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 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.
The recent spat of Washington D.C. leaks is "unusually active," according to FBI Director Mr. James Comey. Even if the leaks are as normal as they are in an allergic nose dealing with New Orleans spring pollen, what are the legal and ethical issues in leaking such confidential information, unknowingly reverse engineering it, or in publishing the leaks?
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.
If trolls don’t face consequences for asserting invalid software patents, then they will continue to shake down productive companies. That is why EFF has filed an amicus brief [PDF] urging the court to uphold fee awards against patent trolls (and their lawyers) when they assert software patents that are clearly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v.
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.
"“My my personal view is that a lot of the negative reaction was a little bit overblown,” said Daniel Nazer, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who focuses on patent reform. “I can certainly see the good arguments for why people would prefer it not to be there,” he said, “but I didn’t see it as outrageous.”"
"How was such a broad and obvious idea allowed to be patented?" asks EFF patent attorney Daniel Nazer.
"As it stands, AIs in the US cannot be awarded copyright for something they have created. The current policy of the US Copyright Office is to reject claims made for works not authored by humans, but the policy is poorly codified. According to Annemarie Bridy, a professor of law at the University of Idaho and an affiliate scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, there’s no actual requirement for human authorship in the US Copyright Act. Nevertheless, the “courts have always assumed that authorship is a human phenomenon,” she says."
"“We’re pleased that the Federal Circuit agreed that the podcasting patent is invalid,” said Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney at the EFF and the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. “We appreciate all the support the podcasting community gave in fighting this bad patent.”"
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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.
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.