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Court of Appeals Rules Producer, Not Director is the Author of a Motion Picture

Following on the heels of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Garcia v. Google, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a major ruling clarifying one of the great mysteries of copyright law, namely: who amongst all the people that contribute, is the “author” of a motion picture? The Second Circuit’s opinion is particularly important because it governs the State of New York, home to many of the largest entertainment companies. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the component parts of this important decision.


Flo and Eddie Lose Florida Lawsuit against SiriusXM

Flo and Eddies’ winning streak against Sirius XM ended on June 22, 2015 when a Florida District Court Judge ruled that “Florida common law does not provide Flo & Eddie with an exclusive right in public performance.” After wins in both New York and California, what does Flo and Eddies' loss in Florida do to the entire issue of performances of pre-1972 sound recordings? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., analyzes the decision and peers into the future for what comes next.


Chilling Effects: How Harvard and the Electronic Frontier Foundation Operate the World’s Largest Pirate Site

If you are looking for pirated copies of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, look no further than Chilling Effects, a database operated by Harvard University and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. While claiming to be a “research database,” what it actually does is provide a handy tool for finding pirated material on the internet, complete with a search function that will provide the exact pirate URL that you can copy and paste into your browser. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., shows you how Chilling Effects operates in brazen defiance of the copyright laws including their dubious claim to DMCA safe harbor.

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Will Apple Music Succeed Where Pandora and Spotify Have Failed?

On June 8, 2015, Apple announced the start of a new music streaming service: Apple Music, a service that will directly compete with more established brands like Spotify and Pandora. Apple did this in spite of the fact that Pandora lost an astonishing $48 million in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Is Apple nuts? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the factors affecting the streaming business and concludes that Apple might have an ace or two up their sleeve that will help them succeed where others have failed.

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Ninth Circuit Reverses “Innocence of Muslims” Ruling, Hollywood Breathes a Sigh of Relief

Monday, May 18, 2015 saw the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing itself in the closely watched case of Garcia v. Google. The earlier decision caused a lot of consternation around the copyright world, especially in Hollywood. The previous three judge panel ruled, for the first time, that an actor had a copyright in her individual performance in a motion picture. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes an in depth look at the legal controversy over the film Innocence of Muslims, and what this decision means for Hollywood and copyright in the future.


Star Wars and Mickey Mouse: How “Copyright Scarcity” Helped Create Two Iconic Franchises

Star Wars and Mickey Mouse have something in common, and it’s not that the Walt Disney Company owns them both. Both of these iconic properties came close to not existing at all, and it was the restrictions of copyright law that forced Walt Disney and George Lucas to put their creative energies to work to breathe life into these world famous classics. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., goes behind the scenes, and once again shows how creative restrictions can be good for you.


Grooveshark Is Now Deadshark: How an Illegal Streaming Service Hid Behind the DMCA for Nearly 10 Years

Pirate streaming site Grooveshark closed its operations last week rather than face the prospect that its founders would be personally liable for potentially $736 million dollars in damages. Two separate courts had issued summary judgements against them, with one Court noting that Grooveshark had sent out over 36 million music streams without payment or license. How did they stay in business for nearly 10 years? By hiding behind the DMCA safe harbor provisions, of course. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes you through the facts and findings of the two judgements and suggests how future Groovesharks can be prevented.


HBO Calls Google’s (and the Pirates’) Bluff

We’ve all heard the pirates' excuses for illegally downloading copyrighted material: it’s too expensive, it’s not available in my country when it’s available in others, etc. Google, for its part, keeps saying that if low cost, convenient alternatives were available, piracy would be greatly reduced. Well, HBO NOW just called their bluff: low cost, available across the United States, and with a free trial! Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the interesting results that occur when you take away all the excuses.


3C vs. Three’s Company: Another “Transformative” Nail In the Coffin of Author’s Rights

The case of Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment pitted the production company behind the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company against the play 3C, which it contended illegally copied many aspects of the popular sitcom. Once again, a Court ignores the rights of the author to control derivative works under the Copyright Act, and seems to think that by declaring a work "transformative," all other contrary considerations must be swept aside. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., goes through the decisions and points out the fallacies and how “transformative” use leads us down a dangerous road that negates an entire section of the Copyright Act.


More Money, No Profit: Is the “Free For All” Ethos of the Internet Killing Streaming?

Streaming is supposed to be the future of the music business. There’s only one problem. None of the streaming services make a profit. Not only do Pandora, Spotify and yes, even YouTube lose tons of money every year, none of them have ever made a profit. Even worse, as the revenue goes up, the losses get bigger. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle J.D., takes a look at the numbers and discovers that there is a rather simple solution to the streaming companies' profit problem.