de minimis limitiation on copyright protection. You can access the Sixth Circuit's opinion here, where you will find the following response to my de minimis argument:
This analysis admittedly raises the question of why one should, without infringing, be able to take three notes from a musical composition, for example, but not three notes by way of sampling from a sound recording. Why is there no de minimis taking or why should substantial similarity not enter the equation.(10) Our first answer to this question is what we have earlier indicated. We think this result is dictated by the applicable statute. Second, even when a small part of a sound recording is sampled, the part taken is something of value.(11) No further proof of that is necessary than the fact that the producer of the record or the artist on the record intentionally sampled because it would (1) save costs, or (2) add something to the new recording, or (3) both. For the sound recording copyright holder, it is not the “song” but the sounds that are fixed in the medium of his choice. When those sounds are sampled they are taken directly from that fixed medium. It is a physical taking rather than an intellectual one.
Talk About High Risk Litigation. The AP reports that "Disney May Sell Trademarks Over Suit." From the article: "The trademarks, which include well-known images such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, could be sold locally to pay Linda's heirs if they win their lawsuit, according to Tuesday's ruling."

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Ninth Circuit Tightens Evidentiary Requirements for Receipt of Damages, Profits in Copyright Cases. How Appealing has this report on a recent Ninth Circuit ruling involving Timex and "extreme kayaking."
Is That a Blue Moon I See? Wired reports in "Strange Bedfellows in E-Mail Case." From the article: "Civil liberties groups made common cause today with the Justice Department, a traditional target of their lawsuits, by filing court papers supporting the government's appeal of a court ruling that said internet service providers are allowed to snoop on their customers."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Google Keyword Policy May Support a Claim for Trademark Infringement. Given Google's refusal to cease using trademarks as keywords, even in response to trademark notifications, I'm sure a lot of people will be watching this case closely, including some of my clients. C-Net reports that "Geico gets green light to sue Google, Overture."
I'm Sure There's a Trademark Comment to be Made Somewhere. Sorry for the subscription/daypass only link, but Salon considers which brands voters associate with the two candidates in "The hole in Bush's image." I'm a Krispy Kreme girl, myself. Update. Here's the original article from The Guardian.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I Bet the Going-rate on eBay Just Shot Up. E!Online reports in "Leo and Tobey Still 'Plum' Mad."
"The Hollywood A-listers have joined forces to file a lawsuit seeking to block a former colleague from releasing the 1995 film Don's Plum. Both stars appeared in the ultra-low-budget art flick as a 'favor' to writer-director R.D. Robb and some acting buddies, supposedly under the condition that the film never be released in the U.S. Now, according to their joint lawsuit, one of the film's producers, John Schindler, wants to put out the film in the U.S. against both actors' wishes."
Time for a New Balancing Test. How Appealing has this round-up of coverage about the recent Federal Circuit DMCA opinion in the Skylink case.