University of Michigan Law School
4 hours - Jessica Litman
Click HERE for news
- Julie E. Cohen, Lydia Pallas Loren, Ruth Gana Okediji & Maureen A, O'Rourke, COPYRIGHT IN A GLOBAL INFORMATION ECONOMY (3d edition 2010)
- Cohen, Loren Okediji and O’Rourke 2013 Case SUPPLEMENT with 2014 Update (free download)
- A copy of the Copyright statute (available here, here, here, here, here, or here)
Copyright reference sources on the Internet:
- The copyright statute: Title 17 of the US Code (current as of August, 2014)
- United States Copyright Office homepage
- U.S. Department of Justice Intellectual Property Task Force
- White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
- U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy and comments submitted in response to the Report
- National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center
- USC/Columbia Music Copyright Infringement Resource collection of MIDI files, MP3 files, and partial scores from songs involved in infringment cases
- Stanford University Library Copyright & Fair Use Site
- Columbia Law School's KeepYourCopyrights.org resource for creators
- yin and yang: The University of Michigan Library Copyright Information site and the University of Michigan Digital Copyright Compliance site
- Duke Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain
- University of Pennsylvania Digital Library Online Books Page: Information about the Catalog of Copyright Entries
- University of New Hampshire IP Mall (scroll to the bottom) and Antique Rare Copyright Book Reading Room
- University of Nottingham Center for Research Communications
- Primary Sources on Copyright: 1450 to 1900
- Professor Laura Gassaway's Chart: "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain"
- Terry J. Carroll's 2002 Copyright F.A.Q.
- Rob Kasunic's Copyright Law and Litigation Resource
- Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform (2010)
- Spider Robinson's 1983 short story: Melancholy Elephants
- International Copyright Resources
- The World Intellectual Property Organization Home Page
- The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- The WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY
- The WIPO PERFORMANCES AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY
- WIPO Lex (searchable database of national IP laws)
- Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
- EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations)
- Wittem Project Model European Copyright Code
- UNESCO's collection of national copyright laws
- International Intellectual Property Alliance Home Page
- Wikileaks leaked draft of a recent negotiating text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
- Comparative Copyright Resources
- Australian Copyright Council
- Australian Digital Alliance
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office Copyrights page.
- Lehman, Lee & Xu's Intellectual Property Laws and Regulations in China
- Government of India Copyright Office
- Japan Copyright Research and Information Center
- U.K. Intellectual Property Office
Organizations and businesses heavily involved in copyright:
- A2K network.org
- American Library Association
- ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC
- Association of American Publishers
- Association of Research Libraries
- Authors Alliance
- The Authors Guild
- BSA | The Software Alliance
- Center for Copyright Information
- Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
- Computer & Communications Industry Association
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Content Creators Coalition
- Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
- Creative Commons
- Digital Media Association
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Entertainment Software Association
- Free Software Foundation
- The Future of Music Coalition
- Grammy Creators Alliance
- Hathi Trust Digital Library
- International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
- The Internet Archive
- Library Copyright Alliance
- Motion Picture Association of America
- Music Matters Campaign
- National Music Publishers Association
- National Writers Union
- Open Media International
- Organization for Transformative Works
- Professional Photographers of America
- Project Gutenberg
- Public Knowledge
- Public Library of Science
- The Recording Industry Association of America
- Software & Information Industry Association
- Subpoena Defense
- YouTube Music Publisher Partner Guide
NEWS & OTHER INTERESTING THINGS...
- The 1709 Blog — 2014: The Copyright Year
- Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog — International Copyright Law: 2014 in Review and Fair Use is Working: 2014 in Review
- The Hollywood Reporter Hollywood, Esq. blog — Hollywood’s Top 10 Legal Disputes of 2014
- Plagiarism Today — Copyright, Plagiarism, and Content Theft in 2014
- Barry Sookman blog — Copyright 2014: The Year in Review
- S. 23 & H.R. 238, Copyright and Marriage Equality Act
- H.R. 862, You Own Devices Act
- S. 662 & H.R. 1283, Songwriter Equity Act
- H.R. 1426, Public Access to Public Science Act
- H.R. 1457, Allocation for Music Producers [AMP] Act
- H.R. 1477, Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act
- H.R. 1587, Unlocking Technology Act
- H.R. 1733, Fair Play Fair Pay Act
- H.R. 1587, Unlocking Technology Act
- H.R. 1881 & S. 977, American Royalties Too [ART] Act
- H.R. 1883 & S. 990, Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act
4/23/15 -- Eric Dahl purchased a Gibson guitar at a pawnshop. He then discovered that the guitar was the original prototype Lucille guitar presented to BB King on his 80th birthday and stolen from his home 4 years later. Dahl went to King’s office and returned the guitar to him; King autographed another Gibson Lucille and gave it to Dahl as a thank-you. Dahl later wrote about the experience in a slim, 96-page book he titled B.B. King's Lucille and the Loves Before Her. Two years later, Toyota aired this Camry commercial, depicting a young woman who bought a storage locker in which she found BB King’s guitar. She then drove to Las Vegas and gave the guitar to King, who autographed a guitar and gave it to her. Dahl sued Toyota for infringement of the copyright in his book. Toyota moved unsuccessfully to dismiss his complaint, arguing that the similarities between the book and the commercial reflected uncopyrightable ideas and facts. The Judge was not persuaded. Now, Carri Geer Thevenot reports for the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Toyota and Dahl have settled the lawsuit.
4/22/15 -- Hollywood composer Jack Urbont composed the Iron Man Theme and the other superhero theme songs for the 1960s animated Marvel Super Heroes television series. Four years ago, Urbont sued Ghostface Killah and Sony Music, claiming that two tracks of Ghostface Killah’s 2000 solo album, Supreme Clientele, infringed the copyrights in the musical composition and sound recording of the Iron Man theme. On Monday, District Court Judge Naomi Rice Buchwald granted summary judgment to defendants, ruling that despite the lack of a written agreement, the Iron Man Theme was a work made for hire, and Urbont therefore was neither author nor owner of the federal copyright in the musical composition. Judge Buchwald also dismissed Urbont’s state law claim for infringement of his common law sound recording copyright, holding that the claim was preempted by the federal copyright law. The Judge reasoned that since Urbont recorded the master tape of the song for the purpose of including it in the soundtrack to the television series, the recording was an audiovisual work rather than a sound recording under the statutory definitions in section 101, and therefore was not shielded from preemption by the provisions of subsection 301(c). Eriq Gardner reports on the decision for the Hollywood Reporter.
4/20/15 -- BBC News reports that the estate of Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945) has sued Random House for copyright infringement because Peter Longerich’s biography of Goebbels quotes extensively from his diaries. Goebbels died in 1945, which means that the copyright in his diaries will last through the end of 2015.
4/20/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that District Court Judge Vince Chhabria has denied Disney’s motion for summary judgment in the infringement suit filed by Kelly Wilson. Disney argued that it had shown that none of its employees had access to Wilson’s film. The Judge disagreed; he noted that Pixar employees had attended a film festival where The Snowman and a Pixar film had been shown back-to-back, and that Kelly had submitted copies of The Snowman to Disney in connection with her job applications. Read the Order.
4/20/15 -- Chauncey Mahan sued Jay-Z and Roc Nation, seeking to be declared coauthor of 41 recordings. Last week, the Judge dismissed the suit as time-barred by 17 U.S.C. § 507. Read Eriq Gardner’s story for the Hollywood Reporter.
4/16/15 -- Kuwaiti author Muneefa Abdullah has sued Disney and screenwriter Jennifer Lee in the federal court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging that Disney's movie, Frozen, was unlawfully copied from her 2007 short story, The Snow Princess. Read the Complaint.
4/15/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Austin Siegemund-Broka reports that author Peter Joseph Gallagher has filed a copyright infringement suit against Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, and Lions Gate, alleging that their 2012 horror film, The Cabin in the Woods, infringes the copyright in Gallagher’s 2006 novel The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines.
4/15/15 -- Eriq Gardner reports that Universal Music has reached a settlement in the class action lawsuit that charged that it had cheated its recording artists by paying royalties on digital downloads as if they were sales of copies rather than licenses. Universal admits no wrongdoing, but will be paying compensation to class members and a higher royalty rate for digital downloads going forward.
4/15/15 -- Brazilian artist Romero Britto has sued Apple Computer and artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier, claiming that Apple’s "Start Something New" ad campaign infringes the copyrights in Britto’s art. Read the Complaint.
4/6/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that Paula Petrella and MGM have settled their lawsuit over Raging Bull. (Last year’s Supreme Court opinion in the case is excerpted at page 164 of the supplement.)
4/2/15 -- Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante has sent a letter to Representative John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, setting forth the Copyright Office’s views that Congress should establish an independent copyright agency and move the Office's operations to that agency rather than allowing it to continue as a part of the Library of Congress or moving it to the Department of Commerce. Register Pallante asks Congress to make this change sooner rather than later.
4/1/15 -- The GAO has reviewed the Copyright Office’s information technology systems and the request the Office made to Congress for appropriations to improve them. The GAO concluded that the Office IT system posed severe technical challenges and that these problems have been exacerbated by "[s]ignificant IT management weaknesses" of the Library of Congress. Nonetheless, the Report concludes that the Copyright Office has neither adequately justified the appropriation request, nor made a satisfactory plan about what the Office would do with the money should Congress appropriate it. Read the GAO Report.
4/1/15 -- Three’s Company was a successful 1970s sitcom about three roommates: two women and a heterosexual man who pretended to be gay to assuage the landlord’s moral objections to renting an apartment to single adults of different genders. It ran for nine seasons. Thirty years later, playwright David Adjmi wrote 3C, a dark comedy inspired by or adapted from Three’s Company, in which the male roommate is actually a closeted gay man seeking to conceal his homosexuality while pretending to be a straight man pretending to be a gay man. The play attracted mixed reviews and a cease and desist letter from the owners of the copyright in the sitcom. Adjmi filed suit seeking a declaration that 3C does not infringe the copyright in Three’s Company because any copying of expression is sheltered by the fair use privilege. Yesterday, Judge Loretta Preska agreed and granted Adjmi’s motion for summary judgment.
3/10/15 -- The jury in the Blurred Lines v. Got to Give it Up trial has returned a verdict of copyright infringement and awarded $4 million in copyright damages and $ 3.4 million in profits to Marvin Gaye’s family. (Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams got themselves into this mess by filing suit for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement.) Eriq Gardner posted the story for the Hollywood Reporter.
3/5/15 --The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that Victor Willis has prevailed in a jury trial to determine how large a share of 24 Village People hit songs he has recaptured by terminating his transfer of copyright to Scorpio Music. The jury agreed with Willis that as one of two coauthors of the songs, he was entitled to 50% of the copyright in the songs.
— 3/5/15 Update: Read the Hollywood Reporter’s continuing coverage of the trial.
2/17/15 -- Jennifer Schuessler reports for the New York Times that photographer Donald Graham has sent a cease and desist letter to appropriation artist Richard Prince and his gallery, Gagosian Gallery (of problem xi fame). Graham claims that Richard Prince’s Rastajay92, shown last fall as part of his show "New Portraits" was an infringing copy of Graham’s photograph, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica. (Gagosian explained Prince’s process for creating the New Portraits in these words: "Prince’s inkjet paintings are Instagram images that the artist has discovered/selected, commented on, rephotographed with his iPhone, and then enlarged/printed out on canvas.")
2/17/15 -- For those of you who can’t get enough of termination of transfers, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has posted the video of last week’s oral argument in Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson. Ray Charles conveyed all of his copyrights to a Foundation and established half-million-dollar trust funds for each of his children, on the condition that they not contest the Foundation's ownership of his copyrights. Charles died in 2004. In 2010, a majority of Charles’s children served termination notices seeking to recapture his copyrights. The Foundation sued for breach of the agreements. U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins dismissed the Foundation’s case, reasoning that if the children’s agreements were interpreted as waivers of their termination rights, they were unenforceable "agreements to the contrary." The Foundation has appealed to the 9th Circuit.
2/16/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that the owner of the copyright in Dumb and Dumber To has filed copyright infringement suits against unidentified Doe defendants who allegedly used BitTorrent to copy and distribute the film. Read one of the Complaints.
2/10/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that trial begins today in the suit between Victor Willis and Scorpio Music to determine who wrote Y.M.C.A. and 23 other songs performed and recorded by the Village People. Willis successfully terminated his assignment of the copyright in those songs. The parties are still disputing whether that entitles him to a 50% or a 33% percent share.
2/10/15 -- The Copyright Office has posted public comments on proposals for exemptions to the section 1201(a) prohibition on circumvention of technological protection measures. This is the triennial rulemaking provision that gave rise to the cell phone unlocking controversy Sy Damle referred to in yesterday’s class. Members of the public have proposed 27 different exemptions for the copyright office to consider. The comments posted yesterday are all from proponents of one or more proposed exemptions. Comments from opponents of the exemptions are due on March 27. Choose a proposed exemption that seems especially reasonable to you, and make plans to look in on the Copyright Office site at the end of March to see what folks who oppose that proposal have to say.
2/9/15 -- At the end of last night’s Grammy Awards, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, singer Jennifer Hudson, and a dozen fellow travelers announced the new Creators Alliance, which will lobby in Washington for music copyright reform.
2/6/15 -- Bloomberg reports on Wednesday’s hearing in the copyright infringement suit over Stairway to Heaven. Lawyers for Warner Music Group are seeking to transfer the case from Pennsylvania to California. Judge Sanchez took the motion under advisement.
2/5/15 -- The Copyright Office has released its Report on Copyright and the Music Marketplace, a comprehensive study of the snarled mess that is the current U.S. music licensing environment, with a number of suggestions for reform. The Report is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how licensing of music currently works under U.S. copyright law. Some of the reform proposals will be controversial; indeed, getting there from here may be impossible. The Executive summary is here. The full report is here.
1/27/15 -- The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner reports that composer Richard Friedman (no relation) has sued composer Hans Zimmer, 20th Century Fox and Sony music over the soundtrack music for 12 Years a Slave. Friedman claims that one of the themes in the movie music was copied from his 2004 composition, "To The Fallen." TMZ has posted clips from the two songs for comparison. Read the complaint.
1/27/15 -- British music news weekly NME reports that Sam Smith has agreed to give Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne a share of royalties and songwriter credit for Smith’s recent single, "Stay With Me," after many listeners noted the similarity of the song with Petty’s 1989 release "I Won’t Back Down."
1/23/15 -- Congress first extended copyright protection to sound recordings in 1971, with an effective date of February 15, 1972. Sound recordings made prior to 1972 are unprotected by federal copyright but are thought to have some copyright-like protection under state common or statutory law. On Thursday, Zenbu magazines, which claims to own all rights in pre-1972 sound recordings recorded by Hot Tuna, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and New Riders of the Purple Sage, filed class actions for violation of California state law against Sony Entertainment, Google, Apple, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Grooveshark alleging unauthorized exploitation of its sound recordings. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick has posted a succinct explanation. Read Zenbu’s complaint against Sony.
1/21/15 -- The European Parliament Committee of Legal Affairs has released a Draft Report on copyright harmonisation in the EU. Some of the Report’s recommendations are likely to be controversial.
1/8/15 -- The Authors Guild and HathiTrust have reached a settlement. (The 2d Circuit decision remanding the case is in your Supplement at page 122.)
12/31/14 -- It’s New Years Eve, so it must be time for blogs to post their annual Copyright Year in Review posts. Here are a handful:
12/11/14 -- Worth reading: David Slater’s email complaining about Public Knowledge’s posting of the infamous monkey selfie image, and Public Knowledge’s response. (For background on the monkey selfie, see Mike Masnick’s account for TechDirt.)
12/9/14 -- President Obama has signed the STELA Reauthorization Act. Section 107 of the law directs the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct a study of the implications of repealing the statutory copyright licenses for retransmissions by cable and satellite television services. Section 202 sets a new sunset date of 2019 for the statutory satellite license, which had been scheduled to expire this month.
11/21/14 -- Aereo has filed for bankruptcy under chapter 11.
11/3/14 -- Today is the deadline to submit a petition in the Register of Copyrights’ triennial rulemaking on exemptions to the circumvention prohibitions in 17 USC § 1201(a)(1)(A). Follow along here as organizations and individuals seek to persuade the Register of Copyrights to grant or deny exemptions.
New Bills in the 114th Congress:
- Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(b)log
- Terry Hart’s Copyhype
- The 1709 Copyright Blog
- Jonathan Bailey’s Plagiarism Today
- EFF’s DeepLinks
- Nancy Sims’s The Copyright Librarian
- DisCo (Disruptive Competition Project)
- Association of Research Libraries’ ARL Policy Notes
- Michael Geist’s Tech Law Topics Blog
- Chris Castle’s Music Technology Policy blog
- Music Law Updates blog
- Creative Commons weblog
- The MTTLR Blog
- Patrick Ross’s Copyright Alliance Blog
- The RIAA’s Music Notes Blog
- Steven Caldwell Brown’s Music Piracy Research blog
- Ray Beckerman’s and Ty Rogers’s Recording Industry v. The People blog
- Bill Rosenblatt’s Copyright and Technology blog
- Creative Future blog
- YouTube Creators blog
- The Trichordist
- Ellen Seidler’s Vox Indie
- Thomas Young’s Copyright Culture law blog
- Parker Higgins’s & Sarah Jeong’s 5 Useful Articles (weekly newsletter)
- That Song Sounds Like and SoundsJustLike.com (songs that sound like other songs)
- You Thought We Wouldn't Notice
- Bill Patry's Copyright Blog archive (2005-09)
News about copyright-affected industries
Thoughtful documentary films about copyright law
- Citizen 3.0 (2010) (127 minutes)
- Copyright Criminals (2009)(53 minutes)
- Good Copy Bad Copy (2007)(59 minutes)
- Before the Music Dies (2006) (88 minutes)
- The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)(105 minutes)
- Downloaded (2013) (107 minutes)
A sampling of Internet sites raising copyright questions:
- Archive of Our Own
- calvin and hobbes: The Search Engine, by Mike Yingling
- Clean Reader ("read books, not profanity")
- CopySense Network Appliance
- The Dash
- DJ Earworm
- Garfield minus Garfield
- Google Book Search
- The Gluten-Free Museum
- The Hawkeye Initiative
- HowItShouldHaveEnded.com and How It Should Have Ended YouTube Channel
- InfinityBox Press
- Internet Archive
- Kickstarter: Story Surgeon — The App for Fixing Someone Else’s Book
- King County (Seattle) Library System ecollection
- Barry Kite’s Aberrant Art
- Arnaldo Lerma's home page on Scientology and Dianetics
- Musicless Music Videos
- The Office Time Machine
- Open Access Button
- Pack Rat Studios
- The Pirate Bay
- Pogo’s movie remixes on YouTube
- Prevuze (Days of Our Lives spoilers)
- Rdio and Vdio
- Semaphore Press
- StarWars Uncut
- Steven Soderbergh’s Re-Edit of 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Telebubby Fun Land
- Professor David Touretzky’s Gallery of CSS Descramblers
- Warriors of the Empire
Return to the syllabus
Send an email message to me at jdlitman -at- umich.edu