News and Commentary
James Stansel of PhRMA penned an opposing view in USA Today on the importance of patents to the pharmaceutical industry. It’s rather uninspired, and only goes through the basic logic of why the pharmaceutical industry needs patenting (which is a fair point), but completely fails to address the nuances of the debate–or use hard numbers to back up its case.
Nobody likes copyright trolls–especially the judges that have to deal with them. New York Attorney Richard Liebowitz has filed nearly 1,200 copyright infringement suits (most of which have been settled out of court) in his four years of being a practicing attorney. Based on his absurd number of filings, one judge wrote that “it is undisputable that Mr. Liebowitz is a copyright troll.” This quotation comes from a separate opinion written by Judge Denise Cote that she had to write when Liebotwiz requested the word “troll” be redacted from the record in a previous case.
Ernesto Falcon of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent post outlining the dangers of the pending CASE Act. While current copyright law requires registration before a rightsholder can sue for damages (with a few exceptions), the CASE Act would allow suits for up to the maximum statutory damages for works that aren’t registered, making even the most ordinary internet activities potentially cost thousands of dollars.
The U.S. Register for Copyrights (director of the Copyright Office) Karyn Temple came out in support of the CASE Act last month.
For a great example of innovation without monopoly, read this piece by Nathan Mattise on how bartenders can’t copyright their alcoholic beverages. But, while a list of ingredients can’t be copyrighted, trademarks can be used extensively in the field, and the article recommends that bartenders looking to make it big should design training materials and standardized procedures, which can be more easily covered by IP.
This week, Katy Perry testified in a copyright infringement suit related to her song “Dark Horse” and whether or not it infringes on rapper Flame’s (Marcus Gray) song “Joyful Noise.” Perry and those involved in the development of “Dark Horse” said they were unfamiliar with Flame’s song.
Anthony Marcum of R Street Institute has a post on the CASE Act. Unlike Falcon, Marcum’s attack on the CASE Act take a different approach. He argues that it may, in fact, be unconstitutional on the grounds that it takes too much power away from the judiciary (an Article III court) due to the structure of the proceedings and the opt-out process.