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Ninth Circuit: Copyright owner’s ambiguous reservation of rights clarified with extrinsic evidence

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment that a copyright holder did not have standing to sue for copyright, trademark, unfair competition, and related declaratory judgment claims. The case involved the film Gone in 60 Seconds, produced and directed in 1974 by H.B. "Toby" Halicki, and remade […]

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Second Circuit: Copyright license of indeterminate term improperly read to be perpetual

In this appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, the Second Circuit reversed the dismissal of a copyright claim based on ambiguity in a contract, but affirmed dismissal of the antitrust claims because the plaintiff's proposed market definition was not plausible.The district court dismissed the copyright claims based […]

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Tenth anniversary of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act

On October 28, 1998, President Clinton signed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act into law. The Act is probably best known for two of its provisions: (1) the anti-cirumvention provsion, which prohibits circumventing a "technological measure that effectively controls access to" a copyrighted work, and (2) the online "safe harbor" provision, which generally insulates parties that […]

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Ninth Circuit: Absent evidence of intent to the contrary, custom software purchaser retains license

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court's decision that a software developer's delivery of customized software includes a grant of an unlimited, non-exclusive, implied license to use, modify, and retain the source code of the programs in the absence of written agreements to the contrary. The Ninth Circuit also affirmed the […]

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Eleventh Circuit: No DJ jurisdiction in copyright case when copyright unregistered

In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit vacated a district court's grant of summary judgment in a copyright infringement declaratory judgment action. The court determined that the district court was without subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the alleged infringer's declaratory judgment action. This was because the district court would have lacked jurisdiction to hear the […]

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Ninth Circuit: First sale doctrine doesn’t apply to goods purchased abroad and imported to US

In a decision last week, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment to a copyright defendant on the basis of the "first sale" doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109(a). The defendant obtained the products bearing the copyright from a third party who legally purchased them outside the United States. The […]

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Federal Circuit: Breach of open source license conditions can lead to copyright infringement

In a recent decision, the Federal Circuit addressed some of the copyright issues involved with the open source movement. Often open source software is distributed under a so-called copyleft license, which permits others to use the work, subject to certain restrictions. The GNU general public license is the most well-known of these licenses. The license […]

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Second Circuit: Remote DVR system does not infringe content providers’ copyrights

In a decision last week, the Second Circuit reversed a lower court's grant of summary judgment holding that the defendant's remote-storage DVR system violated the plaintiffs' rights of reproduction and public performance. The Plaintiffs were various content providers, and the defendant was a cable company. The remote-storage DVR system lets customers store recorded television shows […]

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Patry copyright blog is no more

It's a sad day in the blogosphere, as Bill Patry, author of Patry on Copyright and the Patry Copyright Blog, has announced he is shutting down his blog. We've linked to Professor Patry's commentary on copyright law on many occasions, and his additional insight into copyright issues will be missed. Other blogs noting his departure: […]

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Federal Circuit addresses scope of immunity waiver for copyright and DMCA claims

In a decision Friday, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision from the United States Court of Federal Claims dismissing a copyright holder's claims for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that the Government had not waived sovereign immunity. The suit arose from alleged copyright infringement and an alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act […]

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