When posed with the question of whether monkeys can copyright their self-portraits, the United States Copyright Office has finally spoken out, and the answer is a resounding "no." The Copyright Office's latest manual edition – the first major update in more than 30 years – unequivocally states that only humans can obtain copyrights. Specifically, the manual says that the Office "will not register works produced by nature, animals or plants." That simple statement lets the wind out of the sails for what could have been a burgeoning, niche intellectual property subset.
In 2011, a monkey grabbed an unattended camera in the Indonesian forest and snapped a quick self portrait. The resulting image quickly became an internet sensation, and today a full-fledged controversy is underway regarding ownership of its underlying copyright.
The hit television musical comedy “Glee” must change its name for use in the United Kingdom, a judge ruled recently. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., the creator of the show, is expected to appeal the decision.
Especially in the digital era, California is a hotspot for people with big ideas. Entrepreneurs and innovators flock to the state, hoping to follow in the steps of giants like Google, Yahoo and Facebook. But for a startup to stand a fighting chance of succeeding in this fast-paced, competitive marketplace, it is critical for business owners to protect their intellectual property.
After a year of heightened controversy over the Washington Redskins name and logo, the football team suffered a blow to its intellectual property rights recently when its trademark registration was canceled by the U.S. Patent Office.
Many companies use popular music in their promotional videos and advertisements. Using a well-know artist's or band's music is a common technique to promote your own brand, but if you use a band's music in your ads without their permission, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
Well-known Hollywood director Spike Lee and his production company have been named in a copyright infringement lawsuit over the use of a designer's posters being used to promote the film "Oldboy" without his permission. According to the lawsuit, the designer created the movie posters for the film and offered them to the defendants. However, they never paid him for the posters, which was a condition of using the movie posters.
Musicians face a lot of scrutiny when it comes to their songs. When one musician believes another artist or band stole their song, they can file a copyright infringement lawsuit. A recent lawsuit filed against Led Zeppelin is an example of the legal action other bands can take if they think their song or melody was stolen by another artist.
Many of you are probably familiar with Pandora, the popular Internet radio site. Pandora allows users to listen to a variety of songs and even create lists of different types of music they want to listen to. You may not know that Pandora has to pay licensing fees to play many of these songs because of federal copyright laws. However, federal laws don't protect songs made before 1972.