Posted: August 25th, 2019
By: Aaron Johnston, Summer Blogger
From author Michael Crichton’s forward-thinking novel Disclosure to popular films such as Iron Man, Minority Report, and Star Trek – science fiction has been predicting our future adventures in virtual and augmented reality for decades. Technology has advanced to make virtual and augmented realities believable and obtainable. Both virtual and augmented realities are likely to make a significant impact in the coming decade. The question is how will intellectual property law catch up?
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Posted: July 23rd, 2019
By: Cameron Rush, Summer Blogger
Last fall, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a summary judgment opinion in the case of Horror Inc. v. Miller which could have far-reaching implications for the relationships between screenwriters, studios, and production companies. In a fight for control of the “Friday the 13th” franchise, the court sided with screenwriter Victor Miller, allowing him to reclaim the rights to the script under a provision of the Copyright Act commonly known as the “termination right.” Continue reading »
Posted: April 24th, 2019
By: Samantha Moench
On March 18, 2019, Argonne National Laboratory released more information about Aurora, “America’s next-generation supercomputer.” Intel has teamed up with the Department of Energy (“DOE”) to create the computer at Argonne’s lab facility which is estimated to cost upwards of $500 million. Cray Inc.—known for its 45 years of building the “world’s most advanced supercomputers” will be a sub-contractor on the deal. Together, Cray Inc. and Intel will work to construct “the fastest supercomputer in U.S. history.” Continue reading »
Posted: April 15th, 2019
By: Killoran Long
At the beginning of this year, a North Carolina videographer escalated a copyright fight with the State of North Carolina to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rick Allen, co-owner of Fayetteville based Nautilus Productions, LLC, is alleging the State of North Carolina and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources are guilty of copyright infringement regarding images related to the recovery of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
The Queen Anne’s Revenge (“QAR”) was Blackbeard’s flagship vessel and was commandeered and then used by the infamous English pirate to conduct his activities during the early 1700s. While Blackbeard operated from the eastern coast of the American colonies, down to the West Indies, he is particularly notorious throughout North Carolina history for his exploits along the coast. It was believed that Blackbeard ran the QAR aground off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina in the summer of 1718, which was confirmed in 1996 when a private research firm found the wreckage. Continue reading »
Posted: February 25th, 2019
By: Amber Razzano
The passage of the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) brings copyright law up to the speed of the modern era. The MMA consists of three parts: (1) Music Licensing Modernization; (2) Compensating Legacy Artists for Their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (“CLASSICS”); and (3) Allocation for Music Producers (“AMP”). The first part of this Act, Music Licensing Modernization, “replaces the existing song-by-song compulsory licensing structure for making and distributing musical works with a blanket licensing system for digital music providers to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries.” This is meant to allow easier payment to “rights holders” whenever their music is streamed online.
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Posted: October 10th, 2018
By: Whitney Hosey, Editor-in-Chief
The Ninth Circuit recently held in ABS Entertainment, Inc. v CBS Corporation et. al.that “pre-1972 sound recordings were not entitled” to copyright protection under the Copyright Act.
The Plaintiff, ABS Entertainment, Inc. (“ABS”), attempted to file its digital remasters of several pre-1972 analog recordings as new copyrights. CBS Corporation and its affiliates (“CBS”) played ABS’ remastered songs on its radio and internet streams without ABS’ permission. CBS paid royalties to the owner of the song rather than ABS and paid a license fee to Sound Exchange as required by the Sound Recording Act (the “Act”). ABS sued CBS alleging it was “publicly performing pre-1972 songs in violation of California state law.”
Prior to 1971, sound recordings were not covered by federal copyright law, while the music and lyrics were covered, the recordings themselves were not. Some states acted on their own to ensure copyright protection for the recordings. In 1971, Congress pass the Sound Recording Amendment making “sound recordings eligible for federal copyright.” However, the Act only provided such protection to recordings made after 1972. Therefore, anything recorded before that was only protected by state law. Continue reading »
Posted: August 9th, 2018
By: Matthew Hooker, Summer Blogger
Copyright laws may be getting a major overhaul soon. On June 28, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a revised and amended version of the Music Modernization Act. The Act, if passed, will likely bring about the most dramatic changes to U.S. music copyright law since the Copyright Act of 1976. The House of Representatives already passed the bill in April 2018, so passage by the full Senate is the last big step before it lands on the president’s desk. Continue reading »
Posted: July 18th, 2018
By: Daniel Norton, Summer Blogger
In the past decade, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been used to create artistic works as well as news articles. For example, A.I. has created works which can imitate famous artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as generating articles for newspapers like The Washington Post. These recent innovations have led some people to ask whether A.I. should be eligible to receive a copyright for its creations. Current Copyright Law does not classify A.I. works as copyrightable creations, however, A.I. might one day achieve a level of intelligence to warrant such accreditation to be protected under United States Copyright Laws.
Since 1973, it has been the official policy of the United States Copyright Office to deny any copyright claims if the work was not created by a human being. In fact, The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices states that in order for a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be “created by a human being.” In one instance, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seems supported the requirement that a human must be the creator for a work to receive copyright protection. In the case Naruto v. Slader, the court denied the monkey, Naruto, standing to bring an action under the Copyright Act. This holding from one of the primary goalsof Intellectual Property Law: to benefit society by incentivizing innovation by allowing creators and innovators the right to profit from their creations for a set period. Continue reading »
Posted: July 13th, 2018
By: Whitney Hosey, Editor-in-Chief
On Monday, July 9, President Trump announced his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The nominee, the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh, has served as a federal appeals court judge since his appointment by President George W. Bush in 2006. In that time, Judge Kavanaugh has “written almost 300 opinions.” Among those opinions are several involving both business law and intellectual property law.
On the business end of things, Kavanaugh has consistently ruled in favor of businesses in pivotal cases. For example, in Verizon New England Inc. v. NLRB, Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion overruling the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) decision in favor of an employees’ union. Instead, the Court determined that the union had violated a collective bargaining agreement with Verizon by “displaying pro-union signs in their vehicles.” On the whole “Kavanaugh is considered pragmatic.” The biggest business law and telecom related case which may come before the High Court is determining “whether a proposed nationwide class of consumers can sue Apple, Inc. for allegedly monopolizing the iPhone app market.” The lower court has already granted the plaintiffs standing on the anti-trust claims, whether Kavanaugh would choose to overrule that determination is unclear. Continue reading »
Posted: June 26th, 2018
By: Phillip Jester, Summer Blogger
A recent White House report accused China, the world’s second-largest economy, of engaging in aggressive “acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules.” The report highlights a new threat posed by China: the presence of “Chinese Nationals” serving as “Non-Traditional Information Collectors” at American universities. The White House alleges that the Chinese State has created educational programs which encourage science and engineering students to master important military technologies in order to share such technologies with Beijing.
More than 100 American universities currently collaborate with Confucius Institutes, educational organization that are sponsored by China’s Communist Party. Lawmakers and intelligence officials are now speaking out against the role of Confucius Institutes as possible “spying outposts.” In February, Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Director Christopher Wray stated that Chinese spies are being planted in American schools in order to exploit “very open research and development” environments. The exploitation of open educational environments may already be paying off. Chinese Scientists returning from American laboratories have played a key role in the development of hypersonic glide systems, systems capable of penetrating any current missile defense. Continue reading »