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30 Oct 0
Decoding IP Podcast

Volkswagen and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): How Copyright Law Hinders Scientific Integrity

Unless you’ve been living in a cave the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the West Virginia scientists who discovered that Volkswagen (VW) has been cheating on diesel emissions tests and violating EPA emissions standards for years. VW pulled this feat off by installing a special software sequence called a defeat device on its […]

10 Oct 0
Decoding IP Podcast

Ashley Madison Doesn’t Understand the DMCA

Sometimes secretive websites don’t keep their secrets very well. That’s certainly true of the Ashley Madison site, which is now a famous (infamous) site that connects those interested in infidelity with other like-minded people that was hacked. So what did its owner, Avid Life Media, do when its customers’ data was leaked on the Internet? […]

2 Oct 0
Decoding IP Podcast

Paying for Happy Birthday

  Yes, the “Happy Birthday” song has been around for a while. And yes, until very recently, if you wanted to sing it and play the music for a commercial purpose you had to pay $$ for the privilege. Warner/Chappell music was raking in the dough for that ubiquitous song for decades, until now. In […]

26 Sep 0
Decoding IP Podcast

Prince’s Dancing Babies

Did you ever think that you’d get in trouble for playing one of your favorite songs? Stephanie Lenz didn’t. But then she put a 29 second video clip of her son on YouTube, and it had Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” song playing in the background. And then Universal Music called her a big ole’ copyright […]

25 Sep 0

It’s Official: Happy Birthday To You Is In The Public Domain

This week, Judge King granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., ruling that Warner/Chappell does not own a valid copyright to the lyrics to “Happy Birthday.” For those of you not familiar with summary judgment, that means that the court decided the case as a matter of law – meaning […]

15 Sep 0
Happy Birthday Case Continues

Happy Birthday Case Continues to Twist and Turn

Last year we wrote about Good Morning to You Productions’s class action lawsuit against Warner/Chappell Music over that ubiquitous song “Happy Birthday to You”. Well, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn. The parties completed discovery and each filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to decide the dispute as […]

29 Jul 0

Ashley Madison, the DMCA, and the Misuse of Copyright Law

As I was reading about the Ashley Madison hack yesterday, I was surprised to learn that Avid Life Media, the company behind this website, claimed to be mitigating the damage to its users by using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, known as the DMCA. That’s right, the company that helps facilitate millions of extra-marital affairs, […]

22 Jul 0

Name of the Game: When is it “Fair” to Use Someone Else’s Trademark?

Let’s say you’re a huge fan of Coca Cola. You grew up drinking their soda, you were one of their first Facebook fans, you collect Coke bottles from around the world, and now you’ve decided to use their trademark on your own fan site. Before you get started on the design for your new fan […]

14 Jul 0

3D IP Series: Now We’re Printing Fast Sports Cars?

I remember the dot matrix printer I used in college. It weighed about 50 pounds, and I almost broke my back every time I moved it. Plus, every document I printed on that monster was basically illegible. In light of that experience, I must confess that I welcomed the news of California-based Divergent Microfactories’ 3D-printed […]

10 Jul 0
2015-07-10_software patents_clyde

Avoiding Software Patent Quicksand

The ground beneath software patents is shifting, sliding, and sinking. Almost daily, courts are finding ways to invalidate software claims. The resulting uncertainty in both the patentability of software inventions and the meaning of allowed software claims has prompted one of the Federal Circuit judges to describe a recent ruling as a “litigator’s delight.” The […]