The estate of Dr. Martin Luther King actively pursues those who use his speeches and writings without permission, and the cost of rights, when granted, is frequently high. Since the studio that produced "Selma" did not have rights to use the originals, Dr. King’s speeches in the film have been extensively rewritten. This raises interesting questions about Dr. King’s legacy.
In October, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the “Georgia State” District Court decision and remanded the case to the lower court for reconsideration. The District Court decision had been widely held to bring a more liberal approach--and a bit of clarity--to making decisions about educational use of copyrighted materials for electronic reserves in academic libraries. Opinions about the impact of the 11th Circuit reversal decision vary.
Laura Quilter, Copyright and Information Policy Librarian, UMass Amherst Libraries, assembled an extensive list of commentary on the decision—and some responses from the plaintiffs.
Kevin Smith, Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication, Duke University, offers a factor-by-factor analysis comparing the two decisions.
Patrick Wensink, who loves Jack Daniels, appropriated elements of the whiskey label in the cover for his new novel, Broken Piano for President. Jack Daniels, concerned about brand integrity, requested that the cover be redesigned when the work is reprinted—and even offered to pay part of the cost of changing the design for the initial printing and digital edition if the author is willing to make the changes.
“But…things definitely could be worse!” says Nancy Sims, Copyright Librarian, University of Minnesota Libraries, in her detailed evaluation of the decision. Kevin Smith, Duke University, notes that the publishers still lose. Plaintiff (publisher) reaction to the decision has been moderate. What’s next in this long-running show? The 11th Circuit decision remanded the case for reconsideration: The parties may continue, or they may decide that further investment is not worth it, and settle.
The NFL Players Association cautions athletes to get a release from the tattoo artist before the ink touches the bicep. New Balance footwear sued Karl Lagerfeld last spring, alleging that the designer infringed by copying the brand’s distinctive logo, though clothing designers in the U.S. have no copyright protection for their designs. And in Canada, an artist keeps an oil pipeline at bay by copyrighting the landscape as a work of art.
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