BLOG:  IP Legal Freebies

A FEW TIPS re managing copyright, trademarks and intellectual property  [Please note, the postings on this blog are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice]   ...follow and subscribe to this blog on wordpress

Entries in Copyright (99)

Tuesday
Aug102010

How does a Copyright help you?

Filing for copyright registration with The Copyright Office gives you more options for challenging someone who uses your work without your permission.  While registering your work is optional, you have a more powerful and solid claim for copyright infringement against someone if you have a copyright registration.

Even if you have given someone permission to sample or use your work in their own project, having your original work copyrighted (and your agreement in writing) is important for the same, simple reason that you will have a more solid copyright infringement claim.  For example, if the folks you are collaborating with go against their word or try to alter the terms of your agreement after the fact... a solid claim for copyright infringement can be a HUGE benefit.  (It’s pretty common to be happily collaborating together today and to fighting over rights and money tomorrow.)

The good news is that copyright registration is simple and inexpensive.  For details check out The Copyright Office’s website:   http://www.copyright.gov/

Wednesday
Aug042010

What do you do if someone is using your stuff on MySpace or YouTube?

Today, it is almost a given that STUFF you create will easily be copied and used by other people via the internet.  And the BETTER your STUFF is, the MORE LIKELY it is to be copied.   This applies to music, photographs, lyrics, poetry, trademarks and all varieties of creative stuff.

If you discover that your stuff is being used by someone else on their website, MySpace page or YouTube posting, it’s a good idea to contact the poacher and let them know that it’s YOUR STUFF they are using and let them know how you want them to treat your stuff.  The treatment you request can range from:

  • asking them to stop using your stuff and remove it from their site,
  • asking for credit for your stuff,
  • letting them how they can buy your stuff (if it’s for sale.)

The best case scenario is that you know the person using your stuff and can easily reach out to them to work out how and if you want your stuff used by them.  Most of the time however, you may not know the person… BUT don’t rush to attack them too violently… because, these poachers could become your NEWEST and BIGGEST fans.  For example, my mom who recently published a children’s storybook, is almost always able to make a sale to internet poachers who are using her stuff.

The worst case scenario is that the poacher ignores your attempts to contact them and continues using your stuff.  If this happens, look through the ‘Terms of Service’ for the host website and follow the instructions it gives for notifying them of illegal use of copyrighted or trademarked property.  To find the relevant Terms of Service, run an internet search on the hosting website’s Terms of Service.  (for example: ‘MySpace Terms of Service’)

Be diligent and keep tabs on how and who is using your stuff!!

-Vanessa Kaster

Wednesday
Jul282010

How do musicians get paid when their music is played on Pandora or Sirius Radio?

Musicians MUST REGISTER with SoundExchange in order to get paid royalties from digital performances.  Digital performances include having songs played on Pandora or Sirius Radio.  I know that you might think that being registered with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC covers this, but it doesn’t.  Separate registration with SoundExchange is required to collect royalties when your music is played on digital and satellite music providers.

SoundExchange pays royalties to performers and copyright owners.  If you own your own track and play on it, then you get paid twice.

The only catch is that Musicians, performers and copyright owners must be proactive in registering with SoundExchange to collect their money.

-->Register with SoundExchange -->  http://www.soundexchange.com/

p.s. if you haven’t already submitted your music to Pandora or Sirius Radio here is the contact info for that too.  http://www.pandora.com/corporate/contact.shtmlhttp://www.sirius.com/contactus

-Vanessa Kaster

Sunday
Jul252010

Track the pulse of your online presence (ie monitor your copyright, trademark and intellectual property) with free Google Alerts

Using  a ‘Google Alert’ is an easy way to monitor how your music, business name or storybook title (ie your copyright, trademark and intellectual property) are being used or written about on the internet.  Google Alerts are FREE and help track the pulse of your online presence.

Setting up a Google Alert is simple.  Click on http://www.google.com/alerts and enter the name of your song, album, business, or storybook as the search term.   Putting your search term in quotation marks is a good way to refine the search results.  Additionally, a string of search terms can be used to further refine the results.  For example enter the search term as:  ‘album name’ and ‘your name’.

Tracking the pulse of your online presence helps you develop your fan base, keep tabs on reviews of your work and notify you if and how other folks are using your work.

-Vanessa Kaster

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