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Copyright Law

Copyright Originalism - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Tom W. Bell, Christopher Newman September 16, 2014

Professor Tom W. Bell, Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, participated in a Teleforum conference call on the topic, "Copyright Originalism." Professor Bell's new book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good, argues that copyright in the United States has mutated into something the Founders would have hardly recognized, much less approved of. He so admires their version of copyright that he convinced the Mercatus Center to publish Intellectual Privilege under what he calls the "Founders' Copyright," allowing the public to enjoy his book under terms that replicate the effect of the original Copyright Act, passed in 1790. Christopher Newman, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law, joined to offer his comments and questions.

  • Prof. Tom W. Bell, Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
  • Prof. Christopher Newman, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-29-14 featuring Mark Schultz
Mark F. Schultz July 29, 2014

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo. This case involves the question of whether, under sections 101 and 106 of the Copyright Act, a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program--a privilege normally reserved to the copyright holder--when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that Aereo is not simply an “equipment supplier” and that it performs petitioners’ works publicly within the meaning of the Transmit Clause. Chief Justice Roberts as well as Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Scalia authored a dissenting opinion which Justices Thomas and Alito joined. The decision of the Second Circuit was reversed.

To discuss the case, we have Mark Schultz, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Aereo Shot Down as Copyright Violator: ABC v. Aereo - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Mark F. Schultz July 14, 2014

In a June 25, 2014, decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in ABC v. Aereo that Aereo publicly performs copyrighted works, in violation of the Copyright Act’s Transmit Clause, when its technology allows its paid subscribers to watch television programs over the Internet in near real-time as the programs are broadcast over the air. Has the decision increased certainty and predictability in the world of copyright, or did the Court’s reasoning inject more uncertainty? Are there implications in the decision for what is anticipated to be a legislative effort to change existing copyright law?

  • Prof. Mark Schultz, Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Development, Southern Illinois University and Senior Scholar and Co-Director of Academic Programs, Center for the protection of Intellectual property, George Mason University School of Law

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-4-14 featuring Christina Mulligan
Christina M. Mulligan June 04, 2014

Christina MulliganOn May 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The question in this case, which concerns the copyright for a screenplay on which the movie Raging Bull was based, was whether the defense of “laches”--that is, that the other side delayed too long in bringing its claim--can be asserted to bar a copyright claim for damages falling within the three-year statute of limitations prescribed by Congress.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that Laches cannot be invoked as a bar to Petrella’s pursuit of a claim for damages falling within the Copyright Act’s three-year limitations period. However, in extraordinary circumstances, laches may, at the very outset of the litigation, curtail the equitable relief available to the plaintiff. In addition, laches may always come into play at the remedial stage when determining appropriate injunctive relief and assessing profits attributable to infringement.

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which the Chief Justice and Justice Kennedy joined. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

To discuss the case, we have Christina Mulligan, who is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law.