Famous Copyright Cases We Can Learn From

Famous Copyright Cases We Can Learn From

The way in which we treat copyright as a business is very important. It doesn’t take much to find yourself in an ongoing battle with another business, and this can be extremely detrimental. Copyright cases are found from the smallest companies to the largest ones. When the latter category gets involved, these instances often become famous.  We’ve picked out four examples of famous copyright cases today. Let’s examine them and see what we can learn from them.


Apple Vs. Microsoft

You just knew these two would face off, didn’t you?! The initial battle between these two giants didn’t begin over an iPad, iPod, or iPhone, however. It actually began back in the 80’s, and it was a dispute over the development similarities of graphical user interface elements. A lot happened throughout this multi-year dispute, but it ultimately led to a win for Microsoft in the early 90’s.

The best thing we can learn from a case like this is to always be prepared for battle. These are two giant companies, and there’s no doubt they pushed the limit at times to see what they could achieve.


Apple Inc. Vs. Apple Corps

We hate to be harsh to Apple about this, but we’ve included them again! This was actually a trademark dispute over the name ‘apple.’ Believe it or not, The Beatles’ Apple Corps company came up with their name years before Apple Inc. ever did. After numerous battles, settlements, and confusion, a final settlement was allegedly decided upon.

It’s very easy to learn from this example! Trademarks are crucial for any business if it wants to protect its name, logo and more. Websites like secureyourtrademark.com offer this possibility. It’s an important consideration for those who wish to eliminate the risk from their business.


AP Vs. Fairey

This is a battle between the Associated Press and Shephard Fairey. Fairey created a poster back in 2008 surrounding the presidential election. The poster depicted Obama with a unique design, and it rapidly gained popularity throughout the US. The problem was that it was based around a photo taken by an AP freelancer. No credit had been sought, so the case went to a private settlement three years later.

If you’re going to be using someone else’s work for business purposes, you must secure permission. For photos, you can actually find plenty of copyright-free solutions at websites like publicdomainpictures.net. Otherwise, be sure to check with the owner of the picture/video/document beforehand.


Vanilla Ice Vs. Queen & David Bowie

The music business isn’t safe from copyright infringement, either! This is yet another case surrounding uncredited work. In 1990’s ‘Ice Ice Baby,’ Vanilla Ice sampled a portion of Queen and David Bowie’s song, ‘Under Pressure.’ However, no credit was given when it was sampled, leading to a case. It was settled out of court, presumably for a very large sum.

Once more, this was a case that didn’t need to develop into a problem if credit had been given. We should all look at something like this as a reminder to seek permission for everything we do when using someone else’s work.