All posts tagged copyright

→ Healthcare.gov Leaves Out Copyright Notice for the Open Source Code it Used

So, not only does the system not work, but the developers did not follow the licensing requirements when integrating the open source code they used?1 What a disaster.


  1. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) it does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) it is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ Matt Kloskowski points out an Alternative to Watermarks

I have previously mentioned that I am not a fan of watermarks on photos1, but this alternative that Tamara Lackey uses is not that bad.


  1. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) it does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) it is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ Trey Ratcliff on Why He Doesn’t Use Watermarks

One of his reasons stands out to me:

We do register our images with the copyright office, so if someone uses an image commercially without a proper license, it is an easy lawsuit. Easy. We’ve had many many wins (often which happen even before you go to court), but we can’t talk about them because it’s always in the paperwork. But there are many online articles you can find out about our lawsuits… everyone from Time magazine to the Sydney Newspapers.

Keep that in mind when you are trying to decide whether or not to slap some awful watermark on your photos.1


  1. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) it does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) it is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ A Repsonse to Scott Turow’s New York Times Article

An excellent response to Mr. Turow by Mike Masnick. If you read the Turow piece, then I would encourage you to read Mr. Masnick’s whole reply.

→ New York Times Column on the “Slow Death of the American Author.”

Head of the Author’s Guild Scott Turow writes about eBooks, the recent Supreme Court decision regarding importation of international versions of foreign works, and how those working against authors in America trying to make a living.

My thoughts on Mr. Turow’s column:1

I think this is a market failure not a copyright law failure. The existing publisher-centric model seems destined to perish in the digital market. Authors who can take advantage of channels not involving the traditional publishers will thrive, while publishers and those who cling to that model will not.

I think the publishers took their last stab at relevance when they partnered with Apple to try and set standard eBook prices across the industry. Now that the DoJ has broken that up, I think it is only a matter of time before the publishers start to crumble. My guess is that the publishers will slowly start to merge with one another in hopes of staying afloat, but that, ultimately, they will fade away.

I would encourage authors like Mr. Turow to start exploring economic models outside of traditional book publishing. Building an audience without the aid of a publisher’s marketing arm and without places like Barnes & Noble will be difficult, but the returns will be there for those willing to put in the effort. If Mr. Turow and the Author’s Guild only strategy is to try and stand in the way of consumers’ access to content, they will doom themselves to the same fate as the Russian authors.


  1. Originally posted on a Facebook group taking about these types of issues. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ News Corp. COO: If we lose Aereo copyright case, we‘ll stop broadcasting

To which I say: Fine. Do it.

It is time for the entire content production / distribution model in television to change. Let’s hope Aereo can help push that forward.

→ The Current Facebook Copyright Hoax

Just in case you get the urge to post that ridiculous Facebook message about how “your copyright is attached” to your Facebook book posts.

→ New Pricing for TV Streaming Service Aereo

TV Streaming Service Aereo has updated its pricing structure. If I understand correctly, Aereo takes over-the-air feeds of various networks and broadcast them over the Internet. I’m fascinated by the copyright issues involved in this case1.


  1. Note to self – I should write what those issues are. 

→ Craigslist wants the Copyright for your Ads

Since they cannot claim copyright to the facts in the ads, they’re trying to claim copyright to the ads as a whole. Neither post1 seems to go into a real analysis of what creativity actually goes into to the ad or whether Craigslist might have an issue with a de minimis argument.2


  1. See also, Ars Technica 

  2. Note to self: I should write that post. 

APIs are not Copyrightable

The recent Google v. Oracle trial was watched closely by both software developers and copyright lawyers. Since I have have spent time in both of those worlds, I took a particularly keen interest on the proceedings. The first major decision made by the jury in the case was whether or not Google had infringed Oracle’s copyrights on the Java APIs, assuming that Oracle could in fact copyright such APIs. Though the jury found infringement by Google, the more important decision came from Judge Alsup a few days ago: APIs themselves are not copyrightable. A few weeks ago, the Electronic Frontier Foundation put up an excellent rundown of why APIs should not be copyrightable and Judge Alsup’s opinion agrees. Summaries of the ruling are available from both the EFF and Tyler Ochoa, writing on Eric Goldman’s blog. Mr. Ochoa’s summary on the merger doctrine is particularly strong:

Second, if there is only one way to implement a particular idea, procedure, process, system, or method of operation, then the merger doctrine says that the expression necessary to implement that idea is also not copyrightable. Judge Alsup relied on this proposition to hold that the declarations (programming syntax) for a particular method MUST be identical in order to function in the same way. The only thing that can differ is the name; everything else is specified by the requirements of the Java programming language, which all parties agreed is not copyrightable.

The full text of the decision is available via the EFF.