Posts by Sherwin Siy:

The hot takes on the Blurred Lines copyright infringement suit are out, and you may have already seen them. The verdict is “bad news for music;” it’s “legally and musically…a disaster;” its particular use of experts in trying to draw the legally necessary distinction between the musical composition and the sound recording was a complete mess. I read these and nodded along with their analysis, for the most part. But a further, nerdy question still burned:
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Today Public Knowledge filed a slew of comments with the Copyright Office. As we described earlier, part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for anyone to break digital locks placed on copyrighted material – even if their eventual use of the material is perfectly legal. Fortunately, every three years the Library of Congress (with the help of the Copyright Office) is required to grant exemptions to this law for cases where the law is interfering with otherwise legal and beneficial activities.
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The Super Bowl is the NFL’s flagship event each year, and the league has invested a lot in the event’s branding and broadcasting. In light of that investment, it’s understandable that the NFL would be protective of its trademarks and copyrights surrounding it. But that protectiveness has led to the NFL, and other businesses around it, perpetuating a number of myths about what you can and can’t do with the Super Bowl — including the words “Super Bowl.”
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Every three years, we have a particular chance to change the law. Part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for anyone to break digital locks placed on copyrighted material—even if their eventual use of the material is perfectly legal.
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My mother’s heart may have literally skipped a beat last week, but she waited four days to find out.
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Several outlets are reporting that the MPAA’s policy efforts have, over the past years, continued, post-SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act), to focus on different theories of site blocking. With Congress wary of passing new legislation that could lead to private online censorship, the movie industry is apparently shopping around for other forums in which to press its site-blocking agenda.
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You may recall the strange affair of the monkey selfie, which resurfaced this past summer with the release of Wikimedia’s transparency report. A little after that story became news, I wrote a blog post to make a point about the photo’s authorship, and something people were getting wrong in their analysis. Yesterday, we received this email:
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Cable and internet service provider Cox Communications was sued last week on the grounds that its customers have been torrenting music illegally. Cox is far from unique in this; it’d be hard to imagine any internet provider (including the federal government) not having some customers infringing copyrights. The reason we don’t see such suits all the time is because of the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
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One of the constant concerns we’ve had with the IP chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is that it contains language suggesting that temporary electronic copies infringe copyrights. Considering that just opening a digital file necessarily makes temporary electronic copies of it, that’s a dangerous thing to leave lying about in a trade agreements that’s supposed to be setting standards for copyright laws.
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It’s a basic fact of copyright law that you can’t copyright methods or procedures for doing things. You might be able to copyright particular expressions for things—like an evocative description of how to combine and prepare ingredients in a recipe—but you can’t copyright the basic facts behind it—the ingredients, their amounts, and the order in which you combine them.
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