Best selling author Tess Gerritsen has sued Warner Brothers for breach of contract over their Oscar-winning space film "Gravity". According the Gerritsen, she had a deal with a subsidary of Warner Bros. for her book of the same title, "Gravity". While the book does not have the exact same story, there are similar elements between the two story, including the idea of a lone female astronaut stuck in space. According to this Vanity Fair article, Gerritsen herself at the time the film was released said that the film was not based on her novel, but now has learned information that a key player in the film was one of the people originally trying to bring her book to the big screen.
When talking to a copyright attorney about what is in the public domain, you will often get the response "it's complicated". While anything published prior to 1923 is pretty likely to be in the public domain, anything created after 1923 is a bit more complicated.
The 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court have made a ruling in a case involving an Ed Sullivan Show clip in the musical Jersey Boys. The Court has ruled that showing a 7 second clip of Ed Sullivan introducing the music group that is used in the histrolically based musical Jersey Boys was tansformative under the fair use doctorine and therefore is an exception to the copyright infringement claim brought by copyright holder. Though the fair use doctrine is a grey-area of the law, that is heavily fact intensive, the main factors that are explored in determining fair use are the purpose and character of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used and the effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work.
In a lawsuit between the Ray Charles Charitable Foundation and Ray Charles' children, a big ruling may be coming soon. In the lawsuit, the Ray Charles Charitable Foundation brought a claim for Declaritory Relief that they are safe any alleged copyright termination claims from Ray Charles' children because the songs at issue were "works made for hire". The problem is that if the works are in fact "works made for hire", then Warner/Chappell has standing to bring the suit but it is unclear if a mere third party beneficiary such the Ray Charles Charitable Foundation has standing to bring suit. The judge in this case has requested further breifing on the issue.
Over the past decade, the emergence of smartphones, smaller laptops, and tablets has created a new phenomena being dubbed as the "second screen". Often people watch televisions and movies (at home) with one of their various other devices in hand or near by. Every few mintues checking your device for information, or a status update, or to chat with a text. Nielsen reports that during the second quarter of 2012, 86% of tablet owners and 84% of smartphone owners in the United States said they used their second screen of choice while simultaneously watching TV at least once during a 30-day period.