Royalty Fee? Wasn’t Peter and the Wolf Free?

By Rob Lower and Michael Stein Summary In Golan v. Holder (Decided 18 January 2012) the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of amendments to US copyright law made in 1994. The practical effect of the holding is that the authors of foreign works may receive copyright protection for works in the public domain. In 1994, Congress amended 17 U.S.C. §104A to bring the US into compliance with the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international treaty joined by the US in 1989. Under Berne, member countries must provide all other member countries with the same level of copyright protection available to their own citizens. While there is little opposition to providing foreign authors with US copyright protection, the decision to provide such protection for works in the public domain has been the subject of much criticism. Affected Foreign Works There are three circumstances under which US authors could have received copyright protection in the US, while foreign

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Sixth Circuit Limits Extent of Copyrightability of Uncopyrightable Forms To Selection and Organization

In Ross, Brovins & Oehmke, P.C. d/b/a LawMode v. Lexis Nexis Group, 2006 Fed App. 0358P (6th Cir. 2006), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of copyright claims LawMode made against its former business partner, Lexis Nexis Group. However, the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s dismissal of LawMode’s breach of contract claims and remanded for further proceedings. LawMode created a package of 576 individualMichiganlegal form templates, which were marketed and sold under contract by Lexis Nexis for five years. After terminating the contract, Lexis Nexis offered its own package of 406 individualMichiganlegal form templates. LawMode filed a seven-count complaint, all but two of which it voluntarily dismissed.  Remaining for the consideration of the court was a copyright claim and a breach of contract claim. The lower court dismissed the copyright claim, holding that, while LawMode’s selection of forms was copyrightable, the selection was not infringed, and that organization of the forms, look of the

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Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Lexmark Reversed on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Since Unprotected Program Is Not Subject to DMCA Protection and Since Encryption Protected Program Was Not Copyrightable

Lexmark International, Inc. (hereinafter Lexmark) is a manufacturer of printers and printer cartridges.  In order to prevent unauthorized re-filling of the printer cartridges, Lexmark has been attempting to enforce its rights using a combination of actions, including one well publicized action based upon the DMCA.  Lexmark brought suit against Static Control Components, Inc. (hereinafter SCC) in the Eastern District of Kentucky and was initially granted a preliminary injunction preventing SCC from selling the chip.  Among the grounds supporting the preliminary injunction, the District Court found that Lexmark was likely to succeed on its claim that SCC’s chip was in violation of 17 USC 1201(a)(2) of the DMCA.  On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the District Court was reversed on the DMCA claim.