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It is hard to imagine the current U.S. Supreme Court agreeing on something as simple as their lunch order in a time when 5-4 decisions feel like the norm. So, when it unanimously agrees, one might conclude that the question at hand was not very difficult. Not so here. In Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, No. 17-571 (March 4, 2019), 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. The Supreme Court’s short opinion upheld an Eleventh Circuit decision, and undertook no more than a simple statutory construction analysis, finding that the plain language of the Copyright Act cannot be ignored because of hypothetical ill effects, especially ones fully within the purview of Congress to fix. A plaintiff cannot sue for copyright infringement until registration has issued, or been denied by the Copyright Office; a mere pending application will not suffice.
By Michael W. Mitchell and Edward Roche
The decision in Brammer v. Violent Hues sheds some light on when re-posting will be a “fair use” and when it will give rise to liability.
By Rob Maier
The trade war between the United States and China has had far-reaching effects on international trade and the global economy. The dispute is slowly developing into a battle of attrition, without any immediate resolution on the horizon despite ongoing trade talks. As businesses change the way they operate in response to this unpredictable trade environment, counsel should consider the risks and potential impacts on corporate IP strategy.
By Alan L. Friel
Part One of a Two-Part Article
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a comprehensive new consumer protection law set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. In the wake of the CCPA’s passage, approximately 15 other states introduced their own CCPA-like privacy legislation, and similar proposals are being considered at the federal level. Part One of this article covers how the CCPA applies to businesses — both in and outside California, the revenue threshold, proposed amendments and other open issues.
By George Soussou and Jeff Ginsberg
More Than a Recitation of Hooke’s Law Needed for Patent Protection
A Claim for a Chair Limits the Claim to a Chair