By , March 19, 2021.

ALI Restatement of Copyright – A Conversation with Professors Balganesh and Menell — David Newhoff sits down with the two scholars to discuss their criticism of the American Law Institute’s ongoing Restatement of Copyright project, which, in their views, fails to fully grasp the pitfalls of applying an approach designed for areas of law governed by common law to one governed by a comprehensive federal statute.

Will Posting Memes Or Pro Wedding Pics Land You In Copyright Small Claims Court? — “The alleged infringer can opt out by going online and checking a box, says Keith Kupferschmid, likening the process to getting a warning for a speeding ticket — raising awareness, maybe putting a little fear of God into copyright violators. ‘It’s not about hauling people into court and getting them to pay these fines,’ he says. ‘It’s about negotiating the settlement so the person actually licenses the work the way they should’ve.'”

YouTube can now warn creators about copyright issues before videos are posted — “Prior to Checks, creators uploaded their videos to YouTube and hoped everything went off without a hitch. The new feature screens uploads for copyrighted content, which could lead to takedowns or copyright holders claiming ad revenue, and whether the video runs afoul of advertising guideline issues. YouTube’s goal is to effectively cut down on the amount of ‘yellow icons’ creators see next to their video, referring to the yellow dollar signs that suggest ad revenue is being held because of copyright or guideline problems.”

Study on Dynamic Blocking Injunctions in the EU — A new report from the EU Intellectual Property Office catalogs the availability of site blocking remedies for copyright owners in the EU and its member states, along with their scope, technical implementation, and their effectiveness in reducing infringement.

“Framing” the right of communication to the public: the CJEU’s decision on the VG Kunst case — An analysis of the recent CJEU decision that further fleshes out the infringement analysis when it comes to different types of linking and embedding of copyrighted works.

By , March 12, 2021.

CJEU rules that linking can be restricted by contract, though only by using effective technological measures — The question of whether and when embedding copyright protected works can constitute infringement continues to be posed to courts. But this week, the highest court of the EU provided additional guidance by deciding that where a rights owner implements technological measures restricting access to or use of the work, then embedding the work by circumventing those measures can constitute a new communication to the public.

The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill Congress Just Passed Includes $470 Million for America’s Arts and Culture Sector — The bill, signed into law yesterday afternoon, “includes $470 million earmarked for cultural organizations, with $135 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).”

The Constitutional Protection of Intellectual Property — Legal scholar Adam Mossoff explores “how intellectual property rights have long been secured as property rights under the Constitution” from the Founding era through the centuries that followed.

ISPs and Rightsholders Unite to Block Pirate Sites in GermanyTorrentfreak’s Ernesto Van der Sal reports, “Several of the largest Internet providers and copyright holders in Germany have joined forces to tackle online piracy. With the new ‘Clearing Body for Copyright on the Internet,’ they have agreed to block structurally infringing sites without going to court. The first target is streaming portal and other prominent sites including Kinox and The Pirate Bay are being considered.”

U.S. Copyright Office Announces Webinar on New Group Registration for Works on an Album of Music (GRAM) — The US Copyright Office recently created a new registration process for registering both the musical composition and sound recording copyrights on an album together, along with any artwork, liner notes, or other copyrighted works included in the album. The Office is hosting a webinar March 31 to explain the new process and answer questions from registrants.

By , March 05, 2021.

“Grumpy Cat” is Long Gone But Her Copyright Lives On in Court — Ernesto Van der Sar reports at Torrentfreak, “Grumpy Cat is no longer with us. Tardar Sauce passed away in 2019 but the humans she shared a house with are keeping her memory alive. They do this in the form of merchandise, but also in court where they have filed over a dozen lawsuits against sellers of counterfeit and copyright-infringing products.”

How Black people in the 19th century used photography as a tool for social change — Artist and educator Samantha Hill examines a number of ways that “Black Americans from the 19th century used photography as a tool for self-empowerment and social change.”

‘Deep Nostalgia’ Can Turn Old Photos of Your Relatives Into Moving Videos — You may have seen those animated versions of historic images recently. Andrew Liszewski takes a look at the AI technology behind them over at Gizmodo.

Keith Kupferschmid (Copyright Alliance): ‘Copyright will help the economy get back on its feet’ — Emmanuel Legrand talks with Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid about the CASE Act and Protecting Lawful Streaming Act, both of which were enacted recently, along with what the future holds for US copyright policy.

U.S. Music Groups Unveil “50 States of Music” Website Showcasing New Data on the Economic Impact of the Music Industry in Every State — The music groups have compiled a wealth of data about the financial and cultural contributions of the US music industry, broken down by state.

By , February 26, 2021.

Texas Justices Weigh Novel ‘Takings’ Copyright Fight — “The Texas Supreme Court questioned during oral arguments on Thursday whether a photographer can proceed with allegations that the University of Houston unconstitutionally ‘took’ his copyrighted image without permission. Photographer Jim Olive claims that because the university is part of the public University of Houston system, it’s a governmental entity that effectively took his private property by using his photos of the Houston skyline on its website. Olive filed the takings claim because he was barred from filing a more straightforward infringement lawsuit against the university by the Eleventh Amendment’s guarantee of state sovereign immunity.”

The Marrakesh Treaty in Action: Exciting Progress in Access to Published Works for the Blind and Print-Disabled Communities — U.S. Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter takes stock of the Marrakesh Treaty two years after the US formally joined. Perlmutter writes, “The Marrakesh Treaty has already been a tremendous achievement for the blind and visually impaired communities in the United States. Since it entered into force in May 2019, much has been done, including here at the Library of Congress, to start reaping its benefits.”

High Court Orders UK ISPs to Block Stream-Ripping & Cyberlocker Sites — Torrentfreak’s Andy Maxwell reports, “Under the umbrella of the BPI, major and independent recording labels in the UK have announced a key victory in their fight against so-called ‘stream-ripping’ sites and tools. Following a two-year process, this morning a judge at London’s High Court ordered major ISPs to block access to several platforms, including two of the most popular – Flvto and 2Conv.”

Stronger Protections for Content Will Keep Streaming Pirates At Bay — Zvi Rosen discusses the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act, which Congress passed at the end of its last session. Says Rosen, “As more resources and jobs go into producing content for streaming, it is more important than ever to make sure that these industries are secure in their knowledge that their hard work — and livelihoods — aren’t being put in jeopardy by criminal enterprises who aim to appropriate the hard work of these creative professionals. People can keep making Baby Yoda memes without fear of this new law, but those seeking to rebroadcast shows like the Mandalorian without compensating the people who brought those characters to life, may find that the law has more powerful tools for protecting creators from online theft by illicit streaming services.”

Kast-ing A Wide Net: Statutory Damages Under The Copyright Act — Scott Alan Burroughs discusses a recent 9th Circuit decision in Erickson Productions v. Kast which considered the issue of willfulness in statutory damages. Burroughs notes more broadly, “Crucially, and regrettably, in order to seek statutory damages under Section 504 and attorneys’ fees under Section 505, an artist must comply with the seemingly simple but actually quite baroque requirements of the Copyright Office registration process and must do so before an infringer copies their work. If she fails to satisfy either of those steps, she is barred from seeking statutory damages or attorneys fees in any case for which the infringement predates her registration. But, in contrast, the defendant is still able to seek attorneys’ fees against the plaintiff.”

By , February 19, 2021.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective Receives $424 Million in Historical Unmatched Royalties from Digital Service Providers — The royalties were accrued by DSPs prior to the MMA’s blanket license becoming available. The MLC now will undertake efforts to locate and identify the copyright owners entitled to those royalties and pay them. Songwriters and music publishers can sign up for free to make sure they are receiving all the royalties they are owed.

Cloudflare Must Block Pirate IPTV Services, Appeals Court Confirms — An Italian court upheld the injunctions, agreeing “that Cloudflare contributes to the infringements of its customer by optimizing and facilitating the site’s availability.”

AI Can Now Turn You Into a Fully Digital, Realistic Talking Clone — “In order to create the ‘AI Clone,’ Southern had to go into a studio and stand in front of a green screen so she could be captured from multiple angles. She also had to say several sets of words so that the program would be able to replicate her voice. In the video below, she describes the process as just reading a couple of scripts and singing a song. The entire process in front of the camera took just seven minutes. From there, hundreds of videos can be generated in a matter of minutes just by submitting text to the platform. A creator would not need to record any audio at all.”

Australia reruns Europe’s Big Tech copyright battlePolitico‘s Mark Scott reports, “This week, Australian lawmakers are finalizing new rules — known as the News Media Bargaining Code — that will require the two tech giants to pay local newspapers an as yet undefined sum whenever their material pops up on Google and Facebook’s digital platforms. On Tuesday, the Australian government said it would make minor tweaks to the legislation before it is submitted to the country’s parliament.”

By , February 12, 2021.

Kat Von D’s Miles Davis Tattoo Draws Copyright Lawsuit — “In the filing, photographer Jeffrey Sedlik claims Von D’s tattoo constitutes copyright infringement of his image and alleges he is the sole and exclusive owner of the copyright of an iconic portrait of Davis . . . Sedlik further claims that Von D, who owns High Voltage Tattoo in Los Angeles, did not request or receive a license to reproduce his work.”

The French Supreme Court rules that Knoll ‘Tulip’ Chair is not protected by copyright — Of note, the French Court applied US law, including the Supreme Court’s Star Athletica decision, in making its ruling.

Copyright Office roundup — Lots from the US Copyright Office this week: (1) The Library of Congress is accepting applications for a new Copyright Office modernization committee that will provide feedback on technology-related aspects of the Office’s modernization initiatives; (2) the Office announced an upcoming roundtable on unclaimed royalties under the Music Modernization Act. The roundtable is scheduled for March 25, and participants have until February 26 to sign up; (3) the Office has invited requests to testify in an upcoming section 1201 rulemaking hearing on proposed exemptions to anticircumvention measures.

Restatements of Statutory Law: The Curious Case of the Restatement of Copyright — Professors Balganesh and Menell explore the American Law Institute’s current copyright restatement project, calling attention to what they see as a mismatch between the form and method of restatment projects and the extensively statutory nature of copyright law.

Google Takes Out YouTube Ripper with WIPO Domain DisputeTorrentfreak reports, “Google has won its WIPO domain name dispute against, a site that allowed people to download music and video from YouTube. The WIPO panel concluded that the domain was not used for legitimate purposes and ordered it to be transferred to Google. The owner of the site didn’t put up a defense and simply switched to a new domain.”

By , February 05, 2021.

Reviewing 2020 IP Copyright Law Issues — The National Law Review sweeps through some of the biggest developments in copyright law in the past year.

How to Navigate the New Copyright Small Claims Court — Attorneys from Kirkland & Ellis provide a rundown of the new tribunal that will be created to adjudicate small copyright claims following successful passage of the CASE Act in December. Included are a number of pros and cons of the system for both petitioners and respondents.

Japan to clarify copyright rules for cosplay — “The government is not planning to revise the copyright law as it fears stricter regulations would drive people away from cosplay. Instead, it plans to share specific examples of situations in which cosplayers may be asked to pay copyright fees to enhance awareness. The government has already heard from creators as well as cosplayers, including Enako, who has been appointed the government’s Cool Japan ambassador on the issue. Some cosplayers have pointed to the need for a framework to enable them to contact copyright holders to secure permission.”

User-centric model would not lead to significant changes in the distribution of music streaming royalties — Emmanuel Legrand reports, “A new study into the impact of a music streaming User-Centric Payment System (UCPS) to remunerate rights holders concluded that a switch to the UCPS model rather than the current pro rata model, or Market Centric Payment System (MCPS), would not fundamentally result in massive shifts in revenues but could have some benefits for under-represented music genres in the current system.”1Generally speaking, a Market Centric Payment System apportions streaming royalties to rights owners based on total streams across an entire digital music platform. A User-Centric Payment System, by contrast, divides the streaming royalties generated by each individual user among the rights owners of songs that user listened to.

Gale Anne Hurd On The New Copyright Law That Finally Catches Up To Streaming Reality – Guest Column — “Gale Anne Hurd, a producer of films and television shows including the Terminator trilogy, Aliens, Armageddon and The Walking Dead, writes about the recent passage of a new copyright provision that targets streaming piracy, making it a felony to operate a large-scale, for-profit service.”


1 Generally speaking, a Market Centric Payment System apportions streaming royalties to rights owners based on total streams across an entire digital music platform. A User-Centric Payment System, by contrast, divides the streaming royalties generated by each individual user among the rights owners of songs that user listened to.
By , January 22, 2021.

How one musician took on the world’s biggest TV network over copyright—and won — “You’ve heard Kerry Muzzey’s work (BandcampSpotify), even if you haven’t heard of him. The 50-year-old classical music composer from Joliet, Illinois, who now lives in Los Angeles, produces haunting orchestral scores that soundtrack some of the most poignant moments in film and television. When Finn Hudson kissed Rachel Berry for the first time on TV’s Glee, it was Muzzey’s stripped-back piano playing in the background. Some of his works have been choreographed and performed on So You Think You Can Dance?, too.”

RIAA: Not Even Improper YouTube ‘Rolling Cipher’ Complaints Can Be CounteredTorrentfreak‘s Andy Maxwell reports, “In response to a lawsuit filed by YouTube-ripping service Yout, the RIAA is doubling down on its assertion that YouTube’s rolling cipher is indeed an ‘effective technological measure’ under the DMCA. The music industry group also states that seeking remedy for improper takedown notices under the DMCA is not possible since the relevant law does not penalize anti-circumvention complaints.”

Three New Year’s Resolutions for Songwriters — The US Copyright Office’s Holland Gormley provides helpful tips to musicians to make sure they take full advantage of changes in the law that went into effect at the start of 2021.

Google, French publishers sign copyright news payment deal — According to the Associated Press, “Google has signed a deal with a group of French publishers paving the way for the internet giant to make digital copyright payments for online news content. . . . The company was forced to negotiate with publishers and news agencies for reusing their material online under a ‘neighboring rights’ law that took effect after France became the first country to adopt new European Union copyright rules.”

Redbubble Keeps Win in ‘Lettuce Turnip the Beet’ Trademark Case — In “Trademarking phrases to use on t-shirts” news, “Online print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble Inc. again defeated LTTB LLC’s claims that its sale of t-shirts and other wares with the phrase ‘Lettuce Turnip the Beet’ infringed LTTB’s trademark rights when the Ninth Circuit affirmed Wednesday that the phrase failed to function as a trademark.”

By , January 15, 2021.

‘The Police Didn’t Know What Was Going to Happen’: 5 Photographers on What It Was Like to Document the Storming of the US Capitol — “[T]he uprising marked the first time since the British invaded during the War of 1812 that Washington was so overrun. The scene was documented by a fearless press corps that braved tear gas, pepper spray, and attacks to record the day’s events, which so far have left five dead. We spoke to five photographers about their experiences capturing this dark moment in US history.”

U.S. Copyright Office Releases Updated Version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition on January 28, 2021 — The update of the comprehensive and invaluable guide includes changes made in light of the Supreme Court decisions in Georgia v. Public Resource and Fourth Estate along with discussion of regulatory changes made to registration practices. The Office this week also announced that updates to its website are coming later this month.

Claims Tribunal, Music Rates Headline 2021 Copyright IssuesBloomberg Law‘s Kyle Jahner reviews what may be the most significant copyright issues expected in 2021. They include implementation of a U.S. copyright small claims court, a Supreme Court decision in Google v. Oracle, and draft legislation amending the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective Begins Full Operations as Envisioned by The Music Modernization Act of 2018 — In a little over two years after the MMA was enacted, the Mechanical Licensing Collective has begun administering the blanket license for mechanical reproductions by digital music services. Here, The MLC provides an overview of what that means, including tools and resources for songwriters and musicians to ensure they are collecting the royalties they are entitled to.

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Transformative Fair Use in Dr. Seuss v. ComicMix — CPIP’s Devlin Hartline analyzes last month’s decision from the Ninth Circuit finding that ComicMix’s unauthorized mashup of Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go and the Star Trek universe was not a fair use.

By , December 11, 2020.

Tillis Releases Text of Bipartisan Legislation to Fight Illegal Streaming by Criminal Organizations — “The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act would apply only to commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services. The law will not sweep in normal practices by online service providers, good faith business disputes, noncommercial activities, or in any way impact individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Individuals who might use pirate streaming services will not be affected.”

France’s Hadopi counts cost of piracy: 12m users, €1bn loss of earnings — “The Hadopi’s study, the first to attempt to calculate the economic consequences of content piracy and illicit retransmission of sports events in the round, comes as proposals for a new audiovisual law designed to tackle the problem are being discussed. The Hadopi found that while peer-to-peer piracy – the original focus of the Hadopi when it was set up – had declined significantly, illegal streaming and direct download of content had risen and new forms of illegal consumption such as illicit IPTV and live streaming services had also blossomed.”

TikTokkers are writing Ratatouille, the musical. But who owns the copyright? — The phenomenon raises potentially complex and interesting questions about authorship, ownership, and infringement.

The MLC Presents: How Self-Administered Songwriters Can Connect to Collect — The Mechanical Licensing Collective recently hosted a webinar detailing what the Music Modernization Act means for songwriters who administer their own publishing and what they need to do to make sure they get the royalties their music generates when the new blanket mechanical license takes effect in less than a month.