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Talking Copyright Articles

IP Kat

With free trade and globalization under attack, can IP licensing come to the rescue?

Whatever one’s view about globalization and free trade (dislocation of jobs, social and economic inequality and loss of sovereignty, not to

mention free movement and immigration), one cannot deny that more and more skepticism is being expressed, from the Brexit vote to the US Presidential candidates and so on. If the overarching trend since the 1950’s has been towards institutional integration, the current winds are casting doubt on this tendency. The question arises: how might this affect IP?

The justification for IP focuses on lofty notions such as creating the proper incentives for creation and invention. But let’s not kid ourselves: IP became mainstream while globalization and free trade were taking hold as instruments in fostering economic growth, roughly from the 1980’s. Many IP practitioners are probably too young to remember that this was not always so. In those antediluvian days, IP protection was viewed with skepticism on both sides of the Atlantic; there was wide-spread hostility to patents based on competition law grounds, while trademarks were viewed as a manipulative tool to create otherwise unnecessary consumer desires. For the most part, IP was a backwater legal area, at best a quirky niche practice

John Degen

Why I bought Anne Frank’s Diary for a German Pirate

Julia Rede’s “tone-deaf” demand for free access to Anne Frank’s diary on World Copyright Day claiming that she was prevented from reading it by copyright, prompted John Degen to buy a copy himself and send it to her: “No-one should have to remain in self-imposed ignorance about one of the world’s most important — and most available and accessible — books. A person certainly should not be shut out of this text just because she may be too stubborn, too cheap, or too ideologically inflexible to fork over a few Euros to get it.”

Laurence Kaye
Examining fair compensation

Laurence Kaye reviews the HP-Reprobel Case:  Given the forthcoming review of copyright in Europe, publishers' lawyers will want to think long and hard about what needs to be done to protect publishers from a copyright perspective. Publishers' lawyers will also want to think about what is required to ensure that publishers are protected for the investment and creative endeavors they make in respect of their publications in both online and offline formats.

Lesley Anne Harris
5 Myths About Canadian Copyright Law (with U.S. Comparison)

Does fair use exist in Canada?  Do you have to register a work to be protected by Canadian copyright law?  Does Canada belong to the international treaties on copyright? Lesley Anne Harris compare Caadia and US Copyright law.

David Newhoff

With Register Pallante Out, What Now?

Creators, copyright advocates, and many policymakers were taken aback by last Friday’s announcement that the new Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden removed Maria Pallante from the position of Register of Copyrights. The decision was officially described as a reassignment for Pallante to the role of senior advisor for digital strategy, which Pallante has declined.  Associate register Karyn Temple Claggett stepped in as acting Register and the LOC is conducting what it calls a “nationwide search” for a new candidate. David Newhoff assesses the future.

Devlin Hartline

Second Circuit Brings Some Sanity Back to Transformative Fair Use

The Second Circuit handed down an opinion in TCA Television v. McCollum earlier this week holding that a play’s inclusion of Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” routine was not transformative fair use. Given how expansive transformativeness has become lately, especially in the Second Circuit, the opinion is somewhat surprising. What’s more, it’s not clear that the appellate court even needed to reach the fair use issue since it held for the defendants on the alternate ground of lack of ownership. If anything, it appears that this particular panel of judges went out of its way to push back on—and bring some much-needed sanity to—transformative fair use doctrine in the Second Circuit.

Jonathan Bailey

3 Copyright Abuses That Harm Creators

When it comes to the issue of copyright, there is a great deal of legitimate discussion about what the boundaries of the law can and should protect.

But what most creators seem to want is reasonable and effective controls over their work that lets them earn a living from a fruits of their labor. While this means different things to different creators, the main goal remains the same: Adequate control to pursue the business model right for them.