Loss of DMCA Safe Harbor Protection by Employee Interactions with Content

Posted by: Geoff Morris

vimeo logoIn Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, denied, in part, Vimeo’s Motion for Summary Judgment that claimed Safe Harbor protection. The Court held that Vimeo could not claim, by law, the Safe Harbor protections of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), codified at 17 U.S.C. § 512, when Vimeo’s employees uploaded ten videos containing copyrighted material; Vimeo’s employees interacted with 55 videos containing copyrighted material; and users uploaded an unknown number of videos containing pre-1972 sound recordings. The Court’s ruling is a warning to all Online Service Providers (“OSPs”) to develop policies and procedures guiding employees on not destroying the OSP’s DMCA Safe Harbor protections. Continue reading


3-D Printing: A Concern? Or an Opportunity?

Posted By: Ashlee Hoffmann

Airwolf 3-D Printer. Photo by Eva Wolf

Airwolf 3-D Printer. Photo by Eva Wolf

Evolving technology – like the personal computer, paper printing, and the internet – has forced copyright law to struggle to stay relevant and applicable. Another upcoming technology promises much of the same: 3-D printing.

3-D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. It works by slowly adding material to build up an object layer by layer vertically. While it might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, 3-D printing is becoming an increasingly viable option for common consumers. The technology has been around since the 1980s but recent advancements have made it faster, better, and cheaper.

A recent report featuring technologies that will “force businesses to adapt or die” highlights 3-D printing. This technology represents a great opportunity for businesses, but it also promises concern for copyright holders. There are a couple of theories involved with 3-D printing that hint at copyright infringement: Direct infringement by users and contributory infringement by websites and 3-D printer makers. Designers who sell files may find their work copied and freely distributed around the internet. Similarly, copyright holders may suddenly find 3-D models of their works or characters shared so that they can be easily reproduced by any consumer with a 3-D printer. Continue reading

3D Printer Manufacturers Likely Immune from Liability

Posted By:  Joseph Citelli


Photo by Tiia Monto

Photo by Tiia Monto

As new and more advanced technologies continue to develop, the laws of the nation struggle to catch up, and the boundaries of legal protections for intellectual property are strained. With few exceptions, the law historically fails to anticipate problems posed by modern technologies, often addressing problems long after they occur when the technology in question may have already become obsolete.

One such technology that will undoubtedly cause problems for intellectual property owners is the development of 3D printers. Manufacturers describe the process by stating that “3D printing is a technology which makes it possible to build real objects from virtual 3D objects. This is done by ‘cutting’ the virtual object in 2D slices and printing the real object slice by slice.” While the thickness of the “slices” can vary, the process involves stacking each slice on top of another until the copy has the same size and shape of the original.

In this manner, 3D printer users can create exact copies of many real world items. While the printers’ abilities have already begun to make headlines, it is the versatility of these machines which makes them inherently dangerous to intellectual property owners. Infringement of protected materials can be accomplished easily, efficiently, and most importantly, without the knowledge of the intellectual property owner. It is clear that the very nature of these printers will lead to substantial concerns from copyright and patent holders alike. However, it is unlikely they can prevent either the widespread disbursement or the use of these printers. Continue reading

The Defense Strategy for Winning a Licensing Agreement Lawsuit

Posted by:  Logan Woodruff


DVDLets say you own a new and upcoming software design company, and rather than reinventing the wheel you decide, as did Isaac Newton, to see farther “by standing on the shoulders of giants.” You don’t want to infringe on anyone’s copyright, but you also don’t want to waste your time re-creating work that is already out there.

So you have done some reverse engineering on important parts of your new software but have added new ideas and concepts to the work, and have gone far beyond what others have created, or could have easily come up with.

After some successful implementation and roll out of your software, things are looking good for your company until you get a lawsuit in the mail, which claims that you have violated the licensing agreement of someone else’s software.

The first thing you need to do is get competent counsel to assist you. But going forward, you will be involved in the negotiations and potential litigation regarding your product. What will be your strategy for the success and prosperity of your company? Continue reading