Aaron J. Moss

Chair, Litigation Department
Fax 310-201-2314

Copyright Lately Blog

Copyright Lately Blog

News, insight and analysis on legal issues involving creative works and intellectual property rights.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Public Domain Day 2023 is Coming: Here’s What to Know A new crop of copyrighted works (including rights in a certain famous British detective) will enter the public domain in the United States on January 1, 2023. Here’s what it all means. Last month, Hulu announced that the upcoming third season of its Hardy Boys reboot would be the series’ last. While it’s certainly not unusual for streamers to cancel shows after only a few seasons, it also just so happens that the first three novels introducing the teenage sleuths are... More
  • Using AI Artwork to Avoid Copyright Infringement AI-generated art isn’t perfect, but it’s become a viable option for license-free set decoration in motion pictures and other commercial productions. Here’s what you need to know. Pandas, Monkeys and Clearance Culture “Nobody cleared the panda.” I was barely out of law school when a senior partner muttered those words as he handed me a scathing demand letter sent to one of the firm’s commercial director clients. The letter claimed that the director, an ad agency, and a popular theme park had all... More
  • 13 Spooky Copyright Cases, Just in Time for Halloween The only thing scarier than a slasher flick is a lawsuit. Here are some of the greatest copyright horror stories of all time, featuring such classics as “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” “Dracula,” “Ghostbusters” and. . . a creepy McDonalds character? It’s Halloween time again! The good news is after the holiday was effectively ruined for the last two years, we’re more or less back in business in 2022. The bad news is that Halloween falls on a Monday this... More
  • Tattoo Artist’s Trial Win is a Loss for Bodily Autonomy, Free Speech An Illinois federal jury awarded Catherine Alexander only $3,750 in damages for Take-Two Interactive and WWE’s use of tattoos she made for Randy Orton in their video games, but the implications of the ruling go much further. At the conclusion of a five-day trial last week pitting tattoo artist Catherine Alexander against Take-Two Interactive and WWE, an eight-member jury on Friday found that defendants committed copyright infringement by incorporating Alexander’s tattoo art into a realistic depiction of wrestler Randy Orton for... More
  • Take-Two Tattoo Trial Begins: What You Need to Know In a first-of-its-kind copyright trial, a jury will decide whether tattoo artist Catherine Alexander can effectively control the use of Randy Orton’s likeness in video games. UPDATE – September 30, 2022 – Jury finds in favor of Plaintiff Catherine Alexander, awards actual damages of $3,750 against Defendants Take-Two Interactive and WWE.  Full Story Here After over four years of litigation and five COVID-related continuances, it’s finally time for the main event. In a trial starting Monday in the Southern District of Illinois,... More
  • Deadly Dolls and a Forgotten Copyright Exception Exploring Section 113(c) of the Copyright Act, an underutilized defense that could have changed the outcome of a recent infringement case. There’s a provision of the Copyright Act that provides a simple and straightforward defense to an entire category of infringement claims. The only problem is that most people don’t know it exists. I’m talking about section 113(c), which allows photographs of useful articles incorporating copyrighted works to be made and used without violating copyright law. A useful article is an object like... More
  • Why Netflix’s “Bridgerton” Lawsuit is Good for Fan Fiction The full story behind Netflix’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Barlow & Bear, and why it’s actually a win for the fan fiction community. When it comes to copyright cases, Netflix has seen stranger things. It’s usually on the receiving end of the “I came up with it first!” claims that successful shows tend to attract like a magnet. But this time, Netflix is the one doing the suing, and it’s targeting the creators of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” with what I’ll... More
  • New Lawsuit Shows How Copyright Termination Can Ruin Estate Plans Composer Jay Livingston’s granddaughter is suing her mother for exercising copyright termination rights in “Que Sera, Sera” and other popular songs. A new complaint over song royalties is a good reminder that the best-laid plans of mice and musicians can go awry if their lawyers don’t properly understand copyright termination. The dispute pits Tammy Livingston, the granddaughter of Academy Award-winning composer Jay Livingston, against Travilyn Livingston and her publishing company, Jay Livingston Music. Tammy’s complaint (read here) refers to defendant... More
  • Court Slips Up in Duct-Taped Banana Copyright Case A banana taped to a wall may qualify as art, but as a copyright infringement lawsuit it should have been left to rot. A jury may need to decide whether one banana attached to a wall with a piece of duct tape infringes the copyright in another banana attached to a wall with a piece of duct tape—which pretty well sums up the state of the American judicial system in 2022. Plaintiff Joe Morford claims that the copyright in his artwork (L)... More
  • A Blue Christmas is Coming in Mariah Carey Copyright Case Musician Andy “Vince Vance” Stone claims that Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas is You” infringes the copyright in his own song of the same name. Here’s why he’s wrong—and why the lawsuit never should have been filed. UPDATE—November 1, 2022—Mariah Carey got an early Christmas present today, as Andy Stone, aka Vince Vance, dropped his lawsuit against her. The dismissal (read here) is without prejudice, which almost certainly means that no settlement was reached. It also means the... More