De minimis analysis involves the substantiality of the copying, not the use to which the infringing work is put; by definition, wholesale copying of a protected work cannot be de minimis copying. A company that owned a website on which it unknowingly displayed a photographer’s photo without authorization could not assert a de minimis defense…

Heirs of “Game of Life” developer failed to overcome work-for-hire doctrine in bid to terminate developer’s original transfer of rights to Hasbro predecessor. The federal district court in Providence, Rhode Island, correctly determined that heirs of toy developer Bill Markham could not reacquire copyrights to the boardgame “The Game of Life” from Hasbro, Inc., and…

Although the contract between a makeup artist and her publisher described the artist as the author of the book, the dispute still arose under the Copyright Act because “author” is a term defined under the Act. The dispute between a makeup artist and her publisher over ownership of the copyright to a makeup guide raised…

A builder of sunrooms allegedly adapted the brochure for online use without permission, but the designer’s application with the Copyright Office was still pending when she filed suit. A graphic designer’s copyright infringement claim against a builder of sunroom additions—which allegedly modified and used online a print brochure that she had designed for the builder—was…

Second Circuit reverses district court’s fair use declaration granted to Andy Warhol Foundation; artist’s works were not “transformative” and could harm the photographer’s market for licensing her image. Screenprints depicting the late pop star Prince, made by the late artist Andy Warhol in 1984, did not make transformative use of photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s portrait of…

Voluntary dismissal of infringement claim did not negate an attorney fee award of over $40,000 for non-infringement counterclaim. An award of attorney fees based on a John Doe defendant’s counterclaim for non-infringement, which was filed in response to infringement claims brought against him by an adult film producer, was affirmed by the U.S. Court of…

“Copyright troll” Design Basics failed to show that copyrighted home designs and allegedly infringing floor plans were “virtually identical.” An infringement suit by Design Basics, LLC, which holds copyrights in thousands of single-family home floor plans and has brought hundreds of infringement suits against homebuilders nationwide, was properly dismissed because Design Basics failed to prove…

In February 2019, Tamita Brown, Glen S. Chapman, and Jason T. Chapman (‘plaintiffs’) collectively filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Netflix, Amazon, and Apple (‘defendants’), claiming that the defendants had directly and indirectly infringed their copyright over the song “Fish Sticks n’ Tater Tots” by using it in their documentary titled ‘Burlesque’ (Brown v. Netflix, Inc.)….

An eight-second piece of the song “Fish Sticks n’ Tater Tots” was transformative and reasonably related to the documentary’s purpose of commenting on the resurgence of burlesque dancing. A documentary film’s incorporation of an eight-second excerpt of the children’s song “Fish Sticks n’ Tater Tots” was a noninfringing fair use, the U.S. Court of Appeals…