Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Copyright “Registration Approach” Agrees With IP Clinic Amicus Brief

The United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling affirming the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, holding that Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act allows plaintiffs to sue for copyright infringement only after the Copyright Office has issued a final action on an application for registration.

The opinion, written by Justice Ginsburg, settles a circuit split over the “registration” requirement for suit under the Copyright Act. Some circuits followed the “application approach,” meaning plaintiffs could sue as soon as they filed their application with the Copyright Office. Other circuits followed the “registration approach,” meaning plaintiffs had to wait to file suit until they received a final decision from the Copyright Office.

The Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision aligns with the amici curiae brief  prepared by IP Clinic student attorneys, Hailie Ingman, Ben Kessler, Andrew Levey, Ted Sotland,  and Mariana Viera under the supervision of Professors Hillary Brill and Peter Jaszi. The brief argued that the registration approach upholds the standards of copyright quality and respects the Copyright Office’s expertise in issues of copyrightability.  Furthermore, the registration approach supports the institutional history of the Copyright Office and the importance of the registration process as “a screening mechanism that safeguards against the proliferation of unfounded assertions of copyright.”

 

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IP Clinic Students Help with Award Winning Documentary Pariah Dog

Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic students Hailie Ingman and Zach Engleman helped producer and filmmaker Jesse Alk with the release of his critically-acclaimed and award-winning film, Pariah Dog. The student attorneys provided a fair use analysis of various clips used throughout the documentary film to ensure they met legal fair use standards. Their work has helped continue the long-standing effort this clinic has undertaken in ensuring documentary filmmakers follow best fair use practices.

The documentary film tells the story of pariah dogs living in Kolkata, India while bringing to light the stories of the people that take care of them. These street dog caretakers have dedicated their lives to ensuring the dogs have a happy and healthy life, even though they themselves are struggling to ensure their own health and happiness.

We are happy to announce that Jesse Alk premiered the film at the 2019 Big Sky Film Festival where he won first place for feature films over 40 minutes.

More information on the film can be found at http://www.pariahdogmovie.com/.

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IP Clinic Sessions

On February 25th and March 25th, IP Clinic Students will present the second and third installments in a series of IP educational programs for startups. These programs are organized and facilitated in cooperation with the Innovation Incubator at the Center for Business and Innovation at American University’s Kogod School of Business. The programs will occur in the evenings from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM. More information about the programs and their respective topics is provided on the attached promotional material.

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Clinic Director Professor Victoria Phillips Co-authors Survey of the growing IP and Technology Clinic Landscape

The Clinical Law Review has published a new paper coauthored by Professor Victoria Phillips.

“Innovation and Tradition: A Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinics” is based on a survey of 72 IP and Technology clinics. The paper takes stock of what IP and Technology clinics were founded to accomplish, how and what they are teaching students, and what clients and missions drive them. It highlights some individual innovations to inspire the community to continue to grow and change. It concludes by assessing what these clinics accomplish, how they are faring on these goals and the role they may play in the future of clinical legal education and experiential learning more generally.

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Clinic Student Michael McLaughlin wins IP Legal Writing Competition!

Washington College of Law JD student Michael J. McLaughlin has won the Corporate Intellectual Property Strategy Conference 2018 Legal Writing Competition!  On November 13, 2018 Competition sponsors, Unified Patents and the Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal awarded Mike $1,500 at the Fifth Annual Corporate IP Strategy Conference in Santa Clara, California.  The Santa Clara High Tech Journal will publish Mike’s essay submission entitled “Computer-Generated Inventions” on artificial intelligence and machine drafting of patent applications.  Mike is a J.D. Candidate for 2019, Senior Managing Editor of the American University Intellectual Property Brief, and a student attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic who will be joining Foley & Lardner LLP next year.  Congratulations Mike on this well-deserved honor!

McLaughlin Winning Story photo

(Center right) Michael J. McLaughlin ’19 and (Center left) WCL Alum Jonathan Stroud ’13, Chief IP Counsel at Unified Patents, and WCL Adjunct Professor on November 13th at the 5th Annual Corporate IP Strategy Conference in Santa Clara, California. 

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National Telecommunications and Information Administration Comments

Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic students Zach Engleman, Marielena Reyes, Hailie Ingman, and Spencer Sanders filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to its request for public comment on proposed privacy policy principles that seek to advance consumer privacy while also protecting American prosperity and innovation.

The comments were submitted on behalf of Common Sense Media, which is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the privacy rights of children and teens and helping them navigate and thrive in a world of media and technology. Common Sense Media empowers parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing them unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools for families to make smart media choices.

Common Sense Media’s comments support NTIA’s general principles to protect privacy and control data collection and use, but argues that any future privacy laws, regulations, or principles that fail to account for children and teens will leave our most vulnerable population with inadequate protections. Currently, federal and state privacy legislation does not cover all teens under 18, for example, the federal Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA) only protects children 12 and under.

Further, the Comments explain that children, teens, and their parents can adequately exercise control over their sensitive information when companies clearly describe their privacy practices, such as how they collect, use, disclose, and maintain information, in a manner that is accessible and understandable.

The Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic looks forward to continuing to assist Common Sense Media as they work with the NTIA and other stakeholders on these issues.

Click here to view the comments.

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IP Clinic Session with AUCI Ventures

On Thursday, November 9th, law school students from the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic of the Washington College of Law, in cooperation with the AUCI  Incubator, conducted a discussion on “Intellectual Property for Startup Ventures”.  Hosted by David Baker, Michael McLaughlin, Spencer McGinty, and Andrew Thomas, this two-hour working session consisted of presentations on the various categories of IP: Trade Secrets, Copyright, Trademarks, and Patents. (Click here to view the slide deck.)

The presentations were followed by one-on-one consultations with Incubator students about their specific IP needs.  A dozen students from AUCI Incubator ventures and I-Corp program were in attendance.  The WCL IP Clinic and the AUCI Incubator partnership has brought cross-campus collaboration between students from the law school and incubator venture leadership with over 75 students participating since inception. The ongoing collaboration will next focus on contracts including Non-Disclosure Agreements and Assignments of Rights.

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IP For Start-Up Ventures

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IP Clinic Students will present the first in a series of IP educational programs for startups this Thursday evening at the Innovation Incubator at the Center for Business and Innovation at American University’s Kogod School of Business.  The training is being organized and facilitated by IP clinic students David Baker, Michael McLaughlin, Spencer McGinty and Andrew Thomas.

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7th Annual Peter A. Jaszi Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property

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Join us for the 7th Annual Peter A. Jaszi Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property hosted by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at AUWCL.

Thursday, November 8th from 6:00-7:15pm followed by a reception.

PIJIP’s Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property Law is named in recognition of the continuing contributions of Professor Peter A. Jaszi to the study of intellectual property at WCL and in the world at large, and in particular for his lasting contributions to the elevation of the public interest in intellectual property discourse.  This lecture is traditionally one of our largest alumni-attended events of the year.

This year’s speaker is Professor Margaret Chon from Seattle University who will deliver a lecture on IP Romances.

We hope you can join us for this engaging lecture and celebratory reception!

CLICK HERE to register!

 

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IP Clinic Student Attorneys File Amici Curiae Brief with U.S. Supreme Court

A team of student attorneys from Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today urging the Court to affirm a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which held that Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act allows plaintiffs to sue for copyright infringement only after the Copyright Office has issued a final action on an application for registration. The brief was filed on behalf of individual authors and educators and was written by students Andrew Levey, Ben Kessler, Hailie Ingman, Mariana Viera, and Ted Sotland under the supervision of Professors Hillary Brill and Peter Jaszi.

The Supreme Court has taken on the case to resolve the circuit split over whether “registration” means, as the plaintiff argues, the mere filing of an application for registration. The Fifth and Ninth Circuits have taken that view. The Eleventh and Tenth Circuits, however, hold that the registration requirement in Section 411(a) means the Copyright Office has either approved or denied registration.

The amici curiae brief argues that the plaintiff’s reading of “registration” undermines the institutional history of the Copyright Office and the registration system, negates Congressional intent, and creates legal ambiguity and inefficiency for courts, parties, and the general public. Interpreting the term “registration” to mean a final action from the Copyright Office upholds the standards of copyright quality and respects the Copyright Office’s expertise in issues of copyrightability. Thus, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision that “register” means an action by the Copyright Office should be upheld.

The initial case arises from an infringement action by the petitioner, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation, which creates online news content and licenses it to third-parties. The respondents, Wall-Street.com published some of the petitioner’s content under a licensing agreement. After canceling the licensing agreement, respondents allegedly continued to publish the petitioner’s content. Fourth Estate sued for infringement immediately after applying for registration.

While the petitioner’s application was pending, respondents moved to dismiss the complaint under pre-litigation registration requirement in Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act. The district court dismissed the case on the grounds that “registration” required a final action by the Copyright Office, rather than the mere filing of an application. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.  The Supreme Court is expected to hear argument in January.

CLICK HERE to view the brief.

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