Friday, March 30, 2007

SonyBMG Wants Blogs Not Demos is reporting that SonyBMG is scrapping its "demo tape" system in the UK in favor of an artist blog solution developed by Six Apart. Of course, this type of content delivery is nothing new to most artists, but in terms of behemoths like SonyBMG the change is novel. It appears that this is only for UK artists. Caveat: I have not read the Terms and Conditions of using this blogging solution as a submission mechanism. One would be well advised to fully understand all the terms prior to submitting any content.


I have seen the future

Well, my future anyway.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

You have chosen... poorly

Those of us of a certain age fondly remember the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. The conceit of the books is that over the course of the story, you the reader make various choices -- e.g. do you eat the cupcake or open the door -- each of which directs you to a different page in the book. The choice you make causes the plot to reach a different conclusion. It was pretty hot stuff for its time. My favorite, pictured above, was Your Code Name Is Jonah, which someone simply has to use as a band name.

Now it seems the Vermont-based Chooseco (great name!), owners of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" mark, is irked to find that Jeep is promoting their new Patriot model via a microsite, including the tag line "choose your adventure," where the user guides the plot of a film by choosing among different actions. Blame those young whippersnappers in creative. No sense of history.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Cablevision's network DVR, round one

Last year, Cablevision announced its plan to roll out a service whereby recorded content would be stored on the company's servers, rather than on the hard drive included with the DVR-enabled cable box. This was met, as such announcements usually are these days, with a lawsuit by movie and television studios. Yesterday, the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of the studios, holding that stored programs sent back to the subscriber's television would constitute an unauthorized retransmission. Cablevision is considering an appeal.

Note: this post originally referenced Comcast rather than Cablevision. Clearly, despite having my own DVR, I have still been brainwashed by endless repetition of "It's Comcastic!" ads such that I can't even imagine there's any other cable company out there.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"If you played at SXSW, chances are you won't be remembered"

So says Coolfer in an interesting post about SXSW, heuristics, and the paradox of choice.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jane Deere

Trademark application of the day. Good luck.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sponge versus Sponge

Creator of Bob Spongee is squeezing the creators of SpongeBob for $1.6 billion in damages for allegedly sponging off his character. Will he clean up or wipe out?


Friday, March 09, 2007

Copyright Office Plans to Charge for Multiple Titles Listed in a Collection

The Copyright Office has announced that sometime between October 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008 it will begin charging a fee for contents titles listed on an application for a collection, this will include titles of songs contained on an album. The Office will include these titles in its public registration records to make them more comprehensive and more useful to those who search the records. A fee will be charged for each title: $1 for each contents title in an electronic filing: $3 for each contents title on a paper application.


Electronic Filing and Fee Reduction Planned for Some Copyright Registration Applications

PhotoAttorney reports that the Copyright Office is planning a reduced fee for the filing of electronic copyright registration applications. Electronic filing is not yet available.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hal 9000 at your service

Rest assured, the legal work at our firm is done by humans.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Minors in the Middle

Hollywood Reporter Esq. provides a look at the Coogan Act, the California statute designed to protect the assets of child entertainers, in the context of a simmering dispute surrounding a management contract. The Coogan Act does not apply to agency or management contracts, hence there is some question as to a minor's right to disaffirm such a contract, particularly where that contract was not approved by a court, but was entered into by the child's parent or guardian. This is at the heart of Traylor v. Berg, which pits a child actor from the sitcom "Malcolm In The Middle" against his former manager, to whom he has been ordered to pay nearly $530k in fees. The upcoming decision by the California Court of Appeals is expected to shed light on the subject.


Jean Baudrillard has died

Baudrillard has died. His writings (at least some) should be read by those with an interest in contemporary philosophical thought regarding "copies," the media, and consumer culture. More on Baudrillard here. This is by no means an endorsement of all of his views or writings, but merely recognition of the loss of a very interesting character.


USPTO Reports on Threats Caused by Inadvertent Filesharing

Here is a direct link to the report in pdf. Summary from RethinkIP here.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Single Color Trademark Applications

Single color trademark application of the day.

The mark consists of the color beige as applied to the seat housing for a fork lift truck.

Application is based on acquired distinctiveness under Section 2(f).


Saturday, March 03, 2007

These are not your father's Hells Angels

"The Hells Angels are suing a Kansas couple in federal court in California for trademark infringement. The motorcycle club claims Christian and Natasha Shultz have been selling patches on eBay emblazoned with an image similar to the club's signature 'death head mark.'"


Friday, March 02, 2007

Webcasting royalty rates announced

The Radio and Internet Newsletter is reporting that the Copyright Royalty Board has announced the webcasting performance royalty rates through 2010, when they reach $0.0019 per performance. Some analysis follows, the upshot of which is that at the increased rates, the performance royalties owed by the average webcaster will likely outstrip their revenues.


Wikipedia as Evidence

Another in a long list of reasons why Wikipedia "evidence" should not be allowed at the USPTO.


Ethiopia v(ideo). Starbucks continued

The trademark battle between Starbucks and Ethiopia has entered a new phase. Direct YouTube link


Bands and the Law part. 241

Bands and solo musicians can face daunting legal issues. From complicated copyright and trademark matters, to inter-band disputes, there are many things that can get in the way of what a musician should be doing: making music. Our firm sees these problems first hand on a daily basis.

I am linking to William Patry's recent post regarding copyright ownership of sound recordings by individual members of a band not for the copyright information per se. What I find interesting is the use of the band's federal trademark application as evidence of a partnership.

From the opinion: Moreover, the trademark application, signed under oath by Heraclio Garcia, asserted that the band was a partnership and that Lopez was a general partner.

Michael Atkins also has another recent post regarding trademark infringement actions involving a band called "Hi-Five". More info on Michael's blog.