I’ve been looking for an excuse to blog about the upcoming third-installment of the Batman movie series directed by Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight Rises is set for
a July release Here is the trailer from YouTube. I put Nolan’s first two films in the series, Batman Beginsand The Dark Knight, on my personal list of Top 10 Movies. Yes, I like these movies that much.
Here is my excuse for blogging about Batman: a federal judge has ruled that Batman’s techno-ride, the Batmobile, may be subject to copyright protection. Click here for the story.
Should our copyright laws extend to fashion designs? The so-called Fashion Bill has been reintroduced in Congress.
For the last two decades, there have been a relatively small number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) on the Internet. A gTLD is essentially the part of the domain name after the dot. But the number of gTLDs is about to increase dramatically. On June 20, 2011,
the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that beginning on January 12, 2012, companies and organizations will be able to register virtually any gTLD they choose – for a price. The initial registration will be $185,000, with an annual renewal fee of $25,000.
For details about the implications of this change, read the article “New Top-Level Domain Names Available”.
Using the four-factor legal standard for fair use (purpose and character of the use; nature of the copyrighted work; amount/substantiality of the portion used in relationship to the work as a whole; and effect of the use upon the potential market), Judge James Mahan ruled that Jama and CIO met all four criteria necessary to constitute fair use. One of the most surprising aspects of this ruling involves the third factor. Even though the defendants copied the article in its entirety, the judge ruled that the amount was reasonable. Mahan reasoned that because the purpose of the use was to educate the public, and the work was factual, “it would have been impracticable for defendants to cut out portions of the article or edit the article down.”
Regarding the fourth factor of fair use, the opinion also questions whether Righthaven, which is not itself a newspaper and is merely using the copyright to file infringement lawsuites, can claim LVRJ’s market as its own.
It remains to be seen how this ruling will affect the numerous other cases that Righthaven has filed against bloggers who have posted LVRJ content, but if the posting of an entire article can be considered fair use, and if Righthaven does not have an actual market to base its claims upon, this could jeopardize its other claims of copyright infringement.
Michael Atkins recently published an interesting post on his “Seattle Trademark Lawyer” blog entitled “Ninth Circuit Changes Dilution Standard”. Unlike trademark infringement, which requires a likelihood of confusion between two marks, trademark dilution
only applies to famous marks. If a mark lessens the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish good and services, it may be diluting the famous mark. In a case involving the stitch designs on the pockets of Levi Strauss and Abercrombie & Fitch jeans, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision, stating that the two marks no longer need to be “identical or nearly identical”. Atkins posted side-by-side drawings of the two stitch designs. Take a look and draw your own conclusions.