Copyright Law

Common Law Copyright Makes it On Broadway

The online New York Law Journal (registration with a credit card for at least a free trial required) reports as follows: ALBANY: In an unprecedented expansion of common law copyright protections, the Court of Appeals [New York’s highest state court] yesterday said recording artists are shielded in perpetuity under New York standards even when their foreign copyrights have long since expired. Attorneys predicted the 7-0 ruling in Capitol Records v. Naxos of America, [Inc.], would…

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Death of an Icon

A story from the L.A. Times / Washington Post syndicate, evidently sent to press before the Pope’s death, told of the increase in sales of John Paul II-related merchandise. This includes perfectly reasonable and understandable things such as the Pope’s own book, Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way (forgive me, but it reminds me of a different book by a very different man) and rather silly things like the pineapple in red lemongrass soup... Read more

Trademark Law: The Dismal Science

The Tata Group put out this press release about a trademark decision that some people seem to think is funny. It is evidently connected with this WIPO decision. Likelihood of Confusion doesn’t get it. No one said trademarks were supposed be fun, much less funny. Much less bodacious. Hat tip to John Berryhill via the INTA List. Apparently he gets it. Read more

Q the Lawyers

A report in the online Financial Express says that Nissan is suing Audi over “Q.” To wit: “We are seeking to bar Audi from using any names that could infringe on Nissan’s right over the letter ‘Q’,” she added. Quazy. It’s been ten years since the Supreme Court said that if you establish secondary meaning, you can have trademark rights in a certain color. But I guess when you can’t win back your own name... Read more

I Read Dead Peoples’ Email: UPDATE

Remember this item? Michell Malkin reports on new developments. Like her, though for different reasons set out in my original post, I’m lukewarm about this move. UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Deeper treatment of this issue, and specifically the Justin Ellsworth case, continues apace. Here’s one piece in IP Law & Business (the article is not available on line for free yet) by Mark D. Rasch, formerly headed the Department’s efforts to investigate and prosecute computer... Read more

Culture Killers or Pains in the Neck?

Wired reports on a new book whose thrust, evidently, aligns decently well with my own little personal views (and not just mine): Brand Name Bullies. Says the review in Wired: To prove his point that the commons is under attack, Bollier has filled Bullies with example after example of how corporate lawyers have swooped in on artists and consumers who have tried to use products and logos in ways other than those prescribed by the... Read more

See Dick Win. Pay, Defendant, Pay.

By now you must have heard about the dustup involving Yiddish with Dick and Jane. The irony for me is that not long after I was learning to read English with the original Dick and Jane at P.S. 225, I was learning Yiddish from an essentially identical book for little secular Yiddishists (it turned out handy later at the Chaim Berlin yeshiva, but I digress) with “Motl” and “Gitl” standing in for Dick and Jane.... Read more

Standing Shmoe to Shmoe

The author of this weblog was quoted in USC Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review in an article entitled “Tsunami Video Alliance Portends Future Distribution for Amateurs” last week. (It’s about the Media Bloggers Association.) I don’t mind saying that I powerfully enhanced the sterling image of attorneys as high-minded and articulate preceptors of the public with the following quote, responding to the question of blogger liability for carrying other peoples’ videos (particularly tsunami videos). Here’s the... Read more

“I Have a Dream ©”

The online Globe and Mail has an important item on how documentary filmmakers and others are being slammed by the IP equity grab, called “How Copyright Could be Killing Culture”. Okay, maybe “killing culture” is a little over the top. I suppose if more rigorous enforcement of copyright would throw a speed bump in front of the likes of Michael Moore, our modern Leni Reifenstahl, that would put a little chill in the air —... Read more

More on Email Privacy for the Dead

The New York Times (linked to by Drudge) has an article entitled The Secret Lives of Just About Everybody which opens, compellingly, as follows: One mislaid credit card bill or a single dangling e-mail message on the home computer would have ended everything: the marriage, the big-time career, the reputation for decency he had built over a lifetime. So for more than 10 years, he ruthlessly kept his two identities apart: one lived in a... Read more

Media Bloggers Legal Defense Project

The Media Bloggers Association is setting up a stable of attorneys “to provide MBA members with first-line counsel on matters relating to the use of intellectual property, defamation and other issues arising from their weblogging.” Looks like they got a real crackerjack guy to take the laboring oar. Originally posted 2005-01-10 23:05:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter Read more

Evel Knievel’s tarnished reputation

Yahoo! News reports that the Ninth Circuit (them again!) has ruled that an online photo caption referring to him in the presence of two women as a “pimp” means “pimp in a good way.” They must mean in the rapper vocabulary sense of “ladies’ man,” which assuredly the Bangled One is. But does Evel Knievel have any truck with the world of P. Diddy and 50 Cent? Shouldn’t that matter? It seems that the fate... Read more

Google me this

If trademark / Internet cases are not at the top of things to stay on top of in late December, you may have missed this potentially important decision giving Google an out of the box win in the battle (not, as suggested by the CNET story’s headline, the war) between its own quaint self and insurance mass-marketer GEICO. This is a case being watched by all of us practicing in this area. Indeed we have... Read more