(This post was substantially updated on February 28th.)
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.
(This post was substantially updated on February 28th.)
I will somehow have to catch up with the rest of the bloggers out there, who seem able to hear about, comment on, and get tired of a particular bit of news nearly the instant it happens. But I finally heard about this, and thought it was worth commenting on (thanks to Peter for bringing it to my attention).
Jonathan Lethem's essay "The Ecstacy of Influence" was published in Harper's Magazine back in late January, which makes it ancient in the compressed timeline of blog chatter. And it has been fully chattered over, mostly because it is brilliant, so I won't say much. I'm just posting it as a reminder to myself, and for anyone who didn't manage to see it.
Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and actress Lindsay Lohan have at least one thing in common: Both recently filed high-profile lawsuits against video game makers, charging that their likenesses were used in games without their permission.
These suits may seem like acts of desperation by people now more notorious than famous, and a judge has already ruled against Noriega. But they are nevertheless extremely worrying.
When, in 2011, Oprah Winfrey asked Ralph Lauren how he “keeps reinventing,” Mr. Lauren answered: “You copy. Forty-five years of copying; that’s why I’m here.” Mr. Lauren, a Jewish kid from the Bronx who built a spectacular career reinterpreting the look of the old WASP aristocracy, was at least partly joking. But what made the quip funny was the fact that knockoffs are — and always have been — a pervasive part of fashion.
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.
After the Estate of James Joyce refused to allow a scholar to quote Joyce in her book, we successfully defended her right under the fair use doctrine to use the quotes she needed to illustrate her scholarship. After we prevailed in the case, the Estate paid $240,000 of our client’s legal fees.
After Original Talk Radio Network, the nationwide distributor of Michael Savage’s radio show, issued a takedown notice against a video critical of Savage’s portrayal of Muslims, we filed a lawsuit that convinced the company to withdraw its objections to our client’s film.
"The type of claim Getty is making "failed in the United States in Perfect 10 v. Google," noted Ben Depoorter, Sunderland Chair at UC Hastings College of the Law.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Google's framing and hyperlinking as part of an image search engine constituted fair use because it was highly transformative.
""And there's no way this would be some kind of market substitute for the original Prince song", Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Daniel Nazer said. The channel did something similar after Michael Jackson died in 2009 and after Whitney Houston died in 2012."
"In an e-mail to Ars regarding the reconsideration request, EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer pointed out that Garfum already argued this application was relevant to its case, and that was rejected by the judge.
"Daniel Nazer, the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a high-tech civil liberties group, is amused by Reben's project — but he's not so sure it's going to help.
"The patent office looks for prior art when they review patents," he says, "but they tend to look in pretty narrow domains like published technical journals. ... Part of our work is to try and get the patent office to look more broadly.""
Join us for an evening conversation with CIS Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone and Congressman Darrell Issa where they will discuss topics about SOPA, PIPA and internet freedom.
Hosted by the Federalist Society. More info about this event.
Anthony Falzone and Mark Schultz will debate whether significant developments in U.S. copyright law work to protect or violate individual freedom. Professor Paul Goldstein will moderate. Mr. Flazone is the Executive Director of the Fair Use Project with SLS's Center for Internet and Society. Mr. Schultz is a professor of law at Southern Illinois University School of Law, and his research focuses on the intersection of copyright and social norms.
""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.
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.