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Showing posts from February, 2011

The Public Domain, Derivative Works and the 1909 Act! Oh my!

PatentlyO, the leading patent law analysis site, offers a summary of a recent 8th Circuit case about the contours of the public domain.  Basically, a group of companies (AVELA) took images from public domain promotional movie posters of the Wizard of Oz and licensed them to various manufacturers of t-shirts and other novelty items.  Warner Brothers (WB) claimed that their (derivative work) copyright in the film's depiction of the characters is infringed by AVELA's use of the public domain posters depicting those same characters.  There are other works involved, and plenty of nitty gritty copyright geekery.  If you find cases like Stewart v. Abend (the Rear Window case) interesting, read on or check out the briefs.  As PatentlyO summarizes: "On summary judgment, the Missouri-based district court agreed that the defendant had not copied any images from the films, but still held that the defendant was liable for infringing the film copyrights."  No copying bu…

Our Bizarre System of Copyright Infringement, and Misunderstanding

The Main Event
Last night I attended a great event at Cardozo Law School titled Our Bizarre System For Proving Copyright Infringement, also the name of Professor Mark Lemley’s paper which the four distinguished panelists, including Lemley, discussed.  Thanks to the school and panelists for hosting a very interesting and informative event.  Each panelist provided commentary on the paper before a few audience questions, followed by a reception where I once again had the opportunity to engage in a spirited discussion of the merits of Creative Commons licensing (round one here).  In other words, arguing with old ladies.

Professor Lemley began by providing an excellent summary of the existing standards and the slight variations by circuit in the test for proving copyright infringement.  Two formulations of essentially the same procedure are followed to determine whether there is substantial similarity between two works, resulting in infringement.  Arnstein v. Porter, a Second Circuit case,…

Fun with Grammar Check

While working on a research proposal, I drafted:
This experience also highlights a broader trend: the immeasurable wealth produced by “free” platforms that has finally forced a reexamination of our information laws and policies.  MS Word grammar check suggested:
This experience also highlights a broader trend: the immeasurable wealth produced by “free”, a platform that has finally forced a reexamination of our information laws and policies.