Archive | July 2010

International Piracy and Efforts to Stop It

Intellectual property theft on an international level has been a problem that does not seem to be going away despite many United States and international efforts to slow down and eventually stop the intellectual property piracy.  Movies, music, books, and other digital entertainment are some of the main IP industries hit hard, but IP theft has also been problematic for many other industries including pharmaceuticals and computer programming.  “America is the largest creator, producer, and exporter of copyrighted material.  In 2009, industry estimates that global piracy costs U.S. firms over $25 billion in lost sales annually.” 2010 International Piracy.  This loss in sales has caused a serious loss in revenue, jobs, and diluted the strength of brands and intellectual property.  It has also caused creators of these works to have less incentive to continue creating because their work is not being protected or recognized as their own.  It is estimated that over 18 million Americans work in intellectual property related industries; strengthening IP protection and repercussion to piracy is pivotal to their livelihoods.  Office of US Trade Representative.

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Ringtones- the next Napster?

Ring Tones have become quite a big business, but the issue of how much the copyright owner should get per ring tone has been hotly debated.  According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week, 24 cents was the going rate as reported in the New York Law Journal. The price of the average ring tone download costs the consumer $1-$10 per download CNET This shows a sizeable markup for the ringtone agencies that many times start their business first and worry about copyrights and licensing second. The profit, however, is shared between the ringtone company and the cell phone service provider.

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Viacom versus YouTube (Google)

In a landmark decision made June 23, 2010, Federal Judge Louis Stanton granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant Youtube, owned by Google, in Viacom International, Inc. v. Youtube, Inc..  The decision held Youtube was protected against claims of copyright infringement made by Viacom under 17 U.S.C. § 512( c). Order and OpinionViacom International, Inc. v. Youtube, Inc. was a $1 billion lawsuit  filed by Viacom in 2007.  Viacom accused Youtube of massive copyright infringement claiming that Youtube was intentionally uploading and displaying enormous amounts of copyrighted material that Viacom owned to their website.  Complaint.  Viacom owns many television networks as well as Paramount Studios.  Some of the copyrighted works Viacom claimed Youtube was allowing to be posted to their website and viewed thousands of times a day was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” “Mean Girls,” etc.  The complaint stated that Youtube does not just allow users to post copyrighted material, but that Youtube promotes the infringement and then does nothing to prevent or stop it because of the significant profits they are making.

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Incorporation Soup: Deciding on a Corporate Form

 

Congratulations Entrepreneur. You made it through the hard part. You thought long and hard, carefully crafting your vision, honing your dreams, and creating a plan to put it into action. Now all you have to do is fill out some paperwork and dive head first into your new endeavor. So, armed with anticipation, you google ways to incorporate and are confronted with an alphabet soup of options: PC, PLLC, LLCs, S-Corps, C-Corps. Or maybe you heard of an LLC, know some of its benefits, and think that’s the way to go. Either way, take a few minutes so we can debunk some of the myths and misinformation and address the strengths and weaknesses of the three ways to incorporate. Read More…

Cybersquatting

Domain names on the internet are creating problems for trademark owners who do not own the domain name for their trademarked name.   Trademark law gives a person the exclusive rights to use a particular name.  The general purpose of trademark law is to prevent one person from passing off his goods or business as the goods or business of another.  47 AMJUR POF 2d 643.  Domain name owners that do not have any connection to the trademarked name are causing exactly the opposite of what trademark law is supposed to protect.  Website names are being purchased because of the popularity of the name and the likelihood that that name will draw people to the website.  The problem is that when the website appears with goods or services that the trademarked name is not associated with then the true trademark owner is losing the strength and recognition of his trademarked name. Read More…