Tony Falzone is the Deputy General Counsel at Pinterest, Inc.
The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
A healthy copyright system must balance the need to provide strong economic incentives through exclusive rights with the need to protect important public interests like free speech and expression. Fair use is foundational to that balance. It's role is to prevent copyright from stifling the creativity it is supposed to foster, and from imposing other burdens that would inhibit rather than promote the creation and spread of knowledge and learning.
The Fair Use Project (FUP) was founded in 2006 to provide legal support to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries of fair use in order to enhance creative freedom and protect important public rights. It is the only organization in the country dedicated specifically to providing free and comprehensive legal representation to authors, filmmakers, artists, musicians and other content creators who face unmerited copyright claims, or other improper restrictions on their expressive interests. The FUP has litigated important cases across the country, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, and worked with scores of filmmakers and other content creators to secure the unimpeded release of their work.
Tony Falzone is the Deputy General Counsel at Pinterest, Inc.
Brett Frischmann joins Villanova as The Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics, effective August 1, 2017. In this new role, Professor Frischmann will promote cross-campus research, programming and collaboration; foster high-visibility academic pursuits at the national and international levels; have the ability to teach across the University; and position Villanova as a thought leader and innovator at the intersection of law, business and economics.
Lauren is an experienced attorney, frequent speaker and start-up advisor who has worked in the field of Internet law and policy since 1995. She is the founder of BlurryEdge Strategies, a legal and strategy consulting firm located in San Francisco that advises technology companies and investors on cutting-edge legal issues.
In response to a global backlash in the wake of Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election, dominant tech companies are scrambling to stave off increased governmental regulation of their information handling practices. It is an attractive strategy for them to cut deals with regulators whereby they agree to follow privately negotiated rules in lieu of command-and-control regulation. With respect to content moderation, this form of hybrid public-private regulation could undermine First Amendment limits on state action that are designed to protect individual citizens from official censorship. This post explores the role of anti-piracy voluntary agreements in normalizing hybrid public-private speech regulation on the Internet.
Over the course of the last decade, in response to significant pressure from the US government and other governments, service providers have assumed private obligations to regulate online content that have no basis in public law. For US tech companies, a robust regime of "voluntary agreements" to resolve content-related disputes has grown up on the margins of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Decency Act (CDA). For the most part, this regime has been built for the benefit of intellectual property rightholders attempting to control online piracy and counterfeiting beyond the territorial limits of the United States and without recourse to judicial process.
Two important current trends in Internet law go together in ways that aren’t getting enough attention. They should, though, because the overlap is well on its way to messing up the Internet further.
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.
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.
"Despite the many lawsuits filed by Shipping & Transit, a court has never ruled on the validity of the company’s patent claims, said Daniel Nazer, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that works on intellectual property issues. But Shipping & Transit’s business model took a hit after multiple courts ordered it to pay attorneys fees and questioned the company’s motives in bringing the patent lawsuits."
"“DNS blocks are easy to circumvent, because site operators can just register a different domain name in the same top level domain or move to a different top level domain,” Annemarie Bridy, Professor of Law at the University of Idaho told Motherboard. “It will always be a game of cat-and-mouse, with no real permanent effects.”
"“The fair use defense in this context has never been litigated,” noted Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho and an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “Internet Archive is a non-profit, so the exposure to statutory damages that they face is huge, and the risk that they run is pretty great ... given the scope of what they do; that they’re basically archiving everything that is on the public web, their exposure is phenomenal.
"A dilution claim also generally requires that the entity claiming infringement be able to prove the public was genuinely confused. Because Trump’s tweet wasn’t being used in commerce, and because it’s unlikely anyone thought he was legit affiliated with Game of Thrones, dilution would be a hard argument to make. "I think this would be a tough, a tough case," Nazer says. "No one is likely to be confused that HBO is endorsing this tweet or sponsoring sanctions against Iran. My view is that this shouldn’t be a viable suit.""
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One of the most dangerous aspects of SOPA and other copyright proposals is the idea of moving enforcement and liability further down the stack of technology that powers the internet, even all the way to the DNS system. Although SOPA's DNS-blocking proposals were heavily criticized and the bill ultimately defeated, the idea of deep-level copyright enforcement has lived on and been implemented without changes to the law.
""Ideas, before you actually put them to work, are very vulnerable to stealing," said University of California, Hastings law professor Ben Depoorter. "We give protection to someone who can make good on that idea, and put it into a particular application, practice, expression, art form.
The song “Happy Birthday” has a long, litigious history dating back to the 1930s. Every year, people spent millions in royalties to use the song, until a class action lawsuit was brought challenging whether the owner, Warner/Chappell Music, actually owned the copyright it so aggressively enforced. Elizabeth Townsend-Gard, Tulane School of Law professor specializing in copyright law, discusses the case of “Happy Birthday.”
CIS Affiliate Scholar David Levine interviews Prof. Andrea Matwyshyn of Northeastern University Law School, on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Volkswagen fraud scandal.