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Are Silent Films Still Protected by Copyright? 0

Are Silent Films Still Protected by Copyright?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Copyright

Film enthusiasts may be familiar with the silent film Safety Last!  Starring Harold Lloyd, this film debuted in 1923.  Even those who are not familiar with the movie may recognize the iconic scene where Lloyd is dangling from the hands of a giant clock. Cupecoy Home Fashion Inc. produces a 12” metal clock with a man dangling from the minute hand.  This clock drew the ire of Harold Lloyd Entertainment, who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on March 11, 2014. Harold Lloyd Entertainment alleged the clock was a direct appropriation of the iconic clock scene.  It also highlighted that it had previously licensed the rights to create a derivative version of the clock scene before.  The movie Back to the Future obtained permission to film the scene of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) hanging from the clock tower towards the end of the movie.  Most recently, Harold Lloyd Entertainment granted a license to Martin Scorsese to create a similar scene in the movie Hugo.  In fact, posters for the movie featured this scene. It may seem like a movie 1923 is too old to still be protected by copyright.  However, it is the edge of copyright protection.  If it debuted in 1922, it would be in the public domain.  1923...

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DMCA Takedown Used to Quash Negative YouTube Review

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Copyright

If you were to search YouTube for reviews of video games, you would hit countless results.  Some channels have been able to rise above the other in terms of subscribers and consequently can be targeted for their negative reviews.  This particular dispute involved a video game review uploaded by TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit, of the game Day One: Garry’s Incident, made by Wild Game Studios.  TotalBiscuit regularly reviews independent (indie) games, games which are developed outside of large studios and which typically have low budgets.  While major retail games are sold for $60 on video game consoles or computers, indie games typically are sold for $20 or less.  TotalBiscuit prefers to review indie games in order to inform consumers of games they should buy which they may never have heard of before.  He also wishes to warn gamers to stay away from games which he feels will be a waste of money.  In TotalBiscuit’s opinion, Day One: Garry’s Incident fell in the latter category. TotalBiscuit’s videos are monetized to receive advertising revenue.  Once a YouTube video is approved to receive advertising revenue, the uploader will receive 55% of the advertising revenue Google is paid by advertisers.  The types of advertising shown will change depending on many factors such as...

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Copyright Issues – Oz, The Great & Powerful

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Copyright

You can learn a great deal about copyright law by analyzing the different copyright issues in the creation of the recent Disney movie, Oz the Great and Powerful.  The new Oz movie is a derivative work based on L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, The Wizard of Oz.  Elements created in the book were available for Disney to use, but anything created for the 1939 movie was not. The book was written in 1900, so its copyright protection expired in 1956.  Baum had written thirteen sequels continuing the Oz story and they all entered the public domain between 1960 and 1986.  Meanwhile, Samuel Goldwyn purchased the film rights from Baum in 1933 then sold them to MGM in 1938.  MGM still retains the copyright to the movie it produced until 2034.  Disney received the film rights to the other thirteen books in 1954, but MGM did not sell their right to the first book.  In fact, MGM and Disney had a few legal battles over the movie content. In 2011, the 8th Circuit of Appeals ruled that while the characters in Baum’s novels are in the public domain, their depictions in the 1939 movie are still protected.  As a result Disney, and anyone else looking to utilize the Oz characters,...

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Nintendo Claims Advertising for “Let’s Play” Videos on Youtube

Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Computer Law, Copyright

                Youtube users started reporting this week that Nintendo has started claiming revenue for advertisement on user-created Youtube videos which feature content from Nintendo games.  Nintendo confirmed this news stating they became a Youtube partner in February of 2013 and registered their copyright content in the Youtube database.  Unlike most infringement cases, Nintendo is not asking Youtube to take down potentially infringing videos.  Instead Nintendo is issuing content ID match claims to place its own advertising before, within, or at the end of the videos. Nintendo is targeted videos featuring Nintendo-owned images or audio of a certain length.  The most common videos affected are “Let’s Play” videos.  These videos are show gamers playing through video games and can vary from a few seconds of gameplay to entire playthroughs of a game.  People upload these videos for humor, to demonstrate how to clear a certain part of the game, or just to show off how good they are.  “Let’s Play” channels can boast over 100,000 subscribers and individual videos can reach over 1,000,000 views. As a copyright owner Nintendo has the exclusive right to reproduce their works and to create derivative works under Section 106 of the Copyright Code.  Even though Youtube videos...

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Apple Found Guilty of E-Book Price Fixing

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Computer Law, Copyright

On July 10, 2013 the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Apple was guilty of anti-trust violations for its role in conspiring with book publishers to raise prices for electronic books.  The five publishers, Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan, Penguin Group Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc., had already settled with the Department of Justice.  Apple moved to trial because it claimed it was innocent.  The trial was conducted as a bench trial from June 3 to 20 to determine liability and injunctive relief. At its heart, the court’s ruling determined Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing the conspiracy to raise e-book prices.  In the court’s opinion, without Apple the conspiracy would not have been as successful.  Amazon was charging $9.99 for e-book versions of New York Times bestsellers and other newly released hardcover books.  Apple met with the five publishers in December of 2009 and January of 2010 and suggested prices of $12.99 to $14.99 for its planned iBookstore.  Apple promised to set those prices only if it could get agreements from the publishers allowing Apple to offer e-books simultaneously with their hardcover releases. At the iBookstore’s launch new release e-books were...

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Is Content Aggregation Copyright Infringement?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2013 in Copyright

A federal district judge in New York ruled for the Associated Press in the case of AP v. Meltwater. The ruling, if upheld on appeal, can have large ramifications throughout the blogosphere and for content aggregators. The Associated Press, or AP, is a not-for-profit group which creates news reports from all over the country. AP’s revenue comes from licensing fees it earns by licensing uses of its articles to newspapers, websites, and other subscribers. Meltwater is an Internet media monitoring service. Their news service is a method for their clients to keep tabs on how they are portrayed in the press. AP alleged that Meltwater is infringing AP’s copyright by republishing AP articles without a license. Meltwater uses a computer program to scrape news articles on the web and provides excerpts of those stories daily to its subscribers. Meltwater did not dispute that it took content from AP stories that is protected by the Copyright Act. Instead, Meltwater claimed an affirmative defense of fair use. Meltwater argued it is a search engine, albeit one which is a closed system for subscribers only. This case revolves around thirty-three Registered Articles of the AP which Meltwater copied and then delivered excerpts of to its subscribers. Meltwater News employs automated computer programs...

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