The copyright suit brought by French photographer Patrick Cariou against famous “appropriation artist” Richard Prince has concluded with a denial for certiorari, and a denial of clarity for those of us still uncertain about what makes for an adequate “fair use” defense. Several years into the litigation, and the public has yet to tire of this strange narrative leading to what could have been a significant moment in the history of the “fair use” doctrine. In the art world, “fair use” is an infamous affirmative defense to a claim of copyright infringement. The defense has been raised with varying degrees of success in cases with similar facts. The overwhelming majority of fair use defenses have been raised in California and New York, arguably the cultural and artistic epicenters of the east and west coasts of the United States.
After World War II, many European countries have tried to put into effect their own constitutions and as a result, their own welfare states. They invested and spent a significant amount of their national economic resources to guarantee social rights to all citizens, health care, retirement plans, and education. In order to guarantee the aforementioned rights, politicians decided to take on a huge amount of debt, regardless of the fact that sooner or later it would be difficult to control. On the other side of the world, the U.S. fears socialist programs. However, this did not exempt the U.S. from having one of the largest public debts in the world.
This article not only tries to explore the Italian welfare state by focusing attention on the Italian health care system, but also proposes interesting discussion points from a comparative perspective. On one side, Italy represents a classic socialist country. On the other, the U.S. is very capitalistic. The 2008 economic crisis imposed the need to reflect on the sustainability of the welfare state and its future development.
Imagine on your right is a medical device, “A”, used in hospitals to track a patient’s blood oxygenation levels. On your left is a mobile health-based application, “B”, that also tracks a patient’s blood oxygenation levels. Medical device “A” is extremely sophisticated and, unsurprisingly, expensive. Mobile health-based application “B” is portable, convenient, and a fraction of the cost of “A”. Assume that “B”, while lacking some marginal features, still collects and transmits data that is as accurate, complex and as reliable “A”.
Debt is an American epidemic. The total sum of consumer debt in the United States (U.S.) is approximately $11.4 trillion dollars. From 1985 to 2007, an average households’ debt increased from roughly 60% of post-tax annual income to more than 125%. During that same period, debt-to-income ratios nearly doubled. Furthermore, roughly 35% of all adults, more than 77 million Americans, hold debt that is delinquent and in collection. As a result, debt collection companies have found a viable and rapidly expanding market in debt collection. Currently, the debt-collecting industry employs nearly 500,000 people (debt purchasers) in the U.S. alone. In a study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) between 2009 and 2012, nine of the largest buyers of defaulted debt on the secondary market acquired $143 billion in defaulted loans but paid only $6.5 billion for defaulted loan’s acquisition. This acquisition cost is equal to only four cents per dollar of defaulted debt. It is debt purchaser’s goal to collect as much of the remaining debt value as possible.
In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the United States Supreme Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) does not require closely-held corporations’ employer-sponsored medical plans to provide forms of contraception that shareholders of such corporations object to on religious grounds. The question now raised is how the President, Congress, and the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury and Labor, ought to respond to the Hobby Lobby decision.
When terrorists struck the United States on September 11, 2011, no one thought that intellectual property (IP) piracy funded the attack. Even with the 2014 Sony hack by North Korea, many people thought intellectual property (IP) piracy at that level was not possible. On the surface, intellectual property (IP) piracy and terrorism appear to be two distant topics. However, these topics are closely connected, as terrorist groups, especially those in developing nations, thrive on IP piracy allowing for the successful funding of terrorist opportunities. Terrorist groups gravitate towards IP piracy for funding because detection of IP piracy is easily evaded and developing nations do not thoroughly understand it. As a result, IP piracy presents a distinct global dilemma.
A Warner Brothers employee, Ms. Lyle, sued the writers of the TV program, Friends, for sexual harassment because the writers used sexually explicit coarse and vulgar language during their script writing sessions for the show. In the Supreme Court of California’s majority opinion regarding the suit, Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Productions, the majority held, among other things, that the plaintiff’s sexual harassment claims were not supported by the facts because the discussions of the Friends writers were not “aimed at Lyle or other female employees” or “severe or pervasive” enough to constitute sexual harassment.
While patentees have “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling [their] invention[s],” there is no obligation to manufacture or commercialize it. One of the most famous patents for a bacterium that was capable of breaking down crude oil in order to treat oil spills was never produced, despite its immense potential usefulness and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to get the patent approved. There are a number of reasons why a patentee may never end up commercializing his or her invention. For instance, “a nonmanufacturing patentee may lack the expertise or resources to produce a patented product, prefer to commit itself to further innovation, or otherwise have legitimate reasons for its behavior.” Chakrabarty, the inventor of the renowned oil-eating bacterium, likely never put his famous invention to public use because of the unknown environmental consequences of dumping the bacteria into water supplies. However, a patentee may not commercialize his product for nefarious reasons, such as using patents “as a bargaining tool to charge exorbitant fees to companies that seek to buy licenses to practice the patent.”
With the turn of the century, people in the United States and abroad experienced a rapid evolution in the way information was disseminated. Facebook, a social networking service, was launched in 2004. Facebook’s founders set their website apart from preceding social media sites, in part, by creating the “Facebook status:” “an update feature which allows users to discuss their thoughts, whereabouts, or important information with their friends” as well as the “like” feature, which Facebook defines as, “an easy way to let someone know that you enjoy [something], without leaving a comment.” Similar to a comment, the fact that you “liked” it is noted beneath the post.
On January 19, 2012, the Dwight neighborhood, a majority African-American part of New Haven, Connecticut, convened to discuss the construction of a fueling station on an empty lot in their neighborhood. The meeting had been called by the prospective landlord at the behest of the City of New Haven. The fueling station would be operated by a large northeastern corporation: Stop and Shop. An objective observer not equipped with more details would fairly assume that the meeting would be fraught with opposition and accusations that a large corporation was taking advantage of a politically weak community. This, however, is a story about a community taking the initiative and controlling its own development.