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WHOIS that infringer?

When a website infringed your trademark or copyright, or otherwise violated your rights, the first place you likely went was to the WHOIS database, to find out who owned and operated that website. That database has been a...more

Studies discuss difficulty of combatting disinformation

Everyone seems to agree that “fake news,” or disinformation, permeates the online environment. Researchers are increasingly examining the Internet’s false and embellished data as a significant social phenomenon, which is...more

Could graffiti art prevent your redevelopment project?

To a real estate developer, spray paint on a building can be a nuisance. To an artist, the painted image may be cherished art. And to one real estate developer’s rude awakening, a little-known aspect of copyright law can...more

Copyright designs found weak when derived from common ideas

The well-known song says, “a kiss is just a kiss,” but the Ninth Circuit says that some kisses are “thin” and some are “broad,” and on that your copyright lawyer can rely. As time goes by....more

Can embedding a tweet make you a copyright infringer?

Is it illegal to use an embedded link that causes an image on another website to appear on your site? Well, it depends on the court. A federal judge in New York recently held that online publishers who embed tweets that...more

Exclusive license stymies copyright owner's infringement suit

The current wave of copyright litigation continues to highlight the complexities of copyright ownership, as apparent infringers defend claims on the simple basis that the plaintiff doesn't own or control the infringed...more

‘Secret’ keys to effective legal demands and responses

Internet disputes are often resolved through correspondence. But effective dispute-resolving correspondence often differs from what most people think of as “cease-and-desist letters,” “lawyer letters” or...more

You can transfer a copyright without saying “copyright”

You may think there is one simple hard-and-fast rule of copyright law: you cannot transfer a copyright without a written instrument signed by the copyright owner. It’s right there in section 204 of the Copyright Act...more

‘Gotcha’ copyright claims can prompt ‘gotcha’ ownership defenses

Copyright law is full of technicalities, which claimants love to exploit. But defendants can exploit technicalities, too. As copyright owners more aggressively assert their claims, defendants are taking closer looks at all...more

It’s no joke: Some copyrights are thin weaklings

A copyright is an intangible property right. I sometimes suggest thinking of a copyright as a cloud hanging over its creator even when the underlying tangible work is somewhere else. But if copyrights are intangible, how can...more

FTC: Even implied messages need explicit disclosures

On the Internet, it’s not just what you say, but also what you imply. Social media comments, video and image posts, and even tags and “likes,” can carry implied messages, which may create legal liability....more

9th Circuit’s VidAngel decision vindicates lawful video filtering service

Some have cast the Disney v. VidAngel proceeding, decided August 24 by the 9th Circuit, as the “big studios” versus the “little guy”; the movie studios’ collective effort to kill filtering. This is far from the truth....more

Sultry Lady Liberty leads Postal Service astray

Beware sultry-looking ladies. That’s one of the lessons from the recent court decision sending a copyright case against the United States Postal Service to trial, but there are more. The decision can serve as a teaching...more

Study highlights prevalence of counterfeit and fraudulent goods online

Beneath the partisan rhetoric over “fake news” lies an important reality: Fraudulent practices thrive online — not just in news, but also in offerings of goods and services. Fake online stories, like the PizzaGate story,...more

Your trademarks now can (but needn’t) be offensive

If you want to — though we don’t encourage it — you can now disparage ethnic groups in your federally registered trademarks. Indeed, the Supreme Court has unanimously given you a constitutional right to select, and obtain...more

Two layers of photo ownership in conflict in street photography case

“I own the photos.” It seems like a simple statement, but in copyright law, ownership isn’t simple. One person can own physical photographs, but not have the right to use them, because someone else owns the copyrights....more

All infringements aren’t equal

Are all copyright infringements created equal? Or should courts distinguish between different levels of intent, significance, and harm? Results in two recent cases suggest that circumstances have significant effects on...more

Who reads privacy policies?

Americans’ privacy is protected on the Internet and mobile apps by a classic disclosure system — we expect those who collect, use, and transfer data to disclose their practices. The basic idea is that consumers, armed with...more

News aggregators – Link, don’t replace, your sources

By one account, Bill O’Reilly’s news website includes long quotations from other news organizations, including the mainstream news organizations he often criticizes. That practice suggests a question: How much can a news...more

Libel by tweet. #Beware.

Everything is terse on Twitter. Even alleged libels. Like the Courtney Love case: $430K settlement over a single tweet. Now like music producer Dr. Luke’s case against lawyer Mark Geragos. Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald)...more

5/10/2017  /  Lady Gaga , Libel , Twitter

Mobile targeting: A ‘secret weapon’ for good or ill?

It’s an advertiser’s dream — the ability to target customers through their mobile devices, right to down to where they are and what they are doing. But can such precisely targeted messages become a recipient’s nightmare?...more

Creative Commons in Operation – Applying non-commercial and derivative work provisions

As Creative Commons licenses are more widely used, questions are developing about how to use them, and how they apply in particular situations. This column addresses some of these emerging CC interpretations....more

Keyword ads — Only infringing if they’re confusing

Neighbors can be helpful. Our Canadian neighbors may have just helped U.S. trademark owners who wonder about the legality of use of their trademarks in Google AdWords ads, and other search-engine keyword ads....more

When good copyright laws go bad: Indictment lays out porn ‘trolling’ scheme

What happens when you use legitimate means to achieve despicable ends? In the case of two attorneys at the center of a high-profile copyright enforcement scheme involving pornographic movies, you end up on the receiving end...more

Trump libel win based on Trump libel loss

President-elect Donald Trump just won a libel case against a critic — for the very same reason that real estate developer Donald Trump lost a libel case against a critic, more than 30 years ago. And yes, the precedent of...more

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