This is a highly publicized copyright case that touches on numerous issues, many of which have yet to be decided.
NEWS ARTICLE: HERE
"One of California's most popular specialty license plates — depicting the tail of a Pacific humpback whale rising out of misty waters — could soon become endangered itself. Robert Wyland, the artist who created the pale blue image and gave it to the state more than a decade ago to help it raise money for marine programs, is now demanding 20 percent of any future revenue for his art foundation."
STORY LINK: HERE
THE LICENSE PLATE IN QUESTION: HERE
Considering the number of works of art that incorporate images found in nature, it's worth taking a moment to consider the extent to which such works should be protected. While works of art that depict animals or plants in their natural state likely fall within the public domain; works taking more artistic liberties will likely be accorded more protection. An interesting article discussing the issue in more detail is available HERE.
In an en banc decision, the Eleventh Circuit issued a ruling in the case of Greenberg v. National Geographic Society, holding that National Geographic was privileged, under the Copyright Act, to reproduce its print magazine issues on a digital CD-ROM format, without compensating a freelance photographer who had contributed items to the print magazine issues. The Court, relying heavily on a United States Supreme Court named New York Times v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001), reasoned that the addition of a montage to the CD-ROM did not make it "new" under copyright law, sufficient to require National Geographic to compensate the freelance photographer for publication of the photographs in the CD-ROM format. Instead, the Court held that the changes contained in the CD-ROM constituted a revision to a collective work, which fell squarely within a privilege contained in the Copyright Act. The complete decision is available HERE.
New rules concerning ex parte patent appeals are set to take effect Dec. 10, 2008. In response to their publication in June 2008, many in the field are characterizing them as making the process more costly and cumbersome, while proponents claim they provide much needed standardization to the process. (Article Here)