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.
We filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit on behalf of Brave New Films urging affirmance of the district court’s finding of fair use and rejection of plaintiff’s DMCA claims.
We filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit in support of the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL urging the Fourth Circuit to grant rehearing or rehearing en banc, after a divided panel ruled that the Raven’s incidental use of a copyrighted logo in historical game films was not a fair use.
We defended a documentary filmmaker who was sued for copyright infringement for clips appearing in his documentary about Count Dante, an enigmatic, Chicago martial arts legend.
We successfully defended Grammy-nominated American music producer, composer, and songwriter, Brain Transeau’s (better known by his stage name, BT), against spurious copyright infringement claims.
We represented visual artist Shepard Fairey in connection with the AP’s claim that his iconic “Hope” poster in support of President Obama’s campaign infringes the AP’s copyrights. We represented Fairey because we believe his artistic transformation of a news photograph to convey a political message fell within the protection of the fair use doctrine and presented an important example of why fair use is essential for free expression.
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
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.
Answer to the AP's Counterclaims
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.
Complaint filed against the AP on behalf of artist Shepard Fairey.
"“The idea that you're going to get an injunction and a finding of infringement based on speculation of security harms without any actual facts to support that concern, the court showed it has no reason to accept it,” said Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at Stanford Law School's Center for the Internet and Society."
"But CrossFit could face an uphill battle proving that the videos violate their copyright, said Julie Ahrens, director of Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Commentary and criticism enjoys legal protection as free speech—known as “fair use”—even if that might mean using a copy of someone else’s video. It depends partly on whether someone is adding to the video to give it a different meaning, or if, for example, they were just copying it to sell their own workout video.
"You need this for different programs to work together, said Julie Ahrens, director of Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society: “It’s almost like the alphabet or vocabulary.”"
""They (Viacom) see it as a useful way to monetize their content," said Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society. "They don't control every copy of songs, movies or clips that get put up on YouTube, but if a user puts it up, they can say, 'OK, we know it's there and we're OK with it.' ""
""The idea that copyright is a tool that's going to be used to censor speech we don't like ... that's very dangerous," said Julie Ahrens, director of copyright and fair use at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society. "It is a pretty stunning decision.""
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