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'Selfie Monkey' Settles Copyright Case

There's a problem with the settlement in the selfie-monkey case: the monkey did not consent to it.

If the monkey took a full-on, toothy selfie, he ought to be able to put a signature on a simple agreement. Don't laugh. Elephants can do it.

Even a sloppy, banana smudge would do. Come on, is there no justice in the urban jungle?

Studios Win Against Streaming Movie Filters

You gotta respect video-streaming companies that clean up movies for family-friendly viewing.

After all, they are trying to to protect kids from profanity, sex, nudity, violence, and substance abuse depicted in original movies. Parents will pay to block those cringey moments when the family sits down for viewing.

But that's not a good reason to violate copyright laws, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. VidAngel, Inc. It was a victory for Hollywood studios and a benchmark in their battle against copyright piracy.

Monkey Can't Get Money From Selfies

It's hard to report this story with a straight face. I mean, even the monkey was smiling.

If you haven't seen them before, the pictures are definitely worth seeing. The macaque, who snapped his own selfies, has a great simian smile.

According to a federal judge, however, the animal doesn't have a copyright to the photos. It's not a joke, although more than a few lawyers say it is.

Urban Outfitters, the specialty retail chain geared towards hip teens, has a bit of a reputation for ripping off others' designs. It's not hard to find an artist who claims that the chain has picked up their designs -- sans permission, of course -- turning their art prints into miniskirts or their necklaces into knockoffs.

Now, at least one allegedly wronged party has gotten some justice. On Monday, the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court's ruling (on summary judgement no less) that UO had infringed on a fabric company's copyright, selling a textile that was a "near duplicate" of the original.

More and more Americans are cutting their cables and ditching their TVs, choosing to consume their video entertainment through online streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. But as online streamers begin to encroach on the realm of cable and broadcast TV, are they entitled to the same treatment as companies like Comcast or Viacom?

Not according to the Ninth Circuit. In a ruling this Tuesday, Fox Television Stations v. Aereokiller, the court rejected an attempt by FilmOn, an internet-based TV rebroadcaster, to obtain a compulsory cable license under the Copyright Act of 1976. The court must defer, it explained, to the Copyright Office's determination that internet rebroadcasting just wasn't the same as cable.

Smut Trolling 'Prenda Law' Firm Gets No 9th Cir. Sympathy

Trolling is the ultimate business model -- until it finally comes to a grinding halt. This appears to be how things are rolling out for the now defunct Chicago outfit Prenda Law that made a name for itself in recent years by buying up porn copyrights via shell companies and extracting settlement monies out of lonely downloaders.

In the words of Alison Frankel of Reuters, misusing copyright law and deceiving the courts are good tactics to enrage judges and turn sentiment against you. Not a good strategy at all for law firms.

Strike a Pose: Madonna's 'Vogue' Gets Fair Use Victory in 9th Cir.

Have you ever listened to a song and heard the faint and often vague whisper of a familiar sound from another artist's song? Well, that's not by accident. Such sampling is rather common and is at the epicenter of a recent Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of everyone's favorite material girl, Madonna.

The court ruled that Madonna's very minor sample from a 1976 song in "Vogue" was small enough to be excusable. But, the issue actually might be a little more nuanced than that.

9th Circuit Revisits Dancing Baby, Edits out Robo-Screening

The issue of baby Holden and his viral "dancing baby" is still kicking and making waves in the world of the fair-use debate. The ruling last year was technically a win for free-use proponents, but it could hardly have been called a knock out of the park.

The Ninth Circuit recently revisited its ruling for the EFF and clarified the otherwise confusing victory for the free-Internet advocacy group.

Adobe Loses Copyright Infringement Case to Software Surplus

If you buy a software program and sell that software program to a third person, is that a copyright violation? According to Adobe it is.

But not according to the Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The circuit court held that Adobe did not meet the shifted burden it held to prove that Joshua Christensen and his company Software Surplus had violated alleged copyright and trademark rights held by the Adobe.

Amazon's Competitor Brand Displays Don't Violate Trademarks

The 9th Circuit granted Amazon's motion for summary judgment in a suit brought by Multi-Time Machine, Inc. (aka "MTM"). And unless this issues makes its way to SCOTUS, it looks like time-out for the watch manufacturer.

The case was an interesting "just kidding" step taken by the Appellate Court, which surprised all parties who fully expected the case to be moved beyond Amazon's summary judgment.