California individuals who create written works may be under the impression that everything they produce receives legal protection. The truth is that certain things are not covered by copyright law, and understanding what those things are could help clear up any confusion. This prevents individuals from proceeding as if they will receive protections and finding out later that none exists.
Even today, it would be difficult to find anyone here in California or elsewhere who has not heard the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. The iconic tune is usually instantly recognizable, and back in 2014, the song became the subject of a lawsuit. The question before the court was whether the famous rock and roll band violated copyright law by copying the instrumental introduction portion of the song from a song called "Taurus" by Spirit, which was another band of the same era.
Business owners, authors, musicians and others who create books, music and other written works ought to consider protecting them as often as possible. Many people here in California and elsewhere do take advantage of the protections gained from copyrighting their materials in order to keep others from using them without permission. Even so, copyright law does have its limitations.
This is the digital age, and many people here in California and elsewhere prefer to purchase, view and store their entertainment electronically. For this reason, music-streaming services such as Spotify are widely popular these days. The problem is that entertainment companies claim that this service routinely violates copyright law.
Taking pictures of celebrities and other famous people is a full-time job for some people. The pictures they take can be worth quite a bit of money, so when someone uses one of their photos without permission, they may decide to fight back. It does not even matter to them if the subject in the photo is the one using it. For instance, Splash News and Picture Agency located in southern California recently filed a lawsuit against Jennifer Lopez, alleging that she violated copyright law.
Five years ago, the trustee of the estate of a 1960s rock musician filed a lawsuit against members of the band Led Zeppelin, stating that their hit "Stairway to Heaven" infringed copyright by stealing its opening from an earlier song. During a 2016 trial, a jury found in favor of Led Zeppelin songwriters Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Claiming that the jury had not received proper instructions, an appellate court ordered a new trial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California has since taken the unusual step to hear the case en banc. In other words, the full panel of 11 judges will hear the case in the interest of determining authorship of the song.
California residents who have copyrighted work may think it has protection against all other use that the owner does not give permission for. However, copyright laws allow others to use copyrighted material in certain situations, and this is known as fair use.
It is important for many business owners in California to forge a unique brand identity and protect it with trademarks. However, are there limits to what you can register as a trademark? In addition to logos and slogans, can you also trademark a particular sound? According to the Huffington Post, it is technically possible to trademark a sound. However, it is extremely difficult to do so successfully.
Many people might understandably consider California the home of the computer software and hardware industries. Over the past few decades, Silicon Valley has launched an innumerable number of companies, ventures and technologies. This explosion of products onto the world market has brought with it the need to protect these products from being copied illegally.
Many people in California have at a minimum viewed a video on YouTube at least once. It is almost impossible to avoid having a video on the platform show up in a web browser search in some situations. The service offers companies and individuals a place to house and share their content. YouTube has also produced its own set of celebrities and an entirely new form of entertainment. Along the way, it has been plagued with problems related to copyrights and the protection of these rights on such a dynamic medium.