October 27, 2018

Managing Intellectual Property quotes Meaghan Kent in an article about the impact of the Star Athletica decision on copyrights

2 min

On October 27, 2018, Meaghan Kent was quoted in an article in Managing Intellectual Property about the impact of the Star Athletica decision on copyrights. Commenting on the decision, Kent said that "it's broader than it used to be."

Before Star Athletica, design elements of functional articles could not be protected with copyright if the article became less useful when the design element was removed. Now, design elements can be protected if the functional article is at all useful without it, which is a small, but important difference. The decision also strengthened protections for three dimensional designs.

Separately, a growing trend this year in the copyright space has been the enforcement of rights by photographers. This is because over the last couple of years image recognition software has been developed that enables photographers to more efficiently find unauthorized use of their content online. Kent said, "We're seeing more demand letters, and other pre-litigation enforcement." She adds that not only are photographers more able to find and enforce infringement, but "in some cases it has become a source of revenue. Instead of or in addition to licensing their work, many photographers enforce unlicensed work [to make money]."

Lastly, Kent said graffiti copyright is coming up now because "graffiti has become more mainstream and popular in the last couple years, and more respected as a legitimate art form." The problem with copyright disputes over graffiti is that they tend to settle.