For more than 100 years Hollywood has been the world’s epicenter of creative content and home to the film, television and music industries. The law of copyright – the exclusive legal right of creators and owners of creative works to publish, perform, copy and distribute such works – enabled the ascent of these industries and protected them against theft of their works.
Hundreds of miles to the north, Silicon Valley has become the world’s epicenter of technology, the densest concentration of technology companies and venture capital in the world. Silicon Valley spawned a new kind of company, the Internet Service Provider (“ISP”), companies providing consumers with Internet access, caching, web hosting and search services. read more
When I was a teenager I had a great collection of vinyl albums, including classics by bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater and Yes. One of my distinct pleasures was to peruse the album collections in used record stores in the hopes of finding a catch in good condition and at a good price.
The used record store could lawfully purchase and resell copies of albums originally bought as new under the “first sale” doctrine, whereby the owner of a “particular copy” of a copyrighted work that was lawfully purchased could “sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy” without violating the copyright owner’s exclusive right to reproduce or distribute that work. read more
In April, Spillane Trial Group PLC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of Josi W. Konski against the Danish Film Directors association and Gabriel Axel, director of Babette’s Feast, winner of the 1988 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Konski is seeking declaratory relief to determine that he is the sole copyright holder to the film and that neither the Danish Film Directors nor Axel have rights to interfere with an anticipated re-release of the film in Bluray and DVD formats in the United States and Canada.
The defendants claim Axel retains a copyright interest in the film arising from a provision of Danish copyright law that expresses certain “moral rights” for authors of creative works. read more
Courts in Los Angeles are frequently confronted with claims that an entertainment company has plagiarized a writer’s work. The word “plagiarize” means to use and pass off as one’s own the ideas or expressions of another. The legal rules that govern the dispute, the court in which the dispute will be fought and the success of the case will likely depend on whether the plaintiff claims that “ideas” on the one hand, or “expressions” on the other, were plagiarized.
When one writes a treatment or full teleplay or screenplay – technically, when that work is fixed in a tangible medium, such as on paper or saved on a drive – the copyright law protects unauthorized copying of the expressions in that work, but does not prevent independent creation of similar expressions. read more
The Internet has afforded astonishing new channels to engage in lawful commerce as well as unlawful activities. Previously in order to engage in widespread libel one needed access to print media. Now, with a press of a button, a libelous communication can be uploaded to the Internet and instantly published worldwide. Search sites such as Google and auction sites such as eBay have created new channels for ordinary citizens to search for, purchase and sell millions of goods, including those that may infringe the rights of third parties.
Aggrieved parties who want to assert legal claims for wrongs perpetrated through the Internet may be unable to identify the wrongdoer, or s/he may have no locatable assets. read more