Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) isn’t just a feline with a perma-frown; it’s also the face of a multimillion-dollar merchandising brand. Now the sourpuss cat is involved in a legal dispute with a company that sells Grumpy Cat coffee beans. [More]
This morning, it seemed like Disney had realized that sending copyright takedown notices for legally obtained and posted photos of Star Wars action figures was maybe not a good idea. But the Dark Side apparently has Mickey in its grips, as Disney continues to send takedown notices for copyright claims the company had already retracted. [More]
UPDATE: Within hours of issuing the retraction on the copyright claim, Disney re-sent the same claim to Facebook, this time demanding the removal of the entire post (which didn’t violate copyright to begin with). Not only is the original post gone, but the Facebook user who took the photo is currently under a three-day ban from posting anything to the site. [More]
The next time you decide to perform a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday To You” on TV, or in a movie or on your debut album, you won’t have to worry about paying anyone for the right to do so: after two years of legal wrangling over who owns the copyright to the classic tune, the parties involved have agreed to settle their differences.
Earlier this year we told you how apparently innocent Cox cable/Internet customers had gotten caught up in a piracy lawsuit filed against the company by a music publisher. While some of those customers were able to remove themselves from the dispute, a judge has ruled that Cox knowingly allowed pirates to continue using their broadband accounts in violation of the law. [More]
The grainy bootleg tapes and even DVDs of yesteryear are gone, gone, gone. Among today’s daily signs that we all are, indeed, now living in a bright, shiny future: Even pirated video is apparently now in pixel-perfect ultra-HD.
Did you miss last night’s episode of The Walking Dead (where they finally reveal that Glenn shot J.R., but didn’t kill Laura Palmer) because you don’t have cable and just plan on grabbing a pirated version of it from the Internet? If you’re a Comcast customer who has been flagged a potential copyright violator, your web-browsing experience may be interrupted with pop-up warnings. [More]
Copyright is pretty murky territory. We all know you can’t steal someone’s stuff, but there are times when you’re allowed to use it. Unfortunately, some copyright holders don’t seem to get that “fair use” exists, and respond with takedown claims and legal threats. For some YouTube users facing threats over legal work, though, that fight may just have gotten a little easier.
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.
Once upon a time, in the long-long ago bygone years of the 20th century, teenagers communicated their feelings through a medium known as the mix tape. Those of us who can remember tape cassettes can remember hitting “record” on a boom box at exactly the right moment when a favorite song started on the radio or, as the ’90s waned into the shadow of Y2K, recording tracks off a bunch of CDs into one themed tape to play in the car or slip into the hand of a not-so-secret crush. [More]
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that’s not how one Virginia artist sees it. At least not in the case of cellphone covers she says Target and one of its suppliers copied from her designs. [More]
George Orwell’s 1984 imagined a bleak bureaucratic future where free speech was easily inhibited. Perhaps the people who run his estate (and certainly the people at Cafe Press) should read the book; or at least brush up on copyright basics. [More]
Copyright Office Rules: Yes, Security Researchers May Hack Cars (And A Couple Other Things) For Science
Copyright law is surprisingly pervasive. It affects everything from computers to cars (and tractors). The law says you’re not allowed to circumvent DRM on anything for any reason… except for a big pile of things you actually legally can. Those exemptions get re-evaluated every three years, and today the new list is out.
A federal appeals court has sided with Google in a lawsuit filed by the nation’s largest trade group for professional writers, ruling that the Internet giant’s large-scale book-scanning project is a legal fair use of these texts and not a violation of the authors’ copyright. [More]
Porn producer Malibu Media, which has filed more than 4,000 copyright lawsuits since 2009 — several times more than any other company — is currently trying to compel Verizon to reveal the identities of Internet users Malibu believes are illegally sharing its movies. But lawyers for the telecom titan are telling the court they’ve had enough of Malibu’s “defective” and “unenforceable” subpoenas. [More]
UPDATE 10/2: Jeremy Zweig, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs for Viacom provided Consumerist with the following statement:
“Online piracy remains a concern and we undertake a variety of methods to mitigate its impact. During a short time on September 22, a vendor that assists with our content protection efforts mistakenly identified a small number of URLs as infringing, and sent copyright notices in error. These notices represented about 0.01% of the total notices they sent on our behalf that particular day, the remainder of which were correct and accurate.
Even though the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for a copyright holder to knowingly file a bogus copyright claim against someone else, that hasn’t stopped some of the biggest stakeholders in the entertainment industry from carelessly registering takedown complaints with Google for content that in no way infringes on anyone’s copyright.