Tag Archives: fair use

Copyright & Trademark: A primer on their differences

There is a lively discussion on the differences between copyright and trademark law in the comments to a Techdirt article. Copyright and trademark law are often confused, and this is by both lawyers and non-lawyers. (We lawyers call them ‘lay-people.’) I’ve even see a lawyer confuse the DMCA takedown process and issue a takedown letter […]

How Auto-Tune the News made me look at the DMCA and copyright law

My 18-month old daughter and I watch Auto-Tune the News on our AppleTV in the mornings while her mother prepares her daycare bag and I try to function pre-coffee. One morning we clicked on AutoTune the News and nothing came up except an error. My lawyer brain immediately thought of fears that a DMCA takedown […]

Can you steal the idea for a product or service?

The Telegraph has an article about claims that the founders of the Huffington Post ‘stole’ the blueprint for the popular website.  Can you ‘steal’ an idea, be it for a product or a service? On some level this questions appears to ridiculous.  The Huffington Post, for example, is modeled after many community sites before it, […]

What’s the point of the DMCA if I have to keep taking down content?

Infringing copyright content isn’t always cut and dry. Sometimes people try and abuse copyright law to silence critics or competition. Sometimes there is a genuine dispute over what elements of a work are copyrightable. One of the complaints about the DMCA’s notice provisions is that it chills free speech and harms folks by reversing the […]

Live broadcasts and performances aren’t per se copyrightable: Revisiting the fixation requirement

A recent Techdirt article discusses the role of broadcast listeners and viewers in preserving sports history.  The article’s main point seems to be an argument that allowing copying helps preserve historical moments.  The historical moment in question was the 1951 “Shot heard ’round the world;” also known as Bobby Thompson’s walk-off home run against the […]

DMCA Takedowns versus Free Speech

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, gets a lot of bad press.  Digital rights management software, or DRM, is blamed on the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause.  The MPAA went so far as to argue that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause even prevents fair use defenses.1  But it is not all bad. Wired went so far as […]

Capturing the value of information — How Newscorp and AP can profit from the news, and how they can’t

Information is valuable.  Governments know this.  Companies know this.  Consumer rights know this.  The Associated Press and NewsCorp know this. Those last two run an entire business on the gathering and dissemination of information.  Both want us all to stop stealing their product. The Associated Press announced details on how they are going to be […]