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Showing posts from April, 2011

Authors, Standing and Berne

The blogosphere has been abuzz with discussion of the antics of Righthaven, a company that contracted with a Las Vegas newspaper to sue bloggers and others over allegedly infringed copyrights and split the payments 50-50.  The most recent turn of events involves the unsealing of Righthaven’s contract with Stephens Media, the parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, describing the above agreement.  Stephens has not actually assigned the copyrights, they have merely assigned accrued causes of action.  Under Silvers v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., 402 F. 3d 881 (9th Cir. 2005), this is clearly impermissible.  Thus, much-anticipated fair use considerations in the case may never be reached since it will (likely) get booted first.

After reading Silvers, a few things struck me.  Nancy Silvers wrote a script as a work-for-hire for Frank & Bob Films.  Later, when Sony allegedly infringed the copyright, the company executed an “Assignment of Claims and Causes of Action” in…

Raging Bitches in Michigan

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Update July 2012: Although the agency later reversed its decision, Flying Dog still pursued the case and has now lost in Michigan District Court. The brewery plans to appeal. I'll post the decision if I come across a copy.

According to a complaint filed by the Flying Dog Brewery against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the Commission has prevented the brewery from selling their popular Raging Bitch Twentieth Anniversary Belgian-Style India Pale Ale in Michigan, now the company's top selling beer.  The complaint details the history of the brewery and how its founder's relationship with artist Ralph Steadman has contributed the creative naming and label designs in the "Gonzo" spirit.  Even if the beer weren't so delicious, I'd still feel the same way about the case.

In late 2009 and affirmed in the summer of 2010, the Commission refused to approve the brewery's Raging Bitch label:
The Commission finds that the proposed label which includes the br…