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The Federal Circuit decisions in the Oracle v. Google copyright case rattled Silicon Valley not simply because the decisions upended software developers’ understandings of copyright law, but also because the decisions do not comport with the disruptive ethos of the technology industry.
The Federal Circuit decisions in the Oracle v. Google copyright case rattled Silicon Valley not simply because the decisions upended software developers’ understandings of copyright law, but also because the decisions do not comport with the disruptive ethos of the technology industry. Software development thrives on an open environment defined by creation through iteration. Yet, the Federal Circuit’s decisions grant a copyright holder a tremendous amount of control over even a small portion of code, and by extension, developers who use that code to create new products. Such control is especially acute when dealing with a copyright holder known for aggressive litigation tactics, such as Oracle. In the wake of Google’s recent petition for certiorari, Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google LLC v. Oracle Am. Inc., No. __ (Jan. 25, 2019), this article reviews the Federal Circuit decisions and summarizes their legal, economic, and cultural impact. The analysis suggests that much of the innovation of the technology sector now hinges on the U.S. Supreme Court.
By James A. Trigg and Bethany R. Nelson
In Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split decades in the making by holding that a copyright is not “registered” within the meaning of the Copyright Act unless and until a registration certificate actually has issued.
By Dana Justus and Monica Riva Talley
This case should determine the availability of federal trademark registration for “immoral” and “scandalous” marks – in this case, the acronym “FUCT” for a clothing line.
By Christine E. Weller
In celebration of International Women’s Day two years ago, State Street Global Advisors unveiled Fearless Girl at Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan. Commissioned by State Street from the artist Kristen Visbal, the work has since become a part of the zeitgeist amidst global conversations about gender parity, diversity, and inclusion on a broader scale. Now, some two years later, Fearless Girl is raising additional intellectual property questions.
By J. Alexander Lawrence
Since the advent of the Internet, the music industry has been in a pitched battle to combat online piracy. Initially, the industry focused on shutting down services that offered peer-to-peer or other similar platforms, such as Napster, Aimster and Grokster. For a time, the industry also focused on filing claims against individual infringers to dissuade others from engaging similar conduct. In recent years, the industry seems to have shifted focus toward Internet Service Providers.