Monday, February 05, 2024

Webinar: Copyright for Archival Newspapers

I received this email note. This event is open to the public.

The PA Digital Rights team will host an event at the end of February on Copyright for Archival Newspapers. We hope to see many of you there. This event is open to the public, so please feel free to share the information with interested colleagues.

Copyright for Archival Newspapers
February 27, 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern, on Zoom (Please register in advance.)

Do you have copyright questions about digitizing archival newspapers? At this event, Ana Enriquez from the PA Digital Rights Team will cover how to check public domain status, analyze fair use, and assign rights statements, with a focus on newspapers published in the United States. This workshop will be an update and expansion of our 2019 module, Copyright for Archival Newspapers. To view that module in English and Spanish, visit our Rights Resources page.

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Copyright Office Hosts Event in Celebration of Black History Month, “Hip-Hop Beyond 50: Protecting and Promoting Culture”

The following is from the U.S. Copyright Office. Sounds like an interesting event!


The U.S. Copyright Office invites you to register to attend the upcoming Black History Month online event, “Hip-Hop Beyond 50: Protecting and Promoting Culture,” on February 21, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. eastern time. Hip-hop, a uniquely American art form rooted in African American culture, marked its official fiftieth anniversary in 2023. The musical genre has been popularized all over the world, encompassing MCing, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti art, beatboxing, and more. In this sixty-minute session, attendees will learn from the Copyright Office, industry experts, and practitioners about how hip-hop has influenced creators worldwide and about the Office resources available on sampling, interpolations, and beat stores. 

Guest speakers include 

  • Dae Bogan Head of Third-Party Partnerships at The Mechanical Licensing Collective  
  • Jamila Sams – Founder and CEO of We Do it for the Culture™ and Go to Ms. Sams 
  • Bruce Waynne Grammy Award–winning music producer, publisher, and label executive; President of Vyre 
  • Junious Brickhouse – Director of Next Level, Hip Hop Diplomacy Program 

Hip-Hop Beyond 50

Friday, January 19, 2024

Article: Is A.I. the Death of I.P.?

This recent New Yorker article may not be paywalled, so go read/skim it. While the article is ultimately about artificial intelligence and intellectual property rights, there are many examples in it that are not connected to AI. The article is full of good tidbits, such as:

Judicial competence is also an issue...To know why a Warhol silk screen counts as transformative, or to give musical definition to a song’s “feel,” you need a kind of expertise that most judges—most people—don’t have.

One book mentioned in the article is Who Owns This Sentence?: A History of Copyrights and Wrongs, which will be release on Jan. 23, 2024. (paid link) Amazon's description of the book states that it...

is an often-humorous and always-enlightening cultural, legal, and global history of the idea that intangible things can be owned, and makes a persuasive case for seeing copyright as an engine of inequality in the twenty-first century.

From its description, this sounds like a book that is both informative and fun. Yes, one of the authors is an attorney (Alexandre Montagu), whose area is intellectual property law.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

An early version of MIckey and Minnie are in the public domain!

Mickey Mouse

 Everyone is reporting on the fact that the ORIGINAL Mickey and Minnie Mouse are in the public domain. While this is good news, it is important to recognize that that this is not the Mickey and Minnie that we see today. So if you're going to use the public domain versions, make sure you understand what you're using.

The Morning Brew notes these two limitations:

  • Only the original versions of Mickey and Minnie, as they appear in Steamboat Willie, are up for grabs. Character details introduced in later years, including their white gloves, Mickey’s classic red pants, Minnie’s polka dots, and their high-pitched voice, are off limits.
  • Disney still has a registered trademark on Steamboat Willie Mickey as a company mascot, so folks who use the character’s likeness have to make it clear that their project isn’t an official Disney production.

And if you're looking for a version to use, check out Wikimedia

Duke University has a list of what else joined the public domain this year. Use them and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Lowry’s Reports Inc. v. Legg Mason: Settled in 2003 and still relevant

This fall I had cause to refer someone to the court case Lowry’s Reports Inc. v. Legg Mason, and that made me realize that I had never mentioned it here. This post is to rectify that and so I can find information on it more easily in the future.

An employee at Legg Mason routinely made unauthorized copies of a newsletter from Lowry Reports and disseminated those copies to people within the company, who had not subscribed to the newsletter. If I remember correctly, Legg Mason failed to cease and desist, which made matters worse. In 2003, a jury ordered Legg Mason to pay $19.7 million in damages.

If someone in your organization wants you to copy a newsletter, for example, and disseminated it widely...perhaps even to do so routinely...ask them what their risk tolerance is and mention this court case to them. It only takes one person, who has received or seen a copy of the newsletter, to alert the publisher.  Is your organization okay with that risk?