New Developments in Copyright Law

The DCA also proposes to reclassify the Copyright Office from a division of the Library of Congress to an executive agency under the Department of Commerce. This would make the Copyright Registry a chair appointed by the president with a five-year term. Stephen Thaler, Ph.D. and founder, president and CEO of Missouri-based technology company Imagination Engines Incorporated, is trying to change the U.S. Copyright Office`s policy against copyright registration of AI-created works. These changes benefit copyright owners because they make enforcement easier and cheaper, but could also lead to more harassment lawsuits against companies. In another high-profile copyright infringement case involving fair dealing defense, Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, confirmed that Google is likely to have negligible influence over artistic works. The court analyzed his previous opinion taking into account Google and upheld its decision in favor of the original artist. Both courts noted the difference between media (portraits and software code) and noted that copyright protection is stronger if the material performs an “artistic, not utilitarian” function – pointing out that Google is likely to have a negligible impact on artistic works. This alternative forum allows an owner to request an independent determination of copyright infringement and therefore the damage caused by the infringement.

While the ACE`s decision is subject to further judicial review, it is legally binding. Generally, the owner of a copyright is the author or creator of the original work. However, some exceptions exist when a written agreement directs the author to transfer the copyright to another person (e.g., a publisher) or when a work is “made for distribution,” as explained below. The Supreme Court recently rejected a request for certification in a high-profile copyright case, leaving a March 2020 statement from the Ninth Judicial District acquitting Led Zeppelin of allegations that the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven” violated “Taurus,” written by Randy Wolfe and performed by the band Spirit. The court`s dismissal is without prejudice to the Ninth Circuit`s decision on the scope of relevant copyright under the Copyright Act of 1909 and the status of the inverse ratio rule in the Ninth District. The Copyright Act of 1976, the most recent legislative reform in this area, states that for a work to be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” according to Nolo`s Law Dictionary, it must be “recorded on a physical medium, whether on paper, canvas, hard drive, or computer hard drive.” For the same reason, any spontaneous and unrecorded work, such as an improvised jazz solo performed in a club or the speech of a better man at a wedding, is not protected by copyright. Unicolors, Inc. and H&M Hennes & Maurtiz, L.P., will soon receive the Supreme Court`s opinion on whether the U.S.

Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in breaking its own precedent, the sister county precedent and the Copyright Office in ruling that 17 U.S.C. Section 411 requires referral to the Copyright Office if there is no evidence of fraud or material defects related to the work in question. Copyright registration under the subject. In CCNA v. Reid, a sculptor, was hired and paid by a nonprofit to create a depiction of homelessness in a modern crib above a subway grid. The hiring organization formed the basis of the sculpture, suggested people use it as models, and supported the whole process by suggesting modifications to the piece. The parties did not discuss the copyright issue and, ultimately, the hiring organization claimed ownership of the work. The sculptor disagreed and filed a lawsuit to determine ownership. In discussing the employer-employee relationship in this context, the court analyzed the client`s influence on the project.

In order to determine whether the copyright in the sculpture belonged to the sculptor, the case listed several factors that the courts should consider: the amount of skill required for the work, the origin of the tools and instruments, the duration of the relationship, the existence of social benefits, the tax treatment of the artist by the employer, the right of the artist to employ his own assistants, the right to entrust additional projects and the location of the work. The sculptor won the case because the court found that he was not an employee within the meaning of the Copyright Act. Annual iterations of copyright legislation are expected to culminate in June 2022, when copyright owners will be able to move their claims to a new location and with less bureaucracy. As defined by Black`s Law Dictionary, a “copyright” is, strictly speaking, “the right to copy a work, in particular a right of ownership in an original work of the author (including a literary, musical, dramatic or other work) set forth in a material medium of expression that gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform and display the work”. However, copyright protection does not extend to your ideas, concepts, procedures, processes or discoveries. It does not extend protection to, inter alia, names, titles, short phrases, slogans or symbols. However, some of these expressions may be protected by patent or trademark law, which you can apply for with copyright protection to protect certain works in their entirety. An example of this could be an ad you created and filmed for a local business. You can protect the text and partition of the background jingle, while the store name and logo can be trademarks. In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music in 1994, in which rap group 2 Live Crew parodied Ray Orbison`s song Oh, Pretty Woman, the court ruled that the rap group`s use of the first line of the lyrics and the “characteristic opening bass riff” was consistent with copyright law and therefore fair use.

The band did not have to obtain permission to copy parts of the original song. The court further concluded that the application of the four fair dealing factors should be on a case-by-case basis to make it easier for artists to use parts of an otherwise copyrighted work without obtaining a licence, arguing that such use is equitable. A fair use defence can be used similarly in the context of videos from two angles. You may want to make sure no one uses your work without permission, but keep an eye out for a possible fair use defense. If you want to use snippets of other people`s videos without getting a license, do it in a way that invokes fair dealing. Unicolors creates copyrighted artworks that it markets to apparel manufacturers. In February 2011, Unicolors filed a copyright application for 31 graphic designs, including the EH101 design. The Copyright Office approved the application and granted copyright registration. Subsequently, Unicolors publicly marketed some of the 31 models and limited others to specific customers. In an 11-hour attempt to avoid a government shutdown, the U.S.

Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “Act”) on December 21, 2020. Surprisingly, and without much notice, submission, or deliberation, Congress has included provisions in the law that could significantly alter U.S. trademark and copyright laws. The amendments to the Trade-marks and Copyright Act provide a variety of enforcement tools and mechanisms that can save time, effort and money on the one hand, but may require adjustment approaches to save money and better position your business for defensive strategies. If you, the owner of a copyright, successfully file a timely lawsuit against an infringer, the next issue is the possibility of damages. Section 504 of the Copyright Act states that the basic amount of damages under the Act is “not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 as the court considers fair.” The law further states that if the offender did so “intentionally,” the court can increase damages to $150,000. However, 504 also allows for “actual damages and profits” calculated on a case-by-case basis. As the copyright owner, you are entitled to compensation for the actual harm caused by the infringement and the profits of the infringer that are attributable to the unlawful use and are not taken into account in the calculation of the actual damage. If you own very valuable copyrights, it`s a breath of fresh air, as a legal limit of $150,000 may not be enough. Therefore, depending on the value of your copyright, it may be advisable to calculate the actual damages and profits that may have resulted from the use by the infringing party.

This calculation can help decide whether to track legal damages or actual damages and profits. Ultimately, when you start a new project, the legal implications of your actions may not be the first thing you think about. However, it`s important to understand your rights and be sure of them, especially since you may not have a lawyer to remind you to perform a detailed contract, make fair use of previous work, or be careful about what you post on the internet.