Tuesday, February 27, 2007

FAIR USE Act of 2007

"U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R-CA), today introduced the Freedom And Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 (FAIR USE Act) to protect the fair use rights of users of copyrighted material and thereby enable consumers of digital media to use it in ways that enhance their personal convenience."

A copy of the bill and a section by section breakdown (in .doc format) are available.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

McCoke Spoon

Artists Tobias Wong and Ken Courtney make and market limited edition art objects that comment on consumer culture. Their 18 carat gold dipped "coke spoon" recently got the attention of the McDonald's corporation which sent a cease and desist letter to gallery/store, Citizen-Citizen. Of course, the artistic message would be vastly different if the artists made only one unique spoon for exhibition. The fact that the spoons were being produced and distributed was central to the message. Distribution of multiple copies can often shift both copyright and trademark analysis in cases like this. (via Agenda, Inc.)


TTAB Hears SPAM Oral Arguments

The Seattle Trademark Lawyer has an excellent report from the oral argument in the SPAM v. SPAM ARREST cancellation proceeding.. I'm very much looking forward to the TTAB hearings scheduled to take place in Boston next Fall.


IIPA Says Copyright Industries Accounted for 11.12% of US GDP in 2005

The International Intellectual Property Alliance has issued its 11th economic report. The report details the significant contributions by the US copyright industries to the US GDP. The report claims that the US "total" for copyright industries accounted for 11.12% of GDP in 2005. Keep in mind that the IIPA is not an independent organization.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Judge Leval on Appropriation Art

With regard to copyright, fair use, and appropriation art, The Art Law Blog describes Second Circuit Judge Pierre Leval's comments as follows: "So what's it all mean for appropriation art," then paused . . . and kind of threw up his hands and said: "I don't know." He went on to say the law in this area is "astonishingly unpredictable" and that it's "very hard to know what the law is." He said "almost any question" in this area is "very difficult to answer" and added that he doesn't know of any area of law where there are so many reversals by the appellate courts.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cybercrime primer

Out-Law.com has published a good (although short) primer on how cybercriminals operate. Who knew Vincent Gallo was doubling as a security specialist.


1976 Copyright Act Legislative History

William Patry plans to make the legislative history of the 76 Act freely available online. This will be a great service to both academics and practicing lawyers, especially litigators. I can attest to the frustration of piecing together various testimony and reports for litigation purposes. Prof. Patry plans to post all of the 1950s Copyright Office studies and roundtable discussions, all Copyright Office reports, all Congressional reports, all Congressional hearing transcripts, and floor statements.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Big Game continued

Various parties have filed requests for extensions of time to oppose the NFL's THE BIG GAME trademark applications. The filings can be viewed here.


Truth in music advertising

Virginia's Senate has passed a new law that will fine musical groups who fail to have at least one original member of the band under whose name they are performing. In other words, a group advertising itself as The Platters must have at least one original Platter among them.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nike turns that frown upside down

In London, Nike has won an injunction preventing Australian athletic apparel maker Skins from using the ad shown above which features an interesting use of Nike's swoosh. Nike claims copyright infringement and, apparently, "misuse of our logo." Skins claims it is engaging in comparative advertising. I claim to be a little creeped out by the image.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Step 12. Widgets, widgets, widgets.

How to build your own video sharing network. Or anything 2.0 for that matter.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Acquiring a Film Library:101

There is good a good reason why we often link to The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. The reason is because it has fantastic material on both entertainment law and on intellectual property in general. Here is a link to an excellent primer on issues related to acquiring a film library.


Insurer Accepts Fair Use Claims From Documentary Filmmakers

National Union, a member of AIG, has begun accepting fair use claims based on the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (direct link to pdf), when supported with a letter from counsel experienced in copyright law.

In recent months, several insurers as well have accepted fair-use claims based on the Statement on a case-by-case basis, after learning about the Statement, which dramatically reduces risk. Lawyers such as Los Angeles-based Michael Donaldson have been crucial in the positive education process that is at the core of the best practices model. Now, leading insurance company National Union has made this consideration routine (without of course abandoning the case-by-case consideration that is core to fair use).

All documentarians should be paying attention to this development as it could have lasting impact on a number of production issues, including the comfort level of investors, and general liability for the production.

The Center for Social Media has a number of other helpful fair use documents located on its site.


Brand Predictions 2007

Brandchannel.com has compiled predictions about trends in branding for 2007.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wendy Seltzer's DMCA Takedown Notice from the NFL

Legal blogging pay dirt. (via The Trademark Blog)

A few posts down you will find a link to an excellent article about when not to send a cease and desist letter. Please review.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More on Copyright Renewal Rights

Info/Law on 6th Circuit decision in Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publishing, LLC.

More on the other Roger Miller.


Citing to Wikipedia

Not good enough for Middlebury College, still good enough for the PTO.


Monday, February 12, 2007

The Handsome Dick Manitoba Syndrome

Michael Atkins has a good post about trademark issues with band names. I can say from experience that conflicting band names is a very common problem. It can also be a very sensitive subject when trademark enforcement and the band's credibility clash. Seems like a good time to review when it may not be a good idea to send a cease and desist. Title reference.


Friday, February 09, 2007


Marty Schwimmer reports on the panic-inducing trademark application of the day.

THE BIG GAME application prosectution history available here.

Application was published on January 23, 2007 making the deadline for opposition (or a request for extension to file opposition) is February 23, 2007.

Applicant: NFL Properties LLC


Trade Secrets

Professor Tom Field's article entitled The Risk Of Buying Trade Secrets, published in the Pierce Law alumni magazine, is available online (.pdf).


Monday, February 05, 2007

Or = And?

I thought I'd pretty much nailed down when it's best to use "or" versus "and", or vice versa, in contract drafting. Then something like this recent 8th Circuit decision discussed by Ken Adams comes along and cooks my noodle all over again.