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Use of Copyrighted Software’s Output and Mere Downloading of Copy Held Not to Constitute Infringement

Neither using output from copyrighted software, nor downloading (but not installing or using) the copyrighted software, constituted actionable copyright infringement under the US copyright statute.  Design Data Corporation v.  Unigate Enterprise, Inc., No. 12-cv-04131-WHO (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2014).  Accordingly, the court in this case granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the […]

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Ninth Circuit Affirms Inapplicability of Copyright First Sale Doctrine to Restrictive Software License

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a district court decision (reported in this blog) holding that a restrictive software license is not a “sale” for purposes of the federal copyright laws, and that the license could not be used to assert a defense to copyright infringement based on the first sale doctrine.  Adobe Systems Inc. v. […]

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Third Party Affirmative Defenses to Software Copyright Infringement

A license, either express or implied, may be an affirmative defense to software copyright infringement.  However, a recent case, brought by Oracle against a vendor who had provided services to Oracle’s customer, illustrates the limits of these defenses.  Oracle USA, Inc. v. Rimini Street, Inc., No. 2:10-CV-00106-LRH-PAL (D. Nev. Feb 13, 2014).  Perhaps more importantly, […]

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First Sale Doctrine Inapplicable to Antitrust Claims Concerning Licensed Software

The first sale doctrine governing transfers of copyrighted works could not be used to allege that statements made to potential customers were “false, predatory or anti-competitive.” Int’l Equip. Trading v. Ab Sciex Llc, No. 13 C 1129 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 29, 2013). The plaintiff in this case had brought a number of unfair competition claims, […]

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Software Licensee’s Creation of Derivative Work Results in an Injunction

In case you doubted it, seemingly boilerplate provisions in software license agreements that prohibit the creation of derivative works do mean something, as exemplified in EyePartner, Inc. v. Kor Media Group LLC, No. 4:13-10072 (S.D. Fla. July 15, 2013). The court in this case granted a preliminary injunction based on such an anti-modification provision, as […]

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Use of Software After Expiration of License Is Copyright Infringement

A software owner was granted summary judgment of copyright infringement where its licensee had breached the applicable software license agreement, and continued to use the software after the agreement expired. Clinical Insight v. Louisville Cardiology Med. Group, No. 11-CV-6019T (W.D.N.Y. July 12, 2013). The licensee could not be saved by its allegation that it had […]

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Software Copyright Infringement Defenses: Ownership of a Copy and Implied License

A defendant accused of infringing a software copyright was, according to facts plead in the plaintiff’s complaint, an owner of a copy of the software under 17 U.S.C. § 117(a)(1). Further, the facts established that the defendant had an implied license. Therefore, the court in Zilyen, Inc. v. Rubber Mfrs. Ass’n, No. 12-0433 (RBW) (D.D.C April 2, […]

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Path Cleared for Ninth Circuit to Address Copyright First Sale Doctrine Burdens of Proof

Adobe has been granted partial judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) in a copyright infringement case so that the Ninth Circuit may determine which party bears the burden of proof when the first sale doctrine is raised as a defense to copyright infringement. Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, No. 2:10-CV-00422-LRH-GWF (D. Nev. Oct. […]

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Copyright First Sale Doctrine and Burdens of Proof

Adobe, having been precluded from relying on license agreements that it failed to produce during discovery, has lost a summary judgment motion on its claim for copyright infringement against a defendant who asserted the first sale doctrine as a defense.  Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, No. 2:10-CV-00422-LRH-GWF (D. Nev. 2012). Defendants sold software over the […]

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Are Webpages “Published” Under U.S. Copyright Law?

Allegedly infringed webpages were held not to be “publications” under U.S. copyright law.  Rogers v. The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston, Inc., No. H-10-3741 (Aug. 15, 2012).  The plaintiff had described the webpages as unpublished when applying for copyright registrations.  The defendant argued that the webpages were published, and that the copyright registrations were […]

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