By , December 20, 2013.

VMG Salsoul v. Madonna — No details here other than the fact that the appeal has been docketed by the Ninth Circuit, but I include it because I think this will become one of the more closely watched copyright cases of 2014. Last month, a district court held that Madonna’s use of a digital sample without permission in her song Vogue was not infringing. The court held that the sample lacked originality, and even if it were protected by copyright, the use was de minimis. The appeal marks the first time that a Circuit Court will be looking at the same issue as Bridgeport, (although at least one other federal district court and a state court have) a 2005 decision from the 6th Circuit that attracted considerable attention for its holding that digital samples are not analyzed under the substantial similarity test like other copyrighted subject matter.

Shady Toymaker Attempts to Run and Hide from Beastie Boys Lawsuit — SPIN magazine has the latest from the GoldieBlox saga. On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley startup dismissed all the corporate defendants from its lawsuit, so it now only targets artists and producers.

Art and Music are Professions worth Fighting for — Musician Blake Morgan has an excellent essay on the importance of art and music as professions. “Every profession has daunting risks. And yet I’ve never heard of anyone who’s been successful in any profession who went for it half way. We artists and musicians have the right to expect from our profession what others expect from their professions. That through hard work and determination, perspiration and inspiration, we’ll have the same fair shot to realize our dreams, answer our callings, support our families.”

Appeals Court Won’t Penalize NFL Network for use of Artist’s Logo — The Fourth Circuit released a fair use decision this week, holding that the appearance of a copyrighted Baltimore Ravens logo in historical photos and videos is not infringing. At one point, the court cited to a brief filed by the MPAA and International Documentary Association to support its statement, “For creation itself is a cumulative process; those who come after will inevitably make some modest use of the good labors of those who came before.”

Sovereign Immunity and Copyright Law — Jonathan Bailey discusses a topic that I know everyone is excited to learn about more. But seriously, the issue of sovereign immunity may not pop up all that often, but it is worth knowing, especially for creators who work with state institutions like universities.

In Memoriam: Remembering the Photographers we Lost in 2013 — Time pays tribute to those photographers who passed away this year. “For photographers, the camera is a tool of existential negotiation. Regardless of the genre in which they work, they use the camera to mediate what is before them with what lies within. The best pictures are not a statement of fact, but a fully formed and articulated opinion.”


  1. Very Interesting on the VMG Salsoul v. Madonna case. Thanks for posting it.

    Both songs are on YouTube (for “Vogue from Madonna’s YouTube account) but both artists do not know that Google/YouTube enabled downloading of these non-inventoried files without the copyright owner’s permission and then lied about it (and still do) in the Viacom case. The ease of how this theft is knowingly enabled by Google/YouTube (and Mozilla too) with the news media quiet about it is beyond “state controlled”. In 1990, if [I] were to tell Sire that Strawberries Records were allowing all of their customers to download the records, I’d have back-stage passes to Madonna’s next party.

    It’s ironic to see Shep Pettibone getting sued and granted a de minimus. Back in the day, the record companies used “only him” for a time to “remix” records and everyone else were told to go sweep the floors. Now Google/YouTube download Madonna’s works behind her back.

  2. Google/YouTube are in trouble. In the MegaUpload case, the prosecution asserts massive downloading [viciously] enabled by YouTube. But in the Viacom case, YouTube claim no downloads take place at all (which is not true). Now who for YouTube has committed 18 USC § 1621? Two (2) federal cases, two oaths, 100% evidentiary diametric opposites for the same entity. Who at Google/YouTube is going to pay for this?