Charlie Chaplin’s films represented only a small fraction of the commerce being transacted in his name, image, and antics during the World War I era. Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer recounts how Chaplin’s lawyer, Nathan Burkan, chased down spurious Chaplin films that he considered “vulgar, suggestive, and obscene.”    

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In the post that inaugurated this blog back in 2012, I noted that the Copyright Act’s simple formulation–“copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression”–is never more problematic than when applied to the highly collaborative, highly derivative, and oftentimes hugely expensive and risky art and…

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Actress Cindy Lee Garcia unknowingly played a role in the allegedly blasphemous Innocence of Muslims trailer that appeared on You Tube in the Summer of 2012, sparking violent unrest in parts of the Islamic world. A five-second, two-line performance that Garcia gave for a film entitled Desert Warrior (“Is George crazy? Our daughter is but a child?”) found its way into…

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A provocatively titled op-ed recently published by the New York Times, “Internet Pirates Will Always Win,” urges content providers to give up the legal fight against online copyright infringement as an exercise in futility, as new technologies make illegal downloading and streaming ever “harder to trace and to stop.”   The piece has prompted predictable responses from representatives…

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Under the Copyright Act “copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.”   This simple formulation is never more problematic than when applied to the highly collaborative, highly derivative, and oftentimes hugely expensive and risky art and craft of film.  Who is the author?  What counts…

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