Attack on Open Access
Even very popular government mandates have opponents, and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Public Access Policy certainly has its critics. According to the agency, “The NIH Public Access Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008). The law states:” The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed...
Posted: January 6, 2012
Behind the Scenes With Winston Tabb, Representing Libraries at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH WINSTON TABB, REPRESENTING LIBRARIES AT THE WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION (WIPO)Mary Minow: Good morning. I understand that international treaty discussions concerning libraries, archives and copyright are scheduled in Geneva in November 2011. How did that come to be? Winston Tabb: Really, where we began was at the International Federation of Library Associations and Instititutions (IFLA) World Congress in Oslo in 2005. We didn't start with the idea...
Posted: July 4, 2011
Copyright Case Summaries: Interview with Cicely Wilson and Courtney Minick of Justia
Above: Cicely Wilson and Courtney Minick of Justia, holding Sheba and Belle, respectivelyCopyright Case Summaries: Interview with Cicely Wilson and Courtney Minick of JustiaThe Stanford Copyright and Fair Use site is pleased to announce a new feature to aid readers in keeping up and understanding copyright cases in a timely manner: copyright case summaries. To explain this new feature, Mary Minow talks to two editors of Justia, Cicely Wilson and Courtney Minick. Mary Minow: Tell us about the copyright case...
Posted: April 22, 2011
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Copyright Case Opinion Summaries
Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publ'g, LLC
Famed singer-songwriter Roger Miller assigned original and renewal copyrights to his songs to defendant in the 1960s. Defendant filed applications to register renewal copyrights for 1964 songs with the Copyright Office in 1992 and subsequently registered these copyrights. In 2004, plaintiff, a company formed by Miller's heirs, sued for copyright infringement. The district court held that defendant owned the renewal copyrights and held an implied, non-exclusive license to exploit the 1964 songs based on plaintiff's actions and inactions in accepting royalty payments. Defendant moved to amend the judgment, arguing that it owned the renewal copyrights because it had applied to register them prior to Miller's death. The district court refused to hear arguments on the issue. On remand, the district court concluded that defendant did not own the renewal copyrights because Miller had died prior to vesting of the renewal rights and assignees were not included in the list of statutory successors. The court awarded $903,349.17 in damages. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 304(a)(2)(B)(i), the renewal copyright vested with Roger Miller, and thus with defendant as his assignee.
Posted: February 22, 2012
Nat'l Business Forms v. Phillips, et al.
This case arose when Ford sent a cease-and-desist letter to NBFP, demanding that NBFP pay damages and refrain from using Ford's trademarks on its websites. NBFP sued Ford in Texas state court, seeking a declaratory judgment that its online printing operations did not infringe Ford's trademark rights. NBFP subsequently appealed the district court's partial grant of summary judgment for Ford; the district court's final judgment holding NBFP liable for trademark infringement; and the district court's order denying NBFP's motion to amend its complaint. Ford cross-appealed from the district court's final judgment, disputing that court's findings on infringement, dilution, and attorney's fees. The court held that the district court's grant of partial summary judgment to Ford was affirmed. Because there was no likely threat of consumer confusion as to NBFP's sale of products bearing the Ford marks to three independent used car dealers, the court reversed the district court's judgment finding that NBFP's sale of these products amounted to trademark infringement, the court remanded to the district court with instructions to enter judgment for NBFP on this category of products. The court affirmed the district court's judgment in all other respects.
Posted: February 17, 2012
Range Road Music, Inc., et al. v. East Coast Foods, Inc., et al.
Music Companies sued East Coat and Hudson for eight counts of copyright infringement, corresponding to the eight songs ASCAP's independent investigator heard publicly performed at the Long Beach Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. East Coast and Hudson appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Music Companies for the eight counts of copyright infringement, as well as the district court's award of attorney's fees and costs to the Music Companies. The court held that the district court was correct to conclude that the investigator's uncontested declaration was sufficient to establish that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether copyright infringement occurred at the Long Beach Roscoe's. Because no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether East Coast and Hudson controlled and derived financial benefit from the infringing performances, the district court properly held that Hudson and East Coast were liable for copyright infringement. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees and costs. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.
Posted: February 16, 2012
T-Peg, Inc. v. VT Timber Works, Inc.
The owner consulted with two architectural firms, T-Peg and VTW. T-Peg drew up a preliminary design then worked with the owner to refine the design. In 2001, T-Peg registered its design with the Copyright Office. Meanwhile, in 2000, the owner showed T-Peg's unregistered preliminary design to VTW, which began working on its own design. VTW completed its plan in 2002 with significant, minutely detailed input from the owner. Completed construction apparently reflected T-Peg's registered design. In a suit for copyright infringement, the court granted summary judgment for VTW and the owner, concluding that no reasonable jury could find that T-Peg's and VTW's designs were substantially similar. The First Circuit reversed and, following trial, the jury found in VTW's favor and rejected T-Peg's infringement claims. VTW sought fees of more than $200,000 under 17 U.S.C. 505. The district court granted VTW a fee award of $35,000. The First Circuit affirmed, finding that the district court adequately elaborated its reasoning.
Posted: February 16, 2012
Golan v. Holder
Petitioners are orchestra conductors, musicians, publishers, and others who formerly enjoyed free access to literary and artistic works section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), 17 U.S.C. 104A, 109(a), removed from the public domain. Petitioners maintained that Congress, in passing section 514, exceeded its authority under the Constitution's Copyright and Patent Clause and violated the First Amendment rights of anyone who previously had access to such works. The Tenth Circuit ruled that section 514 was narrowly tailored to fit the important government aim of protecting U.S. copyright holders' interests abroad. In accord with the judgment of the Tenth Circuit, the Court concluded that section 514 did not transgress constitutional limitations on Congress' authority. The Court held that neither the text of the Copyright and Patent Clause, historical practice, or the Court's precedent excluded application of copyright protection to works in the public domain. The Court also held that nothing in the historical record, subsequent congressional practice, or the Court's jurisprudence warranted exceptional First Amendment solicitude for copyrighted works that were once in the public domain.
Posted: January 18, 2012