Intellectual Property

Copyright and Trademark

Copyrights and trademark are both types of intellectual property (IP). Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

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Quotes

Google’s Supreme Court Faceoff with Oracle Was a Disaster for Google

There's a real chance the Supreme Court could focus on this issue [the copyright status of APIs] in its decision—perhaps sending the case back down to the lower courts for even more litigation. — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell Tech and Cornell Law School


James Grimmelmann
Source: Ars Technica
October 8, 2020

Lawsuit Over Online Book Lending Could Bankrupt Internet Archive

“It seems like the publishers have a pretty strong case. I think there are arguments for fair use, but they're not terribly strong arguments.”
 — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, Cornell University
James Grimmelmann
Source: Ars Technica
June 1, 2020

Louis C.K. Is Trying to Outlaw Leaks. Can He Do That?

"It’s overreaching in terms of copyright law. The law grants certain rights, but it withholds certain others." — Jeanne Fromer, Professor of Law, New York University


Jeanne Fromer
Source: The New York Times
May 9, 2019

In Michigan, A Highway Sign Is at Center of an Unusual Trademark Dispute

"But there's at least a question, as far as I can tell, as to whether a road sign of this type would be deemed an official insignia of a state. I think that might be a little bit hard for the state to prove here." — Mark Janis, Professor of Law, Indiana University


Mark Janis
Source: National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition
November 1, 2016

Instagram’s Snapchat Ripoff Is Brazen and Totally Fine

"The idea of featured ‘Stories’ is not new, so any patents would likely be quite specific to implementation details. And because the implementation/interfaces are slightly different, copyright doesn’t provide any protection. This is an area where IP laws don’t prevent the copying of another’s features or innovations." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania


R. Polk Wagner
Source: Wired
August 2, 2016

Who Can't Tweet About #Rio2016?

"I think that trying to tell companies that they can't use the hashtag #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA in their tweets, most of the time they're going far afield of what the law permits and when companies use the ambiguities of trademark law to try and squelch socially beneficial conversation, I call that bullying." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: BBC News
July 31, 2016

Google’s Fair Use Victory Is Good for Open Source

"Developers of software need some simple norms to live by. One such norm is that independent reimplementation of an API in one's own original code does not infringe copyright. That's the law as well as good public policy." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: Ars Technica
June 2, 2016

DoJ Argues Against Google's Java Appeal

"Contrary to what the brief says, interfaces are meaningfully different from implementations; this is first-semester computer science. The [Solicitor General's] office didn't have to mush them together to make its argument that this case should be dealt with through fair use rather than through copyrightability. That it did so raises the concern that the DOJ is giving advice on a technology it doesn't understand. And given how important software is to the economy, that's truly frightening." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: Information Week
May 27, 2015

New Authors Alliance Wants to Ease Some Copyright Rules

"Copyright law is so strict, stretching up to 95 years from publication in some cases, that without the right to digitize it we are in jeopardy of losing our long-term cultural and intellectual history." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: SFGate
May 31, 2014

Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright

“What seemed insanely ambitious and this huge effort that seemed very dangerous in 2004 now seems ordinary. Technology and media have moved on so much that it’s just not a big deal.” — James Grimmelmann, Law professor, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: The New York Times
November 14, 2013
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TAP Blog

Pamela Samuelson Pushes Back on Stricter Copyright ISP Liability Rules

Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson’s recent article examines proposed reforms of the DMCA’s safe harbor rules that limit the liability of ISPs hosting user-generated content. Professor Samuelson urges Congress to “take a balanced approach” and “consider the interests of a wide range of stakeholders”.

TAP Staff Blogger

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Fact Sheets

Piracy and IP Enforcement

In the context of technology, “piracy” is a colloquial term for the illegal copying of copyrighted works. The related problem of counterfeiting is the illegal reproduction of patented or trademarked products.

Featured Article

Law, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will be widely used for social and commercial purposes. AR and VR will sometimes be used to harm others, testing the limits of criminal, civil, and constitutional law.

By: Mark Lemley, Eugene Volokh