The purpose of the Copyright Act of 1976 is to recognize the value of the copyright to the copyright holder, to encourage creativity, and to promote socially desirable works that augment United States culture. But how valuable is a copyright when it becomes almost impossible for a plaintiff to successfully sue for copyright infringement? Increasing the difficulty in enforcing a copyright lessens the value of the copyright--which works against the very purpose of the Copyright Act. Recent developments in federal case law have indeed made it harder than ever for a plaintiff copyright holder to successfully enforce his copyright. A trend arising in the courts may result in a higher pleading standard for copyright plaintiffs, which would lead to more copyright cases being dismissed at the pleading stage.
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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld Congress’ 2009 Amendment of the False Claims Act. Congress, enacting the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA), lowered the standard of liability under the False Claims Act. The previous standard imposed liability for “knowingly making a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the government.” The new, significantly broader standard imposes liability for “knowingly making a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim.”
On January 22, 2013 the Michigan Court of Appeals, in a case titled Fuego Grill, LLC and Samuel Alvarado v. Domestic Uniform Rental held that courts, not the arbitrator, are able to decide the existence of the contract to arbitrate.
I have become aware of an internet patent “trolling” case captioned “AF Holdings LLC v. Matthew Ciccone” and filed in the Eastern District of Michigan. The company AF Holdings claims to own the copyright to “Sexual Obsessions,” a pornographic movie. Their attorneys employed a computer forensics expert to identify IP addresses (specific numbers assigned to computers connected to the internet) at which someone allegedly downloaded the movie in violation of the copyright.
On November 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued its first ever Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program for the fiscal year 2012.