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What You Need To Know About Internet Law: Copyrights And Jurisdiction

Continuing where we left off (see What You Need To Know About Internet Law: Trademarks), here are the next two presentations on web law: Many thanks to Marty and Kevin and the good folks at Brann Isaacson for sharing these powerpoint presentations.
Powerpoint PDFs as text (original pdfs easier to read) Kevin R. Haley, Esq. Brann & Isaacson 184 Main Street Lewiston, ME 04243 www.brannlaw.com [email protected] © Kevin R. Haley Copyright Definition In very simple terms, copyright is the equivalent of property rights in an original work. Includes five basic rights: the right to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, and create derivative works. Copyright Issues Internet presents numerous fascinating conceptual issues. For example, the act of browsing the Internet itself necessitates the copying of copyrighted material. In Intellectual Reserve, Inc. v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 53 U.S.P.Q.2d 1425 (D. Utah 1999), the court found that browsing an unauthorized copy of a document posted on the Internet was in itself an infringement. On-Line Copyright Issues File Sharing Linking Framing File Sharing Perhaps the most high-profile example of copyright issues on the Internet is the Napster file-sharing case Napster was a piece of software that enabled subscribers to locate files on the hard drives of other subscribers and download them Those files were almost always copyright protected audio files of popular music A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the file-sharing activities of Napster users was a copyright infringement and that Napster was liable for contributory infringement for enabling and encouraging such infringement. Lessons of Napster Too numerous for a 60 minute overview of IP issues but: Significant ongoing issues for IP owners regarding the potential of the Internet as a means for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works Significant risks for businesses built upon a model that permits or encourages activities that include copyright infringement Linking Linking is the practice of inserting hypertext links leading to other web sites within the body of a web site, e.g. www.llbean.com IP Implications of Ubiquitous practice on the Internet – some theoretical risks based upon unauthorized distribution or the presence of infringing material on the linked-to site. Some courts have taken the view that use of a mark in a link can constitute infringement. Safest practice is to have permission to include links on a web site. Framing “Framing” or “in-line linking” is the practice of causing a reproduction of material to be pulled into the linking site. Often, it is not possible to tell that the material is being imported from a different site. Framing Can Be Risky Framing presents more problems than garden-variety linking, creating issues of duplication and distribution under copyright law, unfair competition, and trademark infringement. Arriba Case In Kelley v. Arriba Soft Corp., 336 F.3d 811 (9th Cir. 2003), court found a public display right infringement based upon framing of photos from plaintiff’s web site. Other than Arriba, there are relatively few reported cases, because cases are almost universally settled prior to judgment. Jurisdiction Much has been written and said about the impact of the Internet on jurisdictional issues. With one potential exception, this is largely much ado about nothing. The same rules that govern old fashioned contracts and torts work perfectly well for Internet oriented cases. The Exception: Gator v. L. L. Bean In Gator v. L. L. Bean, the 9th Circuit ruled that L. L. Bean, based upon its extensive sales over the Internet and through its catalog, is subject to general jurisdiction in California. Rationale is that these activities are the equivalent of a physical presence. First case to reach that conclusion based largely on activities conducted over the Internet.
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