You Can Sing Now (More Safely)

It’s now (probably) legal to publicly sing the world’s most popular song, thanks to an opinion handed down yesterday by a federal judge in Los Angeles. After years of litigation, the court held that the lyrics1 of “Happy Birthday To You” are not restricted by Warner/Chappell’s copyright, handing a solid victory to a group of filmmakers producing a documentary about the song, not to mention the general public.

Via Happy Birthday To Everybody: Victory For The Public Domain (With An Asterisk) @ EFF.

From the Annals of Copyright Improbabilities™ 

PETA filed suit Tuesday, asking the courts to declare Naruto the rightsholder and hence an owner of property: a copyright. David Slater, the British nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the Indonesian jungle, said he has been granted copyright protection in the UK for the photos. He said he was “very…

About those Ashley Madison Terms and Conditions

Very few start-ups dream of establishing a site like Ashley Madison: the Avid Media’s venture is unappealing in service and (now more than ever) reputation. Among the many practices to be avoided at Ashley Madison would be an emulation of that website’s terms and conditions: those terms attempt to waive liability on the company’s part…

“4 Common Legal Mistakes Small Businesses Make”

I first saw Stephanie Christensen’s brief list of mistakes that small businesses make in late 2013, but it’s evergreen. Numbers One and Two (‘Misunderstanding ownership of creative assets’ & ‘Misunderstanding copyright laws’) are related: they often concern smart, well-educated non-lawyers who mistakenly think the law protects more or less than it actually does. Very few business people…

The Big Picture on IP

David Post, writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, recommends a recent paper from Mark Lemley (“IP in a World Without Scarcity“) that summarizes the state of intellectual property law. It’s a sound recommendation, and well worth following to Prof. Lemley’s paper. Here’s Post’s assessment: If I were still teaching a class on IP law, or Law…

Answering an Objection to the Language of Reddit’s Expanded Ban

In last week’s post, defending Reddit’s decision to expand its content ban, I promised that I’d answer an objection to that expanded content-restriction policy.  The objection to that content policy comes from Gizmodo, in a post from Annalee Newitz entitled, Reddit Bans /r/Coontown For All the Wrong Reasons.  Ms. Newitz, sensibly, isn’t opposed to a…

Reddit Wisely Expands Ban on Offensive Content

On July 16th, Reddit announced a ban on some offensive content, and a policy of concealing other content to prevent easy access of display to readers. This two-tiered approach to offensive content was novel, and a response to conflicting demands for an open forum and for a site free of racist posts, for example. A…

(Some) Startups Can Lawfully Tweet to Test Investor Interest

Startups are now able to post a Twitter message about their stock or debt offering to gauge interest among potential investors, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said this week. The announcement continues the SEC’s trend of warming up to social media, which began two years ago when it approved the use of posts on…

Others have tried, and now Facebook enters the workplace (formally) with Facebook@Work

At TechCrunch, Ingrid Lundgren reports on Facebook’s platform for businesses to create their own social networks.  She offers lots of useful detail, and correctly notes that some competing offerings in this space have failed (or just haven’t taken off): About six months ago, we reported that Facebook was working on a new product aimed squarely at…


310 E. Buffalo Street
Suite 140
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202

T: 888-669-5551
F: 888-268-9949

Office hours by appointment only.

Skype Me™!
Enter your information - Skype will connect you to our office