New Media and Technology Law Blog

Category Archives: Copyright

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Facebook Takes a Page from Ticketmaster’s Playbook: Block Unauthorized Web Site Access with Carefully Drafted Terms of Use

In 2007, Ticketmaster brought a multi-count complaint against RMG Technologies, a software company that supplied ticket brokers with software that enabled them to automatically and rapidly access Ticketmaster’s Web site, to the detriment of ordinary users seeking tickets to popular events. The Ticketmaster v. RMG complaint was notable for stating a series of claims that … Continue Reading

Free Software Foundation Files First Copyright Infringement Complaint to Enforce its GNU Licenses

The Free Software Foundation has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Cisco Systems. The complaint alleges that Cisco’s Linksys products contain certain works in which the FSF holds the copyright, but Cisco has not complied with the requirements of the licenses pursuant to which the FSF makes the works available. This is the first copyright … Continue Reading

Let’s Go Crazy: What Does It Mean to “Consider” Fair Use?

Stephanie Lenz posted a homemade video on, depicting her toddler son dancing in his walker, with the song "Let's Go Crazy" by "the artist professionally known as Prince" playing in the background. Several months later, attorneys for Universal Music, owner of the copyright in the recording, sent a takedown notice pursuant to § 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which requires that the notice include among other things "a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law." The video was promptly removed. Lenz responded with a DMCA counter-notification, and the video was re-posted several weeks later. Lenz then instituted suit against Universal for damages and attorney fees under § 512(f) of the DMCA, alleging that in issuing the takedown notice, Universal lacked the statutorily required "good faith belief" that her use of the song was infringing. In the latest ruling in the action, Judge Jeremy Fogel in the Northern District of California ruled that the takedown provisions of DMCA § 512(c) require a copyright owner to "consider the fair use doctrine in formulating a good faith belief that 'use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.'" Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., No. 07-3783 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2008) (emphasis added). … Continue Reading

RAM Copying – An Issue of More Than Transitory Duration

In The Cartoon Network LP, LLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., No. 07-1480 & 07-1511 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 4, 2008), the Second Circuit considered several important issues on the way to concluding that Cablevision's proposed operation of a remote digital video recorder (RS-DVR) system does not infringe the rights of reproduction and public performance of its program providers. Perhaps the most important issue in the case for new media lawyers is the court's treatment of the issue of RAM, or buffer, copying. The Second Circuit concluded that while a copy in RAM may a "copy" under the Copyright Act, it is not a copy as a matter of law. In so ruling, the Second Circuit took on not only the oft-cited (and oft-criticized) Ninth Circuit opinion in MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511 (9th Cir. 1993), it also took on the opinion of the Copyright Office, and arguably created a split in the circuits on the issue. … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Says Open Source License Conditions are Enforceable as Copyright Condition

There are so few judicial opinions dealing with open source licenses that any single one is of great interest, but the pro-open source ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Jacobsen v. Katzer, No. 2008-1001 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 13, 2008) easily goes to the top of the charts of this small category. This is a highly significant opinion that will greatly bolster the efforts of the open source community to control the use of open source software according to the terms set out in open source licenses. … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit En Banc Rules in “Old Wine, New Bottles” Dispute Over CD-ROM Version of National Geographic Magazine

Greenberg v. National Geographic, in which photographers seek royalties for the inclusion of their works in the CD-ROM version of the National Geographic Magazine, is a case with legs, that’s for sure. First filed ten years ago, it has been argued at the circuit court level three times, with several trips back to the trial … Continue Reading

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