CLBR #209: Leeor Neta on a Landmark Copyright Decision

Leeor Neta on a Landmark Copyright Decision

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Leeor Neta, Newman | DuWors

Leeor counsels clients on intellectual property, Internet and mobile marketing, data privacy, communications, and general corporate law. He has prosecuted and defended hundreds of intellectual property and Internet-related disputes. He represents domestic and foreign clients in a variety of matters, including IP infringement, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, domain disputes, and licensing. His practice spans a variety of jurisdictions in courts throughout the country. Leeor is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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A Landmark Copyright Decision


Not that one. . . . This one involves whether CSS may be protected by copyright.

What is CSS?


That’s CES – the Consumer Electronics Show.

Not the same.


From Wikipedia



Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing thepresentation of a document written in a markup language.[1] Although most often used to set the visual style of web pages and user interfaces written in HTML and XHTML, the language can be applied to any XML document, including plain XML, SVG and XUL, and is applicable to rendering in speech, or on other media. Along with HTML and JavaScript, CSS is a cornerstone technology used by most websites to create visually engaging webpages, user interfaces for web applications, and user interfaces for many mobile applications.

Photo: “CSS-shade“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikipedia.

Can you Copyright CSS?

MEDIA.NET ADVERTISING FZ-LLC, Plaintiff, v. NETSEER, INC (Case No. 14-cv-03883-EMC) (N.D. Cal. Jan. 12, 2016)

The Court finds that portions of Plaintiff‘s HTML code meet the requisite level of creativity to be copyrightable. Specifically, Plaintiff‘s HTML code employs classes, which provides the opportunity for a developer to express creativity.

Should You Protect CSS?

From Copyright 101

The primary purpose of copyright law is not so much to protect the interests of the authors/creators, but rather to promote the progress of science and the useful arts—that is—knowledge. To accomplish this purpose, copyright ownership encourages authors/creators in their efforts by granting them a temporary monopoly, or ownership of exclusive rights for a specified length of time.




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