Silicon Valley Business School

Patents & IP: Copyrights
Free Extracts from the Patents & Intellectual Property Course
Below you are free to explore extracts of the learning materials included in this course. If you're interested in educating yourself on these topics, we recommend that you review all these materials. If you're looking for a credential, please take a look at the certificate version of this course which will test your understanding of the materials and track your progress through the course until you have completed it and earned your certificate.

  • Video ~ What is a Copyright?
Copyrights protect a particular expression of an idea.

This article explains what a copyright is. It also outlines the rights of the owner of a copyright.

  • Video ~ What Do Copyrights Do?
Video introduces the basic legal protections of a copyright.

  • Video ~ What Can Be Copyrighted?
Video introduces the requirements to receive copyright protection.

This article outlines categories of works that are afforded protection under the copyright law.

Generally, only the author of a work can claim copyright. Once the work is completed in "fixed" form (e.g. a story written down on paper, a computer program saved on a disk, a song recorded on tape), the copyright becomes the property of the creating author.

  • Video ~ Copyright Fair Use
Video introduces the rule that under some circumstances a person may use copyrighted material without permission for news, criticism, commentary, education, and research.

New York Times article on the "Fair Use" doctrine and Google’s digital library: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a challenge to Google’s digital library of millions of books, turning down an appeal from authors who said the project amounted to copyright infringement on a mass scale.

Under the doctrine of "fair use", the law allows the use of portions of copyrighted work without permission from the owner.

The Guardian article on the “Fair Use” doctrine and usage of copyrighted materials on YouTube: This article looks at a ruling from a three-judge panel in California. The import of the ruling is that before copyright holders asks anyone that uploaded content to take it down, copyright holders must consider if their intellectual property is being used on YouTube or elsewhere online in a way that falls under US law as ‘fair use’. The ruling also indicated that if an entity misuses legal takedown notices, it is taking a financial risk of its own.

  • Video ~ Music Copyright Case
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams sang the song “Blurred Lines”. T.I. also made an appearance on the song. Reports indicated that the song “Blurred Lines” made over $16.6 million, which was split between the artists and their respective record labels. A large sum of over $5 million was left to both Thicke and Williams, while T.I. earned over $700,000 for his appearance on the song. The remainder of the profit was split between Interscope, Universal Music Group and Star Trak Entertainment. A jury found that the song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright of “Got to Give It Up, and awarded $7.3 million to Marvin Gaye’s family, in a lawsuit involving Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams and the Marvin Gaye family.

Los Angeles Times article on a Copyright case: None of the companies that have collected royalties on the "Happy Birthday" song for the past 80 years held a valid copyright claim to one of the most popular songs in history, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled. In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, the judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the "Happy Birthday To You" song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.

The Washington Post article on a Copyright suit: When David Slater left his camera unattended on a tripod on the Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, Naruto, a Macque “monkey” snapped what came to be known as “monkey selfies.” The selfies were a sensation, taking the Internet by storm, and Slater later included them in a book called “Wildlife Personalities.” A federal lawsuit filed by the animal-rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), alleged that Slater infringed on Naruto’s copyright.

An article regarding the ruling of a U.S. Federal Appeals court concerning Google’s online library.

Reuters article on a Copyright case: Chief U.S. District Judge George King in Los Angeles ruled that Warner/Chappell, the music publishing arm of privately owned Warner Music Group, did not own a copyright to the “Happy Birthday to You” song lyrics.

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