Blog

Clash of the Titans – European Union Copyright Holders Versus Technology Giants

Carolyn Wimbly Martin

On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament took a first, but crucial, step in adopting sweeping changes to copyright law on the Internet in the European Union. The vote on this copyright directive pitted media companies who hold the copyright to music and news content against technology platforms such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. […]

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Cultural Appropriation & the Lack of Legal Protection for Indigenous Australian Art

Samuel Meredith

Note: “Marking the Infinite,” a stunning exhibit of works by contemporary women artists from Aboriginal Australia is on view until September 9, 2018 at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. In spring 2018, a Utah high-school student named Keziah Daum caused a controversy when she tweeted out some prom pictures in which she was wearing […]

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Di-Stink–tive Trade Dress: Play-Doh Registers Its Scent with the USPTO

Samuel Meredith

On May 18, 2018, Hasbro announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) approved its application to register the scent of its well-known Play-Doh clay. 1 Barring a successful legal challenge to the registration, this development means that Hasbro will be able to prevent its competitors from using confusingly similar scents for their […]

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Love It or Hate It: The U.S. Supreme Court Gave a Green Light to Disparaging Trademarks

Maryna Koberidze

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Matal v. Tam that the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause and constitutes viewpoint discrimination.[1] The trademark at issue in Tam was THE SLANTS for live music performances. By using this mark, an Asian-American rock band, The […]

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The DMCA Subpoena Process: An Underutilized Tool for Identifying Anonymous Infringers

Ben Sternberg

Typically, for a copyright owner to identify and pursue an anonymous infringer on the Internet, he or she must initiate a copyright infringement lawsuit against a “John Doe” and use the discovery process to unmask the defendant’s identity. Although commencing a “John Doe” litigation is appropriate in certain circumstances, it can be an expensive and […]

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Choudhury v. Evolation Yoga: Is Copyright Law Flexible Enough to Encompass Yoga Poses?

Ryan Karr

For more than a century, courts have been grappling with the issue of what types of work are eligible for copyright protection. New mediums of expression present challenges to the traditional analyses, and the law continues to evolve on this issue. In the case of Choudhury v. Evolation Yoga[1], the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals […]

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Lenz v. Universal Music: Don’t Be Hasty In Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Ryan Karr

Even though we are nearing two decades since the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”), litigation over the interpretation of the DMCA continues to push the envelope of copyright law. In possibly one of the most important decisions interpreting the DMCA, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lenz v. Universal Music […]

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No Laughing Matter: The Conan O’Brien Joke-Stealing Dispute

Susan Lutzker

Comedy show host Conan O’Brien has been sued in federal district court in the Southern District of California by comedian Robert Alexander Kaseberg for allegedly stealing four jokes from Kaseberg’s Twitter postings between January and June of this year. (Complaint filed by Kaseberg’s counsel is available here.)[1] According to Kaseberg, O’Brien performed each of the […]

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The Fight for Nike’s “Jumpman”

Nasar Khan

A particularly interesting case was decided last month involving a copyright claim over Nike’s use of Michael Jordan’s iconic “Jumpman” pose. The issue revolved around whether this picture taken by Nike infringed upon this picture that was previously taken by photographer Jacobus Rentmeester. The case was not only noteworthy for its high profile subject matter, […]

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