Articles Posted in Copyright

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On Monday, in the shadow of then-Hurricane (now-Superstorm) Sandy, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a case involving the applicability of U.S. copyright law to copies of works created and legally acquired abroad and subsequently imported into the United States.

In the case, Supap Kirtsaeng, a college student from Thailand studying in the United States, launched a small online business selling textbooks. His family in Thailand bought foreign edition textbooks printed by Wiley Asia and mailed them to Kirtsaeng. Kirtsaeng then sold the textbooks online on sites such as eBay.com and reimbursed his family for the costs of purchase and shipping, retaining the remaining profits from the sale.

John Wiley & Sons subsequently sued Kirtsaeng in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition under New York state law. As to the copyright claim, the district court judge determined that the language in 17 U.S.C. § 109(a), known as the “first sale doctrine,” does not include copyrighted goods manufactured abroad.


Posted in: Copyright, Laws

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Last week, Sprint filed several requests for the issuance of subpoenas in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of the subpoenas, according to the declarations accompanying them, is to reveal the identity of one who identifies him/herself as a ‘mole’ or insider in the company who may be violating Sprint’s copyright. The mystery mole has a Gmail account, as well as accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and Sprint has requested that the court subpoena all three companies.

The mystery mole purports to leak inside information “from deep within the enterprise,” though the logo on each of its pages contains nearly illegible text that says “Not affiliated w/ SprintNextel.”

The cases are Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Facebook Inc., Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Google Inc., and Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al v. Twitter, Inc.


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Judges know fair use and parody when they see it. Especially when it comes to South Park‘s “distinct animation style and scatological humor” as seen through the eyes of a 4th grade character.

That was the conclusion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Circuit today (read it below) when it affirmed a trial court judge’s July 2011 decision to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit over the viral “What, What (in the Butt)” internet video by the singer Samwell.

Here is why the decision is an important victory for parody, satire, and fair use on the Internet.


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A continuing legal education company headed by Joseph Marino (inset, left), the legendary force behind a 65-year-old family-owned New York and New Jersey bar exam course, sued a former employee for alleged theft of “invaluable data” from his more recent CLE company’s business.

The Marino Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (‘Marino’ CLE’) accuses ex-employee Omar Issa (inset, right) of lifting Marino CLE trade secrets, breaching a fiduciary duty to his employer “by taking technology and…leaking confidential information and proprietary information” to his competing business while still working for Marino CLE


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Today Oracle asked U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup to sidestep whatever verdict the jury ultimately reaches in the company’s Java code copyright trial against Google.

Oracle alleged that Google violated copyright law by refusing to license Sun’s Java software code, and allegedly incorporating copyright-protected source code into its Android OS for mobile devices. Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun in January 2010.

Oracle’s legal maneuver, known as judgment as a matter of law, argues that “no reasonable jury could find that Google did not infringe Oracle’s Java-related copyrights.” (Read the legal filing below)


Tagged: Java, Oracle

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“Trust me, my pungent friend. You’ll get what’s coming to you!”

Disney’s new copyright infringement lawsuit against an alleged eBay purveyor of counterfeit movies appears to be dispensing advice from Aladdin’s Jafar.

According to the lawsuit (read it below), Atlanta resident Michael Jones has allegedly been selling ‘obviously counterfeit’ Disney movies on eBay using the moniker “authenticdelivery.” Not surprisingly, Disney charges that the sales have involved anything but authentic movies from the Hollywood studio.


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Aerosoft GMBH, the German software company that makes the ‘Airbus X’ game, add-on program to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, sued a host of unknown ‘Does’ in federal court, claiming the defendants engaged in copyright infringement via peer-to-peer (‘P2P’) file-sharing of plaintiff’s game.

The Airbus X might have been a game that convicted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui would have liked to play, given his self-avowed goal of piloting Boeing or Airbus ‘Big Birds.’


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A federal appeals court in New York reversed a lower court ruling in Viacom’s copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and Google over user uploads of thousands of popular TV shows like South Park and ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

“A reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website.”

The new decision (read it below) reverses the June 23, 2010 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granting summary judgment to YouTube and Google.


Tagged: Viacom

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East Bay soul funk legend Tower of Power filed a class-action lawsuit against Warner Music on Tuesday, charging that the record label Warner Music, Inc. stiffed them out of music royalties by mischaracterizing digital downloads as sales, instead of licenses that pay artists a much higher premium.

Tower of Power co-founders Emilio Castillo and Stephen “Doc” Kupka’s breach of contract case charges that their 1972 agreement (the ‘Agreement’) with Warner Music entitles the band to 50% of gross receipts for Warner’s redistribution by digital downloads download via third parties.

Warner, the band contends, intentionally mischaracterizes these digital downloads as sales to pay them at a ten-percent (10%) royalty rate under the ‘sold’ equation of the parties’ original 1972 Agreement.


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Watch out, Facebook users. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network giant recently modified the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (i.e., Terms of Service [‘TOS’]) to now allege that Facebook claims trademark rights to the word ‘Book.’ (Read it below)

Oh, and in case you forgot, Facebook also claims intellectual property rights to the words ‘Face,’ Poke, and ‘Wall’

Take a look for yourself:


Tagged: book, face