The Beauty of Books

Here’s a BBC article on some of the most stunning libraries around the world. Public libraries are great meeting places for people, ideas, and culture. Kansas Citians are blessed to have 2 excellent public libraries with multiple branch locations – the Johnson County and the Kansas City Public Libraries – along with other regional and academic libraries. Personal libraries often provide an insightful window into an individual’s mind, soul, aspirations, and intellectual life. Albert Einstein once said that he imagined heaven as a giant library – that certainly sounds good to many bibliophiles, including your author.

What’s your favorite library? Where is it? Do you get to visit often? What genres do you enjoy reading or keep in your personal library? What stories fill your mind as you travel through life’s journey and your daily life?

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your copyright or trademark needs, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs. We love ideas, books, and the creative arts as much as you do and know how to efficiently and economically protect your creative expression.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

College IP

Many of us relish supporting our alma maters by donating money, wearing college-themed clothes, attending games and alumni events, or following the latest news in alumni magazines and the local news. Like many alumni, I enjoyed attending K-State football games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and KU basketball at Allen Field House as a student, as a graduate I’m a member of the alumni associations, and I enjoy cheering the flagship teams of both my alma maters on to “another Wildcat victory” (K-State) and deep into the NCAA tournament during March Madness (KU). I fondly remember the 2008 National Championship at KU, including the famed “Mario’s Miracle” shot that clenched KU’s 5th national title. And what Wildcat can forget the quiet, unassuming family man and old school guy named Bill Snyder who made the nation stand up, taking what ESPN had proclaimed the most worst team in the country and transformed K-State football into a national powerhouse and brought a legacy of character and competitive DNA and success on campus.

But joyous though collegiate sports can be for fans, licensing and intellectual property management of college logos and trademarks can quickly descend into the fierce trench combat of IP litigation. A couple years ago, KU won a big trademark infringement trial against a Lawrence t-shirt shop that was using a likeness of the school’s “Kansas” logo without KU’s consent or paying the necessary licensing fee. Now comes news that the University of Alabama is aggressively defending its trademarks and related IP portfolio. How far is too far in enforcing a college’s (or a company’s) IP portfolio? Thoughts?

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your copyright or trademark needs, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs. We love ideas and the creative arts as much as you do and know how to efficiently and economically protect your creative expression.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Google Book Search wins fair use trial

After some 8 years of litigation, a federal judge in New York has approved Google Book Search as legally valid under the Copyright Act’s fair use provisions (17 U.S.C. § 107) in Authors Guild Inc v. Google Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 14 Nov 2013). Book publishers sued Google claiming that its book search component violated their copyright in various published works that Google was scanning and making snippets available online for free. Fair use is a classic defense to copyright infringement claims. Under copyright law, fair use has 4 components (as articulated by Justice Joseph Story in Folsom v. Marsh): (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. By raising the fair use defense, a defendant effectively says, “yeah, I infringed your copyright, but it’s OK.” Collected news coverage comes from the indispensable How Appealing blog. Some quick analysis from the copyright blogosphere and the NY Times write up.

The Court’s decision is a major victory for Google and similar digital platforms in making books (or book previews) more accessible to audiences worldwide. The Google Book Search is a separate program from Google’s effort to digitize many classic works of literature, which are in the public domain and out of the realm of copyright protection (e.g. Jane Austen or Shakespeare’s complete works). The Google Book Search enables students, scholars, or interested readers to read a sample of a book from the comfort of their home or favorite coffee shop and then buy the actual book (still protected by copyright) from their local bookstore or favorite online retailer. It remains to be seen how the Court’s decision will affect the future of copyright law and the digital content revolution, which are two intertwining (sometimes cohesive, sometimes conflicting) strains of a very large, complex tapestry.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

 

Timing Counts: Copyright Infringement

Paramount has won a 9th Circuit case (the California federal appeals court) that another movie company’s claim of ownership on a movie’s copyright is too late (also too late to file for copyright infringement), because the Copyright Act provides a 3 year statute of limitations (courtesy of the How Appealing blog). Lesson: if you’re claiming copyright in a work of disputed authorship or ownership, or claiming someone else infringed your copyright, file within 3 years, or you’ll be out of luck too. Variety has this analysis and the Trial Insider blog has this coverage.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Viacom v. YouTube and Copyright Duties/DMCA safe harbors

Reuter’s Alison Frankel has this interesting piece about the long standing debate over copyright duties under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (1998)’s safe harbor provisions. A key issue in Viacom v. YouTube (currently pending in the New York’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals) is what copyright duties a service provider company (like YouTube) owes under the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions. Does YouTube have to evaluate every video upload and take down videos that appear to infringe someone’s copyright? Viacom says “yes,” but YouTube says “no, we just have to remove videos that infringe someone’s copyright after receiving the usual cease & desist (C&D) letter.” Who will win? Time will tell, but this 2nd Circuit appeal will be a major Internet copyright law precedent, shaping the scope of the DMCA’s service provider safe harbor provisions, and potentially changing how each of us use the Internet and interact with the landscape of digital copyright law.

If Viacom is right that YouTube should be policing each video upload to check for copyright infringement, there are several implications. First, YouTube (and its parent company, Google) would need a massive database of copyrighted videos, photos, and/or music. Unlike the Copyright Office’s database, YouTube’s database would need to be easily searchable, including for elements of remixed content. Second, YouTube would have to perform a potentially sophisticated and lengthy copyright law analysis of each upload to determine whether it was infringing – maybe run it through a long legal checklist and wait a couple weeks for a response from their legal department, maybe submit a sample of the proposed upload to the copyright holder (assuming the copyright holder could be identified and located), determine how an appeal of its judgment was to be handled, and determine how its copyright infringement filter was to interact with the copyright law’s existing framework. So a Viacom victory might well have a chilling effect on creation and uploading of new content and mixes of old IP to YouTube. But a Viacom victory might well be a propos given the Supreme Court’s Betamax opinion (1984) and other court decisions. Profs. Ronald Cass, Raymond Nimmer, and Stewart Brotman filed this brief supporting Viacom. 31 other law professors filed this brief supporting YouTube’s favor.

If YouTube is right, then Congress carved out a huge exception to help service providers in the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions. Run an Internet service, but don’t fancy yourself a copyright law expert, or don’t care to evaluate every bit of content uploaded for potential copyright infringement? No worries, argues YouTube, the DMCA’s safe harbor is your “I’m not responsible for the content this bloke has posted” card, to be played whenever a content provider/copyright holder gets tired of sending batches of C&D letters to your users. Both sides have good points, so we’ll see how the 2nd Circuit decides this Internet copyright saga.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Welcome to the KC Creative Arts blog

Welcome to the KC Creative Arts blog! This blog will examine IP issues (copyright, trademark, and IP litigation), digital estate planning (what happens to art when artists and creators die?), and selected arts, music, and writing. For more info, visit our Meet Us page. This blog will explore legal issues my law firm handles, but strives to offer good legal insights in a friendly, easy-going style. At my firm, we work one-on-one with each client and serve all our clients with the great legal work they deserve at an affordable price. We’re always happy to answer your questions, we explain legalese in plain English, we add value to your creative arts and IP, and we like to have fun too. Feel free to email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) or call me (913-707-9220) any time – I’d love to hear from you! Join our creative conversation – cheers! ~ Steve

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.