Friday, October 13, 2006

President Signs Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act

President Signs H.R. 1036, the Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act

On October 6, 2006, the President signed into law the Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act (P.L. 109-303). Among other provisions, the Act provides:
    that the Copyright Royalty Judges are subject to the Administrative Procedure Act;
  • that they must consider certain Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel determinations and interpretations among precedents;

  • that they allow certain petitioners to participate in a proceeding without a filing fee;

  • that they may make a partial distribution of cable and satellite royalty fees after the filing of claims for distribution of such fees; and

  • that they may issue an amendment to a written determination concerning technical and clerical errors and to modify terms under certain conditions.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Trademark Dilution Act Signed into Law

The Trademark Dilution Act was signed into law last week. The bill overturns the Supreme Court's requirement from Moseley v. V. Secret Catalogue, Inc. that in order to prevail on a trademark dilution claim, the plaintiff must establish the existence of actual dilution, not simply the likelihood of dilution.

Eric Goldman, Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006: "Ostensibly, this law was intended to overturn the Moseley case's requirement that plaintiffs show 'actual dilution' instead of a 'likelihood of dilution.' However, the act morphed into an omnibus dilution revision effort that reshapes dilution law on a number of fronts. The result is a mixed bag--there is a little good news mixed in with the bad."

Attorney(s) at Kaye Scholer: The Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006: A Major Overhaul of Federal Trademark Dilution Law: "On October 6, 2006, the President signed the Trademark Dilution Revision Act ("TDRA"), a significant revision of federal trademark law intended to clarify and amend the scope of protection afforded to "famous" marks under Section 43(c) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1125(c). While it addresses and resolves a number of issues that have arisen since the introduction of dilution protection to federal law in 1995, the TDRA, nonetheless, has the potential to create numerous other issues, thereby making it likely that dilution will remain a controversial and evolving aspect of trademark law for many years to come."

William McGeveran, Info/Law, Trademark Dilution Revision Act Becomes Law: "The dilution concept has long been criticized for separating a trademark claim from its conceptual moorings: in theory, the principal interest protected by trademark law has been to prevent consumers from being confused. But that theory has been highly attenuated for a long time, so maybe it is better to admit that trademark law now protects big companies’ brand names for their own sake."

Previously: Chris Cohen shared some detailed first impressions of the bill.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Looking back, looking ahead

The Patry Copyright Blog: The 109th Congress
The first session of most Congresses is usually devoted to oversight hearings and gathering information. There are a number of areas that could use serious attention in the 110th Congress. I mention two: First, the secondary liability issues left unresolved by the Supreme Court in Grokster. The Court is dysfunctional, issuing 9-0 opinions, as in eBay and Grokster, which are undercut substantially by dueling groups of concurring opinions, leaving litigants, lower courts, and the rest of us trying to figure out what's next. It is well past time for Congress to assert itself, and to permit the public to join the debate in open hearings and the give and take of the democratic process, rather than having to suffer from the Court's own internal politics.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Clean Flicks discussion in the House

Last week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection held hearings on Editing Hollywood’s Editors: Cleaning Flicks for Families.

  • Mr. Bill Aho, Chief Executive Officer, ClearPlay Inc.

  • Mr. Allan L. Erb, President, CleanFlicks Media, Inc.

  • Mr. John Feehery, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Motion Picture Association of America

  • Ms. Robin Bronk Executive Director, The Creative Coalition

  • Mr. Jason Schultz, Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

This summer, a federal district judge ruled that creating and distributing edited versions of films to "sanitize" the films to make them more "family-friendly" constitutes copyright infringement as a matter of law under the §106(1) right of reproduction and 106(3) right of distribution. Clean Flicks of Colorado v. Soderbergh, 02-cv-01662-RPM (D. Colo. 7/6/06).

Previously: Clean Flicks.