This morning oral arguments in Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum took place in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. I was one of the many that braved the cold and rainy Boston morning to go watch (and I got a front row seat!), so some analysis of the proceedings will be forthcoming. For the time being, though, I thought I’d go ahead and post the appellate briefs and reply briefs from Mr. Tenenbaum, the RIAA, the United States, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. So if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of today’s arguments, or you just want to see what hundreds of hours of work looks like in written form, read on.
Today Ford Motor Company sued Ferrari in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan. I haven’t really had a chance to go through and get a handle on the case yet, but this is shaping up to be very interesting. Click through to read complaint in its entirety. Thus far, my favorite quote is, “Ferrari’s misappropriation of the F-150® trademark, or counterfeits, copies, reproductions, or colorable imitations thereof, has been, and continues to be done, with the intent to cause confusion, mistake, and to deceive consumers concerning the source and/or sponsorship of Ferrari’s products and services.” I think Ford’s come a long way over the last couple years, but something tells me Ferrari is not trying to get consumers to associate them with trucks. In any case, the complaint’s below:
So I’ve made the case for why artists should copyright their creative works, the next question is: once it’s copyrighted, what’s protected, and what can others take for themselves? Since the types of works that are subject to copyright protection are so diverse – from sculptures to songs to dance steps – the protectable elements of each type of work all have their own quirks and nuances. In the end though, it all comes back to originality. For photographers, courts have set up a system to describe the various ways a photograph can be original and therefore the various ways in which it’s protected by copyright. Who’s the pivotal figure in the whole thing? You guessed it… Frank Stallone Kevin Garnett.
The Huffington Post published a great article by Cat Weaver about the current state of copyright law seen through the lens of a particular picture, and its transformation and use by a handful of artists. If you haven’t read it already, go read it here. (For those who don’t want their attention diverted from my writing, and who can blame you, two artists working together took a picture of a panda, changed it up a bit, and turned it into a t-shirt. A third artist then came along and took an exact copy of the panda graphic, made it into a pattern, and turned it into a large piece of wall art, which he presumably made a bunch of money off of).
Read it? Good. There’s a lot going on in this article — it really makes you think about what copyright law should look like and what the best way to promote the arts and reward artists for their creativity really is — but what jumped out at me is how hamstrung artists Jimi Benedict and AJ Dimarucot are. Why are their options so limited? They never registered their copyright. Why does that limit them so much? Read on. [Read more…]