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Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Blog

How long does a copyright last?

Copyrights protect individuals from having their work used by others without permission. The copyrighted work must be fixed in a tangible medium and be original. California residents who have intellectual property protected by a copyright may wonder how long the copyright lasts. It lasts for the creator's lifetime plus a period after their death.

The work is protected from copyright infringement from the time of creation, whether or not it was published or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. If the work was created after 1978, the copyright lasts for a creator's lifetime plus 70 years. Co-authored works last for the lifetime of both authors. If one author predeceases the other, the copyright lasts for the lifetime of the remaining author plus 70 years. The copyright for hired work will last for 95 years from the date that it was published or 120 years from the date that it was created. Works created before 1978 have copyright protection until at least Dec. 31, 2002. If the work was published before 2002, the copyright is extended until the end of 2047.

Apple's request for rehearing against Samsung denied

On Sept. 8, a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California denied Apple's request for a retrial in its case against Samsung. A jury awarded Apple a verdict of more than $119 million, but the original complaint requested $2 billion. Following the May verdict, Apple argued that it was unfair for the judge to allow Samsung to make arguments to the jury based on allegedly false information. However, the judge ruled that the information provided to the jury was not untrue.

The judge also denied Apple's request that she enter a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in the intellectual property case. However, the judge reportedly agreed to award supplemental damages to Apple to compensate the company for additional sales Samsung made after the jury reached a verdict. Apple is also entitled to prejudgment interest because the company was not able to use the $119 million it would have had if the patents had not been supposedly infringed.

Copyright lawsuit alleges infringement

A lawsuit originally filed in May and amended in August by attorneys for two real estate photographers, one of whom is based in California, accuses CoreLogic, Inc., of large-scale intellectual property theft. The company is accused of a deliberate failure to credit the creators of numerous photographs of real property.

According to the complaint, CoreLogic allegedly scrubbed legitimate copyright metadata from millions of images uploaded to online multiple listing services and sold unauthorized, uncompensated access to the images through its own subscription database. The complaint alleges that CoreLogic engaged in this behavior with the understanding or expected understanding that it would facilitate infringement. It also alleges that CoreLogic placed its copyright image beside the images, creating a potentially deceptive impression of ownership.

When an online opinion becomes Internet defamation

The Internet has made it easy to reach a global audience. While Los Angeles residents have a right to express how they feel, they can be held liable for false and reputation-harming statements about others. For instance, you can say or write that you had a negative shopping experience at a California store without enhancing the story with untrue invectives.

A law professor at the University of Michigan made an interesting point about Internet defamation. The authors of online opinions are publishers who must adhere to the same rules as journalists. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Yelp give us a blank page and unlimited viewers that can encourage us to cross the line between negative truths and barbed untruths.

Cybersquatting defense for California businesses

The intangible symbols and words of trademarks used by California companies are identifiers. To customers and clients, a trademark represents who you are and what you do. To understand the value of a trademark, see our blog post about a recent trademark dispute over the use of the words "comic con."

The practice of riding on the shirttails of someone else's success is as old as business itself. The Internet has just provided a new way to do it. There are people and competitors who plot to profit from business identities through cybersquatting.

California infringement litigation disputes ‘comic-con’ use

The name of a business helps California consumers identify the source of products or services they like. Some people or companies want to cash in on a business's success by muscling in on that name or trademark. Trademark infringement litigation often occurs when individuals or businesses offering like products also have the same or similar names.

What may have started out as a quirky gathering of comic book fans has evolved into a well-known West Coast event. Comic-Con in San Diego has attracted comic book lovers nationwide and the celebrities who bring those characters to life on TV and in films. Devoted fans circulate the convention often dressed like their favorite comic-book characters.

California headphone maker Beats hit by mid-sale patent suit

California businesses can reduce risks of infringement claims long before a product is available to the public. You don't want another business making profits off your company's patents, so it's wise to make sure you aren't poaching off anyone else's intellectual property. Remaining blissfully unaware of a competitor's patent won't help – purposeful or accidental ignorance is not a defense.

A new lawsuit against California-based Beats Electronics LLC by home entertainment retailer Bose Corporation mentions several patent infringement allegations. What you don't see in reports is a time line for Beats alleged infringement upon Bose technology patents for noise-control headphones. The lawsuit mentions the patents in the new Bose QuietComfort20 headphones were also employed in Beats Studio Wireless and Beats Studio headphones.

California court helping Lionsgate find 'Expendables 3' pirates

Filmmaker Lionsgate has been in damage control mode since the July release of a high-quality copy of "The Expendables 3" through online torrent websites. Lionsgate raced to court requesting a temporary restraining order to force the half dozen torrent sites, including and, to halt the unreleased movie's distribution. The film reportedly was downloaded globally over 2 million times -- more than eight percent of the movie downloads were from Los Angeles.

A temporary restraining order was approved by a California judge against the unidentified torrent site operators, who apparently spurned demands to pull "The Expendables 3" off their sites. The order prohibits site operators from distributing the film and transferring site registrations. Lionsgate also was given the go ahead to make contact with the defendants' financial and advertising providers.

Comedian turns to fans to fund copyright infringement defense

A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the effect of patent trolls on innovation. Patent trolls are individuals or companies that scoop up patents and threaten legal actions against patent users, "trolling" for licensing agreements or judgments. Patent trolls have been criticized for contributing to a 60 percent surge in patent claims since the beginning of the century.

Adam Carolla is familiar to Los Angeles fans as an entertainer, but the comedian isn't kidding around about being named in a copyright infringement lawsuit. The intellectual property lawsuit claimed podcasters like Carolla and broadcasters NBC, CBS and Fox infringed upon a 1996 patent owned by Personal Audio. The patent allegedly covers all podcasting.

Intellectual property cases disputes ‘Jersey Boys’ authorship

Los Angeles authors have several exclusive rights to the works they create including rights to copy, distribute and make derivatives. Intellectual property protection also gives authors the flexibility to sell, buy, gift or license the use of a copyright. Rules applicable to author collaborations are being tested in a federal case over the origins of the book that spawned the Broadway musical and 2014 film "Jersey Boys."

A widow claims her husband was the co-author of an unpublished book about members of the Four Seasons, the inspiration for "Jersey Boys." The late attorney was also a freelance writer who chronicled the group's history. Thomas Gaetano DeVito, an original member of the band and the named defendant, contacted the writer.