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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Truth or Troll Redux: The Curious Case of Malibu Media v. Pelizzo

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued what looked to be a significant ruling. There, for the first time, a Court of Appeals was going to decide whether the tactics of so-called “copyright trolls” were reasonable when considering whether to award prevailing party attorneys' fees to a successful BitTorrent defendant. However, the language and procedure that the Court of Appeals utilized leaves one with the impression that not much has been clarified. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle J.D., digs into both the trial and appellate opinions to explain why the impact of the decision is less than certain.

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The Strange World of “Let’s Play” Videos and the Copyright Problems They Create

Welcome to the strange world of “Let’s Play” videos. These videos merely show someone playing a video game with part of the screen devoted to the video game and the rest to the gamer, recording their reactions and commentary. And it’s big business, with one gamer earning over $4 million a year. How is this possible? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., explains the method and marketing behind the madness and how copyright issues question the legality of the business.

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Copyright in Recipes! Well Done or Half-Baked?

Earlier this year, there was another skirmish in the long running battle over copyright in recipes. The intriguingly titled case of Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, LLC v. Vozary once again examined the question of: are recipes copyrightable? And if so, what parts? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the law and the cases that arise when someone gets caught with their hands in the recipe cookie jar.

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The “Blurred Lines” Verdict: What It Means For Music Now and In the Future

The verdict in the “Blurred Lines” case surprised a lot of people. Many failed to see the level of similarity that the jury did, and felt the case set a bad precedent going forward. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., examines the component parts of the two songs, takes a look at the expert testimony, and explains what it means for music, now and in the future.

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Two More Copyright Myths Bite the Dust: The $150,000 Statutory Damages Award and the DMCA as the Enemy of Free Speech

Two more copyright myths bit the dust this week, though it is doubtless that they will continue to be repeated. The first is the persistent myth of the $150,000 statutory damages award. The second is the myth of the DMCA takedown notice as the enemy of free speech. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., uncovers the facts behind the fictions.

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