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Beyoncé’s copyright case was destined for dismissal

Mark Sableman September 29, 2016
Beyonece 2016 Formation Tour

A famously learned federal judge sprinkled his high-profile dismissal of a copyright claim against Beyoncé with pop culture references to Taylor Swift, "Ghostbusters," and Oscar Wilde, along with some hard lessons for plaintiffs who overreach with their copyright claims. READ MORE

In Pegasus-related copyright suit, judge sidelines as art critic

Mark Sableman September 19, 2016
Pegasus by James Croak

The analysis in an art copyright case can sound like a class discussion in Art Appreciation 101. Take the case of Croak v. Saatchi & Saatchi, which could also be called Pegasus I v. Pegasus II. READ MORE

Street artist’s copyright infringement claims against Starbucks dismissed

In Focus_default blog

An artist’s copyright infringement suit alleging that a Starbucks Frappuccino advertising campaign infringed her copyrights has been dismissed, on the ground that the campaign didn’t appropriate the “total concept and feel” of the artist’s works. READ MORE

Fox News fair use claim for Facebook post of 9-11 image remains unresolved

Mike Nepple July 7, 2016
In Focus_default blog

Earlier this year, just hours before beginning jury selection, Fox News settled a copyright dispute regarding its use of Thomas Franklin’s iconic photograph, “Raising the Flag at Ground Zero,” thus leaving its fair use argument unresolved. READ MORE

Is appropriation art ‘fair use’?

In Focus_default blog

The artist Richard Prince, who is sometimes known as the #PrinceofAppropriation, claims that copyright law protects the artistic style he calls “appropriation art.” Photographer Donald Graham filed suit against Prince, alleging Prince infringed the copyright in Graham’s photograph. READ MORE

Signer with remorse seeks to avoid ‘unrestricted’ photography release

Mark Sableman June 2, 2016
In Focus_default blog

We’ve handled multiple cases of photographers who signed releases or licenses, but nonetheless later claimed that use of his or her photograph, by the licensee, constituted copyright infringement. READ MORE

Can you make an infringement claim over thumbnail images?

Mike Nepple May 12, 2016
In Focus_default blog

In an interesting twist, the publisher named the law firm that gave them a fair use opinion letter as a third-party defendant. Essentially, the publisher claims that if it is liable to the Times because the thumbnails weren’t fair use, then its law firm is liable for giving it bad fair use advice. READ MORE

Illegality doesn’t negate copyright protection

Mark Sableman April 21, 2016

Given the breadth of copyright protection, which was established more than a century ago in a Supreme Court case involving low-art circus posters, courts do not evaluate the merits of art or other creative content, so long as it meets a fairly low threshold of creativity. READ MORE

Tank-topped photos subjects don’t meet standard of ‘substantial similarity’

Mark Sableman April 21, 2016
In Focus_default blog

How much of a photo must be taken in order to meet the copyright standard of “substantial similarity”? According to a district court in New York, you need more than a man standing in front of a crowd, wearing a white tank top, with his arms stretched out to the side. READ MORE

Done properly, can a Creative Commons license make for an easy defense?

Mark Sableman April 21, 2016

An infringement claim can be easy to assert – the plaintiff just shows ownership of a valid copyright, and the copying of his or her work. But in some cases the defense can be even easier. READ MORE

Has Jeff Koons learned to play fair with copyright works?

Justin Mulligan April 21, 2016
In Focus_default blog

Koons is no stranger to allegations that his art infringes others’ copyrights. He often uses pre-existing images to comment on contemporary culture, and that kind of work carries inherent infringement risks. READ MORE