Copyright pools must be a legitimate collection of ownership rights.  While copyrights are long standing, they are adapting to the changes of the digital age.  Recently the U.S. Department of Commerce published a green paper providing the most comprehensive analysis of digital copyright in almost two decades.  This paper encouraged initiatives on enforcement of copyrights against websites dedicated to infringement, and sought comments on various topics in copyrights.

Copyrights protect any creative expression fixed in a tangible medium, including pictures, texts, music, and software.  With ease of access and dissemination through the internet, it is often difficult to police and enforce against infringement.  The value of an individual claim against an infringer may also be small.  This has led to the consolidation of some copyrighted works into copyright pools.

Copyright pools are aggregations of individual copyrighted works into a portfolio.  This creates an economy of scale and allows rights holders to enforce their rights against infringers.   In turn, this increases the value of the individual copyrights.  However, a recent a circuit court ruling made it so that these copyright pools must be genuine and they must involve real rights of ownership to be effective.

Righthaven LLC is a corporation that specialized in obtaining a limited right from the copyright holders of newspaper articles, and then suing infringers in attempts to settle, which they frequently did, at an average of $2500 a case.  However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group, put an end to the “copyright troll” Righthaven.  In the suit that followed, the court admonished that a copyright plaintiff must be asserting a right that is exclusive to the copyright owner.  The “copyright assignments” that Righthaven obtained were revocable and the original owners retained the exclusive ability to exploit the copyright.  Because Righthaven had only acquired this limited right, they could not bring suit.    This clarified the requirement that copyright pools must be legitimate consolidations of ownership rights.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

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