The advent of file-swapping technologies such as Napster and the digitization of the written word have prompted a deluge of high-profile intellectual-property lawsuits.
Federal filings of intellectual property lawsuits have increased 24 percent since 1996. Pending court battles may decide everything from what a book is to whether artists (or their fans) have the right to distribute works without the blessing of entertainment companies.
Freelance photographers are even closing their shutters against magazines such as Forbes and Vanity Fair over the issue of payment for republishing their images on the Web.
Vivendi Universal has so many court battles boiling, it can’t decide which side of the table to sit on. German media powerhouse Bertelsmann, which struck a deal with music-file swapping service Napster, is now suing Napster’s twin, Aimster.
Cheat Cheat Of Current Intellectual-Property Litigation:
Aimster vs. Record Industry Association of America
Musicians vs. Vivendi Universal music
Jonathan Tasini, National Writers Union vs. NY Times Co., Newsday, Sports Illust.
Record Industry Association of America vs. Napster
Vivendi Universal movie studio vs. 2600.com
John Ashcroft, attorney general vs. Alice “Wind Done Gone” Randall