Technology Law Blog

Showing 12 posts in Copyright.

End of the Road for Aereo? Embattled Video Streaming Startup Files for Bankruptcy

In a prior post we reported that in June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that streaming television service, Aereo, violated U.S. copyright law in connection with its business and legal battle with the major broadcast networks. At the time, we posed the question of whether, despite losing the lawsuit, Aereo had a future as a cable company?

The answer, it seems, is no. On November 20, Aereo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for for the Southern District of New York, listing assets of $20.5 million and debt of $4.2 million. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 11, Copyright, News & Events

Do I Need a License to Play Music in My Own Building?

Did you know that playing music in a commercial setting can be copyright infringement?  Listen to this six-minute interview with attorney John Mashni to learn more.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Aereo Loses Supreme Court Copyright Fight, But Does it Have a Future as a Cable Company?

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that streaming television service, Aereo, violated U.S. copyright law. In American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, Inc., the Court overruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, holding that Aereo performs TV broadcasters works publicly within the meaning of the 1976 Copyright Act (the "Act"). Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, News & Events

Supreme Court KO's Laches As Defense to Copyright Infringement Damages in Raging Bull Case

Raging Bull is a cult classic boxing film that depicts the life story of Jake Lamotta, a hard-charging, volatile boxer from the Bronx. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert Deniro as Lamotta, a role which garnered Deniro an Academy Award for best actor.

A copyright infringement case involving Raging Bull that has wound its way through the courts recently took "center ring" at the U.S. Supreme Court. In the case, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Inc., the Court considered the question of whether the doctrine of laches is available as a defense to copyright infringement. On May 19, 2014, Justice Ginsberg issued a 6-3 opinion holding that laches is not a defense to a claim for copyright damages. Justices Breyer, Roberts and Kennedy dissented. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright

Copyright Doesn't Last Forever: Sherlock Holmes and the Public Domain

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has recently affirmed a decision stating that many of the older Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are in the public domain. The court held that just because later versions of a character are still protected by copyright, does not mean that the copyrights in those earlier stories continue to exist beyond the copyright term. The Doyle estate argued that the later stories added to the "complexity" of the characters and should provide some measure of protection. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, News & Events

Rutgers Quarterback Victorious Against EA Sports

Ryan Hart - former Rutgers quarterbackRyan Hart is the former starting quarterback for Rutgers University. In addition to setting a number of school records and leading his team to its first bowl appearance since 1978, Hart has added a victory in the courtroom against Electronic Arts ("EA") to his list of accomplishments. In their NCAA Football series, EA Sports provides users with a realistic gameplay experience. Part of this realistic experience is characters that resemble real-life players. So when a player chooses Rutgers, the quarterback is number 13, is 6'2", weighs 197 pounds, and appears wearing a visor and an armband on his left wrist—the resemblance to Ryan Hart is nearly exact. In October of 2009, Hart filed suit against EA Sports for violating his right of publicity by using his appearance in the game.  Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, First Amendment, Gaming, Personal Publicity Rights

Your Garage Sale could be at risk

Garage sale pictureIt might be illegal to sell those treasures.

The excitement of the hunt for the perfect item at the flea market or the thrill of selling your relative’s antique lamp at a great price could soon be dimmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Rights and the Crowdfunding Platform

Intellectual Property words graphicCrowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online.  While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply.  Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information.  Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade Secrets

Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined.  Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights.  Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Crowdfunding, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, Venture Capital/Funding

Listen Up - Foster Swift Attorneys Discuss Interplay Between Intellectual Property and Your Business

Intellectual property is a valuable asset for any business.  Recently, on the Michigan Business Network Legal Impact Hour, Foster Swift intellectual property attorneys, Sam Frederick and Zach Behler, discussed the interplay between intellectual property and business success. Listen to podcasts of the discussion:

If you have a question regarding intellectual property, please contact one of Foster Swift's IP attorneys

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

Could Proposed Law Put Artists Like Justin Bieber in the Slammer?

The Commercial Felony Streaming Act (S.978) is pending introduction to the United States Senate.  If S.978 is passed, it would make the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The potential passage of S.978 has sparked fears that artists like Justin Bieber (who began his quest toward pop stardom by singing covers on YouTube!) could end up in jail. has even argued that S.978 could shut down Twitter, YouTube! and other popular sites. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright