Posted on November 22, 2008 in copyright, FLI, IP by Brian RoweView Comments

Today we are out at University of Washington’s Law School. Here is the schedule for the day:

  • Breakfast and Welcome from Dean of the University of Washington School of
  • What you need to Know about Copyright – Robert C. Cumbow
  • Law Workshops
  • Parent Workshop
  • Lunch and Introduction to FLI Mentors
  • Mock Trial!

Note from Cumbow’s Intro to Copyright by Cumbow:

1. What is IP: The products of the mind.  Copyright, patents and Trademarks

2. What are the requirements for getting a copyright?  The work must be original and fixed.

3. Examples of copyrightable Matter:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • dramatic works
  • pictorial works
  • derivative works (translations, film from books, works based on other works)
  • characters
  • motions pictures & other A/V works
  • sound recording
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • toys, games, dolls
  • computer programs
  • packaging design

4. Things that are NOT protected by copyright

  • ideas
  • facts
  • titles (de minimis)
  • slogans and other short phrases

5. Copyright Owner’s Rights

  • Reproduce
  • Make derivative works
  • Distribute (including “first publication”)
  • Perform publicly
  • Display publicly
  • Digital performance of Musical Work
  • Authorize (license) any of the above

Question: Why do people give up these rights?

Answer: Often someone else can exploit that right better.

Note Brian:

Question: Does the license or transfer have to be in writing?

Answer: yes and no… No for Licenses. Yes for Transfers.

Question: when you license or transfer a work do you get royalties?

Answer: Maybe this is up for negotiation, you can write a contract that stipulates some from of royalty.

Question: If I license a work to someone can they license it to someone else?

Answer: it depends on what you grant in the license.

Question: is licensing or assignment better?

Answer: Generally speaking licensing is better as you retain most rights.  hanging on to your copyright

6. How do I get a copyright?

  • Copyright is automatic! You already have one
  • This is automatic

7. What is copyright registration?

  • This is where you give the government notice that you have a copyright

8. Advantages of Copyright Registration

  • cheep ($35-$45)
  • Presumption of exclusive rights
  • prima facie evidence of validity, ownership, originality
  • Ability to bring infringement actions (to sue is court)
  • Choice of actual damage or statutory damages + award of costs and attorney fees

PS: statutory damage range from $200 to $150,000

Question: If someone makes a t-shirt with my image and a quote from me is that a copyright violation.


Question: many commercial companies have phrase or slogans are those protected by copyright?

Answer: No but this likely protected by trademark law.

Question: Can I use a picture, without the authors permission, I found online for scape book I am making for school?

Answer: Most likely yes, if your use is noncommercial, transformative and part of an educational activity it is likely to be fair use thus allowed

9. copyright infringement

  • Unauthorized use of an exclusive right
  • Federal Court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction
  • Elements of a prima facie case :
  1. A valid, registered copyright
  2. Copying

10. Defenses

  • Time bared 3 year statute of Limitations
  • Waiver/acquiescence
  • The copyright is not registered
  • the registration is invalid
  • work is unprotected (ideas, facts)
  • The work is not substantially similar
  • Licensed (express or implied)
  • The use was trivial de minimis
  • Fair Use

11. Fair Use

  • codifies divisional law (came from old case law and is now a statute)
  • 1st amendment in the copyright law
  • Use of copyright for criticism, comment, teaching, news

12. fair use 4 factors (from section 107)

  • Nature of the use
  • Nature of the copyright work
  • Amount and substantial use
  • Effect on the market or potential market

13. Factor 1 & 2

  • Nature of use commercial or nonprofit educational, was it transformative
  • Nature of work fact based or fiction AND published

13. Factor 3 & 4

  • How much of the work did you use? did you take the”heart of the work?”
  • are you harming the market value of a work

14. Fair Use: Right or Defense?

Both, the court recognize it as a defense but it is related to the 1st amendment

15. How can you tell?

  • Before 1923 = not copyright
  • Check the copyright office (but most works are not registered)
  • Look for a copyright notice
  • if unsure assume it is copyrighted

Question: Can you register copyright under 18?

Answer: maybe I am not sure.  you can get a copyright just by creating something.  You can probably register that copyright.

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