Friday, November 20, 2009

Schrock and Roll (UPDATED)

Clarida and Bernstein on the recent Schrock decision (mentioned earlier here):

"[T]he cases appeared to diverge as to three fundamental questions: (1) Is a photograph of a copyrighted work a derivative work at all? (the 'Definition Question'); (2) Must such a derivative work exhibit a higher level of originality in order to qualify for copyright protection? (the 'Originality Question'); (3) Must the creator of such a derivative work obtain separate specific permission to register his or her copyright, over and above the permission required to create the derivative work? (the 'Permission Question').

"The Seventh Circuit explicitly declines to answer the first of these questions in its Schrock reversal, but by clearly answering 'no' to the other two, the new ruling greatly reduces the significance of the Definition Question. If a derivative work need not meet a higher originality threshold and need not obtain separate permission to register, it really should not matter very much, in most cases, whether the photo at issue is deemed a derivative work of its copyrighted subject or not."

UPDATE: More from the folks at the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology.