By , August 19, 2011.

If the public desire a really free press, they must not look to it as a source of taxation; and if they are anxious for truth, for elevated and elevating sentiments, for ideas matured by study and reflection, and an honest exposition of grievances, they must recognise original articles as property, and secure them against a plundering appropriation by a copyright. 1Impediments to Knowledge“, The Reasoner, vol 6, pg 264 (1844).

Free Ride — Robert Levine, author of Free Ride, has a companion blog where he discusses issues and themes covered in his book (UK edition out now, US edition coming October 25th).

Book Review: “Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back” by Robert Levine — Speaking of Free Ride, Chris Castle has posted an excellent review of the book. “Levine has written a book that is a must read for all policy makers and indeed all professional creators.”

The Wait For Kirtsaeng Is Over: The 2d Circuit Holds, Consistent With The 9th Circuit’s Opinion In Omega v. Costco, That The First Sale Doctrine Applies Only To Goods Manufactured In This Country — Last week, I highlighted Andrew Berger’s article on several post-Costco cases pending in the 2nd Circuit. This week, the Circuit ruled on one of them, holding that the Copyright Act prohibits the importation of so-called “grey market goods.” Berger again provides an excellent analysis of the decision and considers its implications on the remaining 2nd Circuit cases dealing with similar issues.

German Court: No bonus for dubbing actor if film becomes blockbuster Interesting case from Germany, with analysis from Future of Copyright’s Peter van der Veen. The country has a provision in its copyright law that allows an author to ask for modification of his original contract if a work becomes a “blockbuster” and the original compensation was strikingly disproportionate to what the work went on to earn. The “dubbing actor” who replaced Johnny Depp’s voice in the German language version of Pirate’s of the Caribbean sought such relief, but the court denied his claim, noting that “the dubbing actor’s actual contribution is of merely ancillary importance to the film.”

How intellectual must intellectual property be? The Language Log notes the irony of using the term “intellectual” to describe Kim Kardashian’s rights in her persona (currently the subject of a lawsuit against Old Navy, who used a “lookalike” of Kardashian in TV ads).

Taking Back Song Copyrights — A recent NY Times article has brought attention to the looming battle over termination rights in sound recordings. JETLaw takes a look at some of the issues involved.

Large ISPs Profit From BitTorrent Traffic, Study Finds — TorrentFreak reports on a recently released study that looked at 500,000 internet users in 169 countries over a 2 year period. “Aside from showing that BitTorrent users download more and more data, the report also finds that large ISPs including Comcast are actually making money off BitTorrent traffic.”

Netflix vs. Blockbuster: What’s the best service for streaming and DVDs? — CNet compares the streaming and DVD offerings of the two services. It also looks at several other services offering TV and movies, including Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, and CinemaNow.

“Copywritten” — The grammar of copyright

Two weeks ago, I linked to Jonathan Bailey’s piece on The Grammar of Copyright. One of the most common errors is using “write” instead of “right.” How common is this mistake? Even federal judges get it wrong sometimes:

It is enough to make out infringement — assuming actual copying — if the alleged infringing work is “substantially similar” to the protectible expression in the copywritten work.

Matthews v. Freedman, 157 F. 3d 25, 27 (1st Cir. 1998).

This section states in pertinent part that a non-profit library (such as that operated by EPPI) is free to rent, lease, or lend copywritten material without authority of the copyright owner, so long as the library owns a lawfully made copy of such material.

Zuk v. Eppi of the Medical College of Pennsylvania, 103 F.3d 294, 300 n.5 (3rd Cir. 1996).

Under such logic, any use of copywritten work would be “fair” as long as that use did not result in the copywritten work’s unauthorized reproduction by anyone other than the putative infringer.

Software Freedom Conservancy v. Westinghouse Digital Electronics, Opinion and Order, No. 09 Civ. 10155 (SAS) (SDNY Aug 8, 2011).

Lastly, DT’s programming content is protected by copyright. DT produces some original content to which it has the sole copyright, but it also obtains the copyright to provide viewers access to shows copywritten by third parties such as cable networks, movie distributors, and sports leagues.

DirecTV v. Borow, Opinion and Order, No. 03 C 2581 (ND Ill. Jan 3, 2005).

I note, however, that under both the Federal Copyright Act, and under the doctrine of “common law copyright” (to the extent it has any continued bearing here, in view of the extensive preemption of the area accomplished by the 1976 amendments to the Copyright Act), ownership of a copyright is something distinct from ownership of a physical object in which the copywritten work is embodied, so that ownership of one can (and often will) be transferred without transferring ownership of the other.

Nika Corp. v. City of Kansas City, 582 F. Supp. 343, 367 (WD Miss 1983).


1 Impediments to Knowledge“, The Reasoner, vol 6, pg 264 (1844).

1 Comment

  1. Maybe the judges in question were referring to written copy? 😀