Thursday, June 29, 2006

Counterfeit Parts and Products Liability

You are an aircraft manufacturer. A component of your aircraft malfunctions, falls off the aircraft, and subsequently causes the crash of an aircraft. It turns out that the component was counterfeit. Increased liability for aircraft manufacturer? What if the legitimate component manufacturer knew it's components were being counterfeited and failed to properly police? Liability? Inspired by.


Copyright Dork News

The Copyright Office is making a technical amendment in the regulation regarding notices of termination of transfers and licenses to clarify determination of the date on which notice was served. In instances where first class mail is used, the date on which notice of termination is served is the day on which the notice was mailed.


Louis Vuitton wins major counterfeiting case against Google in France

Louis Vuitton wins a major battle against Google in France. The case could have major implications for Search worldwide. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Get Behind Thee, Lawsuit!

White Stripes have prevailed over a producer and sound engineer who claimed he was owed gobs of royalties as a co-author of the band's album Der Stijl. The article points out the increasing use of work-for-hire agreements to avoid such disputes. The lesson: it's only rock-n-roll, and I like it, but get it in writing.


Broken Flowers Infringement Suit

The Globe has the story of an NYU professor and screenwriter who claims the producers of the Bill Murray film "Broken Flowers" took most of their ideas from his screenplay. As the story suggests, many of these claims go nowhere, most often because it's very difficult to prove the allegedly offending party had access to the plaintiff's work. We've had our own run-ins with similar scenarios. Here, however, it sounds like there might be a pretty good paper trail in that regard. Good one to keep an eye on.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The RIAA is apparently prepping for a war against YouTube and its ilk for the countless infringing works streaming therefrom every day. Henry Jenkins takes a look at the rock and the hard place. The general consensus around the web appears to be (unsurprisingly) that the RIAA is once again fumbling for the blunderbuss in the face of uncertainty, rather than taking the long view. Or is it just doing its job?

In the meantime, and illustrating the fact that unauthorized use of copyrighted material can lead to more than just a nastygram from an industry lawyer, one particularly energetic teen from Massachusetts has gone and snagged herself a contract with Carson Daly's production company on the basis of her YouTube antics.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Philip K. Dick is missing

In Hollywood, though, executives have found a way to turn the loss to their advantage. Noting the oddity of the story, Ms. Kim said of the android: "He was perfect for the film. Now he's disappeared — and that's perfect for the film too."


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ICANN and Access to Whois Records

Excellent article about ICANN and public access to whois records written by Doug Isenberg. (via Marty Schwimmer)


Gonzales on IP Protection Efforts

Transcript of prepared remarks of Attorney General Gonzales at U.S. Chamber of Commerce regarding intellectual property protection.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mmmm, Fluffernutter

In a story sure to appear in the last five minutes of local newscasts across the country, Massachusetts lawmakers are fighting over the future of the Fluffernutter in school lunchrooms. As a Fluff fan, I'm all for the Fluffernutter taking its place as the official sandwich of the Commonwealth. Though I must admit, I had one last week after work and my stomach hurt for hours afterward. Another sign of old age, I suppose. How sad.

Bonus Fluff coverage: the Fluffernutter was the subject of a trademark dispute earlier this year.


Monday, June 19, 2006

"Bad Twin" and Broken Synergy

Fans of the show "Lost" are probably aware that one of the passengers on the doomed fictional flight was the author of a manuscript entitled "Bad Twin," and that said manuscript miraculously survived the crash. As part of its varied efforts at taking the Lost adventure beyond the television screen -- including mysterious websites and questionable ad partnerships -- ABC commissioned an author to write "Bad Twin." The network also suggested various clues he should incorporate into the book, presumably other books, music, etc., which they would eventually reference on the show. Unfortunately for ABC, the author didn't take those suggestions to heart, and instead inserted references to entirely different elements. Now the book has become a bestseller, and ABC has to decide if it wants to pony up the cash to get copyright clearances for those clues, or ignore them and risk the wrath of the Lost fanatics. Why these "suggestions" weren't contractual obligations I have no idea.


Use of Trademarks by Users in MMORPGs

Interesting discussion regarding the use of trademarks "in-world" by Second Life "Residents." Including a response from Linden Labs. I think mark owners are missing out on a great opportunity here. via Pho.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Judicial Review of PTO Trademark Decisions

Excellent article about judicial review of PTO trademark decisions written by a mentor of mine, Tom Field.


Firm v. Firm

Times article on law firms suing other firms for infringement.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Interesting follow up to this post regarding RIM ex parte communications during the NTP v. RIM litigation.


New Copyright Fees as of July 1, 2006

New Copyright Office fee schedule as of July 1, 2006. Unless Congress says otherwise, which it wont.


Monday, June 12, 2006

The Helmet Clause

Of course I wish him a speedy recovery, but the cold, steely lawyer in me wonders if Roethlisberger breached his contract. The John Clayton interview showing on the ESPN sidebar does go into this a bit. Clayton doesn't think there is anything more specific in Roethlisberger's contract than the standard "injuries suffered outside of the game" clause. Apparently unlike Kellen Winslow's contract with the Cleveland Browns.


Save the Date: Cablevision DVR hearing scheduled

The suit over Cablevision's remote DVR service is shaping up to be rather significant, with some predicting it will ultimately be heard by the Supreme Court and settled by Congress. Multichannel News has the latest, including the court schedule. Looks like the hearing will take place in late October or early November, which puts a crimp in Cablevision's plan to have the service ready by Thanksgiving.


Stolen art, $3 billion real estate funds, and an unethical lawyer

The mystery behind a major Massachusetts art theft (the largest unsolved burglary from a private residence in state history) was solved last winter. But a story in today's Globe raises more questions than it answers. Now, the brothers who run a $3 billion real estate fund have parted ways due to one brother's involvement in the attempted consignment of the paintings to Sotheby's. Oh, and if you're a lawyer there is a great practice pointer in the story: Don't hide stolen property for 27 years and then try to sell it.

Matt says: the fact that the attorney and the two feuding brothers are Armenian has not escaped my attention, by the way. The Armenian half of me advises all those involved to sit down over a nice lahmejune and work things out.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

WoW gold-farming

Author of an unofficial World of Warcraft gold-farming guide settles with Blizzard Entertainment (owned by Vivendi). Settlement allows author to keep selling his guide provided he keeps disclaimers about the guide's unofficial nature and that he does not include links or instructions on how to locate cheats in the game.


Wal-Mart sued by Fendi

Fendi suing Wal-Mart for trademark infringement. LVMH is claiming that Wal-Mart has been selling knockoffs at Sam's Club stores. And pricey ones at that. See also..


Monday, June 05, 2006

Dotster named in cybersquatting suit

Dotster being sued for cybersquatting. This does not surprise me in the least and is most likely the tip of the iceberg.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thank you Mr. John Fogerty

Plaintiff photographer ordered to pay $388,424.54 in legal fees to Urban Outfitters in unsuccessful copyright infringement action. I'm curious as to why the plaintiff did not prevail. The limited facts in the article do suggest that the photos were infringed and that actual damages may have been available.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Glass Blowers Coming to Blows

Over the weekend Aaron and I gave a short talk about copyright law at the Newburyport Art Association. It went over well, we think, and the audience -- mostly local artists -- had some good, interesting questions, including whether copying an artist's style constitutes infringement (it generally does not). Next time we host one of these presentations we'll have some fresh material on that particular topic in this copyright infringement dispute between glass artist Dale Chihuly and his former assistants. Ann Althouse offers her thoughts, as does William Patry.


Scripts, pitches, and implied contracts

"Stolen" Screenplays: Copyright infringement or breach of an implied contract? Is a pitch a contract?