Tag: fair use

2023CopyrightTechnology Law

Keeping the Good Faith: YouTube, Fair Use, and the DMCA

Alexandra M. Even YouTube is an important platform for user-generated content and serves as a positive space for creativity on the internet. Nevertheless, there are some glaring problems with the way YouTube handles copyright infringement. Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) before the internet had taken shape into the vast and complex body we know today. Copyright holders are given far more leniency than the creators accused of infringement, largely due to a subjective good faith standard imposed by the courts. This article proposes the good faith standard in § 512(c) of the DMCA be amended to incorporate...

From Canvas to Designer Cloth: The Exploitative Nature of the Fair Use Doctrine in the Arts

Victoria Schmidt This Essay examines the controversial launch of the 2020 COACH® x Basquiat Collection featuring the signature image of Jean- Michel Basquiat on Coach purses and clothing. These signature images were part of a larger work of art by Basquiat that aimed to critique racial segregation, police brutality, and the capitalistic pull of American society. Basquiat supporters critique the collaboration as a misappropriation of the artist’s message. Under this assumption, this Essay evaluates the scope of the fair use doctrine through a hypothetical copyright infringement claim against Coach. This Essay examines the provisions of current copyright laws and advocates...

Videogame Broadcasting: Exploring a Growing Industry’s Struggle with Copyright Claims

Zachary Greenberg In the videogame industry, tournament play is crucial for game publishers in creating a loyal fan base. Tournament play has spurred the development of third-party markets including streaming, commentary, and “modding”—creating complementary software for existing games. This essay will examine the intertwined industries of videogames and streaming tournaments, and their turbulent relationship with copyright law through a case study of Super Smash Bros. Melee. In addition to exploring Nintendo’s valid claims for protection under copyright law, this essay will analyze possible solutions to streaming copyright violations utilizing the fair use defense, including wider industry changes like implementing mechanical...

Google v. Oracle: Weighing Fair Use Factors in Software Copyright Infringement Cases

Guodong Fu The ongoing battle for clarity on the limitation of United States copyright protection in the software industry has yielded inconsistent results over the past ten years. Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., currently before the Supreme Court, may finally shed some light on the status of copyright protection as applied to software. In deciding the case, the Court must balance the four fair use factors as applied to software copyrights. The Court will likely navigate a fine line to balance maintaining a market of interoperability with fair competition. This Essay argues that the Supreme Court should maintain a...

Don’t Sue Meme, It’s a Parody

Lea Silverman Memes have become one of the most prolific posts on social media websites. Memes exploit familiar templates of existing images overlaid with text, typically to make a point or a joke. There have been very few court cases and almost no rulings on the issue of memes and copyright infringement. By applying a fair use analysis and the Supreme Court’s 1994 decision in Campbell v. Rose-Acuff Music, Inc., this Essay argues that meme creators can successfully assert the parody defense to copyright infringement. Read Full Text Here

No Safe Harbor: YouTube’s Content Id and Fair Use

Robert Andrea YouTube is arguably the world’s foremost platform for user-generated content. When users upload material to YouTube, there is a possibility that the uploaded content is protected by copyright. Under traditional copyright law, YouTube is technically liable for allowing copyrighted material to be disseminated. But the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) insulates YouTube and other internet service providers from liability if the companies take certain steps to filter out copyrighted material. For YouTube, the only feasible way to fulfill its copyright protection obligations is to utilize automated copyright protection software. Nevertheless, YouTube’s software, Content ID, and the copyright policies...

Happy Birthday to You’: The World’s Most Famous Celebratory Song’s Copyright Challenged

Kena Patel It is a well-known adage that the best things in life are free, but how true could this be with a copyright looming over the “Happy Birthday to You” song’s head? On September 22, 2015, a U.S. District Court in California freed “Happy Birthday to You” by ruling on the case Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. and declaring Warner/Chappell’s copyright invalid. Although the song is widely known by all, many individuals do not know that “Happy Birthday to You” was copyrighted at all, let alone know that Warner/Chappell was making $2 million a year from ownership. The history...

Mascot Madness: Are Characters in Times Square Violating Trademark Law?

Victoria Chu The activity in Times Square has also raised trademark issues. The First Amendment generally protects the costumed performers’ right to dress up like characters in public. The First Amendment also protects the costumed performers, so long as they ask for “donations” and “tips.” However, copyright and trademark owners, such as The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”) and Sesame Workshop, among others, have a legitimate interest in protecting their intellectual property. Such interests include their rights to terminate unlicensed use and to protect against consumer confusion and trademark dilution. Courts have not yet addressed whether or not the costumed performers...

Digital Copyright, “Fair Access” and the Problem of DRM Misuse

Nicolo Zingales The advent of the digital age and the wide diffusion of copyrighted works over the Internet have brought about a drastic challenge to the pre-existing rules and legal standards governing the exchange of information. This article points out one of the ways the development of these new technologies has altered the boundaries of copyright, specifically by enabling copyright holders to strategically expand the scope of protection through the strategic use of Digital Rights Management (hereinafter, DRM). After a brief overview of these technologies and their contribution to the development of online markets for copyrighted works, the article discusses...