Have I ranted about this lately?  A “trademark” is a word, symbol or other indicator of the source and quality of goods or services, i.e., a noun.  Something can only serve as a trademark if it becomes associated by some segment of the public with a particular source.  When it ceases to do that (perhaps by…

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Dennis Morris was a photographer who recorded the Sex Pistols’ legendary 1977 tours, capturing at least one iconic on-stage image of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious.  Russell Young is an artist who found that image on the internet and used it, without Morris’s permission, in a series of Warhol-like pieces.  Morris v. Young, decided yesterday by Judge Gee of…

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Well, not exactly.  But I had a good time when Oxford University Press, publisher of my Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein, asked me to compile a Spotify playlist of songs which, at one time or another, Arnstein claimed were plagiarized from his music.  The result, 15 songs spanning…

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A congressional committee report on the epochal Copyright Act of 1909 contained the Yoda-like pronouncement that “not primarily for the benefit of the author, but primarily for the benefit of the public, such rights are given.” It was an inelegant expression of the basic theory of copyright, that giving authors exclusive use of their writings…

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