Copyright Law

Copyright Infringement Litigation and BitTorrent Defense

Arising from the United States Consitution, and codified by our federal statutes, U.S. copyright laws protect original literary, musical, dramatic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, choreographic, and architectural works, as well as sound recordings and motion pictures, that are fixated in any tangible medium of expression. The give authors the right to reproduce their works, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, and perform or display their works publicly.

Copyright infringement occurs when someone, without authorization, copies constituent elements of a copyrighted work that are original.

The Orlando attorneys at Cynthia Conlin & Associates represent both plaintiffs and defendants in various copyright actions. On the plaintiffs’ sides, we represent artists whose works have been unfairly copied; on the defendants’ side, we represent people who have been unfairly accused of copying or distributing artwork, such as, for example, via BitTorrent download.

Because copyright law is exclusive to federal courts, we practice in the three districts courts in Florida: Middle, Southern, and Northern. To find out whether we can help you with your copyright issue, please call us at 407-965-5519 or email us through our contact page.

Practice Areas
Blog posts related to copyright law
Copyright Troll Malibu Media files 6 new lawsuits in Middle District of Florida
150 150 Cynthia Conlin

Malibu Media, LLC, filed six new copyright infringment lawsuits in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.  The complaints allege that each “John Doe” defendant…

Saved by the bell: Copyright troll Patrick Collins, Inc. too slow for data purge
150 150 Cynthia Conlin

On May 10, 2012, Patrick Collins, Inc., plaintiff in at least two of the notorious “copyright troll” cases, voluntarily dismissed all the John Doe defendants in a case filed in the Orlando…

ConlinLaw Episode 2: Baby Buddies v. Toys ‘R’ Us
150 150 Cynthia Conlin

Here I discuss Baby Buddies Inc. v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., 22 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C1159b (11th Cir. 2010), a case where Baby Buddies alleged that Toys R Us’s pacifier holder…

Exactly what is ‘Fair Use’?
150 150 Cynthia Conlin

As you probably know, it is generally an infringement to use another’s copyrighted work without authorization. However, one common defense to infringement actions is “fair use.” But how can you determine whether something is used in “fair use”?

The courts follow a four-step balancing test, which can be quite complex and examines both the original and the copied works in much detail. Only after examining and weighing all four factors will the courts decide whether an item was used in “fair use.”

The first factor is the “purpose and character of the use.” For instance, non-profit educational purposes will weigh more in favor of fair use than for-profit uses. Uses exploiting an original work for commercial gain tend to weigh in the other direction. This factor also considers the transformative nature of the new work. For instance, a “parody” (assuming it’s a true parody) will weigh in factor of fair use in this factor.

The second factor is the “nature of the copyrighted work.” The more informational and functional the original work, the broader the scope of the fair use defense. For original creative expressions such as many songs and paintings, this factor generally weighs against fair use.

Bloggers beware! If you lift other’s content, it may cost you … up to $150,000
150 150 Cynthia Conlin

One Nevada attorney-turned-serial copyright litigant seems to have created a new legal niche — at the expense of bloggers and website owners nationwide.

Steve Gibson is an Illinois- and Nevada-licensed attorney living in Las Vegas, where he helms Gibson Lowry Burris LLP, a law firm that focuses on, among other things, copyright law. Around the beginning of the year, Gibson formed Righthaven, LLC, a company with the purpose of buying and registering copyrights of newspaper articles which have been lifted at least in part by bloggers and website operators, and then suing whoever he can find who has copied them.

Since the company’s formation, Righthaven has filed more than 80 copyright infringement lawsuits, sometimes several in a day, and all in the District Court for Nevada, against bloggers and website operators throughout the country.