Copyright Office Introduces Online Group Registration of Photographs

In recognition of the difficulties facing photographer's to register large volumes of photographs, the U.S. Copyright Office has announced that starting in February (2/20/2018) , they will accept group registrations of photographs via the online registration system (eCO).  Each online application can include up to 750 images from a single copyright owner (not photographer).  The Final Rule published by Copyright Office includes a number of other modifications, as well as a detailed discussion of the reasoning behind these changes. Included in the discussion was this analysis of the needs of photographers: The CVA surveyed 1,744 photographers and asked them to identify the average number of photographs that they take in a single day and over the course of a single month. The vast majority of the respondents—70%—reported that they take fewer than 750 photos on an average day, while another 17% reported that they take between 751 and 1,500 photos on an average day. This presumably represents the average rate for a daily photo...
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Less is More: Copyright Office Changes Deposit Requirement for Musical Compositions.

Modification of Current Deposit Rules The United States Copyright Office on Tuesday (January 17, 2018) published a modification to the current rules regarding registration of musical compositions.  Under the current rules, registration of compositions that have been published in both print and as part of a sound recording  can be registered by depositing a copy of the recording only.  This modification, changes this rule and requires that the print edition be submitted.  However, if only the recording exists at the time of the application, only the submission of the recording is required. This modification is in line with the requirement that applicants must submit the "Best Edition" of the work. The final rule is available here and goes into effect on February 16, 2018. What Does this Change Mean to Me? Composers should take note that this change may require the submission of a complete set of sheet music if it exists.  The rule and commentary remains somewhat vague as to whether, with less formal compositions, publication...
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Copyright Office Proposes Rule to Establish a Group Registration for Unpublished Works

NewsNet Issue 686 October 12, 2017 Copyright Office Proposes Rule to Establish a Group Registration for Unpublished Works The United States Copyright Office is proposing to create a new group registration option for a limited number of unpublished works. The proposed rule would replace the current “unpublished collections” registration option. Among other things, applicants would be required to submit an online application and upload their works to the electronic registration system, although the Office may waive these requirements in exceptional cases. The proposed rule offers a number of significant benefits compared to current practices: it would allow the Office to more easily examine each work for copyrightable authorship, to create a more robust record of the claim, and to improve the overall efficiency of the registration process. The notice of proposed rulemaking and instructions on how to submit a comment are available here. Written comments must be received no later than November 13, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time....
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Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

I'm a Teacher, so copyright laws don't apply - Right?? Answer "Face to Face" exception Well - sometimes.  While it is true that there are exceptions to the rules regarding use of copyright protected works by teachers , they are limited. When setting up the copyright laws, Congress created the "Face to Face" exception which allowed use of protected works for "Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction." (17 U.S. Code § 110, Emphasis Added).  Notably, this exception is loaded with qualifying language that requires the exception to be interpreted pretty narrowly. Fair Use Guidelines However, teachers have another option.  Like the general public, the rules governing Fair Use  can be applied to teaching activities - in fact teaching is specifically called out by the statute as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright owners.  17 U.S. Code § 107 .   The challenge, of course,...
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Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

Reprinted From Library of Congress NewsNet Issue 666, June 1, 2017 Copyright Office Releases an Updated Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett today released a revised draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. This draft includes the first proposed updates to the Compendium since its release in December 2014. The public draft is available on the Office’s website at https://copyright.gov/comp3/draft.html. It will go into effect on July 3, 2017. The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. See 37 CFR. § 201.2(b)(7). The proposed updates are the result of a comprehensive review of the Office’s practices and procedures. The draft revisions to the registration chapters clarify how and when the Office communicates with applicants and how it handles duplicate claims, deposit requirements, and claims involving multiple works, among other improvements....
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Copyright Cases: Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc.

Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc.  LiveJournal is a social media platform that displays photographs posted by users.  Maverix Photographs sued for copyright infringement of some of its photographs.  LiveJournal raised the defense that it was protected by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The district court agreed and dismissed the case on a summary judgment motion by LiveJournal. Appeal The appeals court (1) reversed the district court’s decision, instead finding that the safe harbor would apply if the photographs were posted at the direction of users. However, LiveJournal posted the photographs after a team of volunteer moderators, led by an employee,  reviewed and approved them. The court held that whether the photographs were posted at the direction of users depended on whether the acts of the moderators could be attributed to LiveJournal. Disagreeing with the district court, the panel held that the common law of agency applied to the LiveJournal's DMCA safe harbor defense. Because there were genuine...
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Contract Consideration – FAQ

What does it mean for a contract to be not enforceable because of a lack of consideration? Answer: In order for a contract to be enforceable, the mutual promises of the parties must be supported by "consideration." Considerations means each party gives something of value to the other.  The reason that the courts and legislatures generally require some form of consideration is to insure that the promises being made are not merely a casual statement, and accident, or gratuitous – in short – to make sure the people making the agreement really mean it. Consideration looks at whether the parties have assumed an obligation on the condition of an act or forbearance of another. Except in cases of employment matters, Minnesota courts generally do not look at the adequacy of the consideration being offered – only whether some consideration has been exchanged. For written agreements, the court presumes valid consideration. While adequacy of consideration is not usually analyzed, vague or indefinite terms...
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You Own Devices Act proposed

You Own Devices Act Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) recently reintroduced to committee H.R.862, You Own Devices Act (YODA), to amend title 17, United States Code.  If enacted, the bill will provide that the first sale doctrine applies to any computer program that enables a machine or other product to operate.  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr5586/text  Expect opposition to come from...
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Copyright Office Releases Comprehensive Music Licensing Study

LOC NewsNet Issue 567 February 5, 2015 Copyright Office Releases Comprehensive Music Licensing Study The U.S. Copyright Office has released a comprehensive study, “Copyright and the Music Marketplace,” detailing the aging music licensing framework as well as the ever-evolving needs of those who create and invest in music in the twenty-first century. In addition to providing an exhaustive review of the existing system, the report makes a number of recommendations that would bring both clarity and relief to songwriters, artists, publishers, record labels, and digital delivery services. “Few would dispute that music is culturally essential and economically important to the world we live in,” said Maria A. Pallante, Register of Copyrights, “but the reality is that both music creators and the innovators who support them are increasingly doing business in legal quicksand. As this report makes clear, this state of affairs neither furthers the copyright law nor befits a nation as creative as the United States.” There is broad consensus across the music industry on...
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Copyright Office Announces Public Roundtable Discussions for Music Licensing Study

From the United States Copyright Office NewsNet 542 May 5, 2014 The U.S. Copyright Office will hold a series of public roundtables to gather input for its music licensing study. The roundtables will take place in Nashville, Tennessee on June 4 and 5, 2014, in Los Angeles, California, on June 16 and 17, 2014, and in New York, New York, on June 23 and 24, 2014. The roundtables will offer an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the music licensing issues set forth in the Notice of Inquiry issued by the Office on March 17, 2014. Those seeking to participate in the roundtables should complete and submit the online form. Requests to participate must be received by the Copyright Office by May 20, 2014....
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