For us over at Public Knowledge, the monkey selfie case has been more fun than a barrel of, well, monkeys. The case started when a Celebes crested macaque stole a camera from a traveling British photographer and, in the course of monkeying around with the camera, took a particularly attractive picture of itself. The photographer said that he owned the copyright in the photo; the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals responded with a lawsuit on behalf of the monkey, claiming that the monkey was the true owner of the copyright.
This June, in Cancun, Mexico, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will hold a minister-level meeting that will set the common ground of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) policy for the next decade within the richest countries in the world. It’s the 2016 OECD Ministerial meeting on the Digital Economy (the 2016 Ministerial) organized by the OECD once every 8-10 years.
When I was in elementary school, I noticed that students always lost their pencils so I began decorating personalized ones and handing them out. It took up so much time that I decided to sell them. My profits bought me an extra cookie at lunch and a trip to the principal’s office. The school closed down my shop. I was devastated, but what was a seven-year-old going to do against a school principal? The next year, I came across a table labeled “School Shop.” It was selling pencils. I stared at it, confused and heartbroken as to why the school would bar me from my idea, take it, and then profit off of it.
Happy Copyright Week! To celebrate, I’m looking back on all the exciting copyright cases that have occurred since last year’s Copyright Week, with courts and the music industry alike tackling everything from uncredited sampling to fair use dancing babies. I’ve rounded up some of the highlights of the year’s upheaval, and took the liberty of suggesting a few edits to reflect the changing times. (And yes, that does mean I’ll be reviewing landmark music copyright cases via lyrical skits.)
Yes, you read that right: the Supreme Court of the United States may get to decide the legal status of all those Jedi robes you’ve got squirreled away. The Supreme Court is considering a case that will set the standard for when clothing and costume designs can be covered by copyright—and when people who mimic them (such as costumers) can be sued for potentially enormous damages.