On 5 April 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a major copyright dispute that had wound through the federal courts for over a decade. In a 6-2 decision written by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court held that Google’s copying of roughly 11,500 lines of declaring Java code for Google’s mobile Android platform was a fair use as a matter of law and thus not copyright infringement. The decision addresses the application of copyright law to software and updates and extends the Supreme Court’s copyright fair use jurisprudence. Read our recent client alert here.
A long litigation battle by sculptor Frank Gaylord against the U.S. government has resulted in the confirmation of an award of more than US$540,000. In 1990, Mr. Gaylord won a competition to work on a federal memorial to veterans of the Korean War (Memorial), which had been authorized by the U.S. Congress. Ultimately, the Memorial comprised 19 stainless steel statues, designed to represent a platoon of soldiers in formation on the ground. The Memorial was completed, installed, and opened to the public in Washington, DC, in 1995. Mr. Gaylord filed a number of copyright registrations, covering the various statues. Read More
In a recent decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Seventh Circuit), Judge Frank Easterbrook expressly joined the ongoing debate over the scope of ‘transformative use’ analysis in the ‘fair use’ defense to copyright infringement. In Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, the court reviewed the trial court’s determination that the using of a photograph of the mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, on a critical T-shirt was ‘fair use’ and did not create liability under the Copyright Act. In finding ‘fair use’, the trial court found support in the recent opinion in Cariou v. Prince, in which the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the use of a photographic image in a work of ‘appropriation art’ was ‘transformative’ and thus a ‘fair use’.