U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

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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.

Bikram Can't Copyright Yoga Poses or Breathing, 9th Rules

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals applied well worn copyright principals and ruled that yoga poses and breathing exercises are not entitled to copyright protection. More specifically, the court found that breathing and poses don't even fall into the realm of things that are copyrightable.

The issues in this case revolve around what practitioners have called the "Idea/Expression Dichotomy" -- that is, an idea as opposed to the expression or manifestation of that idea. Copyright protection, the 9th Circuit affirmed, extends only to the expressions of ideas and not to "processes."

Soon after Stephanie Lenz uploaded a YouTube video of her toddler dancing, she received a notice from Universal Music Group: take down the 29 second clip or risk being sued. Lenz's son had been baby-dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" ... and Universal said that use of the fuzzy background track violated copyright law.

The Pennsylvania mother didn't take down her video, however. Instead, she got pro bono representation from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and won big in the Ninth Circuit on Monday as the court announced that companies must consider fair use before sending take down notices. The ruling breaks new ground in IP law, protecting consumers from meritless copyright infringement threats.

The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed an earlier injunction preventing Google and YouTube from hosting the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film. That short, offensive and highly controversial film lead to violence and rioting in Egypt and elsewhere. It was briefly blamed for the attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Cindy Garcia, one of the actresses whose performance was manipulated in the film, had originally convinced the Ninth Circuit that she had a copyright interest in her scene, resulting in the take down order. That widely criticized decision was reversed today, with the court ruling that the prior decision got not just copyright law, but the First Amendment wrong.