Tag Archives: copyright

Six Things to Know About Trademarks

Trademark use, protection and enforcement are key components to any enterprise, whether startup, growth stage or Fortune 100. Here are some key points that decision makers over marketing should keep in mind. #1 – Trademark law protects the brand. Trademarks are intellectual property. The different categories of intellectual property can be confusing, and as you … Continue Reading

Ultra Records Sues YouTube Beauty Guru Michelle Phan

Last month, music label Ultra Records and its publisher, Ultra International Music Publishing (referred to generally in this post as “Ultra”), sued popular YouTube video blogger Michelle Phan for copyright infringement.  Ultra is a popular dance-music label and its roster of artists includes Kaskade, deadmau5, and Late Night Alumni. Ms. Phan is a YouTube sensation … Continue Reading

The U.S. Supreme Court Provides a National Standard for Who Can Sue for False Advertising Under the Lanham Act

Just last week, the United States Supreme Court provided much-needed clarification on the issue of who has standing to bring a false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1152(a).  The decision, Lexmark Int’l v. Static control Components, US Supreme Court slip opinion (March 25, 2014), provides a national standard that remedies a three-way … Continue Reading

Effective Work For Hire Arrangements in Technology Agreements Require Attention to Detail

A recent case underscores the importance of paying attention to the conditions set forth in a technology services agreement, and how those may affect the notion of a “work made for hire” under the Copyright Act. Plaintiff web developer delivered a signed proposed contract to defendant customer on July 10, 2010. The proposed agreement contained … Continue Reading

Competitor That Copied Website Design and Content May Be Liable For Infringement

It is a phenomenon that plagues businesses in every industry — the competitor that copies the company’s website. A federal court recently held that one such company accused of website copying may be liable for copyright and trade dress infringement. Plaintiff runs an online service providing information about liens and other issues relevant to the … Continue Reading

The Right of Publicity and the Need to Clear Your Advertising Copy

Earlier this year, actors Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson filed a lawsuit against Vutec Corporation and First Impressions Theme Theatres, Inc., both Florida-based companies specializing in home-theater equipment. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Neeson allege that the defendants used images of the actors, without permission, in advertisements for defendants’ products.  A copy of the complaint is … Continue Reading

Sometimes an EULA That Says it is the “Entire Agreement” is Not Really the Entire Agreement

Anyone involved with software licensing is familiar with the “integration clause” – usually a provision titled “Entire Agreement” toward the end of the document. Though such clauses purport to make what the agreement says the “entire agreement,” that does not always happen. An end user license agreement (“EULA”) that was the subject of a recent … Continue Reading

Streaming Music Royalties: Is It Time to Pay the Piper?

Singer-songwriter and Grammy winner Aimee Mann recently filed a lawsuit against MediaNet Digital, Inc. (“MediaNet”), an online media distribution company.  Similar to better-known companies like Spotify and Pandora, MediaNet offers millions of songs and a technology platform to a large roster of online music services, including Yahoo Music, MTV, Songza, and eBay.[1]  MediaNet does so … Continue Reading

Does Linking to Content Infringe Copyright?

A recent federal court decision confirms that, without more, merely providing a link to copyrighted content is not direct infringement of the copyright in that content. Plaintiff sued defendants for copyright infringement based on defendants’ alleged unauthorized sale of educational materials online. A paralegal in plaintiffs’ law firm sought to buy some of the infringing … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses BitTorrent Defendants Wrongly Joined in Copyright Infringement Action

A recent decision from a federal court in Missouri highlights some of the difficulties presented by mass copyright infringement litigation against BitTorrent users. The court held that the “joinder” of all defendants in a single lawsuit was not proper based on interests of fairness and judicial economy. The Rules of Civil Procedure allow joinder of … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance for BYOD Security Released

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) is at it again.  This past Monday it released an update of its 2008-era special publication to reflect the tremendous growth of mobile devices since:  Guidelines for Managing the Security of Mobile Devices in the Enterprise (SP 800-124r1))(the “Mobile Guidelines”).  The Mobile Guidelines are designed to go … Continue Reading

Court Decision Shows Why Copyright Assignments Should Be Precisely Worded

Capital Concepts, Inc. v. Mountain Corp., 2012 WL 6761880 (W.D. Va. December 30, 2012) The parties in a recent case engaged in expensive litigation they could have avoided if language governing transfer of copyright had been more precise. The decision serves to remind how good drafting in development agreements — whether for software, content, or, … Continue Reading

Pinterest’s Accounts and Terms of Service for Businesses and their Potential Impact on Sweepstakes, Contests, and Other Promotions

On November 14, 2012, Pinterest, Inc. revamped the Terms of Service (“Terms”) for Pinterest.com (“Pinterest”) and created new business only accounts (“Business Accounts”) to be governed by the site’s new Business Terms of Service (“Business Terms”). Although commercial use of the service was always encouraged by Pinterest, its Acceptable Use Policy  and prior versions of … Continue Reading

CAPTCHA. DMCA GOTCHA?

As of late there has been a great deal of news and discussion concerning "web scraping." Web scraping is the practice of using computer software to extract information from a website. In short, a wealth of information exists on the Internet and companies of all stripes are interested in collecting it from websites, compiling and combining it, and using it to further their business. Scraping raises a multitude of legal issues, including issues related to privacy and security intellectual property, and laws concerning unauthorized access to computers and trespass to chattels (in fact, the overlapping issues raised by scraping represent a very good example of what we call "information law"). Many companies attempt to stop scraping of their websites from occurring in the first instance. This can be achieved by implementing technologies such as CAPTCHA (which are becoming ubiquitous) that are intended to ensure that a human is entering the website rather than a computer software program or bot. If technologies like CAPTCHA are evaded by scrapers, some websites might pursue an action under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the "DMCA"). The DMCA provides for potential statutory penalties and even criminal sanctions for violations of its anti-circumvention provisions. This post explores how the DMCA might be used in this context and looks at some cases addressing whether circumvention of CAPTCHA (and similar protocols) might result in violation of, and liability under, the DMCA. … Continue Reading
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