Copyright Law

Life of the Law

Who Owns That Joke?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Comedian Carlos Mencia is notorious for stealing other comics’ jokes. But he’s never been sued—in fact, there are almost no lawsuits in comedy. On this episode of Life of the Law, what the law means to comics, and what they do when it can’t help them.


The Takeaway

The Digital Public Library of America Launches, Providing Online Access to All Kinds of Media

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America  goes online today. Its mission is to make all the collections of all libraries accessible to everyone, everywhere; you only need an internet connection. The Digital Public Library of America’s Director for Content Emily Gore discusses this ambitious project of knowledge sharing, and the legal obstacles it faces.


Freakonomics Radio

Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

From this week's Freakonomics: "I used 3,872 words of Winston Churchill’s in the book. And that cost me £950, which is roughly 40 cents a word."

Comments [1]


The Quest for an Un-'Happy Birthday' Song

Monday, January 07, 2013

A new contest is looking  to find a new song for birthdays -- one that's Creative Commons-licensed, so anyone could sing it for free.

Comments [5]

Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

James M. Cain, Popular Novelist, Argues to Strengthen Authors' Rights, 1946

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Novelist and screenwriter James M. Cain promotes his idea for an American Authors Authority that would treat literature as "property." Though it never caught on at the time, Cain's plan offers insight on present-day debates about copyrights. 

Read More


On The Media

Germany Publishes "Mein Kampf"

Friday, May 18, 2012

On January 1, 2016 one of the most infamous books of the 20th century, Mein Kampf, will go into the public domain and will be published in Germany for the first time in 70 years. German media professor Nikolaus Peifer explains to Bob how Germans are trying to manage and contextualize the book’s release in order to minimalize its impact.

Comments [4]


Copy Cat: Dajaz1 Goes Free

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A popular hip hop music site called Dajaz1 was recently returned to its owner after being seized by the federal government in November 2010. Despite RIAA assertions that the site had committed copyright infringement, the government handed the site back without any civil or criminal charges - and without much explanation. We turn to the "Copy Cat" - aka intellectual property attorney Jonathan Reichman - for answers.



Convoluted Copyright

Monday, January 23, 2012

Copyright made big headlines last week. File-sharing site Megaupload was shut down following a dramatic FBI raid. The Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) generated widespread web protests, resulting in a postponement of both bills. And the Supreme Court upheld a decision to restore copyright to works that previously had been part of the public domain - like Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf." We'll break down these convoluted stories with our go-to copyright expert, intellectual property lawyer Jon Reichman.

Comments [7]


Trial Date Set in AP-Artist Dispute in NYC

Monday, August 23, 2010

A March trial date was set Monday to decide whether the artist who created the Barack Obama "HOPE" image violated The Associated Press' copyright when he based the image on one of the news agency's pictures.



Copyright Or Wrong

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Both sides of the argument are right - where does that leave us? 

Read More