Tag Archives: copyright

“Blurred Lines” trial starts today

I wrote a piece for a new-ish publication called Ratter about the impending copyright trial between Pharrell, Robin Thicke, and the estate of Marvin Gaye, about whether the song “Blurred Lines” infringes on “Got To Give It Up.” In particular, the judge has done some unusual things in terms of what is allowable evidence, given […]

Earth to Elon: please let the public domain have space photos

It probably goes without saying that I am a strong supporter of Techdirt’s call for Elon Musk to release space photos taken by SpaceX into the public domain. It would continue a tradition of unrestricted space photos that began with NASA’s images—necessarily public domain, coming from a U.S. government agency—but which is jeopardized when space […]

3 circus posters that changed the face of copyright law

The 1903 Supreme Court ruling in Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. was a hugely influential for turn-of-the-century copyright. Bleistein was an employee of a company that had designed circus posters for The Great Wallace Shows. Donaldson was a competitor of that company, and agreed to print a subsequent run of those same posters without authorization. […]

On Lichtenstein and “theft”

There’s an emotionally compelling comic going around now that shows some of the hardships artist Russ Heath faced in the decades after Roy Lichtenstein appropriated one of his panels in a now famous painting. Per the comic, Lichtenstein sold the painting for four million dollars. (I’m not sure where that figure comes from, as another […]

Digging in to the USPTO FOIA 2014 log

The USPTO has released a log of the FOIA requests it has processed in the fiscal year 2014 in response to a request I submitted early last month.1 Looking through these logs is interesting because you can start to pick out a little narrative for many of the requests, and you can get a sense […]