Technology and Business Law Blog

Artistic License Terms- Copyright Infringement

In Jacobsen v. Katzer, the appellant brought an action against the appellees for copyright infringement for not following the terms of the Artistic License while copying and incorporating materials from it’s website.

The District court had stated that open source Artistic License created an “intentionally broad” non-exclusive license which is unlimited in scope and thus did not create liablity for copyright infringement. The appellete court’s analysis was otherwise stating that the Artistic License and other open source licenses cannot be randomly copied and modified without following the terms set forth in the license.

In this case the Artistic License required that changes to the computer code be tracked so that downstream users know what part of the computer code is the original code created by the copyright holder and what part has been newly added and altered by another collaborator. The appellate court stated that a user who downloaded the JMRI copyrighted material is authorized to make modifications and to distribute the materials “provided that” the user follows the restrictive terms of the Artistic License.

The crux of the appeal was that whether the terms of the Artistic License are just actionable under breach of contract based on covenants or if they were breach of conditions enforceable under copyright infringement. The court held that the term “provided that” denotes a condition and under copyright law the conditions under an Artistic License are enforceable. and so the Artistic License terms were conditions enforcable copyright conditions.


August 14, 2008 Posted by | Contract, Copyright Infringement, Licensing | | Leave a comment

Internet Sites and Statutory Rape

In Doe v an Ohio case, the plaintiff a male was charged with felony statutory rape. The facts are that a minor posing to be a 18 year old in her profile on’s website met the plaintiff online and later both met in person and had consensual sex. The plaintiff was then charged with statutory rape, for having sex with a 14 year old. Plaintiff sued alleging that (1) Defendants failed to discuss that the minor (Jane Roe) lied about her age to join the website and (2) the terms of the contract to join the website were unconscionable.

The Judge held against the plaintiff on both the claims stating that the “plaintiff was not an unsuspecting customer and “he was aware the membership registration process did not include an age verification procedure. Plaintiff specifically agreed to the Terms and Conditions which stated that SexSearch does not guarantee or verify any information provided by the user of the website and nothing outside of the Terms and Conditions creates warranties.”

The Judge held that section 230 of the Communication Decency Act “Interactive Computer Services” cannot be held responsible for publishing information provided to them by a member.

When the plaintiff met the minor in person he probably should have taken steps to verify her age, even if she appeared to be 18 years old, but when desire takes over good sense there is no holding back. Now the sad part is that even though the sex was consensual the adult is being held responsible and the minor goes scot free, which is totally unfair but who said that law is fair…

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Communication Decency Act, Contract, Statutory Rape | 1 Comment