Tag Archives | copyright

Copyright is NOT elementary my dear Watson!

Are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson still under a legal cloak (or cape, if you will) of copyright law?  The Supreme Court may have to solve that mystery.

Sherlock Holmes StatueDoyle’s estate has been attempting to block a California lawyer and Holmes fancier, Leslie S. Klinger, from publishing a new book about the two characters unless he is willing to get a license from the estate and pay a fee.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected the estate’s copyright claim, calling it “quixotic.”  The new filing at the Court, including the Seventh Circuit’s ruling as an appendix, has been docketed as 14A47, and can be read here.

The Doyle estate, though, is pressing a quite unusual copyright theory.

It contends that, since Doyle continued to develop the characters of Holmes and Watson throughout all of the stories, the characters themselves cannot be copied even for what Doyle wrote about them in the works that are now part of the public domain and thus ordinarily would be fair game for use by others.

Read the full blog post on SCOTUS:Blog – Sherlock Holmes and the mystery of copyright

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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The Print Edition is Ready!

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers

The print edition is ready!

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Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers, authored by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris L. Hanney and published by Unlimited Priorities LLC, is available for $14.95 as an eBook or for $24.95 as an eBook/Print Edition bundle.

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers contains information vital to the publishing community. As copyright is the lifeblood of publishers, a basic knowledge of copyright law is crucial to working effectively with authors on such issues as transfers of copyright, terms of copyright, terminations and ownership.  In addition, publishers must contract with authors and photographers –– and often other publishers –– to obtain permission for use of portions of copyrighted materials in new works.

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What Can I Copyright?

Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device.

Copyrightable works include the following categories:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works, including any accompanying words
  • Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works” while maps and architectural plans may be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.

Learn more about how copyright works in Laura N. Gasaway’s Pocket Guide to Copyright.
 

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Five Copyright Trends to Watch

CopyrightIt is always risky to attempt to predict trends, perhaps especially so in copyright law. The temptation for any writer is to predict that the law will develop in the ways that he/she wants it to change.

In Laura N. Gasaway’s Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers (Order), she avoids that temptation in addressing some general trends publishers should keep an eye on in the coming years.

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Five Copyright Trends to Watch

1. Digitization Projects

Libraries, archives, and other institutions no doubt will continue to digitize many parts of their collections in order to make them available to users remotely. The big question is whether they will digitize copyrighted works without permission or whether the availability of mass licensing will make it easier for these organizations to get permission for their digitization projects.

2. Licensing of Digital Works

It is entirely safe to predict that licensing of digital works will not only continue but will increase. Most people are honest and do not wish to infringe copyright. Well drafted license agreements that publishers can actually enforce will be a strong deterrent to infringement.

3. Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Releasing digital works without technological protection mean that copyright holders are forced to repeatedly protect their rights through threats of litigation. Hackers can break most DRM systems within a relatively short period of time so we will see publishers adopting newer DRM and stronger systems. Most publishers will be using license agreements coupled with strong DRM when distributing digital works.

4. Enforcement of Rights

When license agreements and DRM do not work, publishers must be willing to take action to enforce their rights. Cease and desist letters and threats to sue may be effective. Successful infringement suits can also have a persuasive effect on the future actions of others. As the public learn the outcome of a particular case they may be motivated to change their behavior to comply the ruling in the case.

5. Internationalization

Since enacting the Copyright Act of 1976, the US has been steadily harmonizing its laws with those of other industrialized countries. As the trend for internationalization grows, rights holders must learn more about international law and be diligent in enforcing their rights abroad. The importance of international law in the copyright will be likely to increase.

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Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Copyright Infringement Risk Biggest Among Execs

In Executives Are Biggest Risk for Copyright Infringement, Copyright Clearance Center explains that nearly half the executives who were surveyed were potentially exposing their organizations’ to the risk of copyright infringement violations. According to the data, 48% of executives believe it’s acceptable to share information as long as it’s not used for commercial purposes, and 45% believe digital or print paid information is fine to share.

Copyright Infringement Risk Biggest Among ExecsExecutives may be the largest creators of risk with regard to copyright compliance within an organization as they are the greatest consumers and sharers of information, both internally and externally,” said Miles McNamee, Vice President, Licensing and Business Development, CCC. “As information sharing accelerates and becomes more critical, the likelihood of copyright violation rises.

Study results indicate that the total volume of content sharing has increased dramatically since 2007. On average, respondents in 2013 share content with 11.2 people per week compared to 7.2 people per week in 2007. Knowledge workers in Legal, Other Manufacturing, and Telecommunications/Media share with the greatest number of people (13 or more) when they forward information. The study found that knowledge workers’ sharing has increased regardless of company size, with the primary method being email attachment.

With so many moving parts, seen and unseen, copyright needs to be highlighted in all organizations,” said McNamee. “Knowledge workers need to know of its existence, its importance and the risks of violation.

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

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Beastie Boys Win Their Copyright Fight

Following news that Adam Yauch’s will prohibits the use of Beastie Boys material in advertisements, the group sued the maker of Monster Energy Drink for copyright infringement for using the band’s songs without permission in a promotional video and as a free download.

Beastieboys

The verdict is in – Beastie Boys have won a $1.7 million verdict in their copyright lawsuit against the makers of Monster Energy Drink.

A spokesperson for the group declined to comment on the verdict, but Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz made a general statement after the verdict, noting, “We’re happy. We just want to thank the jury.”

When Ad-Rock took the stand, he traced the Beasties’ career, saying the trio were “very lucky” and explaining their lengthy artistic process. Billboard noted that the proceedings were filled with awkward smiles and explanations of terms used in hip-hop culture; but Ad-Rock was reportedly quite amused when the defense asked him to identify Mike D (dressed as a sailor) in several images used in a watch ad.

The group initiated the lawsuit in 2012 following the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch. The suit, filed by Mike D, Ad-Rock and Yauch’s widow Dechen, claimed that Monster included parts of “Sabotage,” “So What’cha Want,” Make Some Noise” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” in a promotional video posted on Monster’s website, along with a 23-minute medley of Beastie Boys songs made available for download as an MP3. The songs were taken from footage of a live set by DJ Z-Trip at the Monster-sponsored Canadian festival Ruckus in the Rockies, held a few days after Yauch died in May. Yauch’s will specifically prohibits any company from using the group’s music for advertisements.

via Beastie Boys Win 1.7 Million in Monster Energy Copyright Lawsuit

Pocket Copyright Guide for Publishers by Laura N. Gasaway and edited by Iris Hanney contains information vital to the publishing community.

Learn more about how copyright law affects your work or order it now.

Photo: The Beastie Boys live at Sonar, Barcellona 2007, Michael Morel photographer. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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