July 27, 2022
Suppose you have not registered your copyright in a book with the U.S. Copyright Office until someone has infringed your copyright by copying substantial portions of your book. Let’s also suppose you can prove that the alleged infringer has infringed your work and you can prove that the infringement caused you lost sales, lost opportunities to license, or diminution in the value of the copyright in the amount of $20,000. Can you sue the alleged infringer for actual damages for the copyright infringement without going to federal court? The answer to this question is YES!
The U.S. Congress has established the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act) to provide an alternative forum to federal court before the Copyright Office called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) for resolving certain copyright disputes that involve up to $30,000 (called “small claims”). The use of the CCB is voluntary and both parties must agree to participate. The CCB provides advantages over federal court because certain copyright disputes may be resolved before a panel of copyright experts as opposed to a jury or a federal judge. The CCB proceeding is a streamlined proceeding and a less-expensive alternative compared to federal court.
March 11, 2020
Suppose that you have an assignment of a copyright or a security agreement for a copyright. Are you required to record this assignment or security agreement against the copyright registration? Should you record this assignment or security agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office? The answer is YES!
In the United States, 37 C.F.R. § 205 states that “any transfer of copyright ownership or other document pertaining to a copyright may be recorded in the Copyright Office if the document filed for recordation bears the actual signature of the person who executed it, or if it is accompanied by a sworn or official certification that it is a true copy of the original, signed document.” Thus, documents pertaining to copyrights are recorded in the U.S. Copyright Office.
October 30, 2019
A dispute concerning the screenplay for the 2016 Hollywood biographical comedy “Florence Foster Jenkins” (FFJ) – a film about a tone-deaf New York socialite who labours under the delusion that she is a talented opera singer – has this month produced a Court of Appeal decision centering on the parties’ own adjustment to reality. Apart from highlighting a perhaps lesser-considered pitfall of working with your other half, the judgment emphasises the practical difficulties of applying the test of joint authorship in English copyright law.
October 16, 2019
Tattoos, one of the oldest art forms in the world, are all over the legal news in recent years. The news runs the gamut from a tattooist suing a movie studio over replication of Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo in The Hangover II to artists looking to gaming companies for compensation for reproduction of tattoos appearing on video game avatars of professional athletes, which even made it into the Wall Street Journal and been the subject of court decisions earlier this year and late last year. Even more recently it has included a Larry Bird’s mural being altered, at his request, to remove tattoos an artist had added for a modernizing flourish. (BTW, speaking of murals, the Chuck Wepner mural I had written about has been painted over). It has also included law enforcement receiving criticism from many directions for “Photo-Shopping” tattoos out of pictures of suspects used in policy photo arrays. Just recently, Cardi B was sued for using a photo of a tattoo on her album cover. Though the examples above may most resonate with a US domestic audience, the copyright and other legal issues emerging from, and connected to, tattooing are being considered worldwide. Consequently, it seems like an area worth exploring here.
July 30, 2019
Chuck Wepner (for at least one night in 1975 and then through the “Rocky” avatar).
At least some of the people that rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike are named after.
These public figures are, or were, world-famous, and certainly had made a name for themselves outside of the Garden State, even if their growth as artists, authors, sports figures or icons was at some point nurtured in the fertile ground of the third state to enter the union. But, if either Springsteen or Sinatra, for example, wished to protect their image on the world stage or before a national audience, neither could invoke, directly or effectively, federal or international law.
January 30, 2019
CASE: Sony vs. PAG
DETAILS: Resolution of the Constitutional Court No. 8-P dated 13 February 2018
SUMMARY: Unlike the counterfeit, the original (grey) product cannot be destroyed under the court judgment (unless it endangers human health, the environment or cultural heritage) and it is impossible to recover a large compensation
ILN Today Post
January 2, 2019
The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 (Act) which passed both Houses of Parliament on 28 November 2018, and is due to commence the day after it receives Royal Assent, amends section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
December 19, 2018
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone.
—Billy Joel, My Life
People often do quite well financially selling their life story. But stop and think for a minute what that statement means — “selling their life story.” The complex personal investment each writer makes in his/her craft and the further psychological dynamic of autobiography have each seen repeated comment and exploration. See Calvin D. Peeler, From The Providence Of Kings To Copyrighted Things (And French Moral Rights), 9 Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 423, 426 (1999)(authors’ moral rights “evolved from a societal concern about individual author’s and artist’s personality and reputation investments as they are exhibited through their creative work”); C. R. Romiţan, The Right Of Authorship On A Work, 1 AGORA International Journal of Juridical Sciences 155, 158 (2014) (“The authorship of a work belongs only to individuals, because only they have the specific qualities of the creator, namely: intelligence, personality, sensibility, faculty to create, to think, to formulate ideas and also to expose them in an original and personally form. In order to recognize the authorship of a work, the law does not require any condition because it arises from the mere fact of creating the work”); see also Livingston, P. (2016). “Authorship.” In N. Carroll & J. Gibson (Eds.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of literature (pp.173-183). New York: Routledge, at 14 (autobiographies convey perspectives beyond what is “manifested in the texts alone”); Burke, P., “Representations of the Self from Petrarch to Descartes,” pp. 17-28 in Porter, R., (1997) Rewriting the self: histories from the Renaissance to the present, London: Routledge, at 17 (“‘man became a spiritual individual and recognized him- self as such’. The rise of self-awareness or subjectivity was reflected by the rise of autobiographies”). Does a life story sold cease to be one’s own life? Is it no longer an individual’s personal history? Does it become someone else’s life? When I remember and describe my own history in my own language and way, has not my history somehow merged with my expression of it? While one might ask if I can get it back, is it not just as natural for me to say why should I have to do that, as my story has never left me? I mean, it is mine, isn’t it?