Craig Whitney

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When we last examined the intellectual property issues raised by a self-portrait taken by a talented female Indonesian crested black macaque—popularly known as the “Monkey Selfie”—we concluded that there was unlikely to be any copyright protection in the work, under either U.S. law or U.K. law. Following that analysis, the U.S. Copyright Office further clarified its views on the subject.  In its public draft of the third edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office
The “selfie” is now so ubiquitous that the word is in the Oxford English Dictionary, you can use it in Scrabble and it has spawned a whole new lexicon. Selfies are no longer the preserve of teens and reality stars; you now have politicians, royalty and companies getting in on the act. Selfies can mean big business—indeed, it was recently announced that Kim Kardashian, the reality star and “queen of the selfie,” will…
In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 6-3 decision that Aereo’s Internet streaming service engages in unauthorized public performances of broadcast television programs in violation of the Copyright Act, reversing the Second Circuit’s decision in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. (No. 13-461). In ruling against Aereo, the Court sought to limit its decision to Aereo’s service—which the Court considered to be “equivalent” to that of a traditional…
The doctrine of laches cannot be invoked as a bar to a plaintiff’s claim for damages brought within the Copyright Act’s three-year statute of limitations period, according to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. The Court, in a 6-3 decision, held that Congress prescribed a specified period in which a copyright holder can recover damages for infringement and, “[t]o the extent that an infringement suit seeks relief solely for conduct…
In a case that could have a broad impact on how companies deliver content to consumers, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on April 22 in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. (No. 13-461).  At issue is whether Aereo’s service engages in public performances under the Copyright Act in transmitting broadcast television content to its subscribers’ wired and wireless devices.  While the Justices questioned both parties on a variety of issues, a clear focus for the…
We’ve all seen the ads on the Internet—computer-optimization software designed to make your old PC operate like it’s brand new. Many consumers see these advertisements and, frustrated with the performance of their computers, purchase such software with the aim of speeding up their sluggish machines. But what happens when the software doesn’t work as advertised? The answer for Christopher Rottner was to file a lawsuit. In Rottner v. AVG Technologies, U.S., Inc., Rottner claimed…
The Supreme Court of the United States issued its much-anticipated decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., holding that the “first sale” doctrine protects a buyer or other lawful owner of a copy of a copyrighted work that was lawfully made abroad, following a lawful first sale. The 6-3 decision resolves a contested issue of copyright law on which the Supreme Court had been equally divided 4-4 two Terms ago. Kirtsaeng may be…