The U.S. Copyright Office maintainsÂ designated agent records under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Office recently announced that will be moving from paper to an online system.
17 U.S.C. Section 512(c)(1)(C) states that for a provider to be protected by the DMCA, it must respond to a valid takedown notice by “respond[ing] expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing….” (more…)
This post is based on a recent federal appellate case, Lenz v. Universal Music. That case held that one must consider fair use as a possible defense for an online service provider before sending a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
17 USC Section 512(c)(1)(C) provides a “safe harbor” incentive for service providers to remove, or disable access to, infringing works expeditiously. Unfortunately, “expeditiously” is not defined (see “Defining Expeditious: Uncharted Territory of the DMCA Safe Harbor Provision“).
Over the weekend, I answered a LinkedIn question [no longer available there because LinkedIn ended its Q&A feature] about whether posting a copyrighted photo of another company’s product with disparaging comments about that product might be protected by the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement. I am reproducing the question and answer, in edited form, below.
Q. My website is copyrighted and the newest product is trademark and patent pending. The image was “clipped/copied” by an individual and placed on a website without my permission to do so. Am I right that this is not “fair use” of my work?
A. The “Fair Use” Defense: One Term, Two Different Meanings discusses the four elements of copyright fair use. The analysis always is highly fact-specific, so it is difficult to say whether use on cpaptalk.com qualifies for that defense, but I think there is a reasonable argument that it does.
This Ralph Lauren ad has been making the rounds of the Internet and television, recently. The reason: Photo retouching to the point of absurdity, producing a supermodel (Filippa Hamilton) who looks more like a Bratz doll than a human being.
I am not raising this issue to jump into the debate about skinny models and self-esteem of girls and women, which is being addressed at length elsewhere. (Disclosure: I have a wife and two daughters.) I am more interested in a huge legal and business mistake that Ralph Lauren made.
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the author of a fraudulent takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to pay more than $25,000.
U.K. Student Journalist Oliver Hotham has a blog on WordPress.com, which is operated by San Francisco-based Automattic Inc. (more…)
Dana Shultz retired from the practice of law in 2020. As a lawyer, Dana dispensed as much business advice as legal advice. Accordingly, although he no longer is practicing law, Dana occasionally provides business consulting services to owners of small businesses and mentoring services to business lawyers.
If you need legal representation, Dana provides referrals to experienced business lawyers.
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This description of Dana Shultz’s legal services is an Advertisement under Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400, Standard 5Â (now subject toÂ Chapter 7 of the Rules of Professional ConductÂ that took effect on November 1, 2018).
Brief summary:Â I help clients to
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Dana Shultz provides the essential legal services that startup and early-stage companies in the San Francisco (California) Bay Area typically need. You may read many Client Testimonials about Dana’s services. (more…)
Update: On September 10, 2010, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (in Vernor v. Autodesk) reversed the District Count decision discussed below. Supporting software licensors’ reasonable business expectations, the Court held “that a software user is a licensee rather than an owner of a copy where the copyright owner (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions.” [Emphasis added.] Accordingly, Vernor, as a licensee, was not protected by the first sale doctrine when he sold copies of Autodesk’s software.
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In Vernor v. Autodesk, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington told Autodesk that despite the restrictions in its license agreement, Autodesk could not preclude its customer from selling AutoCAD software to a third party.
On August 28, a federal court jury awarded Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. $32.4 million in a suit against two Internet Service Providers and their owner. The suit alleged trademark and copyright infringement.
Louis Vuitton Wins at Trial
The jury concluded that:
- The ISPs knew, or should have known, that their customers were selling, online, counterfeit goods that infringed LV trademarks and copyrights.
- The ISPs willful contributed to sales of the counterfeit goods.
- The ISPs were not entitled to the “safe harbor” protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (see How Websites Can Avoid Liability for User-provided Content).
Two U.S. District Court cases – Io Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc. (8/27/2008) and UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Veoh Networks, Inc. (9/11/2009) – offer a recipe by which Internet-based service providers can avoid liability for user-provided content.
Update: UMG v. Veoh was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on December 20, 2011.
The cases are similar. Veoh operates an Internet-based service that allows users to share videos with others free of charge. Io and UMG (Universal Music Group) brought separate suits, each alleging that Veoh engaged in various forms of copyright infringement because it allowed users to upload videos that infringed the plaintiffs’ copyrights.
In each case, Veoh obtained a summary judgment in its favor based on compliance with the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), codified at 17 U.S.C. Section 512 (Limitations on liability relating to material online).