Topic: Copyright

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Who owns your Instagram content?

You do (at least as between you and Instagram—your employer may have ownership rights in certain situations)!  Instagram does not claim ownership of any content that you post.

You do grant Instagram very broad license rights:  a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use content that you post. This license grant means that you have given Instagram the right to use any of your photos for free, for any reason, anywhere in the world. Instagram can also give those rights to a third party.… Continue Reading

Legal considerations for social network APIs

An application programming interface (API) is a library or structured set of software tools that provides an interface to a backend software platform, such as a social networking platform, without providing direct access to the underlying source code of the platform.

For example, Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™, LinkedIn™, Google Plus™, and Tumblr™ offer APIs so that developers can interface with their social networking platforms, resulting in widespread development of various social network based software applications.… Continue Reading

Agence France Presse v. Morel – THIRD UPDATE

We have posted previously on Agence France Presse v. Morel, the initial opinion of which was issued January 2013, as well as several updates in the case since then.

The case so far

Briefly summarizing the case so far, photographer Daniel Morel posted some photographs on Twitter.  Agence France Presse (“AFP”) copied eight of those photos, and provided them to Getty Images (US), Inc. (“Getty”), which then distributed the works to various infringing third parties. Getty continued to distribute the photographs, despite receiving a “kill notice” from AFP on the photos, and in 2010 Morel brought suit against AFP … Continue Reading

A picture can be worth a thousand links

From giant billboards on the highway to tiny pictures that can go viral within seconds, the use of social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr has revolutionized the advertising industry.

Companies can now reach their target audiences more quickly and more effectively by taking advantage of instantaneous posting of pictures and blogs. The use of social media apps that allow the quick exchange of photos to other users is rapidly growing.

Apps like Instagram are some of the top social media apps, bringing in more than 200 million active users around the world. See Twitter active users pass Continue Reading

Memes and GIFs: a new cultural phenomenon

From “Winter is Coming” to plays on the Harlem Shake to anything involving cats, memes and GIFs (short for Graphics Interchange Format) are an increasingly popular way in which cultural ideas are shared. A meme has been characterized as a “categorization of a cultural trend or truth, a unit for communicating and collectively sharing cultural ideas through words, symbols and pictures.” Social Fresh, How to Harness the Marketing Power of the Meme. Many memes, in popular culture, are easily recognizable—an image with large, bold text across the top and/or the bottom (a popular example is LOLcats).  GIFs, on the … Continue Reading

Employees and DMCA “Safe Harbor”

Any employer with a web site or social media page that invites users to provide content will probably be interested in a September 18, 2013 case from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York involving Capitol Records and video-sharing site Vimeo. Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo LLC, No. 09 Civ. 10101 (RA) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 18, 2013). Capitol Records and others claimed that 199 videos posted on Vimeo were infringing their copyrighted music.

We have previously written on the Viacom v. YouTube case, and the “safe harbor” that the Copyright Act provides to sites that … Continue Reading

Agence France Presse v. Morel – UPDATE

Earlier this year, we wrote about a court opinion relating to photos posted on Twitter, in Agence France Presse v. Morel, the opinion of which was issued in January. The case, it appears, has come back to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, this time to determine the precise meaning of § 504(c) of the Copyright Act, which deals with awards of statutory damages.

The relevant facts from the case are as follows: Agence France Presse (“AFP”) provided photographer Daniel Morel’s copyrighted images to Getty Images (US), Inc. (“Getty”), who then distributed … Continue Reading

Copyright Safe Harbor for Third-Party Content

Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for online service providers that allow users to self-post content. For companies with Web 2.0 enabled sites, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) limits liability “for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user.”  But this safe harbor provision only applies where the provider acts to remove copyrighted material from its site upon being informed of it. This post discusses the DMCA and its implementation.

The DMCA limits liability to service providers even if they have actual knowledge of infringing activity.  But copyright … Continue Reading

YouTube Class Action

On May 15, 2013, a federal district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class action certification in a case involving YouTube. The Football Ass’n Premier League Ltd et al v. YouTube Inc., No. 1:07-cv-03582 (S.D.N.Y. May 15, 2013).

We had previously covered the case involving Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, where the same district court ruled, on summary judgment, that the copyright law’s safe harbor applied and that the plaintiffs had not proven that YouTube knew or was aware of specific infringements. The plaintiffs in that case were generally involved in creating movies and television shows, whereas the named … Continue Reading

Viacom v. YouTube

On April 18, 2013, a federal district court judge again granted summary judgment in favor of YouTube in a copyright infringement lawsuit originally filed by Viacom, Paramount Pictures, and others in 2007. Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., No 1:07-cv-02103-LLS (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 18, 2013).

The plaintiffs had claimed that YouTube had infringed their copyrighted movies, television shows, etc.  YouTube defended its actions by stating that the federal copyright law’s “safe harbor” applied because YouTube was merely acting as a service provider, it had no knowledge of infringing materials, and, when informed precisely of infringing materials, it promptly removed them.… Continue Reading

Twitter Amends DMCA Policy Due to Copyright Complaints

In an “effort to be as transparent as possible regarding the removal or restriction of access to user posted content,” social media company Twitter recently announced changes to the site’s Copyright and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) policy.

Instead of merely removing the potentially infringing tweets without explanation, Twitter will now clearly mark Tweets and media pieces that have been withheld to indicate to Twitter users that content has been withheld on the basis of a DMCA complaint by the copyright holder. See the example below:

#Policyupdate:  Twitter Amends DMCA Policy yo Publish Notice of Copyright Complaints

In its policy, Twitter also notes that it may suspend and warn repeat … Continue Reading

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