Photos, Intellectual Property Rights and Social Media

Pictures used on social media platforms like Instagram have become extremely popular, with Instagram boasting over 800 million current users. When someone uploads a photograph to Instagram, do they still own the photograph? The answer is yes. When users upload a photo to Instagram, they do not lose their copyright entitlement. However, Instagram’s Terms of Use gives the social media platform a non-exclusive sub-license to use the uploaded content. More simply put, Instagram can license photographs from the site to others without there being any copyright infringement. This is something to keep in mind, as many people use Instagram as a platform to promote their businesses.

Does a Primate have a Copyrightable Interest in its “Selfie”?

By Christina Severino |
Recently, the Wikimedia Foundation was asked by British nature photographer David Slater to remove a “selfie” photograph taken by a primate with his camera. The Foundation refused, reasoning that because animals cannot hold a copyrightable interest, the images were in the “public domain”. As a result, Mr. Slater will likely pursue a legal action against the Foundation because the individual who uploaded the photo has not been located. His proposed argument is that the primate served as his assistant, thus affording him the copyright interest in the photos uploaded.

Do You Hear the Sweet Sound of Copyright Protection for your Melodies?

Copyright exists the moment something is put in a tangible form.  It is an exclusive legal right, a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. The length of time that a work is protected by copyright for a work first published after January 1, 1978, is the life of the author plus 70 years. 

Counterfeit Fashion

Originally posted 2013-03-13 19:01:49. By Tasha Schmidt | As many people’s wallets are getting tighter it seems more people are sacrificing buying genuine luxury goods and instead are investing in fake fashion goods. Counterfeit fashion and brand imitation is going on all over the world. Some people may unknowingly be buying fake products, as […]


Applying and receiving a trademark is a daunting task and requires time and precision to ensure you do not face litigation for trademark infringement and other problems in the future.  Understanding the basic requirements of what to look for when you are considering applying for a trademark, and what the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) looks for is critical from the beginning.

Are You Collaborating or Just Copying?

Let’s be honest! Some of the best music you’ve ever heard are music collaborations. It’s one of the best ways that you can make your work original, but it is also one of the most dangerous ways to have your work stripped from you (That is, if you do not adhere to the rules of copyright law). Before remixing, sampling, and/or collaborating on music, here are four things you should know.

You Can’t Have My Blessing…Or The Music!

By Breanna Pendilton |
Copyright law is founded upon the theory that it will promote and incentivize new works, while also giving credit to the originator.  But what happens when the owner of that work, will not share it?  Does that promote and incentivize new works?  Lifetime has recently announced its plans to make a biopic of the late singer Aaliyah, who died tragically in a plane crash at the age of 22 in 2001.  Her family, who was not contacted about the biopic, is not happy, and feels as if Aaliyah’s life was enough of a story to be told on the big screen.  But what can they really do right?  I mean, Aaliyah’s life, itself, is nothing but a bunch of facts.  In the eyes of copyright law, facts are not copyrightable, and Aaliyah’s family does not own her life story.

SiriusXM Appeals Copyright Ruling

he U.S. District Court of Appeals for California ruled against SiriusXM last week for airing music produced prior to the 1972. The laws of federal copyrights after 1972 expanded to cover master recordings. The lawsuit was filed by band songwriters Flo & Eddie of the Turtles. They sought $100 million in damages from the satellite radio company.

Court Date Set for Facebook Ad, Eminem Song Copyright Case

8 Mile Style, a song publisher for Eminem, filed a lawsuit in May against Facebook and Wieden & Kennedy, the advertising agency behind Facebook’s “Airplane” commercial for copyright infringement. The copyrighted song in question is “Under the Influence”, a collaboration piece between Eminem and rap group D12 off “The Marshall Mathers LP”, Eminem’s third and most successful studio album to date.

A Harlem Shake Infringement

Originally posted 2013-03-12 20:55:56. By Tasha Schmidt | Have you heard of the “Harlem Shake?” The “Harlem Shake” is more than just a really popular video. Voices being heard in the background of the viral Internet hit on “Harlem Shake,” have caused quite the uproar. One of the individual’s whose voice can be heard […]