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Google Library Book-Scanning Project Is Fair Use

More than a decade ago, Google announced what, at the time, seemed like an unbelievably ambitious extension of Google Print: it would create a massive online library of 15,000,000 digitally scanned books. We all know now, however, not to underestimate Google.

The project did raise the ire of a number of copyright holders and lawyers who claimed the project was a massive copyright violation and two suits followed. Well, the Second Circuit just sided with Google and ruled that the Google Books Library Project had met all the elements of "fair use."

'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' Rights Passed to Author's Family

Everyone knows the popular Christmas song, "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town." What's not so widely known is the story of the song's ownership. Currently, it's owned by Sony ... but not for much longer.

On Thursday, the Second Circuit ruled that the rights to the song will end in December of 2016 and will pass down to the descendants of John Frederick Coots, the original author.

Ralph Lauren Loses Another Round of 'Polo' Litigation

There's "Polo by Ralph Lauren" -- everyone knows that. But there's also the "United States Polo Association" (USPA), which uses a similar trademark utilizing the word "Polo" and an outline of a polo player on a horse.

Perhaps you or a loved one has become confused in a department store, as you -- a reasonable consumer -- can't discern the difference between "Polo by Ralph Lauren" and "U.S. Polo Association." Are they the same? Are they different?

Yesterday, the Second Circuit determined that they're just different enough to survive.

2nd Cir. Affirms: Music Companies Defied Consent Decree

Content providers are still struggling to figure out how to make money in the digital age. Music publishers, in particular, were much more comfortable with selling CDs from physical stores than they were selling digital copies, and even those, it seems, are giving way to streaming services.

This case from the Second Circuit pits stream music powerhouse Pandora against an association of music publishers. The publishers resisted allowing "new media" companies to license their works, but both a federal district court and the Second Circuit said the language of their agreements was clear: You can't choose to license to one group, but not to others.

Jack Kirby Estate Settles With Marvel Over Comic Book Characters

You may have never heard of Jack Kirby, but you've heard of X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk? Kirby created, or co-created, all of them -- and more -- between 1958 and 1963, when he was an independent contractor for Marvel Comics.

Last Friday, a surprise announcement sent a shockwave through the legal-comics community. The estate of Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment had reached a settlement, meaning the Kirby v. Marvel cert petition would likely be withdrawn from the Supreme Court's consideration.

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit "tackled the tricky question of how to define originality in architecture," reports Architect Magazine. Though standard copyright theory applies, determining originality in architecture can be difficult for courts.

In finding its own path, the Second Circuit rejected the analysis of the Eleventh Circuit, and decided to go its own way.

Let's call this the copyright lawsuit that just won't go away. What Disney thought was finality in a lawsuit involving the creation of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' now has new life.

In its fourth iteration, this lawsuit may now actually move forward. Let the drama begin.

The past month was a busy one for fashion brands as two lawsuits made headlines (but thankfully had no effect on hemlines).

In the first suit, designer Rachel Roy is suing Jones Apparel Group ("Jones"), where she is trying to stop Jones from selling her brand for $14.6 million to Bluestar Alliance, allegedly in violation of several agreements between Roy and Jones, reports WWD. (subscription only)

In the next, Aeropostale is suing H&M for trademark infringement over the use of the phrase "Live Love Dream," says WWD. (subscription only)

Here's a breakdown of each case.

There are a slew of copyright-related cases making their way through the Second Circuit, some even making it to the Supreme Court.

The Author's Guild filed an appeal with the Second Circuit on Friday, challenging the district court's ruling in favor of Google. The Second Circuit also agreed to hear arguments in a case brought by record companies against Vimeo. And next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Aereo case. Here's a breakdown of the latest news.

In 2000, photographer Patrick Cariou published "Yes, Rasta," a collection of portraits he shot, in Jamaica, of Rastafarians living in isolated communities. Eight years later, Richard Prince showed "Canal Zone" a series of collages and paintings altering many of Cariou's photographs. This week, the parties settled their dispute out of court putting an end to years of litigation.

Alleged Copyright Infringement

Cariou sued Richard Prince, and the gallery showing the works, for copyright infringement, and Prince countered with a fair use defense, reports The Hollywood Reporter. District court Judge Batts found for Cariou holding that the fair use defense failed because the works were not transformative, that is "the new work in some way [must] comment on, relate to the historical context of, or critically refer back to the original works."