Actress’ “Innocence of Muslims” Copyright Claim Forces Google to Take it Down

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Google to take the inflammatory anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” down from You Tube and all platforms it controls and to take reasonable steps to prevent additional uploads.  The Ninth Circuit’s order results from actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s copyright infringement claim against Google.  Garcia prevailed in her appeal of the district court’s denial of her preliminary injunction motion to order Google to remove the film from You Tube.  The Ninth Circuit ruled that Garcia was likely to succeed on the merits of her copyright claim against Google, that Google’s ongoing infringement caused Garcia irreparable harm and that the balance of the equities and the public interest tipped in Garcia’s favor.

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Open Licensing Viewed in China as a Copyright Protection Scheme

Dr. Chunyan Wang recently spoke at a Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA) event in Seattle, Washington.  Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor at Renmin University of China Law School and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law.  She is the project lead of the Creative Commons China Project.  She spoke on the Chinese experience with open licensing.  This post focuses on the traditional Chinese approach to creativity, current Chinese copyright law and how Creative Commons licenses provide a balance between them.

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.”  (About page, CC website).  CC licenses provide creators with a way to share their works with others with fewer constraints than a traditional U.S. copyright license.  Instead of the default “all rights reserved” in the typical U.S. copyright license, a CC license is granted with “some rights reserved.”  Dr. Wang described how CC licenses are viewed in China as a copyright protection, compared to the U.S. attitude of offering less than full copyright protection.  My takeaway from Dr. Wang’s presentation is that anyone considering doing business in China should be prepared to work with the Creative Commons licensing model or another open licensing model.

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Accused Infringer Attacks Copyright Registration Forms to No Avail

MP3tunes was an online music service that allowed users to search the Internet for free songs and to store those songs in the users’ MP3tunes personal online storage lockers.  EMI Inc., a music publishing company, sued MP3tunes and its founder, Michael Robertson, for copyright infringement.  Trial for this case is set to begin in late February 2014.

For one of his pretrial motions, defendant Robertson moved to exclude evidence regarding copyright registrations for cover art for sound recordings, arguing that sound recording (SR) registrations cannot include cover art and that some copyright registration forms were not correctly filled out.  Excluding evidence from being presented at trial means that that evidence cannot be used by a party to establish a claim or defense.  The idea is to exclude certain key evidence or exclude enough evidence to prevent an opposing party from establishing her case.

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Co-Author’s Copyright Registration Does Not Strip Other Co-Author’s Rights

Two issues of first impression came before the Third Circuit in Brownstein v. Lindsay.  “First impression” means that it is a new legal issue for that court.  The first issue of first impression addressed the point in time at which a joint authorship claim under the Copyright Act arises and accrues. In other words, when does the statute of limitations start running for joint authorship claims?  The second issue addressed whether courts have the authority to cancel copyright registrations.

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