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.
Digital files are acquired by license, not by sale. There are at least two existing courts cases which hold that the license agreement can restrict the end user’s ability to engage in certain activities that are fair use. How likely is it, that when the world is moving towards an all-digital market, that all of “fair use” will be completely contracted away? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at whether the dawn of the digital realm will mean the sunset of fair use.
What do Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes and the song “Happy Birthday” have in common? All are partially or completely in the public domain, but have publishers that are still claiming they are fully protected by copyright. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., gets to the bottom of the tricks and sleight of hand behind the claims.
Pressing the shutter on a camera is more mechanical than artistic. It’s so simple, even a monkey can do it. And that’s exactly what happened with the case of the “monkey selfie” that went viral. The photographer says he owns the copyright. After all, it was his camera. Wikimedia says no one owns the copyright. The monkey took the picture and the monkey would be the copyright claimant, if a monkey could own a copyright. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., examines the competing theories behind who owns the “monkey selfie.”
In 1996, global music sales were close to $40 billion. In 2013, global music sales were a mere $15 billion, a decrease of 62%. Who’s to blame? Well, if you ask the recording industry, they’ll say internet file sharing. Yet a number of people, including a few economists in peer reviewed studies, say that file sharing has no effect. Who is right? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, takes you through the statistics and the studies to find out.
The Supreme Court is the last word on the law of copyright. But when their last words are unclear as to intent, trouble starts brewing immediately. Such is the case with so called “transformative” uses. This single reference has created more confusion amongst the court than any copyright decision in recent memory. Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes you through how “transformative” has turned the murky waters of “fair use” into a quagmire of conflicting rulings and questionable logic.
You would think that waiting for 16 years to file a lawsuit would mean that the relevant Statute of Limitations would prevent you from proceeding. Yet the Supreme Court has recently ruled that in copyright cases, the Statute of Limitations may never run out. Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes you through the decision in Petrella v. MGM and what it means for the entertainment industry.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires websites and search engines to remove infringing material upon a request by the copyright owner. Yet, in one week, Google receives well over 6 million DMCA “takedown” requests. Is the system working or drowning? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the competing arguments, and suggests how the system can be improved for everyone.