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Category Archives: Copyright

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Limiting Statutory Damages in Internet Copyright Cases

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation

One of the most significant legal concerns for Internet service providers is the risk of exposure to liability for the copyright infringements of their users. The concern is not unreasonable. Because Internet service providers can be held secondarily liable for the infringements of their users, and because this liability can come with statutory damages attached,… Continue Reading

Now Available: The April Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, European Union, Litigation, Marketing, Mobile, Privacy, Section 230 Safe Harbor

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this edition, we explore the threat to U.S. jobs posed by rapid advances in emerging technologies; we examine a Federal Trade Commission report on how companies engaging in cross-device tracking can stay on the right side of the law; we take a look at a… Continue Reading

Social Links: Burger King ad triggers Google Assistant devices; suits allege infringement of copyrights in content posted to social media; Twitter’s hidden “dislike” button

Posted in Advertising, Copyright, Free Speech, User-Generated Content

Without Google’s permission, Burger King ended one of its television commercials with a statement designed to automatically cause Google Assistant devices to read a list of the Whopper’s ingredients out loud. Having passed the 1.2-billion-user mark, Facebook Messenger is now twice as popular as Instagram. A lawsuit alleges Anheuser-Busch and one of its distributors impermissibly used… Continue Reading

Social Links: Instagram makes it easy to label content as “sponsored”; Facebook combats fake news; better firefighting through drones

Posted in Copyright, Employment Law, Endorsement Guides

A court ruled that a particular 98-character tweet wasn’t sufficiently creative to warrant protection under German copyright law. Inspired by a recording posted to Snapchat of a physical attack on a 14-year-old boy, a California bill would make it illegal to “willfully record a video of the commission of a violent felony pursuant to a… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Cheerleading Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation, Trademark

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands that design elements of cheerleading uniforms may be protected under the Copyright Act. The 6-2 decision, written by Justice Thomas, clarified the scope of protection afforded to clothing designs and, more broadly, designs on useful articles. Varsity Brands, Inc.—the country’s largest… Continue Reading

New Copyright Office Rule Creates Potential “Gotcha” for Blogs and Websites Hosting User-Generated Content

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, User-Generated Content

If your company operates a website or blog that hosts user-generated content, you’ll want to read this post carefully. We’re ringing the alarm bell on an important new U.S. copyright law development that, if ignored, could significantly increase your company’s potential liability exposure in connection with user-generated content. If your company hosts user-generated content, such… Continue Reading

Commercializing User-Generated Content: Five Risk Reduction Strategies

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, IP, Terms of Use

We’re in the midst of a seismic shift in how companies interact with user-generated content (UGC). For years, companies were happy simply to host UGC on their websites, blogs and social media pages and reap the resulting boost to their traffic numbers. And U.S. law—in the form of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright… Continue Reading

Now Available: The July Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter

Posted in Advertising, Copyright, Digital Content, Employment Law, Online Promotions

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award winning guide to the law and business of social media, we take a look at courts’ efforts to evaluate emoticons and emojis entered into evidence; we describe the novel way one court addressed whether counsel may conduct… Continue Reading

The Kirtsaeng Opinion: Supreme Court Guidance on Attorneys’ Fees Awards in Copyright Cases

Posted in Copyright, Litigation

Recently, in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court provided substantial guidance in an unsettled area of law by holding that, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under 17 U.S.C. §505, the Copyright Act’s fee-shifting provision, a court should give substantial weight to the objective reasonableness of the losing party’s… Continue Reading

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Jurisdiction: No “Situs of Injury” Merely Because Copyrighted Material Is Accessible

Posted in Copyright

Because content posted online can be accessed nearly anywhere, courts regularly face the issue of whether they have personal jurisdiction over a defendant who posted material to the web or a social media site. Recently, one New York federal court held that the mere fact, standing alone, that copyrighted material posted online was accessible in New… Continue Reading

Now Available: The March Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter

Posted in Advertising, Compliance, Copyright, Discovery, E-Commerce, Endorsement Guides, Eurpoean Union, FTC, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media. In this edition, we offer tips for a successful—and legal—advertising campaign; we examine a New York State Appellate Division opinion significantly limiting a personal-injury-case defendant’s access to the… Continue Reading

New Court Decision Highlights Potential Headache for Companies Hosting User-Generated Content

Posted in Copyright, Digital Content, DMCA, IP, Litigation

In this election season, we hear a lot of complaints about laws stifling business innovation. And there is no doubt that some laws have this effect. But what about laws that spur innovation, that result in the creation of revolutionary new business models? Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA) is one such… Continue Reading

Creative Commons Works: Free to License, But Not Necessarily Free to Use

Posted in Copyright

Companies love to use third-party content for free. In this era of belt-tightening and slashed marketing budgets, why pay to create photos and videos for advertising and other commercial uses when compelling photos and videos are readily available online for licensing for commercial use at no charge? Perhaps the most important source of such works… Continue Reading

Google Books and Fair Use: From Implausible to Inevitable?

Posted in Copyright

[Editor’s Note: At Socially Aware, we occasionally invite guest columnists to contribute pieces on cutting-edge Internet-related legal issues; today we have the pleasure of publishing a piece by noted copyright scholar Jane Ginsburg, Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia Law School*.] A for-profit corporation scans millions of in-copyright books… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The July/August Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Bankruptcy, Cloud Computing, Copyright, First Amendment, FTC, Infographic, Internet of Things, IP, Livestreaming, Online Reviews, Privacy, Trademark, Wearable Computers

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we present a “grand unifying theory” of today’s leading technologies and the legal challenges these technologies raise; we discuss whether hashtags can be protected under trademark law; we explore the… Continue Reading

Status Updates: Artist sues Pinterest; texting for teens without data plans; quit smoking with social media

Posted in Copyright, IP, Mobile, Status Updates

Pin pain. As a primarily visual social media platform whose self-described purpose is to help users bookmark and save “good stuff you find anywhere around the web,” Pinterest has raised copyright infringement questions since it became explosively popular in 2012. In many cases, copyright owners are happy to have their images “pinned” on the site,… Continue Reading

Five Social Media Law Issues To Discuss With Your Clients

Posted in Arbitration, Copyright, Employment Law, IP, Labor Law, Litigation, Online Promotions, Terms of Use

The explosive growth of social media has clients facing legal questions that didn’t even exist a few short years ago. Helping your clients navigate this muddled legal landscape will have them clicking “like” in no time. What’s in a Like? Not long ago, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection used by… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The May Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, First Amendment, FTC, Infographic, Internet of Things, IP, Privacy, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we discuss a recent decision in Virginia protecting the anonymity of Yelp users; we examine the FTC’s much anticipated report, “Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World;”… Continue Reading

Rolling With the Punches: The Fight Over Livestreaming

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation

Boxing fans eagerly awaited the May 2, 2015, championship match between boxers Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. But the fight also drew the interest of those following online video apps Meerkat and Periscope. Launched at the end of February 2015, Meerkat is a livestreaming iPhone app that allows Twitter users to stream videos from… Continue Reading

First-Ever Award of “Any Damages” for Fraudulent DMCA Takedowns Under Section 512(f)

Posted in Copyright

Under section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyright owners are liable for “any damages” stemming from knowingly false accusations of infringement that result in removal of the accused online material. Section 512(f) aims to deter abuse of the DMCA requirement that service providers process takedown requests from purported copyright owners, but such… Continue Reading

With Highly Anticipated Copyright Decision, The AutoHop Litigation Is Coming to a Close

Posted in Copyright

In 2012, DISH Network announced two novel product offerings that would result in considerable backlash from the four major broadcast television networks and set in motion a three-year, wide-ranging, multi-front battle with the networks. As the dust now begins to settle, the copyright litigation has resulted in important precedents that will help define the boundaries… Continue Reading

Twenty Years Down the Road: A Q&A With Paul Goldstein, Author of Copyright’s Highway

Posted in Copyright

More than two decades have passed since internationally recognized copyright law expert and award-winning novelist Professor Paul Goldstein of Stanford Law School (and Of Counsel to Morrison & Foerster) published his landmark book, Copyright’s Highway: From Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox—a wide-ranging and insightful (not to mention entertaining!) examination of the past, present and future… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The December Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, Infographic, Internet of Things, Litigation, Privacy, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we look at several topics surrounding the proverbial online thumbs up, including the emerging legal status of Facebook likes and similar social media constructs; Facebook’s recent prohibition of the popular… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Reconsider the Curious Copyright Case Requiring YouTube to Take Down All Copies of Anti-Islamic Film

Posted in Copyright

Earlier this year, Socially Aware noted a peculiar decision out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that an actress owns a copyright interest in her five-second performance in a film and thus could demand the removal of all copies of the film posted to YouTube. The actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, claims that she… Continue Reading