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In the classic rock song “Light My Fire,” ‘60s icon and the Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison sang, “The time to hesitate is through.” If your company operates a website or blog that hosts user-generated content, and has yet to register an agent for receipt of copyright infringement notices under the U.S. Copyright Office’s new agent designation system, it’s time to light a fire. Failure to do so could significantly increase your…
We discussed last year the trend toward companies seeking to monetize user-generated content. A recent Central District of California decision in Greg Young Publishing, Inc. v. Zazzle, Inc. serves as an important reminder of the serious risks that can arise from seeking to commercially exploit such content. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) Section 512(c) safe harbor, online service providers that comply with the eligibility requirements are shielded from copyright damages in connection with…
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered in BWP Media USA, Inc. v. T&S Software Associates, Inc. whether volitional conduct is required to establish a claim for direct copyright infringement against an Internet service provider (“ISP”). The defendant ISP, T&S Software Associates (“T&S”), hosted a website that included a public forum called “HairTalk” where users could post content about hair, beauty, and celebrities. HairTalk users posted photographs of Ke$ha, Julianne Hough, and Ashlee Simpson…
We have been monitoring a trend of cases narrowing the immunity provided to website operators under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).  A recent decision by a state court in Georgia, however, demonstrates that Section 230 continues to be applied expansively in at least some cases. The case, Maynard v. McGee, arose from an automobile collision in Clayton County, Georgia.  Christal McGee, the defendant, had allegedly been using Snapchat’s “speed filter” feature,…
If your company operates a website or blog that hosts user-generated content, you’ll want to read this post carefully. We’re ringing the alarm bell on an important new U.S. copyright law development that, if ignored, could significantly increase your company’s potential liability exposure in connection with user-generated content. If your company hosts user-generated content, such hosted content may include materials that were posted without the permission of the owners of the copyrights in such materials—potentially…