Month: March 2012

Join NYC ‘creative’ copyright program online

Ah, the connective power of the cyber world: for those who wish to tap into it Friday, the Copyright Clearance Center will host OnCopyright 2012: Advancing the Creative Economy. The New York event will explore ways copyright issues affect publishing, creative services, legal and technology. The keynoter will be John Howkins, author of “The Creative Economy,” who recently spoke with the center’s Chris Kenneally to preview  his remarks on the economic value of the creative industry — the podcast can be found here and transcript here. OnCopyright 2012 panels will focus on: Art: Remix & Reuse:Chris Kenneally, Copyright Clearance Center; Kirby Ferguson (filmmaker); Steven Rosenbaum,Magnify.net Law: Copyright & Culture: June Besek, Kernochan Center; Carol Mandel, New York University; Michele Woods, US Copyright Office; Tom Rubin, Microsoft Tech: Digitization & Disruption: Michael Healy, Copyright Clearance Center; Robert Levine, (Billboard, Wired); Jonathan Lyons, Lyons Literacy LLC; Maja Thomas, Hachette Book Group Complete program details here and participants here. It will stream live, with access here. The center specializes in rights licensing and is a global rights broker for much sought after materials, including in- and out-of-print books, journals, newspapers, magazines, movies, television shows, images, blogs and ebooks. The session will be at Columbia’s law school....

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Humane ways to avoid bad luck filming animals

HBO’s recent decision to pull the plug on its racetrack drama series ‘Luck’ after three horses died during production of the high-profile show spotlights not so much as to what producers did or did not do to protect the animals but how those in filming and production can take steps to safeguard four-legged performers and avoid unfortunate circumstance. Guidelines established by the American Humane Association offer a sound start.  The association is the only animal welfare organization supported in this role by the Screen Actors Guild, which has a clause in its agreement mandating that in SAG productions, producers must bring the humane group in if animals will be used in filming. The association offers a number of useful links on its site to assist producers in protecting animals on set.  These voluntary guidelines may be seen here, a site with the group’s resources to assist producers in safeguarding animals, including the guidelines that include a handy checklist (see Page Eight). Producers are urged to contact the association if they plan on animals in their productions, as those that meet and follow the group’s guidelines may receive its certification and carry the official disclaimer “No Animals Were Harmed’ in the production credits. These measures and the association have not immunized themselves from criticism, including from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has raised concerns about the association’s capacity to protect animals because...

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A European jam on who pays to play music

Go figure: It’s clear that there’s plenty of confusion to go around for those who might imagine that courts help society sort out its laws in some kind of common sense way. Just look at a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice, declaring that hoteliers now must pay royalties for broadcasting music in guest rooms. At the same time, though, the court handed down a separate ruling that exempted dentists from paying royalties for the music played in their offices. European copyright law requires that royalties be paid to collection societies for the use of copyrighted music “in communication with the public.” Private use of copyrighted music is not subject to this requirement. This approach led the European Court to decide Irish hoteliers  no longer are exempt from paying royalties for providing radios and TVs in guest rooms; they previously were understood to be private spaces. The action brought by Phonographic Performance Ireland Ltd, an Irish performing rights society, sought declaration that the exemption in Ireland was a breach of EU law. The European Court agreed and found that music is broadcasted to an “indeterminate number of potential listeners” for a “profit-making nature” in a hotel, therefore, use of copyrighted music in a hotel guest room should be considered “public” when evaluating royalties. The court found that, by providing TV broadcasts and radios in guest rooms, hoteliers...

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Twitter about this: Sherman on social media law

There’s great news for the Biederman Blog — we now have an associated Biederman Blog Group, open to students and entertainment professionals. And as part of its activities, Michelle Sherman, Esq., a great friend and supporter of the blog, will share her considerable expertise on social media and the law in a program on April 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 pm in room W311. Sherman is Of Counsel with Slater Hersey & Lieberman LLP and has established herself as a social media law expert, advising businesses on their and their employees’ use of social media and the internet. She shares her legal insights on these issues on her blog Social Media Law Applied. Sherman, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, from Smith College, was graduated Order of the Coif from UCLA School of Law. She has more than two decades of successful litigation and trial experience and was a partner and special counsel at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in the firm’s Los Angeles office, where she was the head of the Social Media Industry Team and was editor and contributing author to the Firm’s Social Media Law Update blog. She managed the social media presence of Sheppard Mullin and was responsible for posting content on the firm’s Twitter account and set up and maintained the firm’s Facebook page. She writes a monthly Social...

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Perfect circle as judge slices up pi suit on 3-14

In a case of judicial harmonic convergence, a federal judge has picked a day to make mathematics geeks sing out as he figured out whether one composer had taken an unfair slice of another’s pi (tune) and ruled the claim just didn’t add up.It has just passed. But for those who wish to truly appreciate this post, let’s start by taking judicial notice that March 14  matters to a nerdy slice of the population who fixate on one of the key numbers in math,  the constant  π (pi).  For those who went into law because their calculation skills were wanting, pi, of course, is an indefinite constant, the ratio of the circumference of any circle divided by its diameter or more commonly as 3.14159…. In 2009, the House passed a bill making  3-14 an unofficial holiday in celebration of pi. A sour note got plucked on this holiday a year ago when an unhappy composed filed a copyright infringement suit in federal court in Nebraska.  Lars Erickson, a musician and Cornhusker, asserted that Michael Blake, an Oregonian and musician, had  infringed his copyright on his Pi Symphony.  Erickson sought damages and a court orger against Blake’s composition, What Pi Sounds Like.  Both musicians, it turns out, were attuned to composing,  based on the digits of pi, translating those into music. U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon, made this discord...

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