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Social media photos, once again, are not fair game

Mark Sableman January 29, 2019
Illustration of hand in a phone stopping a man

For those who missed the message five years ago that social media photos aren’t free to use, a new decision has renewed and reinforced that message. The circumstances of the case may make this decision hard to forget or ignore. READ MORE

Copyright Office identifies visual arts copyright problems, solutions

Mark Sableman January 24, 2019
An SLR camera sitting on a laptop computer

A new report from the Copyright Office has shed light on the deficiencies in their own processes: outdated and complicated resources are making it harder for visual artists to copyright their work, leaving them vulnerable to online infringement. READ MORE

Fair use isn’t arithmetic

Mark Sableman October 25, 2018
One plus one math equation

While determining copyright fair use may seem as easy as adding up the scores of the four fair use factors, the reality is not so simple. Fair use requires complex and nuanced judgments, not simplistic arithmetic. READ MORE

Mark Sableman speaks at Photography Hall of Fame

Mark Sableman August 14, 2018
In Focus_default blog

On the topic "Copyright and Photography: What you should know," Mark discussed notable photography copyright cases and their impact on copyright law. READ MORE

Two skyline photo cases, two different results

Mark Sableman August 9, 2018
Side by side comparison of a photo of Philadelphia skyline and a window sign

Two cases involving photographs of city skylines illustrate what is, and isn’t, copyright infringement. READ MORE

Copyright designs found weak when derived from common ideas

Mark Sableman March 26, 2018
buddakiss earings650x510

Copyright - intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship, but does this included an artistic concept or idea? Can copyright infringement included artistic concepts? READ MORE

Copyright Office issues new restrictions on group registration of photos

Justin Mulligan February 21, 2018
In Focus_default blog

Group registrations of photos will have new limitations beginning February 20, 2018. Photographers were previously able to register an unlimited number of photographs in a single registration application, for the regular $55 fee. The new rule limits registrations to 750 photographs, requires use of new electronic application forms, and streamlines registration by work-for-hire applicants. READ MORE

Enforce your repeat infringer policy

Mike Nepple February 13, 2018

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) sets up safe harbors so that service providers generally aren’t liable for their customers’ infringements, but the safe harbor provisions require providers to cut off repeat infringers. The responsibility falls on the Internet service providers to not only enact a repeat infringer policy but they must also enforce their policy. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals so held in a lawsuit brought by BMG Rights Management (US), LLC against Cox Communications, Inc. READ MORE

Exclusive license stymies copyright owner's infringement suit

Mark Sableman January 24, 2018
magnifying glass rests on a stack of documents

Ownership is unique under the Copyright Act — that’s the argument a federal court made in throwing out an infringement action filed by a copyright owner who created the work in question but failed to retain a financial interest in it. READ MORE

You can transfer a copyright without saying ‘copyright’

Mark Sableman December 27, 2017

You may think there is one simple hard-and-fast rule of copyright law: You cannot transfer a copyright without a written instrument signed by the copyright owner. It’s right there in section 204 of the Copyright Act. But the “instrument” need not be a formal document that specifically addresses copyrights. READ MORE

‘Gotcha’ copyright claims can prompt ‘gotcha’ ownership defenses

Mark Sableman November 20, 2017
In Focus_default blog

As some photographers aggressively and regularly assert claims, defendants have concluded that in response they need to aggressively probe the bona fides of those claims. READ MORE

The Grinch loses and protection of parody wins

September 21, 2017

The Judge found it “virtually” impossible consumers would see the play rather than reading the original book or see the 2000 film based on the book. He found it more likely the play will increase interest in Grinch. READ MORE

Is 2 seconds of television time too much to be a fair use?

Mike Nepple August 22, 2017

In its motion to dismiss, CBS argued that the two-second on-screen display of Steven Hirsch’s photograph was a fair use, or, at most, a de minimus infringement. The district court denied the motion. READ MORE

Sultry Lady Liberty leads Postal Service astray

Mark Sableman July 26, 2017

Beware sultry-looking ladies. That’s one of the lessons from the recent court decision sending a copyright case against the United States Postal Service to trial, but there are more. The decision can serve as a teaching tool and warning regarding use of photos and other images. READ MORE

All infringements aren’t equal

Mark Sableman June 6, 2017
In Focus_default blog

Results in two recent cases suggest that circumstances have significant effects on damages and attorneys’ fee awards. READ MORE

Fair use blocks out copyright claim over LeBron’s tattoo

Mike Nepple June 1, 2017

Solid Oak sued Take-Two Interactive Software for copyright infringement last year, claiming it is a technical foul to display the copyrighted tattoo on LeBron James’s arm in Take-Two’s popular NBA 2K line of video games READ MORE

Will a court recognize ‘aerosol artists’?

Mike Nepple April 28, 2017
former site of 5 Pointz graffiti

You may think of it as “graffiti,” but a court in New York must determine if “aerosol art” is “meritorious” and of “recognized stature” such that it gets special copyright protection. READ MORE

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