Daniel is a Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He is part of EFF's intellectual property team and focuses on patent reform. Before joining EFF, Daniel was a Residential Fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society where he represented writers, painters, filmmakers, and others who rely on fair use to create their art and scholarship.
Daniel previously practiced at Keker & Van Nest, LLP, where he represented technology clients in patent and antitrust litigation. He served as a law clerk to Justice Susan Kenny of the Federal Court of Australia and to Judge William K. Sessions, III of the District of Vermont. Daniel has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Western Australia, an M.A. in philosophy from Rutgers, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
The patent application has a simple title: Crowdsourcing.
Filed on May 18, 2009, the application is assigned to Microsoft and claims a “computer-implemented” crowdsourcing method. If construed broadly, the claims could cover a lot of networked crowdsourcing. Folks have noticed that Facebook has a pending application for crowdsourced translations. But Microsoft's application has, at least so far, slipped under the radar.
Abercrombie & Fitch has offered to pay Jersey Shore cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino not to wear its clothing. I hesitate to give this publicity stunt more publicity. But the coverage from the New York Times includes a garbled account of fair use law. The article spreads the damaging myth of the clearance culture: the false view that artists need approval for every single item of trademarked or copyrighted material appearing in a work.
Louis Zukofsky (LZ) is the author of the very long, sometimes difficult, yet always amazing “A”. LZ died in 1978 and his son, Paul Zukofsky (PZ), owns the copyright in all of his father’s works.
Anyone interested in LZ’s poetry will likely stumble upon PZ’s open letter to the poetry community concerning copyright. In this letter, PZ asserts that any and all quotation from LZ requires express permission from PZ as the copyright holder. But the law does not support PZ’s position. I hope that this post will help prevent PZ from further chilling legitimate scholarship and commentary.
Thanks to sites like Yelp, online citizen reviews are often the first thing people read about local businesses. So it's not surprising that business owners are trying to police online criticism. In a typical case, the merchant brings a defamation suit against the author of a bad review. Should courts protect the reviewer's free speech or protect the merchant from unfair criticism? What are the bounds of online criticism?
Courts around the globe are grappling with these questions. Two cases from last week illustrate the divergent approaches they can take--with dramatically different consequences for online freedom.
We filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit on behalf of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts urging the appeals court to reverse a district court decision that ignored established fair use principles that many artists rely upon in creating their work.
The FUP filed this suit on behalf of a University of Denver conductor and others, challenging Congress’s restoration of copyright to works that had entered the public domain.
A New Hampshire state court has dismissed a defamation suit filed by a patent owner unhappy that it had been called a “patent troll.” The court ruled [PDF] that the phrase “patent troll” and other rhetorical characterizations are not the type of factual statements that can be the basis of a defamation claim.
The general rule in patent law is that each country has its own patent system. If you want damages for sales in the United States, you need a U.S. patent. If you want damages for sales in New Zealand, you need to get a New Zealand patent, and so on. A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to disrupt this system by allowing worldwide damages for infringement of U.S. patents.
In a big win for free speech, the California Court of Appeal has rejected Olivia de Havilland’s right of publicity and false light claims against FX. The court’s ruling [PDF] explains that the First Amendment protects creative works about celebrities whether the work in question is fact, fiction, or a combination of both. While Hollywood will breathe a sigh of relief, the ruling should also protect other speech by ensuring that right of publicity claims are subject to meaningful First Amendment limits.
When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
If trolls don’t face consequences for asserting invalid software patents, then they will continue to shake down productive companies. That is why EFF has filed an amicus brief [PDF] urging the court to uphold fee awards against patent trolls (and their lawyers) when they assert software patents that are clearly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v.
"But even when the U.S.P.T.O. granted patents to Raniere for his inventions (which they did for over 20), it shouldn’t necessarily be considered proof of brilliance, according to Daniel Nazer, attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Nazer said, “If your whole shtick is going around and convincing people that you’re this genius, then the patent system is a way to buttress that.
"Another law professor, Annemarie Bridy of the University of Idaho, lamented gCaptain's situation.
"It's a shame, really, to see people with meritorious defenses give up solely because they can't afford their day in court," she emailed Ars. "But that's how trademark bullying and IP trolling work. Right holders know that it's much cheaper and less stressful for an accused infringer to capitulate or settle than it is to try to win a case in federal court."
"Daniel Nazer, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote on Twitter that Securus only "puts up a pretense of being a technology company.""
""You'll notice the complaint is very vague when it comes to what works actually infringe—there's just a lot of hand-waving about global similarities between the two projects," says Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's intellectual property team. "But you'd need to show that a particular work (either a song or video) infringed another specific work. The complaint just doesn't do that.""
Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Right of publicity law is a mess. Courts apply a variety of tests and apply these tests inconsistently to different forms of media. At the same time, the right of publicity impacts a wide range of speech--from movies, to computer games, to baseball cards. Uncertainty about the relevant standards makes it difficult to advise clients about the scope of the right.
Daniel Nazer Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jonathan Blavin Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson
• First Amendment and public figures in sports games
• Cheating and hacking in online game play
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Read or listen to the full interview at NPR.
NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Daniel Nazer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the impact of this ruling. An appeals court ruled the music used in the video was an instance of fair use.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
When Stephanie Lenz saw her toddler jamming out in the kitchen to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy," naturally she took a video and posted it to YouTube.