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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
Sep302014

Copyright Infringement: may not feel illegal but it is

Three truths about copyright infringement:copyright

  • Making bootlegged copies of copyrighted movies available online for other folks to download and stream is a crime: copyright infringement
  • The Motion Picture Association of America and other associations, artists and content owners spend time and money tracking down folks who are infringing their copyright
  • Comments posted to an online forum acknowledging copyright infringement can be incriminating (despite a gleeful or playful tone).

According to a recent article in the NY Times, one of the founders of NinjaVideo served 16 months in prison for conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement. For more details on the NinjaVideo story, see the NY Times Article titled, “The Unrepentant Bootlegger” by Jenna Wortham on 9/28/14.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

@iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Monday
Sep152014

Inheriting Copyright – Who is Vivian Maier’s closest living relative?

Copyright can be inherited and passed onto heirs just like other assets and property.  For example, the copyright in books, plays, music, photographs, speeches and other original, copyrighted and copyrightable materials may be bequeathed by will or pass at the death of the copyright owner as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.   (Copyright does extend beyond the death of the author, photographer, playwright or creator of the work for a limited term – often life of the author plus 70 years).

As per a recent article in The New York Times, a court battle over the copyright to the recently discovered photographs taken by the deceased photographer Vivian Maier has begun.  Evidently, the young entrepreneur who has begun promoting, printing, displaying and using Vivian Maier’s photographs (after purchasing boxes of Vivian Maier’s negatives at auction) may not have tracked down, gotten permission from and paid the appropriate heir/s of Vivian Maier.  Who is Vivian Maier’s closest living relative?  This question will be key to the litigation.

This scenario of determining who the closest living relative is to a deceased creator (whose creative work was secret or unknown during their lifetime) may become more common now that the internet can be used as a fast and easy way to disseminate creative content and generate an online following and market for previously unknown works.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: The New York Times article titled, The Heir’s Not Apparent, by Randy Kennedy on 9/6/2014; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 12 titled, Recordation of Transfers and other Documents at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ12.pdf; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 15a titled, Duration of Copyright at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Thursday
Aug282014

Reporting Copyright Infringement Claims to Facebook

If someone infringes your copyright by posting your copyrighted photograph to Facebook without your copyrightpermission, it is possible to request that Facebook remove the photograph. The Terms of Use on Facebook’s website lists the steps, protocol and ways to make a claim of copyright infringement and request the infringing use of your photograph be removed. (Note, most social media sites have similar protocol for this outlined in their Terms which are usually posted via a link at the bottom of the webpage).

Here is some useful information from Facebook’s Terms of Use regarding the steps, protocol and ways to report copyright infringement and make the request to have a photograph (or other copyrighted material) removed if it is infringing (ie posted without permission and is infringing your copyright).

What should I include when submitting a report to Facebook alleging infringement of my copyright?

The fastest and easiest way to submit a claim of copyright infringement to us is to use our online form. It may be required by law that you include the following information:

  • Your complete contact information (full name, mailing address and phone number). Note that we regularly provide your contact information, including your name and email address, the name of your organization or client who owns the right in question, and/or the contents of your report to the person who posted the content you are reporting. You may wish to provide a professional or business email address for contact by users.
  • A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed.
  • A description of the content on our site that you claim infringes your copyright.
  • Information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the material on our site. The easiest way to do this is by providing web addresses (URLs) leading directly to the allegedly infringing content.
  • A declaration that
    1. You have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted content described above, in the manner you have complained of, is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law,
    2. The information in your notice is accurate, and
    3. You declare, under penalty of perjury, that you are the owner or authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive copyright that is allegedly infringed.
  • Your electronic signature or physical signature.

How do I report a claim of copyright infringement?

Submitting a claim of copyright infringement is a serious matter with legal consequences. Before you report a claim of copyright infringement to us, you may wish to reach out to the individual posting the content. You may be able to resolve the issue simply by bringing it to their attention without contacting Facebook at all.

If you are unsure whether the content you are reporting is infringing your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal guidance. Keep in mind that submitting intentionally misleading reports of infringement may be punishable under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States or similar laws in other countries.

If you believe your copyright is being infringed, the fastest and easiest way to report that to us is to use our online form. Alternatively, you can choose to use traditional (and slower) methods, such as mail, to contact our designated agent. In that case, you will need to ensure you include all elements of a complete copyright claim in your report.

Note: You do not need a Facebook account to submit a report.

However, if you or someone else has posted the photograph to Facebook with permission, and other folks are re-posting and using the photograph on Facebook this is a different situation and may not be an infringement of the copyrighted photograph.  (More on this topic is available in an earlier post at http://wp.me/p10nNq-ni  and in Facebook’s Terms of Use).

This post was inspired by a question that I was asked on a recent visit to the LA Photographic Club – thank you for inviting me to join y’all and welcoming me as your guest.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: More posts on the topic of copyright in photographs; Reporting Copyright Infringements on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/help/231463960277847 and https://www.facebook.com/help/400287850027717/; Section 5 of Facebook’s Terms of Use lists terms relating to “Protecting other People’s Rights” at https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms?ref=pf; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Thursday
Jul242014

Using my photo? Did I inadvertently give rights away by posting it online?

It’s so easy and fun to share photographs online that folks often give away rights to their photographs without even realizing it.  HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?  The terms, conditions and licenses that the photographer agrees to when posting a photograph to various social media and photo-sharing websites often grant other folks broad rights to use posted photographs.  Keep in mind that every social media and photo-sharing website has different terms, conditions and licenses that are agreed to automatically simply by USING the website and POSTING photographs and other content.  These terms, conditions and licenses are modified and updated frequently.

Here is an interesting and fairly haunting example:  A photograph of a teenager was taken by her youth counselor and posted to his to Flickr account under a broad Creative Commons license that allowed others to use his work in any way, including for commercial purposes, if they credited the photographer.  A slightly edited version of the photograph ended up in an advertising campaign for Virgin Mobil Australia. A lawsuit followed.

THE TAKE AWAY: Read the terms, conditions and licenses that you are agreeing to when using and posting photographs and other content to social media and photo-sharing websites.  Most popular social media and photo-sharing websites, including FACEBOOKPINTEREST and TWITTER have fairly broad terms, conditions and licenses that change frequently.  Websites post their terms, usually at the bottom of the webpage. These same terms that often give other folks broad rights to use posted content,  also contain the steps to follow if your photographs or other content are being used without your permission on the site and you want to request that it be taken down.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Articles about the Virgin Mobil example above from the Sydney Morning Herald and The New York Times; photo of a Virgin Mobil Ad; Flickr’s Creative Commons licenses at https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/; other blog posts on photo copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/copyright-photos; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Friday
May162014

How to use the trademark & copyright symbols: ®, TM, SM, ©

The ® Registered Trademark Symbol

Once a trademark is federally registered with the USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office), the coveted ® symbol can be used. While use of the ® symbol is not required, it is highly recommend. Using the ® symbol lends credibility to a registered mark.  Additionally, it puts potential infringers on notice of the trademark owner's rights and makes it easier for the trademark owner to collect certain damages in the event someone infringes these rights.

The TM and SM Trademark Symbolsphoto (1)

The TM and SM symbols can be used with an unregistered trademark or service mark to inform the public that a word mark, logo, or design mark is being used as a trademark and that the owner of the mark claims rights to it.  Using either of these symbols gives notice that the mark owner is intentionally establishing ‘common law trademark rights’ in the mark. For example:  MY TRADEMARK ™  or MY SERVICE MARK ℠    (For more information on how to use the TM or SM symbols click here).

The © Copyright Symbol

Another familiar symbol is the  copyright symbol.  Using the © symbol is an easy way to notify the world that copyright exists in your original, creative work.  While it’s not required by law to use the © to establish copyright in a photograph, piece of music or other original work, it’s simple to do and could save you a lot of headache down the road.  Use of the the © copyright symbol does not require permission from, or registration with the US Copyright Office.  (For more information on how to write a © copyright notice click here).

Many creative works may contain both a trademark symbol and a copyright notice.   A website, for example, will often contain the website owner's trademark (registered or unregistered) and a copyright notice.  A novel may have the publisher's registered trademark and the author's copyright notice on it.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office) resources at www.uspto.gov; www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/register.jsp; and www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp#_Toc275426682 ; US Copyright Office Circular 3 on Copyright Notice at www.copyright.gov/circs/circ03.pdf; US Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

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