Sometimes, the last word isn’t really the last word. Here are some updates for previous posts:
Dancing Baby Has a Partial Reason to Keep on Groovin' (September 22, 2015). Since this post, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals amended its opinion to clear up a couple of things. First, the amended opinion clarifies that the original opinion didn’t mean to endorse using an algorithm to determine fair use. In other words, the copyright owner can’t automate the fair use analysis. Second, the amended opinion removed the suggestion that the fair use consideration doesn’t need to be thorough. This is all more good news for the Dancing Baby’s mother.
Happy Birthday to All of Us (October 20, 2015). Since this post, someone else stepped forward claiming to be the owner of the song. In the end, all parties settled. Under the terms of the settlement, (1) Warner/Chappell has to give back about $14 million in royalties it collected; (2) none of the claimants are going to demand royalty payments in the future; and (3) the court declared that the Happy Birthday lyrics are in the public domain.
“Bleeping” Trademarks (January 12, 2016). Since this post, USPTO published a formal guide for examiners requiring suspension applications seeking to register offensive and disparaging marks. The buzz is that the USPTO is going to appeal The Slants and similar rulings to determine whether these types of trademarks are protected by First Amendment free speech. Until then, examiners are to issue “advisory refusals”.
Can I Copyright This? (March 1, 2016). Since this post, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the ruling that the Batmobile can be protected by copyright because its bat-like appearance and high-tech gadgets make it a fictional character.