Author Archives: Nancy E. Wolff

A Coming Change: KodakOne Attempts to Prevent Unlicensed Use of Pictures

On January 9th, Kodak announced its intention to enter the cryptocurrency craze by developing a blockchain-based service that presumably allow participating photographers to get paid each time their licensed work is used on the Internet without their prior consent. As described on the company’s website, the digital platform, currently referred to as KODAKOne, will “provide continual web crawling to monitor and protect the [intellectual property] of images registered in the KODAKOne system.” Upon detection of an unlicensed use, Kodak will manage the post-licensing process and (i) have the picture removed, or (ii) compensate the participating photographer in the company’s own currency, referred to as KodakCoin. By December 11th, the company’s stock had more than tripled. Continue reading

ARCHIE MD, INC. V. ELSEVIER, INC.: Court Permits Copyright Claim To Proceed Despite Error In Registration Application

For many copyright owners, especially those attempting to register works of visual arts, determining whether a work is published or unpublished for registration purposes is one of the more challenging issues and an impediment to registration. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Archie MD, Inc. v. Elsevier, Inc., No. 16-CV-6614 (JSR), 2017 WL 3601180 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2017) recently clarified the standard by which a copyright registration may be considered valid despite containing inaccurate information.

In 2005, Archie MD, Inc. entered into an Animation License Agreement (“ALA”) with the publisher Elsevier, Inc., under which Elsevier would license Archie’s library of 3-D medical animations for use in its various publications. About two weeks after entering into the ALA, and after Archie had delivered the works to Elsevier, Archie submitted a single copyright registration application for a group of unpublished works. This registration included the work at issue in this case, an animation entitled “Cell Differentiation.” The Copyright Office eventually registered the group of works on August 15, 2005. Continue reading

CDAS Files Amicus Brief in Fox Television Stations Inc. v. FilmOn X

Yesterday, CDAS submitted an amicus brief in a high-profile case involving the distribution of television programming over the Internet.  The brief, on behalf of the Copyright Alliance, was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the appellants in the case captioned Fox Television Stations Inc. v. FilmOn X.  This is the second amicus brief that CDAS’s litigation team has submitted this week, with the other coming two days prior in support of a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari in the Google Books case.

To view the full brief, please see the PDF below.

CDAS Files Amicus Brief in Fox Television Stations Inc. v. FilmOn X



CDAS attorneys Nancy E. Wolff, Eleanor M. Lackman, Alex Gigante, and Brittany L. Kaplan filed an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the Text and Academic Authors Association; Western Writers of America, Inc.; The National Association of Science Writers, Inc.; and The Dramatists Guild in The Authors Guild et al. v. Google, Inc.

The brief supports the position of Petitioners The Authors Guild, arguing that the Second Circuit erred in holding that the Google Books project constitutes fair use. To view the full brief, please see the PDF below.


Appellate Victory for “The Neighbors” Photographer against Right of Privacy Claim

Arne Svenson, a New York-based fine art photographer, prevailed on an appeal before the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, filed by plaintiffs Martha and Matthew Foster, who had unsuccessfully sought to prevent the display, promotion, or sale of certain photographs from Svenson’s popular series “The Neighbors” by invoking New York’s right of privacy statute.  A unanimous panel of the court held that Svenson’s photographs – taken with a telephoto camera lens without his subjects’ knowledge – “is not actionable as a statutory tort of invasion of privacy” because “the images in question constituted art work and, thus [are] not deemed ‘use for advertising or trade purposes,’ within the meaning of the [privacy] statute.”  The court noted that the plaintiffs’ complaints were “best addressed to the Legislature” given the narrow scope of New York’s privacy law. Continue reading

Update: Michael Jordan’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Right of Publicity Claim Denied

This Blog is an Update to a Previous Post. To read the original post, please click here.

Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., No. 10-c-340 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 12, 2015)

Following the Seventh Circuit decision that permitted Jordan to proceed and allege violations under Illinois publicity law against the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco, Jordan moved for summary judgment as to defendant’s liability under his Illinois Right of Publicity Act (IRPA) claim.  The U.S. District Court of Illinois denied Jordan’s motion for summary judgment for failing to establish that the commemorative add served the commercial purpose. Continue reading

Registration of Collective Work Registers Component Works, Says Ninth Circuit

Appellate Court Finds that Stock Agency Can Proceed with Lawsuit Involving Registered Works

On March 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Alaska Stock, LLC v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub. Co., 110 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1062 (9th Cir. 2014), determined that registration of a database of stock photographs as a collective work registered the component photographs within. Continue reading

Photo of Glass Sculpture Integrated in Ceiling a Fair Use

In Neri v. Monroe, 11-CV-429-SLC, 2014 WL 793336 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 26, 2014), the Western District of Washington smashed the hopes of a glass artist by sharply dismissing a pro se copyright action she brought against a design firm, among others, who displayed photos of an entrance hall of a private residence which incorporated her artwork.  The court found the photo display to be fair use.  The judge made his low opinion of the case abundantly clear, saying, “The bottom line is that, after the court has culled out plaintiff’s unfounded legal conclusions, rank speculation and unsupported assertions, the few material facts that remain fall far short of establishing their claim of copyright infringement.” Continue reading

New York Includes “Print And Runway Model” In Child Performers Protected By Labor Laws

A change to New York labor law regulations (Part 186) may have onerous implications for photographers and the stock photography industry who shoot child models  As of November 22, 2013, “print and runway” models are now included among the artistic or creative services that require a permit when using child performers. Previously, the regulations only applied to performers and entertainers in traditional entertainment endeavors and not still photography. The regulations do not define a “print or runway model” and it is possible that it could apply to all photographs offered for a commercial use, even if no money is exchanged. This change creates new restrictions and requirements on those who use models under the age of 18 which require preparation and planning to ensure compliance with the law.  Key components of the law are as follows. Continue reading

Jewel-Osco’s Ad Congratulating Michael Jordan Declared Commercial Speech

The Seventh Circuit, in Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 12-1992, 2014 WL 627603 (7th Cir. Feb. 19, 2014), reversed a federal district court ruling and held that an advertisement run by Jewel-Osco supermarkets (“Jewel”) congratulating Michael Jordan on his 2009 induction into the Hall of Fame constituted image advertising—a form of “commercial speech.”  This decision defeated Jewel’s First Amendment defense and permitted Jordan’s case against the supermarket chain to proceed under Illinois publicity law. Continue reading