If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me, that’s their basic argument. What they don’t realise is that it needs a court to decide that.
– David Slater, a British nature photographer embroiled in a conflict with Wikimedia over the copyright to photos taken by a female macaque monkey who stole Slater’s camera in 2011 and used it take a selfie. Tween girls, amiright? Anyway, Wikimedia considers the picture royalty-free because the author of the work is, in fact, a monkey, and until Caesar’s revolution she isn’t likely to look to enforce her right. Slater argues that he owns the copyright since it was his camera. As for the title, okay you caught me — the monkey didn’t put her selfie up on any dating sites, but did post to Instagram with the message “New camera! #fecesthrowing #blessed.”
* With all the fire-breathing over the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins stands out for being reasonable. “I don’t feel like we have to solve the border crisis for a terrified child to be shown some compassion.” Why don’t we hear about more people like Judge Jenkins? This article suggests there’s a deeper problem with the media. [Dallas Observer]
* I’ve been beating the drum that the Obamacare cases aren’t bound for SCOTUS because the D.C. Circuit will reverse Halbig en banc. The contrary view is that the Supreme Court may not let the lack of a real circuit split stand in its way. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Outrage over the government’s school lunch health standards have Republicans fighting back at the state level. Remember, we need fatass kids because… freedom! [National Journal]
* The Second Circuit approved antibiotics in animal feed for animals that aren’t even sick. Enjoy your superbugs! [Kitchenette / Jezebel]
* Judge allegedly fell asleep during a child rape case. It’s not like it’s an important case or anything. [Gawker]
* Man claims his former employer discriminated against him because he was an atheist. Yep, this Hobby Lobby thing isn’t going to have any repercussions at all. [Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal]
* Speaking of atheists and SCOTUS, the Court may have authorized the Town of Greece to get all religiousy at town board meetings, but an atheist is stepping up to the plate to deliver an invocation. Freedom of religion does mean he gets a turn. [Rochester Homepage]
* There’s an icky sexual harassment story coming out of an elite L.A. school. And they’ve hired an elite law firm to investigate. [Gawker]
* Cops do hear some pretty funny stories when they pull people over. [Legal Juice]
* If you’re out of work, here’s an idea: this solicitor-to-be posted a selfie with a pigeon on Facebook and got an offer — along with a lot of publicity. [Legal Cheek]
* Is the future of legal education online? Perhaps the better question is, “How will law schools overcharge when they no longer have brick-and-mortar facilities?” [Tipping the Scales]
* A judge explains that incest and pedophilia aren’t such big deals anymore because gay people are accepted. Wow. [Jezebel]
* Are you keeping up with Kirby v. Marvel? Because Jack Kirby’s estate is making a run at the Supreme Court in a case that affects billions. Embed below… [Bloomberg]
* On a similar note, New York banning “Tiger Selfies.” When do they give out the Darwin Awards again? [Lowering the Bar]
* Are there lessons to be learned from the lawyer who applied for — and got rejected from — a paralegal gig? [Law and More]
* Have you ever seen a standup comic playing music during a set? Well, they’re doing it to prevent others — clubs, networks, etc. — from lifting their work and selling it as their own. Welcome to the world of standups and copyright. [The Legal Geeks]
“Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre, or ghost?” If you recognize those movie lines then perhaps you know that yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters. The movie starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as three ousted Columbia parapsychology professors who start a supernatural elimination business. Joined by a fourth crusader (Ernie Hudson), the Ghostbusters save New York City from a ghoulish invasion unleashed when a meddling EPA agent shuts down their ghost containment system. This week, On Remand looks back at Ghostbusters, the lawsuits it generated, and the case of one man who needed a Ghostbuster, but called a lawyer instead.
* Vice Media is doing tremendous work exposing injustices. Perhaps they need to look into their own office. (UPDATE: Vice has changed its ways and now pays its interns.) [Capital New York]
* In a comical bout of karma, a landlord sued its blogger resident for alleged defamation. Next thing you know, HUD inspection records come to light. Let’s just say the landlord should be very unhappy that truth is a defense. [Columbus Dispatch]
* Check out the conclusion of ReplyAll’s conversation with John Grisham. [Above the Law]
* Do you think someone is not happy with Jones Foster’s billing practices?
Disney is a name that is often associated with copyright maximalism for pretty good reasons. Despite the fact that many of its early successes depended heavily on either direct infringement or making use of the public domain, the company was a very aggressive enforcer of its own copyrights. And, of course, it was also a primary lobbyist for expanding copyright protections, andextending copyright term every time Mickey Mouse approached the public domain.
However, in the past few years, it’s seemed as though Disney has been a bit quieter than in the past about copyright issues, allowing some other companies to take the lead on that. And, in some cases, it seems to even be recognizing (*gasp*) that some infringement can actually be a good thing. Andrew Leonard, over at Salon, has the story of how Disney has finally joined the 21st century in realizing that having fans create derivative works around the movie Frozen, has actually been useful and free promotion for the original (and massively successful) movie.
All too often we seem to see people making copyright claims over public domain works. It’s especially egregious when we see museums do this kind of thing, as happens every so often.
While museums in some other countries like to try to claim that they can create a new copyright on the digital scan of a public domain image, in the U.S. it is generally considered settled law that museums cannot create such a new copyright. Public domain is the public domain….
Usher wrote this song called Bad Girl. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. Anyway, this guy named — I s**t you not — Dan Marino claims he wrote the song and Usher and his cronies stole it from him. He wants millions and millions of dollars. But rather than trigger the fall of the House of Usher, his lawyer got handed his hat.
He hired a lawyer named Francis Malofiy to zealously represent his interests. To his credit, “zeal” is not a failing of Mr. Malofiy. Courtesy, respect, professional responsibility — these things might be lacking, but he’s got zeal covered.
And, as it so often does, the latter failings (coupled with the former strength) gave rise to an epic benchslap….
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