The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Spotify Faces Copyright Lawsuits

By any measure, streaming accounts for a large part of how people listen to music now; in a world that is increasingly cloud-based, it only makes sense that our music should move on from the realm of the tangible as well. Digital music has faced a bumpy road to get where it is today, from the earliest days of Napster, but it has largely reached a place of relative peace between artist, publisher, and service, if not quite happiness between the three. But a recent case against Spotify illustrates the cracks that still exist in the current system and the ongoing struggle to ensure fair compensation to those making the music we stream.  

Read More

Beyond Infringement to Rights Monetization

In her latest Forbes article, Mary speaks with Ray Young of RightsIn. RightsIn is a startup seeking to help artists monetize their creations by providing an avenue for licensing their films and music through an online marketplace. Ray talks about how the RightsIn marketplace offers creators more control of the licensing and monetization of their work, the process of how the product was developed, and his experience with IP in the entertainment industry.

Read More

Supreme Court Considers Fashion Copyrights

In looking at cases involving intellectual property rights, it's important to consider the wider implications that can cascade from one court decision. A precedent set in one patent or trademark case can have a ripple effect that shapes an entire industry. And if a matter rises to the Supreme Court, the decision handed down therein can provide a definitive stamp on a previous decision that fundamentally changes the course of the U.S. economy in some slight degree.

Read More

Can TV Spoilers Violate Copyright?

In this time-shifted age of television viewing, spoilers have become the bugaboo of many people's entertainment existence. It wasn't that long ago that missing an episode of television meant that it was simply gone, with no chance for you to catch up. VCRs changed the way people could watch their favorite programs, and in the age of DVRs and streaming and on-demand, there's no reason you can't watch episodes of your favorite shows anytime and anywhere and hop on social media to discuss what happened. But these online forums for TV fans can also be a minefield of spoilers for fans not caught up or, event more perilously, for episodes yet to be released.

Read More

Internet Provider Penalized In Copyright Violation Cases

When it comes to piracy and copyright violation, one would reasonably assume that the entirety of culpability lies with the offender. After all, there isn't much in the way of excuse for doing something that most know to be wrong in misappropriating copyrighted material (and ignorance is a poor defense.) You might see characters on television or in the movies forced to hack computer systems and steal sensitive information under duress, but likely no one is at your house making you torrent "Vice Principals." However, a recent court ruling could bring cable providers into the mix in cases of customers' copyright infringement.

Read More

Electronic Freedom Foundation Goes to Court Over Digital Millenium Copyright Act

When we purchase something, we assume that the item becomes ours, to do with it as we so choose. That is the understanding and agreement that exists between buyer and seller in most transactions that take place. If you go to your local department store and buy a toaster and decide to run over it with your car in the driveway, that's your prerogative; the store certainly doesn't care, as they've achieved their goal of moving merchandise and collecting your money. But the digital age has ushered in a new type of product that now comes with rights and safeguards that go beyond the point of sale.  

Read More

Italian Festival In Trouble for Improper Attribution

The internet can seem at times a terrible, negative place, but it can also be a tremendous resource for collaboration and sharing. People the world over are willing to take the time and effort to create fantastic works of art, photography and video, and many are willing to share them with everyone with no desire for compensation. Others ask simply that users attribute the material they use and follow a licensing agreement. While that may not seem a particularly onerous requirement for the free use of others' works, many companies and individuals still manage to get themselves in trouble by not reading those agreements. 

Read More

Google Wins Key Decision in API Fair Use Case

Given the omnipresence of technology in our lives, tech giants like Google manage to touch almost every aspect of society to some degree. And you can't be as big as a Google or an Apple without running into a few issues. We've previously written about the copyright case that Oracle had filed against Google, in which a court had ruled in favor of Oracle in the company's assertion that APIs are copyrightable and that Google had violated their copyright in using parts of Java APIs of their Android platform. The ruling allowed for Google to mount a fair use defense for their usage of the APIs, and the matter headed back to district court for a ruling that was issued late last month.

Read More

Rock Band Upsets Cartoon Creator With Potential Copyright Infringement

In the world of films both short- and long-form, you can often see the influence of other works in what a particular artist brings to the screen. Many artists craft original works that still manage to evoke the look or sound or feel of a piece of art that influenced them in some way. In its purest form, many would cite that evocation as homage rather than copying. But in certain cases, mimicking a particular style in your work can be seen as copyright by the original artists, and that can cause an unpleasant dispute.  

Read More

Supreme Court Rejects Fair Use Challenge Against Google Books

In the modern marketplace, consumers like to be able to have an idea of what they're purchasing. From free samples at the grocery store to free 30-day trials for software and apps, the though is that being able to try something before you have to put down hard-earned money will make consumers more willing to try something and hopefully like it enough to eventually pay for it. For book lovers, the idea of sampling before purchasing is a long-standing tradition. Walk into the few remaining brick and mortar bookstores and you'll see people sitting in chairs and benches reading books and magazines from off the shelves. Find a book that you might be interested in buying and you'll inevitable skim a page or two to see if the prose appeals to you. And online book shoppers will still be able to enjoy the same sampling thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

Read More

Facebook Introduces Rights Manager to Combat Infringement

technology-785742_1280.jpgSocial media is a great way to connect to a large audience. It allows for individuals and companies to share content with people all over the world. But the inherent danger that comes with such a large audience is the increased number of people who might misappropriate your creations. The relative anonymity that you can find online emboldens many to steal video, audio and pictures from others. Now Facebook is introducing a tool to try to combat copyright infringement on the platform. 

Read More

Google Copyright Takedown Requests Increase Yet Again

In the modern age, Google has become the repository of almost all knowledge. There's hardly a fact or story or video that can't be tracked down with the right search. Given how much is online these days, it comes as no surprise that Google and other content hosts have to deal with copyright issues. But recent reports on the number of complaints is both shocking and concerning. 

Read More

Warner Music Reaches Settlement over "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit

Birthdays are a special time for most people. They offer the chance to celebrate another year, and for people to celebrate you as well. There's usually gifts, cards, a cake, and the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday." Generally speaking, songs like "Happy Birthday" have been around so long that most of us don't give much thought to where they originated, almost assuming that somehow they've always just existed. But those songs and others that exist in the collective consciousness have an origin, and a writer somewhere back in time. And understandably, the estates of those writers want to make sure that the legacy of those songs is protected. 

Read More

CBS and Paramount Issue Prime Directive to Stop Star Trek Fan Film

When it comes to geek culture, passion is what drives the industry. Sure, making money is ultimately the bottom line, as it is in every other industry, but those dollars come from passionate fan bases that are invested in shows and films and books that they love. One need only look at the recent success of The Force Awakens to see that passion on display. It is that investment that has allowed many of these franchises to maintain such a long life. The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977. Doctor Who has been on and off the air for over half a century. And Star Trek is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, a show that has become synonymous with zealous fans. But the studio behind Star Trek is less than thrilled with fan-made projects springing forth from that zeal.

Read More

Big Bang Theory Facing Copyright Lawsuit

Given today's media landscape, it's hard for television shows to gain the sort of popularity that their predecessors did in decades past. The one show that has come closest to the notoriety of its network sitcom predecessors is The Big Bang Theory. GIven how fragmented viewing audiences are, the show is as close to a cultural touchstone as we may have, regularly topping the ratings and views on streaming services. But now TV's most popular sitcom finds itself in a copyright lawsuit over one of its songs.

Read More

Spotify Up Against Class Action Suit for Copyright Infringement

Streaming services have become the latest step in the evolution of how we consume content. People are no longer encumbered by physical copies of the movies they want to watch or the music that they wish to listen to. That is especially true for music: not only do you not need to carry around your CDs or your iPod, you don't have to own the work in order to listen to it, thanks to services like Spotify. All Spotify asks of its listeners is to listen to ads every few songs, or pay a nominal fee for the ad-free version of the app. But a recent lawsuit may shake up the way that millions of people get their music.

Read More

Is the Media Taking Advantage of Your Ignorance of Copyright?

There are 500 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day and 40 million photos are posted on Instagram every day. (Source)

Impressive figures, but why do they matter? They matter because they represent opportunities, some that have been missed. With tens of hundreds of millions photos uploaded to social media every day, there's bound to be infringement on your content. Yes, YOURS. Let me explain in more detail below.

Read More

Katy Perry Copyright Case Jumps The Shark

Ever since the Super Bowl halftime show, the costumed "Left Shark" has gyrated his way into the nation's heart. Not since a fateful office party has such poor dancing propelled someone to such heights of fame. In the week plus since the big game, "Left Shark" has become an internet meme used for just about every conceiveable purpose. You'd even bet money on shark costumes being the big seller this Halloween save for the relatively short lifespan of such novelties. Given the relative lack of longevity of such sensations, it was inevitable that some would try to cash in as soon as possible. One 3-D printer's attempt to do just that has prompted Katy Perry's lawyers to shut him down faster than Amity Island.

Read More