Copyright Infringement

A Spanish man using the pseudonym “Frikidoctor” has been posting videos to a major video-sharing web site that detail the events of several upcoming episodes of a popular medieval fantasy TV series, including some key plot twists. Frikidoctor’s video “predictions” (which later turned out to be remarkably accurate) were also translated to English and posted to Reddit. At some point, the videos had been taken down from the web site, marked with “copyright claim by [a major cable TV network].” Reportedly, the network is asserting that these videos are infringing on its copyright even if some of the videos do not contain any actual video footage or stills from their hit series. After the videos were removed, Redditors began fervent discussions about whether or not the network was entitled to remove those videos. Some legal experts claim that by giving detailed plot information, one could possibly be liable for copyright infringement. This is, however, not clear. Interestingly, the web site has since restored the videos.
Continue Reading Cable TV Network Has Show Spoilers Removed from Video-Sharing Web Site—Are Plot Elements Copyrightable?

Snapchat, the fast-growing social media network/messaging app, has spawned some controversy over how copyright law is interpreted in the United Kingdom. In a recent Q&A session with members of Parliament, the British government was asked whether it will take steps to prevent Snapchat images from being made public without the image owner’s consent. In his written response dated 24 March 2016, the Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, answered that “[u]nder UK copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner. The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement.”
Continue Reading Screenshotting in Snapchat – Copyright Law Concerns

In a dispute between the operator of a public Wi-Fi network and Sony Music over the download of copyright-protected music via that network, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked to clarify whether and to what extent the operator of a shop, hotel or bar that offers free Wi-Fi to the public is liable for copyright infringements committed by the network’s users (C-484/14).
Continue Reading CJEU Advocate General: Retailers Offering Free Wi-Fi Not Liable for Patrons’ Copyright Infringements

In music, “sampling” is the act of taking a portion of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece. In 2013, several artists and music production companies filed a constitutional complaint with the German Federal Constitutional Court against two Federal Supreme Court rulings (I ZR 112/06I ZR 182/11) that
Continue Reading German Federal Constitutional Court to Rule on Legality of Sampling in Music

A sculpture in Karamy, Xinjiang, China has recently caught a lot of media attention because of its striking resemblance with a famous bean-shaped sculpture in Chicago, known as “Cloud Gate“ (or colloquially as “the Bean”). The Cloud Gate has been a major feature of Chicago‘s landscape since its installation in 2006. While the Cloud Gate is shaped like a bean,
Continue Reading China’s “Cloud Gate” and Copyright Protection

In 2011, British wildlife photographer David J. Slater spent some time in Indonesia taking pictures of crested black macaques when he temporarily left his camera unattended. Reportedly, some of the monkeys began playing with the camera and (accidentally?) took some excellent self-portraits, including a now-famous one dubbed the “Monkey Selfie“.
Continue Reading Monkey Selfies, Elephant Paintings – Is There Copyright in Animal Generated Works?

Taking pictures of food and sharing them online through social media has become a new cultural phenomenon. The trend has become so popular that entire blogs and YouTube channels are now devoted to food photography. A recently published article in the German Daily Newspaper Die Welt has, however, spawned some debate whether taking a picture of an elaborately arranged dish and posting it online might be illegal in the sense that it infringes copyright. According to a lawyer cited in that article, food arrangements are, in principle, copyrightble. If this was in fact the case, posting food images to social media without permission could constitute an unauthorized derivative use of a copyrighted work.
Continue Reading Food Plating and Copyright – Can Instagramming Your Meal Be Construed as Copyright Infringement?

The right to televise sporting events is one of the most valuable commodities in the broadcasting sector. When reports surfaced that live-streaming apps, such as Periscope and Meerkat, had been used to transmit live streams of the “fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao on 2 May 2015, they raised the issue of the copyright implications of these kinds of applications.
Continue Reading Live-Streaming Apps and Sporting Events – Copyright Law Concerns

The social media platform Twitter has been reportedly removing tweets at the request of users who believe their content has been wrongfully appropriated. According to Twitter user @PlagiarismBad, Twitter replaced the text of those tweets with an explanation that the tweets were “withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder”. This raises the issue of the extent to which retweeting a message on Twitter can actually be construed as copyright infringement. In its Copyright and DMCA policy, Twitter states that it “will respond to reports of alleged copyright infringement, such as allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted image as a profile photo, header photo, or background, allegations concerning the unauthorized use of a copyrighted video or image uploaded through our media hosting services, or Tweets containing links to allegedly infringing materials.” However, Twitter did not specifically include the written word within these Guidelines.
Continue Reading Tweets Reported as Infringing Copyright Deleted by Twitter – Are Tweets Copyrightable?

On 16 June 2015, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee adopted a report reviewing the EU’s legislative framework in the area of copyright law. The original draft of the report, authored by German Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, has been subject to various amendments. One amendment that has spawned considerable debate concerns the so called freedom of panorama exception.
Continue Reading New EU Parliament Report to Restrict Freedom of Panorama Exception