Month: March 2011

A quick Q-and-A on ‘copyright recapture’

As an intern for Mr. Jefferson this past summer, and as a music lover, I thought it would be interesting to get his thoughts on the effects and importance of the stipulations in the Copyright Act of 1976, that now allows musicians to recapture their copyright interests for song so long ago written.

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SAG memo heralds new tech day for actors

This past Monday, the Screen Actor’s Guild, an American labor union for professional actors, sent out a message to its members, and also to those of AFTRA, reminding them that on April 1, 2011 significant changes to compensation for commercials made for internet and new media will come into play.

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Mon dieu, l’enlever ces oeuvres, Google …

Google has been found guilty on four counts of hosting copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holders and ordered to pay nearly $560,000 in legal costs and damages in a recent case decided in an appellate court in Paris. The four claims were brought by a photographer, a film producer and co-producers of a few documentaries. The plaintiffs argued that they found their material in Google’s search engine, and even Google video, and the firm lacked their permission for it to be there. They asked for it to be taken down and Google either failed to do so or did not monitor and take down the material after it was notified that it had found its way back into the company’s search engines. Under Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the U.S., Google possibly would fall under ‘safe harbor’ provisions  for online service providers, shields against claims of copyright infringement as long as it followed certain guidelines; these include blocking access to material that parties assert infringes their copyrights, provided they or their agents provide proper notice of their claims to Google. France’s “E-Commerce Directive” is akin to those DCMA ‘safe harbor’ provisions. It says that, if an online service provider acts as a hosting service providing content storage, as Google does, the firm can limit its liability by swiftly removing or disabling access to disputed...

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Stars gird for war over UK helmet ruling

Some of the most iconic props to come from Hollywood apparently may not have copyright protection in Britain, and, George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, is not having it. After a British appellate court determined that the legendary Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars lacked copyright protection in that country, Lucas has taken the battle to Britain’s highest court. The dispute arose when Lucasfilm claimed that Andrew Ainsworth infringed on its copyrights by making and selling Stormtrooper helmets and body armour. He originally was hired on the set of the Star Wars movies to make storm trooper helmets and armor using story boards and clay models created for the film. In 2004, he made more helmets, without permission, and sold them to fans going to conventions and Star Wars events.  Lucas sued him successfully in the United States, claiming copyright infringement.  But when Lucas urged an appellate court in Britain to enforce the U.S. judgment for $20 million, Lord Justice Jacob observed: “That sum sounds strange to English ears given that [Ainsworth] only sold about $US14,500 worth” of helmets. The British court was equally nonresponsive to Lucas’ copyright infringement claim. After reviewing copyright legislation and cases, the Lord Justices determined that the Stormtrooper helmet is not a “sculpture” or a “work of artistic craftmanship”, under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act of 1988, so as to give it British copyright protection. The justices...

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Is your IP address now part of a Sony case?

Is your computer address now part of litigation between Sony and a teen computer whiz? It could be that you’ll join us in that reality after a federal magistrate in San Francisco approved four subpoenas sought by Sony Computer Entertainment in its lawsuit against George Hotz, who infuriated the company by publishing information on its  Playstation 3 that allows consumers to alter or “jail-break” product software.  The subpoenas — which raise online privacy concerns — let Sony obtain the IP addresses of those who visited sites run by Hotz, including potentially the editors of this site. What happens to those who visited his site but did not act on disputed information he posted there? Does just the act of reading about how to jailbreak a PS3 cause Sony harm? The company’s main argument in seeking the subpoenas was that they were legally necessary to show it can pursue its case in California, as Sony contends most of those who visited Hotz’s sites lived in Northern California. (Critics earlier had decried the corporate choice for litigation, arguing the Silicon Valley proximity favors Sony and creates greater financial and other challenges for Hotz, who lives in New Jersey.) Sony’s secondary argument was it needed the court orders to obtain further evidence to show it suffered harm from the disclosure of the jail-breaking information. The first subpoena is for the IP addresses...

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Entertainment Law Blogs

The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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