Month: April 2016

Are 6-second Vines ‘too minimal’ to infringe?

Vine, a social media website acquired by Twitter, is a popular technology among millennials. They like it because it lets them create looping six-second videos, which are easy to view and to share quickly and widely, often virally. Vine also is gaining traction with brands for marketing, and that is creating issues for intellectual property owners Vine has steered away from infringement claims, so far, because of Twitter’s prompt compliance with take-down notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; those take-down requests also have been rarely contested by user-posters. But is the brevity of Vine’s core product also prophylactic–does it provide a de...

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RIP, to a celebrated force in Entertainment Law

Let there be no doubt: the Purple Reign, which has ended tragically all too soon, affected Entertainment Law and many of its practitioners. Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, not only played the role of path-breaking artist, musician, fashionista, and trend-setter, he also was, as various media have noted, an innovator deeply concerned about intellectual property and the legal protection of creative works. He rocked the recording industry with his willingness to contest its talent representation practices and contracts, which he saw as creative constraints that kept him from controlling his own works. He fought, perhaps to excess, to ensure that his copyrights were enforced. He took a principled stand about the creator’s sovereignty, even in the face of rapidly changing technological advance, becoming one of the prominent hold-outs against what he saw as the penurious payments by online streaming services to musicians, lyricists, and composers. In doing all this and much, much more, he generated lots of work for Entertainment lawyers in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, and elsewhere. As he a client, just as he was a giant of his craft, he was sui generis, and he will be much missed, practitioners have recalled. RIP, sweet...

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Will cable boxes go bye-bye, content increase?

Is it time to say goodbye to cable companies’ set-top transmission boxes, the monthly charges that come with them, and a possible entertainment content choke point? The FCC has approved a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to allow consumers to access cable and cable programming through other means, not just cable companies’s set-top boxes. The FCC had released a fact sheet in January that detailed the reasoning behind this shift. The agency says that “99% of pay-TV subscribers are chained to their set-top boxes,” that they pay “on average $231 in rental fees annually” per household, and that these new rules will “tear down anti-competitive barriers and pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions.” Like what? Seeking greater access The FCC says it plans to create a new framework to permit audiences to access their subscription services however they wish. For instance, there is a Time Warner Cable app on the Roku digital media player that would allow users to access all of their paid Time Warner content through the Roku player. These are they types of new access possibilities that the FCC seeks to foster. The agency has identified “three core information streams” that cable and satellite companies must give to those creating new devices or apps. Service discovery: Information about what programming is available to the consumer, such as the channel listing and video-on-demand lineup,...

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