Copyright

Sorry, Library Closed

After the Internet Archive launched a “National Emergency Library” the copyright community held its collective breath, waiting to see if the authors and publishers affected would tolerate it, or challenge it in court. Now we have the answer. On June 1, 2020, four major publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House — filed a copyright infringement suit against the Archive.

Background. In late March 2020, in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Internet Archive opened a digital “library” of 1.4 million books, to last until June 30, 2020 or the end of the emergency in the U.S., “whichever is later.” Anyone, anywhere in the world, can access this online collection. Users can “check out” (download) books for two weeks at no cost, with no limit on the number of copies that can be checked out at any one time. One thousand or ten thousand copies of The Catcher In The Rye could be downloaded and read simultaneously by different users.… Read the full article

A Renter Uses Your House to Film Porno Movies – Can You Sue For Copyright Infringement?

I can’t let a decision on this case pass by, both because the facts are so bizarre and because the case is in my backyard, the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The plaintiff, Leah Bassett, owns a house on Martha’s Vineyard. She entered into a several-month long lease with Joshua Spafford. Spafford allowed the house to be used to film a number of pornographic movies. Ms. Bassett sued everyone involved, and one of her claims is copyright infringement.1 She claims that the movies include shots of paintings, slipcovers, wall hangings and the like (over 50 works in total), all of which were created by her.  She asserts that their appearance in the movie scenes violate her copyright rights (reproduction, distribution and public display).

This case received a lot of attention when it was filed. See, for example,What if your house was used in a porn shoot?Read the full article

The odds of Oracle coming out on top in the Supreme Court appeal of Oracle v. Google just took a turn for the worse.

On May 4, 2020 the following entry appeared on the Supreme Court docket in the long-pending Oracle v. Google copyright case:

The parties are directed to file supplemental letter briefs addressing the appropriate standard of review for the second question presented, including but not limited to the implications of the Seventh Amendment, if any, on that standard. The briefs, not to exceed 10 pages, are to be filed simultaneously with the Clerk and served upon opposing counsel on or before 2 p.m., Friday, August 7, 2020. (Emphasis added)

The “second question presented” is Google’s appeal of the Federal Circuit’s decision reversing a trial jury’s fair use finding in favor of Google. The “standard of review” is a reference to the “de novo” standard used by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in the opinion under review.… Read the full article

Oracle v. Google: Will The Best Analogy Win?

by Lee Gesmer on January 17, 2020

Oracle v. Google: Will The Best Analogy Win?

Analogies, it is true, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home – Sigmund Freud

One good analogy is worth three hours discussion – Dudley Field Malone

Oracle v. Google, now before the Supreme Court, is a complicated case in more ways than one. The copyright law issues are difficult, but the case is made even more challenging by its subject matter, which involves highly technical and abstruse computer technology. Judges have a hard enough time applying copyright law to traditional media like music, novels and photographs, but software copyright cases add another order of magnitude of complexity.

The legal briefs now before the Supreme Court are overflowing with computer jargon. You can read all about the “Java language,” the “Java virtual machine,” the “Dalvik virtual machine,” “application programming interfaces (APIs),” “packages,” “classes,” “calls,” “declarations,” “methods,” “implementing code” and “declaring code,” and much more.

Nor did the Federal Circuit pull any punches in its 2014 decision (one of two under appeal.)… Read the full article