US Copyright Office set to RAISE FEES in early 2013 Reply

The US Copyright Office is planning to raise the cost for filing a claim to register works for copyright registration early next year. So, you have plenty of time (a good 9 months) to make the most of the current $35 copyright registration fee.

A $10 fee increase has been proposed for single authors filing an online registration for a single work of their own. And a slightly higher fee increase of $30 has been proposed for works made for hire (ie companies and entities that own and register works of others including employees)

US Copyright Office Registration (*proposed new fees in 2013)

  • 1 author, 1 work (same claimant not a work made for hire, eCO filing).. now-$35/New fee* $45
  • All other claims eCO filing (including work for hire) .. now-$35/New fee* $64
  • Forms PA, SR, TX, VA, SE (paper filing) .. now-$65/New fee* $100

The US Copyright Office explains that these proposed fee increases are necessary to cover a higher percentage of registration costs, while still being in line with its mission to keep the copyright registration accessible and affordable. To be honest, I think it makes sense. I appreciate the cost being lower for artists, writers, musicians and creators registering their own work.

Click here for the entire chart of the US Copyright Office’s Schedule of Proposed Fees. From now through 5:00pm EST on May 14, 2012 the US Copyright Office is accepting comments on the proposed fee schedules at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees/comments/

Take advantage of the $35 registration fee while you can! (you’ve got the rest of 2012!)

See also: The official notice issued by the Library of Congress regarding the proposed fee increase: http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2012/77fr18742.pdf. The Registrations highlighted in this posting are just 2 of the 40+ Registration, Recordation and Other Service fees being adjusted by the US Copyright Office’s proposed fee changes; www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Music Royalties will start being paid for plays on YouTube Reply

Did you know that 48 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every MINUTE?!? It’s hard to even conceive of… but it’s true and without question… heaps of the uploaded content contains music that could and should be earning royalties for plays on YouTube.

In an effort to begin to manage content on YouTube and start paying copyright holders royalties whenever music is included in a video that is played on YouTube, Google (the owner of YouTube) has purchased RightsFlow (a start-up that processes music royalties to help musicians, songwriters and music labels be compensated for their work).

RightsFlow has a music database of over 30 million songs and already processes licenses and royalty payments for thousands of publishers. Integrating the RightsFlow database and technology into YouTube’s content management systems promises to start paying $$ to musicians and music rights holders who have been uncompensated for the use of their music on the site. (Search for any popular band or song on YouTube and you will find an extensive mix of results that include recordings of copyrighted music).

Managing and protecting copyrighted content is an ongoing concern for YouTube. Currently, a copyright holder can request YouTube to remove a video posted to the site that includes copyrighted content that is being used without authorization. However, won’t it be even better… to be paid for the use of your music!

I heard one of YouTube’s Music Managers speak earlier this year and she mentioned a point that is KEY to getting paid royalty payments:

  • People (this means YOU)/musicians/record companies… who want their content monetized will have to say so. (ie.. you have to be PROACTIVE to receive royalties)
  • See the YouTube Licensing offer: http://www.youtubelicenseoffer.com/

Stay tuned into this issue…

See also: http://rightsflow.com/; http://rightsflow.com/2012/01/youtube-and-rightsflow-opt-in-reminder/; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Copyright Law – Using photos of other people on your website, blog or publications Reply

Using recognizable pictures of other people on your website, blog or publication of any kind requires their express permission (unless they are a celebrity or it is ‘newsworthy’ photo).  How do you do this?  Ask them for permission AND have them sign a simple agreement giving you permission to use their image.  Specify in the agreement the ways, websites, publications etc where the photo will be used.

Here are a few myths and truths on this topic: 

MYTH:  Just because you took a photo of the bride at her wedding gives you permission to use it on your website

MYTH:  Having permission to use a portrait in a book automatically gives you permission to use it in a film

MYTH:  It’s okay to use a portrait you took of someone in a public place without permission

TRUTH:  Virtually any photo of a celebrity is considered newsworthy and okay to use

Cover your bases and get permission to use the photos you take of other people at the time you take the picture.  (These types of agreements are called a Photo Release or Model Release).

See –> http://wp.me/p10nNq-J for more information on Photo releases and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Interested in PINTEREST.COM’s growth and use of photographs posted to the site 3

Have you heard the buzz about PINTEREST.COM? Amazingly, PINTEREST is demonstrating record-breaking growth and is now the fastest growing site to reach 10 million users… and it focuses on sharing photographs and visuals.

This obviously raises questions on what you are ‘agreeing to’ when you post a photograph or visual image on the site. Like all large social media websites, PINTEREST, outlines these details in their terms of use.

The bottom line: If you post a photograph to PINTEREST you are virtually giving your image away. By posting content on PINTEREST you grant the site a:

“worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.” http://pinterest.com/about/terms/

(This means that the website can use your image for virtually any, conceivable purpose…. including granting their other users permission to use and exploit your work on the ‘Site, Application, or Services.’)

Three things to watch out for:

  • Post only your own original work or work you are authorized to distribute and license (or the content can be removed due to copyright infringement if the actual owner requests PINTEREST to do so)
  • Post only work that you want to have FREELY USED by and potentially SOLD to others
  • Post only work that you have permission to use in this way

For example, a bride may not have permission from the professional photographer who took the photo to share it in this way and conversely the photographer may or may not have permission from a bride to share her portraits in this way. (Under these terms agreed to when posting a photograph to this site… any picture posted could potentially be sold to another party and end up in an advertisement on the other side of the world without needing permission from or paying $ to the person who posted it on the site. This could get complicated…)

P.S. Keep in mind that the Terms of Use often change frequently for most social media websites… so it’s a good idea to recheck them often.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

 

See also:http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/ ; http://rawsocialmedia.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/the-power-of-pinterest-a-great-infographic-guide-to-pintrest-with-some-very-persuasive-data/; http://www.bloomberg.com/video/88836636/@iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Copyright Law: Using someone else’s photograph in your blog, website or promo materials 2

If you have reached this posting because you Googled, “is it free to use photographs taken from another person’s website” ….the answer is probably NO… and this post is dedicated to you.

Just because it is EASY to access and copy photographs via the internet doesn’t mean that the photographs are free for the taking.  Copying a photograph from another website or online article or blog can easily violate another person’s copyright in the image.

Did you know that every original work (including photographs, designs, poetry, text, music… etc) that is created in the US today, is instantly vested with copyright as soon as it is written down, printed… or ‘fixed in any tangible form’?  It’s true.  Copyright is instantly vested in fixed, original works and this means that the owner has the right to monetize the work. (ie charge a fee to license or sell a photograph).

As you might guess, the price to license a photograph depends on how you plan to use the image and for how long.  For example to license a photograph from Getty Images for 1 month, to use on a social media site costs approximately $160… and $360 for 3 months.  (the price varies by image etc).  Or hire a photographer to take photographs for you!  Or take them yourself.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: http://www.gettyimages.com

Copyright Status restored to foreign works – removing works from public domain 1

Last week, The US Supreme Court mandated copyright restoration for foreign works that are covered by copyright protection in their country of origin or the country where copyright protection is claimed. This renewed respect for foreign works, removes a bulk of works out of the public domain and vests them with copyright protection. This means that many foreign works will no longer be free to perform, record, copy or make derivative works of here in the US. For example, Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ which has been free to use in the US since it has been in the public domain, has had its copyright restored and will require the same permissions and usage fees as Copland and Bernstein…. who are Prokofiev’s contemporaries and who still enjoy copyright protection of their music. (Now an orchestra could be expected to pay approximately $800 per performance of Peter and the Wolf). Evidently, J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings, Alfred Hitchcock’s films and Pablo Picasso’s paintings are also among the foreign works with newly restored copyright protection.

The reasoning behind this copyright restoration is largely based on international foreign policy. As the court points out in its holding… the US has taken a ‘minimalistic approach’ to complying with the Berne Convention for the past two decades… and this copyright restoration of foreign works is a significant step toward US compliance with the treaty. There are 164 counties signed onto the treaty and the one of the many terms of the Berne Convention is that member states offer reciprocal copyright protection. Interestingly, this could be a significant step towards an international copyright system.

If you are already using ‘Peter and the Wolf’ or other restored works, the court’s holding speaks to a grace period for parties who are currently using or exploiting the restored works and encourages negotiations to determine reasonable compensation.

(Tolkien’s heirs come to mind as the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie extravaganza could lead to interesting negotiations if an agreement hasn’t already been made.)

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

More information: The US Supreme Court case is Golan v. Holder. The holding is also available at www.supremecourt.gov; The Berne Convention, Article 18 at http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/; Other articles on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com; http://online.wsj.com; http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/234980-peter-and-the-wolf-must-be-paid; http://orchestralworks.blogspot.com/2008/09/prokofiev-peter-and-wolf.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Fiat pays for use of Graffiti Mural “I ❤ the Bronx” …in their commercial Reply

@kast

The exact amount that Chrysler has paid to TATS Cru, the Bronx based graffiti artist, for use of their mural in a Fiat commercial hasn’t been disclosed… although I applaud the two sides for coming to an agreement.

Is a Graffiti Mural protected by copyright?  YES, YES, YES!!  All it takes is ORIGINALITY to qualify for copyright protection… and in this instance there wasn’t any question about the mural being original.

Should Chrysler have known that the mural was protected by copyright?  YES, YES, YES!!  Because, there is a copyright notice painted into the lower right hand corner of the mural:  “©2010 TATS Cru” (I applaud TATS Cru for being diligent and including the copyright notice).  Even if there hadn’t been a copyright notice on the mural it still has copyright protection and Chrysler should have done some research.  The exact reason that Chrysler included the mural in their commercial (to give authenticity as to the commercial which features JLo in the Bronx singing about strength while driving through the neighborhood where she grew up) should have been a HUGE indicator that the mural is original and covered by copyright protection.  IT’S NO EXCUSE “not to know” a work is covered by copyright protection.  Using a copyright protected work without permission is copyright infringement – and ignoring a copyright notice on a work is even worse.  Both are illegal… and ignoring a copyright notice can triple the damages owed.

What do you do if your copyright is infringed?  In this case, TATS Cru reached out to Fiat/Chrysler via their lawyer and reached a settlement.  The exact amount that TATS Cru was paid hasn’t been disclosed, although both parties have announced that they are excited to be collaborating.  As part of the deal that was struck… a Fiat has been given to TATS Cru to paint and auction off to a charity of their choice.

I ❤ the Bronx, too!  A lot can be learned about the art of making a deal in the Bronx!

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information: http://tatscru.net/commercial.  The mural is located at 1156 E. 165th St. in the Bronx.  Watch the commercial – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deNRiBQiQ3Q. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/in-the-bronx-a-collision-of-cars-celebrity-and-copyright/; http://latino.foxnews.com; http://www.nypost.com; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

breathe easy… in any Hatha Yoga sequence Reply

Following up on a post last month on a Hot Yoga Copyright Dispute… launched by Bikram Yoga to defend copyrights held in a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures… The US Copyright Office has weighed in on the court proceedings and issued a letter stating that a Hatha Yoga sequence is NOT granted copyright as a work of choreography.

An excerpt from the Defendant’s legal document submitted to the US District Court in California, quoting correspondence from the US Copyright office:

“..[T]he Choudhury Yoga Sequence is legally invalid because the Copyright Office has determined that yoga is not protected as choreography. According to a December 7, 2011 letter to Defendants from Laura Lee Fischer, Acting Chief of the Performing Arts Division of the Copyright Office, the Copyright Office previously “took the position that although functional physical movements did not represent the type of authorship which Congress intended to be protected under the copyright law, [the Copyright Office] could register the selection and ordering of public domain exercises.” However, the Copyright Office recently reevaluated this position. “The Registration Program of the Copyright Office reviewed the legislative history relating to section l02(a) of the copyright law, and in conjunction with senior management, determined that exercises, including yoga exercises, do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography. Thus, we will not register such exercises (including yoga movements), whether described as exercises or as selection and ordering of movements.” [From page 10-11 of Defendant’s Answer to the Complaint dated 12/9/2011. In the case: Bikram’s Yoga College of India L.P. v. Yoga to the People, Inc., 11-cv-07998, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).  click here for the court document ]

You can breathe easy… in any Hatha Yoga sequence of your choice. Although, it appears that this lawsuit is still alive and moving forward since there are other non-copyright elements in the case.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information: http://wp.me/p10nNq-fE on HOT YOGA dispute; http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/PubArticleDBR.jsp?id=1323647402672&slreturn=1; http://dockets.justia.com and http://www.yogatruth.org/; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

Hot Yoga Copyright Dispute 3

Evidently Bikram Yoga is suing Yoga to the People (another Hatha Yoga establishment) for copying a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures performed in a hot room (105 degrees) …claiming a violation US copyright law.

Is this Copyright Infringement? Could be if the postures or the “routine of postures” are original. (It is possible to obtain copyright protection for choreography.) Although proving that a sequence of Hatha Yoga postures is original could be a challenge; since, Hatha Yoga is an ancient spiritual tradition with roots in India.

Interestingly, over the last decade, the Indian government has launched aggressive ‘traditional knowledge’ campaigns seeking to recapture ancient traditional knowledge, including Yoga, Ayurveda, and Homoeopathy practices that have been granted intellectual property protection in other counties. For example, several patents have been revoked in the US and the EU for turmeric, basmati and neem tree extracts because the patents were for traditional uses that are mentioned in numerous ancient texts. (Patent and copyright protection are similar ~ they both require originality. Patent law requires “novelty” for legal protection and enforcement… and copyright law requires “originality.”)

It will be interesting to see how flexible the US courts and the Indian Government are with Bikram’s allegation of copyright ownership and infringement of the “Hot Yoga” sequence at issue.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information: 12/9/2011 UPDATE http://wp.me/p10nNq-fT from the US Copyright Office; India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library: http://www.tkdl.res.in/tkdl/langdefault/common/Abouttkdl.asp?GL=Eng; The WIPO Creative Heritage Project: http://www.wipo.int/freepublications/en/tk/934/wipo_pub_l934tch.pdf; and Bikram’s US Copyright registration numbers: TX0005259325, TX0006555860, TX0005624003, TX0000179160, TXu001323218, TX0005499662, TXu001022657, TXu000934417, PA0001053335; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com