Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Intellectual property law roundup

  • The ethics (and law) of emergencies: heroic efforts to shore up medical equipment on the run, such as using 3-D printing to supply a missing ventilator valve in an Italian hospital, can run into knotty problems of IP rights [Jay Peters, The Verge]
  • “Plaintiff recognizes that the community is in the midst of a ‘coronavirus pandemic.’ But Plaintiff argues that it will suffer an ‘irreparable injury’ if this Court does not hold a hearing this week and immediately put a stop to the infringing unicorns and the knock-off elves…. The world is facing a real emergency. Plaintiff is not.” [Lowering the Bar on federal Northern District of Illinois case]
  • As churches scramble to shift their worship services online, a gnawing question: are you sure you have the right to stream that song of praise? [The Gospel Coalition] Beating hasty retreat, Disney apologizes for having sought $250 licensing fine against arents at California school who’d screened “Lion King” video to entertain kids during PTA event [Nat Orenstein, Berkeleyside; Isabel McCormick, ScreenRant]
  • “It’s still early in 2020. But this is my vote for most annoying copyright complaint so far: a map (thin copyright!) shown (apparently only in passing; I haven’t watched yet) in the background of a movie that not only flopped but did so 8 years ago” [Zahr Said on coverage by Kyle Jahner, Bloomberg Law]
  • Jury awards $1 billion to music labels against cable and internet giant Cox, after claims it didn’t do enough to combat infringement by its users [Chris Eggertsen, Billboard]
  • “Newspaper Can Talk About ‘Derby Pies’ Without Infringing Trademarks–Rupp v. Courier Journal” [Eric Goldman; my Cato podcast on that subject with Caleb Brown back in 2016]
  • “Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain” [Samantha Cole, Vice “Motherboard”]

Copyright suit over sharing of “wrong on so many levels” meme

A popular meme went around social media with a photo of an assortment of carpenter’s levels each with the word “wrong” taped on it, and typically accompanied by the comment “This is wrong on so many levels.”

Among the many that shared this was a family-owned small business in North Carolina that develops curricular materials on grammar and other language arts, and has a large following for its Facebook page. More than a year and a half later a lawsuit arrived from “on behalf of Matthew Bradley of Windsor, California, who says he created the meme. There had previously been no communication between Bradley and AG. Representing Bradley is New York attorney Richard Liebowitz.” The case has been in litigation since, expensively to AG’s owner, and is now entering court-mandated mediation. [Dan Booth Law; Analytical Grammar legal defense GoFundMe, active lately; earlier on lawyer Liebowitz here and here]

Intellectual property law roundup

  • The law should not accord the state of Georgia a copyright over its code of law, even if the code has annotations [Trevor Burrus and Sam Spiegelman on Cato amicus certiorari brief in State of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, earlier here and here] And a transcript of today’s oral argument before the Supreme Court;
  • Update: federal judge Kaplan imposes sanctions on alleged “copyright troll” Richard Liebowitz, further complications ensue [Eugene Volokh, more, ABA Journal, earlier]
  • How Coca-Cola responds to flavor suggestions from fans on Twitter [Mike Masnick]
  • “California Man Gets Sued After Trying To Trademark Bully A Theme Park’ [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • “Like Righthaven before it, the Higbee firm has been taking advantage of hosts who failed to take the proper registration steps to perfect their DMCA immunity from copyright claims” [Paul Alan Levy and more, earlier here and here] And yet more;
  • “A root beer start-up, an energy drink company and an ugly trademark battle” [Andrew Yarrow, Washington Post/Keene Sentinel]

Social media law roundup

  • Despite warnings that its “copyright small claims” format could call forth a new troll business model and trip up ordinary Internet users, U.S. House of Representatives votes lopsidedly in favor of CASE Act [Makena Kelly, The Verge; Jonathan Bailey, Plagiarism Today; Katharine Trendacosta and Ernesto Falcon, Electronic Frontier Foundation, here, here, here, and here; Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Copyright Alliance and ABA president Judy Perry Martinez (supportive of bill); earlier]
  • A social media platform that proposes to vet political claims for truthfulness will inevitably be drawn into taking sides in favor of some political factions against others [John Samples, Cato] You’d think New Yorker writers and New York Times editors would know better: no, free speech is not “killing us.” [same]
  • “Top Myths About Content Moderation” [Eric Goldman] And a Cato Daily Podcast about content moderation with Thomas Kadri and Caleb Brown;
  • “Attorney Who Sued Grindr Responds Extremely Poorly To The Supreme Court’s Rejection Of Her Section 230 Lawsuit” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt, on “victims’ lawyer” Carrie Goldberg; Cathy Gellis in January]
  • It must be campaign season because here come the DMCA takedown notices over fair use [Paul Alan Levy]
  • “Facebook isn’t liable for algorithm that put terrorist content in news feeds, 2nd Circuit rules” [ABA Journal, earlier here, etc.]

September 25 roundup

  • “Small claims court for copyright” idea, now moving rapidly through Congress, could create a new business model for troll claimants [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; EFF on CASE Act] A contrasting view: Robert VerBruggen, NR;
  • “If Boston is weirdly NOT full of good restaurant/bar/cafes for its size, and if people don’t want to stay after they hit 26 or so, these throttled [liquor] licenses are one of the real structural reasons why.” [Amanda Katz Twitter thread]
  • Push in California underway to join a trend I warned of five years ago, namely states’ enacting laws to encourage tax informants with a share of the loot [McDermott Will and Emery, National Law Review]
  • Baltimore food truck rule challenge, single-member districts, sexting prosecution, and more in my new Free State Notes roundup;
  • “For years the Westchester County DA, Jeanine Pirro, now a Fox News host who opines on justice, rejected Deskovic’s requests to compare the DNA evidence against a criminal database. Deskovic was not exonerated until 2006, after he had served 16 years” [Jacob Sullum, Reason]
  • Come again? “Louisville judge rules Kentucky speed limit laws unconstitutional” [Marcus Green, WDRB]

July 31 roundup

July 10 roundup

  • Hearse driver in HOV lane to highway patrol: you mean I can’t count the corpse as a passenger? [Michelle Lou, CNN]
  • “Caterpillar Now Going After All The Cats For Trademark Cancellations” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt, earlier]
  • Before trying to open a storefront business in San Francisco you might look to this advice from commercial real estate brokers about the city’s zoning and permit hurdles, and please quit using words like “bonkers” or “flabbergasting” [Robert Fruchtman Twitter thread]
  • “Lawyer engaged in ‘sustained campaign of unfounded litigation,’ disbarment recommendation says” [ABA Journal; Waukegan, Illinois]
  • Breaking from two other federal appeals courts, Third Circuit rules that Amazon as a platform can be sued under strict liability principles over defective items sold by third-party vendors on its site [Brendan Pierson, Reuters] Should the ruling stand, implications for online marketplaces are dire [Eric Goldman]
  • New challenges for Mathew Higbee, high volume copyright enforcement lawyer, and his clients [Paul Alan Levy, more, earlier]

June 12 roundup

  • Moving against emerging litigation analytics and prediction sector, France bans publication of statistical information about individual judges’ decisions on criminal penalty [Artificial Lawyer, ABA Journal, David Post]
  • Eugene Volokh analyzes Washington high court’s unanimous ruling against Arlene’s Flowers and Barronelle Stutzman in same-sex marriage refusal case [Volokh Conspiracy, earlier on case here and here]
  • “Small claims court for copyright” idea would likely worsen the problem of copyright trolling [Mike Masnick, Techdirt]
  • Activists push laws and pledges intended to push charitable foundation giving (yet) further to left [James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley, Washington Examiner]
  • Review of new book by libertarian economist David D. Friedman, “Legal Systems Very Different from Ours”: pirates, prisoners, gypsies, Amish, imperial Chinese, Jewish, Islamic, saga-period Icelandic, Somali, early Irish, Plains Indians, 18th century English, and ancient Athenian [Michael Huemer, Reason]
  • If the Supreme Court is going to let police stop your car on a pretext, they should at least insist that there *be* a pretext [Jonathan Blanks on Sievers v. Nebraska Cato cert petition]

“Conan O’Brien: Why I Decided to Settle a Lawsuit Over Alleged Joke Stealing”

People come up with the same joke independently from each other all the time. What to do when someone insists he has been stolen from? Late-night host Conan O’Brien: “This saga ended with the gentleman in San Diego and I deciding to resolve our dispute amicably. I stand by every word I have written here, but I decided to forgo a potentially farcical and expensive jury trial in federal court over five jokes that don’t even make sense anymore. Four years and countless legal bills have been plenty.” [Variety; Mike Masnick, TechDirt]