IP Overreaching

Bullish on royalties

The New York Post reports that the sculptor of the famous golden calf frozen in stampeding fury on lower Broadway — symbolizing the charge of capitalism in all its mammalian frenzy, its sinewy dynamism, its hirsute excess, its snorting effluvium — is suing Wal-Mart for exploiting his steely beast by selling pictures of it and, as the paper says, horning in on all the profit. Whether it’s a copyright claim or, perhaps, something else, I’m…

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Bloggers and Liability

Lauren Gelman writes to ask us to spread the word about a new online class on Bloggers and Liability: We’re beta testing a Law and Technology Academy in a Virtual World.  Tomorrow and Thursday at 5:30 PM PST, I’m going to teach a class in There.com you on Bloggers and Liability… http://stateofplayacademy.com/blog/?p=11 It’s free and should be useful. You do need a PC or a Mac running bootcamp to run the software. Attend both sessions... Read more

Pod people paid

We’ve written about Apple’s attempt to command the “pod space” in terms of trademark by the transmission of aggressive cease and desist letters. Now it appears they’re willing to buy the parts of it they can’t merely force to surrender, which is eminently reasonable. Certainly this does amount to an unusually aggressive, which is not to say unwise, brand protection strategy: Apple Computer Inc., maker of the iPod digital-music player, will pay a New Jersey... Read more

Abovethelaw.com

New mandatory blog for federal litigators (including, of course, trademark and copyright practitioners) and others interested in the world of Big Law. David Lat, formerly associated with Article III Groupie, is going full guns on lawyer gossip. Evidently, some lawyers have a lot more interesting lives than I do. Ok, more than “some.” UPDATE: Not everyone is amused, not suprisingly. Read more

RIAA defenders directory

I’m not so sure the RIAA isn’t on firm legal ground. In fact, I think they mostly are. Information may want to be free but so does crude oil; that doesn’t mean you can just set up a pump on my front lawn. But I do think their strategy and execution are stupid. So for what it’s worth I’m passing along this directory of attorneys defending RIAA defendants, put together by New York lawyer Ray... Read more

Hardware trademark rejected in UK

The Register reports: A businessman has failed to win the right to register the term “screw you” as a wide-ranging European trademark because it is offensive. It can be used, but only for goods sold in sex shops, the European trademark authority has ruled. Hard to harmonize with this, I would think, and actually quite hard for me to understand even on its own terms, but perhaps these are subtleties that escape the morally hidebound... Read more

Who owns NYC cop’s 9/11 pictures?

Here’s a somewhat interesting copyright battle, courtesy of Gothamist: A former NYPD detective tapped to take Ground Zero photos by disgraced former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik won’t make a dime peddling his pictures if the Bloomberg administration gets its way. “Aftermath: Unseen 9/11 Photos by a New York City Cop,” the 200-page work set to hit bookstores at $44.95 next week, features the work of John Botte. Kerik gave the veteran crime-scene photographer “privileged access”... Read more

Trying to Google the genie back into the bottle

The UK Independent reports that Google is waking up to its Google-as-verb problem. Here’s a similar report in the Washington Post. Why did Google wait so long? I am sure it has its reasons; I’m tempted to spend some time Googling to see what other people think, but you can Google it, yourselves. UPDATE: Most in-depth analysis I’ve seen, from Search Engine Watch. An odd case that sounds like “do what I say, not what... Read more

The Internet is different

New unconstitutional legislation that no one would ever dream of drafting regarding any other medium is in the hopper, via Legal Fixation. UPDATE:  Evan Brown explains more. The law has some stuff that is probably useful regarding the scourge of Internet pornography, but as I say above, some (here we go) “troubling” and constitutionally questionable aspects as well — including, as Evan explains, a provision that seems to codify and criminalize search-term infringement of trademarks... Read more

2006 Technology & Computer Law Conference (NJ)

I will be part of a panel, along with a number of distinguished colleagues, at the above-named program of New Jersey’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education, presented in cooperation with the N.J. State Bar Association‘s Internet and Computer Law Committee (of which I am a member) and the same association’s Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section. Whew. I’ll be speaking on the topic of developments in Internet-related trademark law. It’s in New Brunswick, New Jersey.... Read more

‘Crazy’ or just wishful thinking?

An attempt to sell the famous (to New Yorkers) Crazy Eddie trademark on eBay was manifestly unsuccesful, it seems. It’s a serious question what you’d be buying if you could find some reason to buy the Crazy Eddie mark (the Buy It Now price was $800,000 and the high bid was a little more than $30,000), because this seems as much like a “naked assignment” or “assignment in gross” of a trademark — i.e., a... Read more

Swingin’ with the PTO

Timothy Noah writes in the (awfully redesigned) Slate: Looking back from the 22nd century, future historians will marvel at the current era’s obsession with extending intellectual property rights well past any reasonable limit. Well, not if they read this blog! The piece is about a patent granted to a five-year old child for the “business process” of swinging. Swinging. On a swing. In a playground. I guess it’s all about the altitude — or the... Read more