Posts in Copyrights.
It Might Be Cheaper to Pay Them: Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, and the Hollywood Writers’ Strike

On May 2, 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike, initiating yet another standoff in the entertainment industry. One of the primary issues in the WGA’s contract dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is the use of artificial intelligence and creative machines such as GPT-4 in union projects, which the WGA sought to prevent. In an interview with Vice, John August, screenwriter of Charlie’s Angels and Big Fish, stated, “these large language models are progressing at an incredible rate. AI-generated material isn't ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Artificially Intelligent, Legally Confusing: The Rights in AI-Generated Works

Newly developed artificial intelligence systems have been used to generate new inventions (e.g. Dr. Stephen Thaler’s “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience” or DABUS), works of authorship (e.g. Alice and Sparkle, created by Ammaar Reshi using the ChatGPT large language model), and works of art (e.g. Zarya of the Dawn, created by Kristina Kashtanova using the Midjourney image generator). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office have each held that artificial intelligence systems cannot qualify as inventors or authors for ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights, Patents

Navigating NFTs and Copyright Law

NFTs, or “non-fungible tokens”, are a quickly growing space for artists and investors alike. The rapidly growing interest in NFTs is likely due to the shocking value an NFT can attain and the incorporation of blockchain technology. One piece of NFT artwork, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold for a whopping $69 million. $69 million is a lot of money to spend on anything, but this is just one example of many NFTs fetching massive price tags.

In one sentence, an NFT is a non-interchangeable, digital asset that is backed by a certificate of authenticity stored in the blockchain. The name ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Copyright With No Author? 

Just as the U.S. Patent Office has declined to consider patent applications naming an artificial intelligence as an inventor, the U.S. Copyright Office has declared that works authored by artificial intelligent artists or authors are ineligible for copyright protection. In a new notice published in the Federal Register, “Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence,” 88 FR 16190 (March 16, 2023), the Copyright Office reiterated that “copyright can protect only material that is the product of human creativity.” ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Don’t Get Sued for a Sentence: Navigating the Evolving Intellectual Property Landscape with ChatGPT

ChatGPT has exploded in the media recently with news stories ranging from educators’ concerns over students using ChatGPT to cheat on assessments, to ChatGPT becoming an existential threat to Google’s online advertising dominance, as well as ChatGPT potentially replacing professionals such as software coders and writers, and even the threat that an artificial intelligence (AI) could take and pass exams for doctors and lawyers.

For those not yet exposed to it, ChatGPT is an online “chat bot” from OpenAI, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), that can engage in a ... Read More ›

Going Public: Cartoon Characters and the Stories Entering the Public Domain

“This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Nothing in it. Silly stuff.” Eeyore, from A.A. Milne’s 1926 classic, Winnie-the-Pooh. Well, Eeyore, for the last 95 years millions of readers felt otherwise, at least when the writing business came to their beloved Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl. This year, however, marks a new beginning for these characters and their friend Christopher Robin, for the U.S. copyright on the original Winnie-the-Pooh book expired on the last day of 2021. That includes not only the story but the wonderful ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Uniswap v3 Employs a ‘New’ License Agreement to Stake Copycat Vampire Attacks

There are an ever increasing number of developments being made on the Ethereum blockchain. Those closely following these developments may be aware of Uniswap’s announcement about its upcoming release of its V3 protocol on the Ethereum mainnet in May.

Uniswap is a DEX or decentralized exchange application for cryptocurrencies and tokens. Like most decentralized financial (DeFi) protocols, Uniswap runs on fully open-source software which utilize smart contracts on Ethereum’s blockchain. Being decentralized, Uniswap protocols are voted on by users of the platform, and ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Congressional Spending Bill Includes Significant Trademark and Copyright Rules

Significant intellectual property law provisions are part of the $2.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress.

Copyrights

In the copyright area, the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020 is directed to curbing "commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services" that profit from streaming unlicensed or otherwise illegally copied copyrighted material. Penalties could include significant fines and imprisonment. The law currently has a carve-out for "individuals who access pirated streams or unwittingly stream unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.”

The new laws ... Read More ›

With a new decade underway, copyright holders are one step closer to having a new avenue to protect their work.  On October 22, 2019 the House of Representatives passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act H.R. 2426 (“CASE Act”) with an overwhelming 410-6 vote. 

The CASE Act will create a Copyright Claims Board (“Board”), which will be a body within the United State Copyright Office.  This Board will serve as a voluntary alternative to copyright holders bringing a case in court.  If both parties voluntarily agree to have the dispute heard by the Board, they ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

While it is sometimes the case that intellectual property lawsuits involve subject matter that is overly technical or perhaps difficult to relate to, there are times when these lawsuits involve subjects from popular culture that capture the imagination. That is just the case with two recent lawsuits, one involving a beloved figure in Philadelphia sports, and the other focused on the Old Spice commercial jingle.

The subject matter of The Phillies, L.P. v. Harrison/Erickson, Incorporated et al, 1:19-cv-07239 (August 2, 2019), pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern ... Read More ›

On March 21, 2018, a split Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a verdict confirming copyright infringement in the case of the song “Blurred Lines,” and the decision left many in the music community “all shook up.” The song, recorded in 2012 and released in 2013, hit number one on the Billboard Top 100 songs in 25 countries and became a best-selling single with more than 14.8 million sales. It was also nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards.  As the song rapidly climbed the charts, media interest in the song grew due to its ... Read More ›

Copyright protection is an often overlooked component of an intellectual property portfolio.  However, it is important to consider pursuing copyright protection in order to provide a more robust intellectual property portfolio.  Given the relatively low costs to acquire a copyright registration and the ability to collect statutory damages, pursuing a copyright registration can prove to be a worthwhile expense.  Although copyright registration is often a relatively simple process, there is an ongoing split among various circuit courts as to the effectiveness of a pending ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Propagating news program clips online, such as on social media including Instagram and Twitter, just became more difficult.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed down a decision holding that TVEyes, a search engine for video clips obtained through media-monitoring, was in violation of copyright law for unlawfully re-distributing the copyrighted work of others.1 The decision reversed a 2014 holding by the District Court that the service was protected by the doctrine of fair use and as a result, has the potential to ... Read More ›

On February 12, 2018, Judge Frederic Block of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered judgment in the amount of $6.7 million dollars in favor of plaintiff graffiti artists whose building murals were destroyed in 2013 by the owner of the building, in violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”), 17 U.S.C. § 106A. While the ruling in this case may seem like a coup for artists, the implication may be that building owners may be less enthusiastic about commissioning creative works to adorn their building’s exteriors.

THE LAW – The Visual ... Read More ›

The holiday industry in the United States is a multi-billion dollar business.  In 2016, U.S. consumers spent $655.8 billion dollars between Black Friday and Christmas Eve and the average household budget for holiday gifts came in at approximately $588.90.1 Given the volume of consumer spending devoted to holiday cheer, most companies aim to capture a slice of the proverbial fruitcake.  Occasionally, this battle for profit can pit companies against one another, leading to less-than-cheerful legal showdowns. One case in particular comes down to a battle over a quintessential ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Every so often, intellectual property law leaps from the backrooms of scientific exploration, labs ripe with technological advancement, or the worn desks of learned men and women, into social consciousness via an unwitting member of pop culture’s elite. Celebrities, the cult of personality that surrounds them, and the brands they establish, are still subject to the same rules of intellectual property law as less-known inventors, authors and developers. The nature of being in the public eye, and ownership of personal brands, can sometimes prove headache-inducing for the ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

Designers of haute couture fashion have long been troubled by the inability to protect their designs, and the speeds at which designs can be copied now have added to their frustrations. The root of the problem for many years was the U.S. copyright law, which was considered to prohibit enforcement of a copyright in wearable fashions. The Copyright Act, 17 U.S. C. Section 101 et seq., limited copyright protection for “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features” of “a useful article” to features that “can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing ... Read More ›

Posted in: Copyrights

This article reviews the television show “Shark Tank” on a weekly basis, with a focus on the intellectual property (IP) embodied by the products or business ideas each contestant pitches on that show. As always, keep in mind the following types of IP protection:

  • A utility patent is used to protect the functional aspects of an idea, and this is what the Sharks (judges) are for the most part referring to when they inquire into how contestants have protected their idea.
  • A design patent protects the ornamental appearance of an article.
  • A trademark protects any word, symbol or design that ...
Posted in: Copyrights

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