I was interviewed and quoted in a recent BuzzFeed article on copyright litigation related to musical compositions. The article discusses the basics of infringement claims and defenses, as well as examples both new and old of high-profile cases. Overall, an excellent layperson’s introduction to the issues involved when one songwriter believes he or she was ripped off by another.
Sometimes, when you mess with the bull you get the horns. Such seems to be the case in a copyright infringement action recently filed by photographer Brian Masck. The case involves the photo displayed to the left, depicting football legend Desmond Howard. Mr. Masck took the photograph at a game in 1991, the year that Mr. Howard would go on to win the Heisman Trophy. The photograph depicts Mr. Howard striking a pose similar to the figure on the Heisman Trophy after making a big play in the game that day.
Over twenty years later, Mr. Masck has filed a lawsuit against several different defendants, claiming that they have infringed his copyright in the photograph by using it without his permission. Fair enough, and obviously liability would depend upon the specific facts relating to each defendant’s use. This case gets interesting, however, because Mr. Masck chose to include Mr. Howard, the subject of the photograph, as a defendant. [Read more…]
On remand from the Second Circuit, which had partially reversed the district court’s summary judgment dismissing Viacom’s copyright infringement claims against YouTube, the district court has again dismissed all claims on DMCA safe harbor grounds.
After Judge Stanton first dismissed Viacom’s case, holding on summary judgment that YouTube was shielded by the DMCA safe harbor, the Second Circuit reversed and remanded for further briefing due to questions regarding, inter alia, whether the record evidence established (1) YouTube’s actual or “red flag” knowledge of specific infringing activity, (2) willful blindness to such activity, and (3) whether YouTube had the right and ability to control the infringing activity.
On remand, and after further briefing, Judge Stanton again granted summary judgment on all counts to YouTube. [Read more…]