Sep 12, 2018

Is Fair Use Still Fair?

Photographers should always include copyright notice on their works to avoid copyright infringement

A recent decision from the Eastern District of Virginia took an expansive view on the fair use defense to copyright infringement that calls into question the scope of copyright protection for photographers. In Brammer v. Violent Hues Productions, LLC, a photographer sued a festival organizer for copyright infringement based on using the photographer’s time-lapse photo of a Washington, D.C. neighborhood in its website. The organizer claimed that it found the picture online and did not see any indication that someone claimed copyright in the picture and, therefore, believed that it was making use of a publically available photograph. The organizer… Read more

Aug 15, 2018

National Grange Again Victorious in the Eastern District of California

California Grange Summary Judgement

On August 13, 2018, Judge Shubb of the Eastern District of California awarded sweeping relief to SGR client the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (the “Grange”), the nation’s oldest agricultural fraternal organization.  For years, California has been the epicenter of a heated battle between the Grange and the former leader of its chartered California chapter. The court’s award of summary judgment, the latest of a string of victories in favor of the Grange, confirms that the history and goodwill of the California State Grange, as well as copyrighted content produced by the organization, is the intellectual… Read more

Apr 12, 2018

Ninth Circuit Affirms ‘Blurred Lines’ Infringement Verdict in 2-1 Opinion

Recording Studio Microphone: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke

On March 21, 2018, a federal appeals court upheld a jury’s finding that Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and Clifford Harris, Jr.’s song “Blurred Lines” was the world’s best-selling single in 2013. The family of Gaye, who died in 1984, sued Thicke and Pharrell, along with their label, alleging that “Got to Give It Up” was copied without permission. In March 2015, a jury ruled that the song did infringe upon the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s song. The outcome at the trial level was… Read more

Sep 3, 2015

The Rise of Copyright Cases Against Retailers

By: Joyce Klemmer Copyright law is in the news again this week, including the rise in copyright infringement cases against retailers in copyright infringement cases over textile patterns. Retailers are now one of the top groups of defendants in copyright infringement cases brought by manufacturers of patterns and fabrics. According to a new report from legal strategist Lex Machina, the top four defendants are Ross Stores, TJX (parent of the T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and other brands), Amazon, and the Burlington Coat Factory. Other retailers targeted include Forever 21, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Sears, and Wal-Mart. According to Lex Machina, “They have a… Read more

Apr 16, 2015

Infringement of Copyright – ‘Access’ and Probative Similarity

Kelly Wilson filed a lawsuit against Disney in March 2014 claiming that a marketing trailer for “Frozen” directly infringed her copyrighted short film, The Snowman. Wilson’s complaint states that she created The Snowman between 2008 and 2010 and that the short was screened at eight film festivals. One of those screenings was at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2011, where she shared the stage with an employee of Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, which was also screening a film in the same session. In our August 14, 2014 edition of  SGR’s Intellectual Property Brain Trust, we reported that United… Read more