Julie is the Director of Copyright and Fair Use and a Lecturer in Law. 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. In addition to litigating, Julie advises documentary filmmakers, writers, scholars, artists and other content creators on fair use and other intellectual property issues. She runs the Documentary Film Program and advises filmmakers who use unlicensed clips in their films to help them obtain the insurance coverage necessary to distribute their films. As a Lecturer in Law, Julie teaches 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. Read more » about Second Circuit Victory for Richard Prince and Appropriation Art
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.Read more » about Stop Censorship: The Problems With SOPA
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. Read more » about Sony v. Tenenbaum: Amicus Brief Urges Due Process Review of Copyright Damages Awards
After years of litigation based on spurious allegations of copyright infringement, BT was vindicated again this week when the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case on summary judgment and the award of $175,000 in attorneys' fees to BT. Read more » about BT Wins Again: Second Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment and $175,000 Fee Award
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. Read more » about Court Denies Savage's Motion to Dismiss
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. Read more » about Lang v. Morris
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. Read more » about Associated Press v. Meltwater
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. Read more » about Cariou v. Prince
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. Read more » about Golan v. Holder
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. Read more » about Sony v. Tenenbaum
We filed an amicus brief on behalf of a group of library associations and others asking the Second Circuit to reverse a lower court’s injunction of the publication of Read more » about Salinger v. Colting, et al. - Amicus Brief of American Library Association, et al.
Amicus brief filed in the Federal Circuit on behalf of the Andy Warhol Foundation, and several other amici, including the Warhol Museum, contemporary artists Barbara Kruger, Thomas Lawson, Jonathan Monk, and Allen Ruppersberg, and a variety of law professors. Read more » about Gaylord v. U.S. Postal Service - Amicus Brief
The Golan case was back before the District Court on remand to determine whether the URAA can survive First Amendment scrutiny. Each side cross-moved for summary judgment on that issue. Read more » about Golan v. Holder - Plaintiffs' Reply in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment in the District Court
"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." Read more » about Goldieblox v. Beastie Boys: Let's Ask An Actual Expert
"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.”" Read more » about Beastie Boys Vs. GoldieBlox In Fair Use Dispute: ‘Girls’ Parody Underscores Murky Copyright Laws
“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.” Read more » about Beastie Boys Gotta Fight, But Probably Won't Win
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Google Inc.'s project to digitize the full text of millions of copyright-protected books without permission counted as legal fair use, a decision attorneys say broadens the doctrine's scope — for better or for worse. Read more » about With Google Books, 'Fair Use' Keeps Widening
In the midst of the controversy surrounding the release of a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiating text on intellectual property by Wikileaks yesterday, over 80 law professors of intellectual property law and related disciplines have written to President Obama, Members of Congress and the United States Trade Representative calling for the creation of a public process to vet the TPP’S intellectual property proposals. Read more » about Law Professors Call for Public Process for Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Chapter
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. Read more » about Fair Use: Now More than Ever
Expected to Attend: Peter Jaszi (Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law), Julie Ahrens (Center for Internet & Society, Stanford Law School), Dan Satorius (moderator). Read more » about Protect Your Rights: Fair Use - NYC Documentary Film Festival
During late 2011 and January 2012, millions of people protested the passage of the controversial copyright bill the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in Congress. The protests culminated in the largest online protest in the history of the Internet, with web giant Wikipedia and thousands of other websites going black in a day of self-censorship. Read more » about Stopping SOPA - Copyright, Free Speech, and Popular Constitutionalism (Video)
On April 21, 2011, YouTube invited the public to ask our CIS Fair Use experts questions regarding fair use.
Anthony Falzone, Executive Director of the Fair Use Project, and Julie Ahrens, Associate Director of the Fair Use Project, answer a selection of questions. Read more » about CIS Fair Use Legal Experts Answer Fair Use Questions