January 29, 2013
Cellphone users know that when they sign a contract with a mobile phone company, they're locked into that network for the duration of the deal. What they may not know is that their phone is digitally locked to that network forever. And as of this week, they may no longer have the legal right to unlock it, even after the contract has expired. It's just the latest example of how companies have stretched copyright law to deter competition and innovation, not protect the creators of copyrighted works.
January 22, 2013
PARK CITY, UTAH -- How Disney will respond to an unauthorized film made in its theme parks has been a question hovering over the Sundance Film Festival since the movie premiered to intense media interest Friday night. But one legal expert who's seen the film, titled "Escape From Tomorrow," says he believes the conglomerate doesn't have a very strong leg to stand on. "I think on both copyright and trademark fronts their case would be pretty weak," Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University who watched the movie at a screening last weekend, told The Times.
January 10, 2013 |
In a legal victory that cements the studio's ownership of Superman as it goes forward with a slate of movie about the Man of Steel, Warner Bros. has won an appeal against the daughter of the character's co-creator, Jerry Siegel. A trio of judges with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court ruling that had allowed Laura Siegel Larson to terminate 50% of Warner Bros.' copyright. Terminating the copyright would have deprived Warner Bros. of much of the Superman mythos and likely would have led to new negotiations over royalties -- at a higher price for the studio.
November 26, 2012 |
Following a hoax post that went viral, Facebook has reassured its users that they, not the company, own the copyright to the content they post on the social network. This weekend, a number of users on the site began re-posting the viral status update proclaiming that users, not Facebook, own the copyrights to their content. The viral post implies that Facebook owns the copyright. "In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details," the viral post says.
October 30, 2012
In a battle pitting copyright owners against consumers and retailers, the Supreme Court heard a case Monday that could decide how much control manufacturers can exert over their products after they've been sold. At issue is whether the "first sale" doctrine - which lets people who buy copyrighted works resell, rent or donate them as they please - applies to goods made outside the United States and then imported into the country. If it doesn't, that could spell trouble not just for "gray market" retailers - who buy products in foreign countries at a discount, then resell them here - but also for libraries, second-hand stores, used-car dealers and others who lend or resell imported goods.
September 11, 2012 |
When you think of a certain classic rock album released in 1967 with a bright yellow illustration of a banana on the cover, what name comes to mind: Andy Warhol or the Velvet Underground? That's one of the questions essentially at the root of a lawsuit brought by the influential band founded by Lou Reed and John Cale, which accused the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts of violating its copyright when it consented to the iconic image being used without the band's permission on a planned line of iPhone and iPad accessories.
August 19, 2012 |
MEXICO CITY - First there were four of them, lined up against the subway platform wall. Then five, then six, then 11 - all of them blind, all with retractable canes, all with bulging backpacks strapped to their torsos. Socorro Jimenez was among them, waiting her turn. The unwritten rule is one per train. Soon, hers came. This is how it always works on mornings such as this one: Few of the strap-hanging housekeepers or half-asleep students or impassive office workers will pay much mind to the 55-year-old, or her cane, or her nondescript black backpack.