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Google Seeks Dismissal of Google Books Lawsuit 0

Google Seeks Dismissal of Google Books Lawsuit

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Computer Law, Copyright, Fair Use

On July 27, Google Inc. asked U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin to dismiss a lawsuit from the Authors Guild over the company’s plan to digitize books and provide excerpts through their search engine service. Google filed a motion seeking dismissal and arguing their actions fall under fair use and also provide a benefit to the public and the authors themselves. The Authors Guild also filed for summary judgment. Both parties’ motions are set for oral argument on Oct. 9. The case has been ongoing since The Authors Guild, along with The American Society of Media Photographers and other parties, sued Google in 2005 claiming the company’s plan to create an online literary database was carried out without permission from copyright holders. Google estimated it has already scanned more than 20 million books and posted excerpts from over 4 million. The process began when Google entered agreements with public and university libraries to digitize and upload information for their Google Books service. So far, Google says works have been scanned from Harvard University, Oxford University, Stanford University, the University of California, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library. Judge Denny Chin began hearing the case as a trial judge and has retained jurisdiction after being elevated to...

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Using the FBI seal to Combat Copyright Infringement 0

Using the FBI seal to Combat Copyright Infringement

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 in Copyright

Starting this August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided to expand their Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) Seal for use with any work protected by criminal penalties under federal copyright law. Previously, the use of the FBI seal was only available to five entertainment associations: the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Software & Information Industry Association, the Business Software Alliance, and the Entertainment Software Association. The seal is used to remind consumers of the criminal penalties for copyright infringement and the FBI’s role in investigating infringement. Formerly, the seal’s use was governed by a variety of financial and administrative restrictions including a written agreement. The FBI’s update now allows the seal to be downloaded for free from their website. Under the new regulation, the Anti-Piracy Warning Seal is available for use by all copyright holders who meet specific conditions. Unlike the original APW Seal program, which restricted the Seal’s use to five associations, the new regulation will enhance the Seal’s availability. The new regulation includes the following conditions: The APW seal is authorized for use on copyrighted works including films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books, photographs, etc. The APW Seal shall only be used on copyrighted works subject to U.S. Criminal Code...

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Foreign Manufactured Goods and the First Sale Doctrine

Posted by on Jul 16, 2012 in Copyright, Fair Use, First Sale Doctrine

On July 9, 2012, The Association of Art Museum Directors along with nearly 30 American museums including MoMA, LACMA, the Guggenheim, the Getty, the Whitney, SFMOMA,the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Dallas Museum of Art submitted an amicus brief  to the Supreme Court. The brief comes as a response to a recent decision by the Second Circuit to limit the protections under Section 109 of the Copyright Act to works created within the United States in John Wiley & Sons v. Kirtsaeng. As a result, many museums feel that the way they operate may be in jeopardy, much like libraries and many gray market businesses. The Kirtsaeng case follows the Supreme Court’s December 2010 decision in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, which centered on the first-sale doctrine, which usually entitles the owner of a lawfully produced copyrighted work to resell it without permission from the copyright holder. The Supreme Court split 4-4, with Justice Elena Kagan not taking part. The court did not issue a written opinion, but held that the first-sale doctrine did not apply to foreign goods. The Second Circuit’s Kirtsaeng decision relied on the Supreme Court’s Costco ruling. In the present case on appeal, Supap Kirtsaeng, a graduate student at the University of Southern California,...

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First Sale Doctrine: Foreign Manufactured Goods

Posted by on Jul 16, 2012 in Copyright

On July 3, the Library Copyright Alliance filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court as a result of their decision to review the Second Circuit’s decision in John Wiley & Sons v. Kirtsaeng. The decision interpreted the first-sale doctrine, which allows legal owners to resell, lend, or dispose of copyrighted works after purchase, to apply only to works manufactured in the United States. As a result, foreign manufacturers have greater control over their products under U.S. law. Many organizations like libraries and museums have submitted amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to reject this interpretation since they depend on the first-sale doctrine to operate. In December 2010, the Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega. In that case, the Supreme Court held that the first-sale doctrine only applied to U.S. manufactured works. The unwritten ruling was based on a 4-4 split by the court. Justice Elena Kagan did not take part, since she was involved in the issue as the Solicitor General. When Kirtsaeng reaches the Supreme Court next year, however, she could be the deciding vote that finally determines the issue. In the Kirtsaeng case, the Second Circuit upheld a jury award of statutory damages to John Wiley & Sons, after Supap...

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Fair Use in Copyright: Time Shifting and Dish Network AutoHop

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Copyright, Fair Use

In Dish Network LLC v. American Broadcasting Cos et al, a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, Laura Taylor Swain, granted a motion by Fox to dismiss copyright and contract claims by Dish. The claims result from Dish’s new AutoHop feature, which allows viewers to skip commercials. In order to achieve a more favorable ruling, Dish filed preemptively in New York, only hours before claims by CBS, Fox, and NBC were filed in California. Dish’s New York dispute involves ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. After the judge’s ruling, the issue will be tried in both New York and California on several different issues. Dish’s claims against Fox, and copyright claims against CBS and NBC were all dismissed to be heard in California. Dish’s contract claims against CBS and NBC, however, will proceed in New York since the companies failed to assert those claims in California. All claims by Dish against ABC also remain in New York. Dish filed the suit in New York District Court primarily to preempt suits by CBS, Fox, and NBC in California. In fact, the networks filed suits against Dish in Los Angeles only hours after the New York case was filed. The networks are concerned that Dish’s ad-skipping feature will result in a severe decline...

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Cloning Video Games is Copyright Infringement: You Can’t Just Copy Tetris 0

Cloning Video Games is Copyright Infringement: You Can’t Just Copy Tetris

Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Computer Law, Copyright

On May 30, 2012, a Federal District Court in New Jersey granted summary judgment to Tetris in an infringement case against Xio Interactive, Inc. for their iPhone game “Mino.” In Tetris Holding, LLC v. Xio Interactive, Inc., the judge ruled that Xio infringed upon Tetris’ copyright and trade dress. The decision is an important gain for game developers, who are often offered little protection against infringement by game studios who produce clones of popular games for profit. Many game developers have trouble protecting their intellectual property rights against companies who create clone games to cash in on successful designs. Clones copy the look, feel, and mechanics of a popular game for a profit, but, until recently, the original developers had trouble proving these clones crossed the line into copyright infringement. Often, developers like Xio successfully argued that they copied only functional elements of the game, such as the underlying rules or theme, and not that game’s particular expression of them. The New Jersey court ruled for Tetris, however, holding that Xio’s clone copied various parts of “Tetris” that may have been acceptable individually, but, taken together, constituted infringement. While the holding is well argued, the court may also have ruled for Tetris after Xio openly admitted to downloading Tetris’...

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