The Perils of Failing to Answer

Last week I summarized a recent case that looked at when maximum statutory damages are appropriate in a copyright infringement matter.  I noted that during its analysis, the Getty Court made reference to IO Group, Inc. v. Antelope Media – another case that evaluated an award of maximum statutory damages, and with particular relevance to the defendant’s behavior in that case.1

But was the Court’s reliance on that case somewhat short sighted?

Images and the Internet (Part 2 of 3)

Source of an Image – how do you know?

In Part 1 of a series of Blog posts related to Images and the Internet, I discussed the need for parties to increase their level of diligence and awareness when it comes to understanding the source of an image prior to using the image.  Or from the legal standpoint, making sure to verify who the copyright or exclusive rights owner is, and to the converse, if you can’t verify, then don’t use.  Ultimately, unless you are the actual image taker, a witness standing there, or you were the subject matter of the image, you can never know with full certainty the true ‘source’ of an image.

All on Board for the “Music-Bus” Ride?

On June 25, 2014, the HR Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on IP, convened for its Part Two of hearings on music licensing issues under Title 17.  Committee Member remarks seemingly indicate a general awareness, and even bi-partisan agreement, that changes to the current music licensing system may be useful, and in some instances necessary.  In particular, Ranking Member Nadler (NY) suggested the system needs comprehensive reform, as the current system is inequitable and has aspects that are wholly irrational.  As a key point, Rep. Nadler focused on how terrestrial (i.e., conventional AM/FM), satellite, and internet radio all operate under different licensing and artist compensation rules, assuming there is compensation.  To correct downfalls in the current system, an omnibus (or so-called “Music-Bus”) bill supported by Rep. Nadler and others has been introduced for consideration.

Images and the Internet (Part 1 of 3)

A picture speaks a thousand words – and sometimes even more.  So it makes sense that use of imagery in the world of the internet abounds all around us.  Beyond the use of a cell phone, the internet is arguably the primary means or medium of communication, and with today’s smartphones, the two are completely intertwined.  Certainly the use of images is the whole thrust behind sites like ‘Pinterest’ – share what you like/love/are interested in by “pinning” a picture.  And Facebook realized the value of images when it paid $1 Billion+ for Instagram – now every time a photo is “shared” (or uploaded) on Facebook, it becomes a page of advertising.  And since we use technology in an unprecedented manner to instantly share an image for free, that’s not a bad investment.

In the internet sense, we use images because they help us communicate, and sometimes (even oftentimes) more effectively than mere writing.  Quite frankly, if an image did not have any value on a website, it wouldn’t be used and websites would be havens for bland text.  But what about when you are not the source of the image (i.e., what does it mean to use, or copy, an image that you did not take or shoot)?  Legally speaking, this is an immediate concern because it is axiomatic in the US that various exclusive rights vest with a person that takes a photo.