Copyright law — specifically, the 1998 addition known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — is everywhere. It’s applied to everything, because everything is software-driven, and it’s frankly starting to get more than a little awkward. That’s okay; laws age. So it’s time for an update, right? Except naturally, some of the changes being mulled over right now could be terrible for everyone who isn’t a giant corporation, because of course.
A Chinese company that peddles purses and wallets bearing the IPHONE name has the right to keep selling those products, despite Apple’s efforts to keep the trademark all for itself. [More]
The Supreme Court has decided not to get involved with a fight over whether or not the Batmobile is entitled to copyright protection, rejecting an appeal by a California man who makes and sells replicas of the caped crusader’s vehicle. [More]
The internet can be very weird sometimes, as can the massive patchwork of regulation and case law that holds the world together. And so it came to pass this summer that we found ourselves looking at an otherwise-obscure court case about braces — yes, the teeth kind — that could upend the way the entire internet works in the name of preventing media piracy. Happily, it looks like the internet, in all its chaotic and sometimes illegal glory, gets to keep marching on for the time being.
The entire future of the internet may now depend on some plastic retainers. Specifically, two competing versions of those clear plastic alignment systems adults sometimes get instead of braces. And if that sounds weird — which to be fair, it really is — well, welcome to the strange, utterly pervasive world of IP law in a digital century.
We all know that copyright law means you shouldn’t download copies of movies from shady torrent sites, and that you should pay for the music you listen to. We know it means people and companies have rights to stuff they make, like photos and music and books, and that there are legal and illegal ways of sharing those things.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a really big deal — literally. The international trade agreement, still under negotiation, has wide-ranging implications for every sector of the American economy and individuals’ rights within it. But its contents are, largely, a complete black box mystery. And now a large group of advocates from around the world are once again asking the negotiators and nations involved to change that.
Walking down the street to the Metro, I pass so many bars with so many TVs in them that I could probably find live footage of every major sporting event from almost every corner of the world. Obviously it’s not completely illegal to hang a screen by the beer and share a broadcast, or else entire industries would be out of business. But as it turns out, it may not always be exactly legal, either — and the rules that say when and where you’re good to go are a bit more specific than you might think.
According to a ruling by a federal judge, a man was legally protected when he copied and pasted an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal article, including a headline, onto another site. The judge said the man wouldn’t have to pay a Copyright Act fine because the newspaper couldn’t prove that the article’s re-posting reduced the amount of readers who would read the original article.
Political activists who use company trademarks to protest business practices often face lawsuits from offended organizations, but a ruling by a federal judge in Utah may stifle such suits because they violate First Amendment rights.
As far as the justice system is concerned, EA Sports is allowed to continue using rough approximations of player likenesses in its college sports games.
Some people don’t know when to leave bad enough alone. Earlier this month, we brought you the story of a freelance writer who not only found out that a small cooking magazine had lifted her entire story without permission or payment, but then insulted the author saying she should have paid them for the tiny bit of editing they did on her text before printing it. Now the editor at the magazine says it’s likely curtains for the publication — and you’ll never guess who she’s blaming.
It hasn’t been a laugh-filled autumn for the people at South Park. First they had to issue a public apology after plagiarizing a portion of a College Humor parody of the movie Inception. Now they are facing legal action from the makers of the so-awful-you-send-it-to-your-friends YouTube music video “What What (In the Butt),” alleging copyright infringement.
The third time was not the charm for Jamie Thomas-Rasset, who has spent the last several years wrapped up legal wranglings with the Recording Industry Association of America over 24 songs she downloaded through Kazaa back when people still used Kazaa. The latest development — a jury in her third trial has found her liable for $1.5 million ($62,500/song) in damages to Capitol Records.
The North Country Gazette, an online-only publication based in Chestertown, NY, wants you to know that reading their site without a subscription is serious business. How serious? Well, if you read more than one page on the site without a subscription, the site owner claims that she will use your IP address to track you down and sue you.