Again? VMWare Accused of Violating Linux Kernel’s GPL license

penguinBy Chike Eze

Can’t we all just get along? At its core, an open source software license encourages software developers to share software with their community (i.e., the community of software developers). A software author grants a software copyright license to the public in exchange for requesting or requiring recipients to share their modifications with the public. Some open source licenses are permissive (i.e., the recipient may or may not share modifications), while others are restrictive (i.e., the recipient must share modifications).

The General Public License version 2 (“GPLv2”), a restrictive open source license, requires recipients of GPLv2 licensed software to share any modifications they make to the software with the community. This licensing model allows highly creative and intelligent software developers from all over the world to collectively author great solutions for the community. Sounds great, right? Well, in the real world, not everybody believes in sharing!  Continue reading

Fight for Your (Legal) Rights: The Beastie Boys Vindicate Their Copyright Interests, Again

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Photo Credit: Stereogum

By Jeffrey Echert

It’s smooth legal sailing again for the Beastie Boys. Just last week, a federal court in New York handed down a decision in an infringement suit against Monster Energy. Monster had used five Beastie Boys songs in a promotional video for a snowboarding competition, as well as “RIP MCA” in a font similar to the Monster logo (Beastie Boys’ member MCA, real name Adam Yauch, died in 2012). The Beastie Boys brought suit, claiming infringement of copyright and that Monster falsely implied an endorsement by the Beastie Boys. After hearing extensive testimony from Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, the jury awarded the Boys 1.7 million dollars in damages.

We’ve previously reported on legal issues surrounding the potential appropriation of the Beastie Boys’ catalogue before—last year, toy company GoldieBlox sued the Boys, hoping to receive a declaratory judgment in its favor for the use of the song “Girls” in an advertisement. The case settled in March of this year. As part of the settlement agreement, GoldieBlox made a public apology and donated a percentage of its revenues to charities that support STEM education for girls. Continue reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Stock Photography Collection Registration Protects Individual Images, Defers to Longstanding Copyright Office Practice

By Amanda BringsImage

In Alaska Stock, LLC v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub. Co., the Ninth Circuit recently weighed in on the much-contested issue of whether the copyright registration for a photograph collection protects the individual images within the collection. Adopting the approach of the Fourth and Fifth circuits, the court held that when a stock photography agency registers a collection of images and the agency has ownership rights in both the collection and the individual images, the registration covers both the collection as a whole and the individual images.

The case arose when Alaska Stock, a stock photography agency, filed a complaint against the major publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) alleging that HMH committed copyright infringement when it exceeded its license to use Alaska Stock’s images. HMH moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Alaska Stock did not have valid copyright registrations for the individual images under 17 U.S.C. § 409, and therefore could not bring suit under 17 U.S.C. § 411(a), which makes registration a precondition for an infringement action. Continue reading