(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.)
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.
I had an AHAAA moment last night reading Martha Woodmansee’s „ The Author, Art, and the Market”. She writes „As my sketch of writers’ struggles suggests, eighteenth-century Germany found itself in a transitional phase between the limited patronage of an aristocratic age and the democratic patronage of the marketplace. With the growth of a middle class, demand for reading material increased steadily, enticing writers to try to earn a livelihood from the sale of their writings to a buying public.
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.
Climate change is a significant and complex problem facing the world today. To solve the problem will require the coordinated efforts of both the public and private sectors. As with earlier challenges of global significance (such as the polio epidemic), new and improved technologies promise solutions.
You know when you break up with someone and they just don’t get the message? A few months later, they’re trying again, testing the waters with a few small things that just keep getting bigger. They friend you again on Facebook. They start liking your posts. They show up at a party they expect you to be at. They ask you for drinks, just to “catch up,” you know? And then they talk about the way things used to be, and if only you two could try again. And you’re like, “What part of ‘I never want you to be a part of my life’ did you not understand?”
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.
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.
"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.""
"“The VENUE Act would make it harder for companies to file a suit in districts that don’t have meaningful connection to the suit,” Daniel Nazer, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, told the Southeast Texas Record. “This bill is really about making sure disputes are filed somewhere that makes sense.”"
"Cooke's order binding the domain registrars, who were not parties to the case, claims authority to do so based on the All Writs Act—the same short law that's now part of the national debate over a court order issued to Apple in a high-profile terrorism case.
"Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who holds the delightfully titled Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, had cautious praise for LOT.
“It’s a targeted program that’s good for limiting the supply of patents to the very worst actors who use litigation to shake down people for settlements,” he said. “But it doesn’t stop problems with patent quality and with operating companies attacking each other.”
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.