Thursday, September 17, 2009

New IP Colloquium podcast takes on derivative works, fair use, and the 'Harry Potter Lexicon'

UCLA Law School professor Doug Lichtman has posted a new edition of his IP Colloquium series of podcasts, this one taking on the scope of the derivative work right in 17 U.S.C. § 106(2) and its interaction with the fair use doctrine. The jumping-off point for the discussion is the lawsuit by Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling against the publisher of the "Harry Potter Lexicon," a reference book about the fictional world created by Rowling found to be infringing by a New York federal court.

The featured guests are Warner Bros. SVP Jeremy Williams, and Anthony Falzone, executive director of Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project. Jeremy, one of the most thoughtful studio lawyers I know, is about as far from the caricature of the "Hollywood attorney" portrayed in the copyleft blogosphere as one could imagine. His discussion of the line Warner draws between noncommercial (though probably infringing) fan sites, which it tolerates, and the commercial infringers whom it targets, should be required listening for those who claim, falsely, that the studios simply "sue 'em all." (And from what I have observed, Warner's practices are fairly consistent with those at other studios.)

CLE credit is available in California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Tennessee, and Washington, as well as other reciprocating states.

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