OA34: The “Fallout” Over Copyright

Today’s episode is a mini-masterclass on Copyright.  We begin by answering a question from listener Sue Barnum who asks if a simple list can be copyrighted.

After that, we move to the main discussion over the Copyright Act and the “fair use” defense, using as an illustration the recent story where CNN appropriated the graphic from the hit videogame Fallout 4 to illustrate a story about Russian hacking.  Did this violate copyright law?  Or was CNN’s activity “fair use” of the game screen?

Next, we answer a fun listener question from Damian Kumor about the portrayal of law in media.  What’s Andrew’s favorite obscure legal TV show?  Listen and find out!

Finally, we end with Thomas Takes the Bar Exam question #6 about prenuptial agreements.  Remember that TTTBE issues a new question every Friday, followed by the answer on next Tuesday’s show.  Don’t forget to play along by following our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and quoting the tweet that announces this episode along with your guess and reason(s)!

Show Notes & Links

  1. Here’s the text of Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340 (1991).
  2. This article from cnet explained CNN’s use of the Fallout 4 graphic.
  3. The Copyright Act of 1976 is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.
  4. Learn about the incredibly low-rated cancelled TV show “Justice” at its IMDB page.

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