Julie is a Non-Residential fellow with Stanford CIS. She represents writers, filmmakers, musicians, and others who rely on fair use in creating their works. Julie has represented visual artist Shepard Fairey in copyright litigation against The Associated Press over Fairey’s “Obama Hope” posters, RDR Books in its copyright and Lanham Act dispute with J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers over the Harry Potter Lexicon, the producers and distributors of the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” in litigation against Yoko Ono Lennon and EMI Records, and Professor Carol Shloss in her lawsuit against the Estate of James Joyce. Julie has also represented various organizations as amicus curiae in federal appeals courts throughout the country, including the International Documentary Association, The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the American Library Association.
Julie advised documentary filmmakers, writers, scholars, artists and other content creators on fair use and other intellectual property issues. She ran the Documentary Film Program and advised filmmakers who use unlicensed clips in their films to help them obtain the insurance coverage necessary to distribute their films. Julie taught the Cyberlaw / Fair Use Clinic. Before joining Stanford, Julie was a litigation attorney in the San Francisco office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where, among other matters, she was the lead attorney defending the musician and electronic composer, BT, in a copyright infringement case in the Southern District of New York. She has litigated a variety of matters in the state and federal courts of California and New York. Julie received her J.D. cum laude from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2002. She is admitted to the bars of California and New York.
Today the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited decision in favor of fair use in Cariou v. Prince. Reversing the district court’s finding of infringement, the Court held that Richard Prince’s use of Patrick Cariou’s photographs in 25 of his 30 Canal Series paintings was a fair use. The decision affirms an important tradition in modern art that relies on the appropriation of existing images to create highly expressive works with new meaning.
Today Congress held hearings on the latest IP legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). We are taking part in American Censorship Day to help spread the word and stop this bill. We’ve outlined five of the most important problems with SOPA.
1. SOPA violates due process. Under SOPA, any private copyright or trademark owner can cut-off advertising and payments to any website by alleging that the operator “avoid[ed] confirming a high probability” that “a portion” of its site is being used to infringe copyrights. Advertisers and payment companies (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal) are then required to stop doing business with that site. It seems likely that content owners (or people merely claiming to be content owners) will often succeed in shutting down websites without ever going to court. The proposed legislation also gives the Attorney General and the Justice Department the power to shut down websites before they are actually judged infringing. Courts will be able to order any Internet service provider to stop recognizing an accused site immediately upon application by the Attorney General, after an ex parte hearing. By failing to guarantee the challenged websites notice or an opportunity to be heard in court before their sites are shutdown, SOPA violates due process. Read more: Letter to Congress from over 100 law professors techdirt explains that SOPA would create the Great Firewall of America.
On Monday we filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the Sony v. Tenenbaum case, pending in in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Tenebaum was sued and found liable for copyright infringement for sharing 30 music files. The jury awarded the record label plaintiffs $675,000 in damages. The District Court reduced that award to $67,500, citing constitutional and fairness concerns.
Michael Savage’s motion to be dismissed as a defendant in Brave New Films’ wrongful DMCA takedown lawsuit was denied by Judge Illston on April 15. As explained in earlier posts, Original Talk Radio Network, the national syndicator of Savage’s radio show, sent a takedown notice to YouTube demanding that YouTube remove BNF’s video "Michael Savage Hates Muslims." BNF’s video uses audio clips of The Michael Savage Show to criticize Savage’s overtly hostile, anti-Muslim views.
Sarah Morris is a well-known multimedia artist and filmmaker. In 2007, she debuted her "Origami" series, 24 paintings in which she reworked, redesigned, and reshaped origami crease patterns on canvas. Several origami artists sued Morris for copyright infringement, arguing Morris had unduly appropriated their allegedly copyrightable origami crease patterns in developing the "Origami" series. The Fair Use Project teamed up with attorneys Bob Clarida and Donn Zaretsky to defend Morris. We briefed the fair use issues on summary judgment.
Meltwater News ("Meltwater") is a search engine and research tool that allows users to search for and obtain information about news items that have been made publicly available on the Internet.
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.
We filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation asking the First Circuit to affirm the district court’s reduced damages award in Sony v. Tenenbaum, a file-sharing case in which a jury originally ordered a college student to pay $675,000 for infringing copyright in 30 songs.
On Nov. 14, a New York federal court judge ruled to uphold Google’s ambitious project to scan and digitize millions of books from cooperating libraries into a massive, searchable online database. This was a victory not only for Google but also for the greater public good. Judge Denny Chin dismissed a copyright lawsuit brought by authors, finding that Google’s copying and indexing of more than 20 million books to create a new, highly useful search tool is protected by fair use.
The Fair Use Project filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge in AP v. Meltwater.
"But, he said, if Comedy Central is using the Starbucks name solely to draw attention to a show that has nothing to do with Starbucks, the coffee giant could make a credible trademark case against them. Is it worth it?
Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, says "no."
“If I’m at Starbucks and this is in my decision-making power, do I think I should use the power to make sure nobody makes fun of us? Me personally, I don’t think so.”"
"“The greater message is, ‘Let's rethink how we stereotype what's a girl's role, or what a girl's product might be,’” said Julie Ahrens, director of Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. “So this product itself has its own social goal as well. So I think that gives the GoldieBlox some real ammunition in a fair use argument … And frankly, as far as whether it’s commercial or not, they aren't selling a CD that's competing with the Beastie Boys music.”"
"Then I spoke to an actual expert, Julie Ahrens, Director of Copyright & Fair Use at Stanford’s Center for Internet & Society. She convinced me that Goldieblox is probably in the right here. Both legally, but also in whatever larger ethical artistic morass this case really seems to belong to. After all, while the Goldieblox ad is, in fact, an ad, it’s also a legitimate piece of cultural criticism."
"Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use for Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, thinks GoldieBlox did the right thing by sticking to their guns. “I think this is a clear parody,” she said in a phone interview. “And I was shocked that the Beastie Boys of all people would be fighting this kind of fight. They’re not copyright maximalists. They’re historical users of copyrighted material that they don’t own and didn’t ask permission for.”"
“This is exactly what fair use gives you the right to do,” said Julie Ahrens, the director of copyright and fair use at Stanford Law School's Center for the Internet and Society. “There are things like criticism that, even as a copyright holder, you're not allowed to control.”
Please RSVP http://bpfairuse.eventbrite.com Password: 950battery The song you sampled for an intro sequence that you don’t have the license for- The uncredited movie clips you inserted into a montage- The image you pulled from social media- You can use those in your production, because they’re all covered by Fair Use ... right?
To register please visit the Bar Association of San Francisco's website.
IP BYTES: Hot Topics in Copyright Law
Come meet CIS and hear about our exciting work and ways to get involved.
Presenter: Julie Ahrens
Fair Use is an important doctrine allowing use of copyrighted works without the owner’s consent in certain situations. But documentary filmmakers and producers of online content under utilize the fair use doctrine in their work. The creation and circulation of information to the public, and public debate, is shaped and limited as a result. This session will explore the fundamentals of fair use, as well as what may and may not be permissible, best practices and new developments.
Julie Ahrens, Director of Copyright and Fair Use was interviewed on Lost in the Stacks, a Research Library Rock’n’Roll show on WREK 91.1 FM Atlanta.
Listen to the .mp3 here. (Or right click the link to download the file.)
View the YouTube video here.
The Visual and Critical Studies Copyright Forum features conversations around milestone copyright case studies of significance to artists, scholars, and critics. Moderated by Matteo Bittanti, the Copyright Forum introduces basic concepts of "fair use" policies and how best to navigate requesting permissions for work in a professional arts setting.
Copyright Forum moderated by CCA faculty Matteo Bittanti with special guests:
Julie Ahrens, CIS Director of Copyright and Fair Use participated in a panel and workshop hosted by the Hoover Institution Library and Archives and conducted by Kenneth D. Crews titled Copyright, Fair Use, and the Academy: Research, Teaching, and Libraries.
View the full presentation here. (Silverlight required.)
Julie Ahrens talk on "Google Books and the Evolution of Fair Use" begins at 1:35.
Stanford Fair Use Project
K&L Gates LLP
Munger Tolles & Olsen LLP