Google likes to portray itself as a “content neutral” equivalent of an electronic golden retriever, namely that it only sends back to you what you look for. Nothing could be further from the truth. Apparently, Google has a “blacklist” and roughly 10,000 web sites a day find themselves blocked by Google, for a variety of reasons, as two recent lawsuits against Google have revealed. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., digs into who gets banned and why, and asks: why don’t the pirate sites get banned?
Some say that streaming is the future of music. Many musicians disagree, including Taylor Swift. Not only did she refuse to place her latest album on Spotify, she pulled her entire back catalog from the streaming company, citing in part the microscopic royalty payment Spotify makes. Lots of commentators rushed out to call her greedy or stupid and sometimes both. Yet she sold over 1.2 million copies of her album “1989” in one week, which is more than anybody has sold all year long. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., crunches the numbers and gets to the bottom (line) of it all.
In the never ending race to provide even more pirated material on the internet, a new wrinkle in the whack-a-mole phenomenon was unveiled recently. A new UK pirate website, using a special webcrawler and algorithm actively recovers URLs removed by Google and works to promote the listings back to the top of Google results after being demoted. Who provided them with this handy list of where to find pirated material? Why, Google of course, and its partner in crime, the Chilling Effects organization. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., explains how Google provides this handy “Google Map” on where to find copyright infringing material, and how it reflects on Google’s recently released document titled “How Google Fights Piracy.”
In a closely watched case involving the boundaries of academic fair use, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in with a 129 page decision that took almost a year to write. Did the decision provide institutes of higher learning with clear and effective guidance on the proper boundaries of fair use, or did it just make a gray area more opaque? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., analyzes the decision and where it might lead us.
The end is near for both Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse. Pooh will hit the public domain in the year 2022. Mickey will follow in 2024. The loss of these merchandising monsters will put a big dent in the earnings of the Walt Disney Company. They’re not going to take this lying down, will they? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the possible legal strategies that might be employed to keep Pooh and Mickey firmly within the Disney kingdom.
Last week, a Hollywood attorney threatened to sue Google for $100 million dollars over their failure to take down certain URLs associated with the release of nude celebrity photos hacked from their online accounts. In one case, almost 45% of the URLs listed in one takedown notice remained up despite the fact that the photos clearly were stolen. What is Google up to? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at how Google is cheating the takedown process… on both sides.
Last week, everything about broadcasting music changed. For the first time, a Federal Judge in California has ruled that records made before February 15, 1972 had performance rights under California law. This means that every radio broadcaster, satellite broadcaster and internet radio station in the State that played a record by The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin was potentially breaking the law, and owes damages. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes an in-depth look at the current litigation and what the ruling means for the future of broadcasting and the internet.
Every successful creative project seems to attract lawsuits claiming the project copied the material from some unknown author. James Cameron’s film Avatar was no exception. It attracted at least five separate lawsuits, but one stood out. Almost immediately after release, the internet lit up with comparisons between the otherworldy planet of Pandora and several very similar paintings of fantastical landscapes. The paintings all had one source; British artist Roger Dean, who had created album covers for Yes, Asia, Uriah Heep and Gentle Giant. Last week, Roger Dean’s suit got dismissed by a Federal Judge. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., performs an in-depth analysis of the suit and the dismissal, and discusses key problems with the Judge’s ruling.
This post updates the latest happenings in two controversial areas of copyright that were the subject of previous blogs: the “transformative use” test and the alleged “copyright troll” Malibu Media. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., examines the rejection of the “transformative use” test by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and two recent court judgments in favor of adult video producer Malibu Media.
Last week, the ugly side of the internet was highly visible. Stolen photographs of nude female celebrities circulated around the world, with some sites nearly crashing due to such high demand. Did the copyright act actually help grease the wheels of this sleazy and shameful phenomenon? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., explains how it worked and what might be done to remedy the problem.