Orphan Works, Droit D’Auteur, Where to Sue in Copyright Cases

Copyright laws

Snippets from issue 1, 2013 volume of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter:

Publishing and distributing content in today’s environment means working within a variety of models. An article or a series of articles published in a newsletter or website may become a mini e-book, the basis for a webinar or online course, or part of an online subscription-based database. These various models of monetizing content presume one thing—that ownership of the original content is clearly established when that original or first version of the content is written.

– Editorial by Lesley Ellen Harris

Orphan Works:

Because museums operate as stewards of collections with a mission and responsibility—on the one hand to educate and communicate with their public and, on the other hand, to care for their collections—museums hold a unique perspective on rights issues. One of the most significant legal issues facing the contemporary museum is the orphaned works issue.  The issue of orphaned works, that is, works determined to likely still be in copyright where the copyright owner cannot be identified or found, is not new.  Historically museums have been involved in determining provenance or attribution of works of art.

– Orphan Works from the Museum Perspective by Rina Elster Pantalony

French Copyright Law:

The French Intellectual Property Code not only expressly provides for the possibility to transfer moral rights on the death of the author (moral rights can be transferred only because of death), but also provides for the perpetuity of moral rights. The combination of this perpetual nature with the possibility of transferring a moral right only in case of death, offers a crucial tool to maintain control over the use of a work beyond the duration of patrimonial rights. As an example, the French courts (Paris Court of First Instance, September 12 2001) found that the moral rights over the works of famous author Victor Hugo had been transferred to his heirs up until today even thought the famous writer died in 1885.

– Copyright in France: The French System of “Droit D’Auteur” by by Jean-François Bretonnière and Thomas Defaux

Where to Sue for Copyright Infringement:

Personal jurisdiction is the court’s power over the parties in a case and is generally limited to a geographical area, such as a state.  More broadly, jurisdiction is the right or authority of a court to hear and decide a case.  Not every court has the right or authority to decide a particular legal dispute.  For example, a small claims court does not have the authority to decide a copyright case.  Only federal courts have that authority.  Personal jurisdiction is therefore the right or authority of the court to make a ruling that is enforceable against a specific party.  There are two kinds of personal jurisdiction: specific jurisdiction and general jurisdiction.

– Where to Sue in Copyright Infringement Cases by Tonya Gisselberg

Previous contents of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter.

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