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.
This is the last of three posts on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Mavrix v. LiveJournal. The first post considered the court’s conclusion that LiveJournal’s moderation and curation of user-submitted posts created a triable issue of fact on the question of the site’s eligibility for the section 512(c) safe harbor for sites that store material “at the direction” of users. The second post examined the court’s analysis of LiveJournal’s potential knowledge of the alleged infringements in light of the fact that Mavrix didn’t send takedown notices for them. This final entry takes a look at what I identified in the first post as issue (4): whether LiveJournal had the right and ability to control the infringements, as evidenced by the required “something more” than the right to remove or block access to user-submitted infringing material.
This is the second of three posts on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Mavrix v. LiveJournal. The first post considered (and found fault with) the court’s conclusion that LiveJournal’s moderation and curation of user-submitted posts created a triable issue of fact on the question of the site’s eligibility for the section 512(c) safe harbor for sites that store material “at the direction” of users. This post will consider the court’s analysis of issue (3) of the six issues I called out in the first post: whether, in the absence of takedown notices, LiveJournal had actual or red flag knowledge that the watermarked Mavrix photos were infringing.
The Ninth Circuit has decided Mavrix Photographs v. LiveJournal, and the outcome is in every respect bad news for LiveJournal. In some respects, it’s also bad for the safe harbors themselves, as I’ll explain below and in subsequent posts. The district court in the case granted summary judgment for LiveJournal on grounds that there were no material factual disputes concerning LiveJournal’s eligibility for safe harbor under Section 512(c) of the DMCA. Mavrix alleged that LiveJournal infringed copyrights in its watermarked photographs. Users submitted the photos to LiveJournal along with celebrity gossip news items, and the site's moderators posted them following a fairly intensive screening process (including screening for copyright infringement). There was no question in the case that LiveJournal complied with the DMCA’s notice and takedown requirements when it received notices from right holders. However, Mavrix did not send notices for any of the photos in suit. LiveJournal removed the photos when Mavrix filed its complaint.
Amazon’s latest effort to mitigate IP infringement in its third-party seller program is a ban on the sale of streaming media devices (“Kodi boxes”) that promote piracy. In addition to banning sales of the devices, Amazon reserves the right to destroy any offending physical inventory in its warehouses. The new policy raises not-so-new questions about the ability of copyright holders to control the distribution of dual-use technologies that can (but needn’t necessarily) be used to infringe copyrights.
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.
In a big win for free speech, the California Court of Appeal has rejected Olivia de Havilland’s right of publicity and false light claims against FX. The court’s ruling [PDF] explains that the First Amendment protects creative works about celebrities whether the work in question is fact, fiction, or a combination of both. While Hollywood will breathe a sigh of relief, the ruling should also protect other speech by ensuring that right of publicity claims are subject to meaningful First Amendment limits.
When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
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.
"Nazer believes none of these patents should have been granted in the first place, having failed to overcome the basic legal requirements of being both original and non-obvious. A big part of the problem, he says, has to do with how the patent office works. “Patent examiners spend an average of only 18 hours reviewing each application,” he told me, “which is grossly inadequate.”"
"Townsend-Gard dreams of a world where librarians and researchers and students don’t have to waste time on copyright determinations. “I really believe that copyright should be more like electricity, where you don’t have to figure out how it’s made,” she says. You should just be able to hit a button and get your answer."
"Supporters of the reviews, meanwhile, say they are a much-needed corrective for a system that has issued far too many low-quality patents. Patent office examiners spend an average of 18 hours reviewing each application, too little time to research all the evidence that might invalidate a claim, says Daniel Nazer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation."
""We get questions all the time about, 'Can you help me with my patent?' But we couldn't until we got certification," said Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a Tulane Law School faculty member and co-director of the Tulane Center for IP, Media & Culture.
Townsend Gard said in each of the past three years, her intellectual property class has done about 100 trademark searches for people.
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""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.
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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.