Fair Use

Happy Birthday to You - A Chapter Closes in A High-Profile Copyright Saga

“Happy Birthday” is the song everyone and your cat knows. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the most frequently sung English song, but it is recognized around the world and sung enthusiastically in many different languages at birthday parties for children and adults alike. With hundreds of millions of public performances and easily billions of private ones, it without a question the most popular song in the musical canon of the twentieth century. Not to mention examples like Marilyn Monroe’s serenade version to the U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1962 – an iconic performance of an iconic song. read more

Submitted by Anna on October 7, 2015 - 10:31am

Triple Trouble: Three High Profile Copyright Cases Settled

Maybe it was in celebration of International Happiness Day, or maybe it was just coincidence, but this week saw three high-profile copyright cases all resolved through out-of-court settlements.

First, upstart toy company GoldieBlox settled with Beastie Boys over the unauthorized use of a version of the Beasties song “Girls” with altered lyrics in an online ad video. As we reported in December, the case was framed initially as a question of whether the video qualified as fair use, but it also raised issues of trademark infringement, false endorsement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of publicity rights. In the end, the Beasties got what The Hollywood Reporter originally reported that they were after: a donation by Goldieblox to a charity of the Beasties’ choice, based on a percentage of revenue, and a more substantive apology:

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