Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Trying to Trademark a Meme? OK Boomer; The New York Times, November 19, 2019

, The New York Times; Trying to Trademark a Meme? OK Boomer

"In light of the phrase’s popularity, it’s not likely that any of the applications will be approved, said Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer and founder of Gerben Law Firm, who noticed the filing by Fox Media on Monday.

“I think they are all very likely to meet the same fate, which is the U.S.P.T.O. will issue what is called a widely used message refusal,” Mr. Gerben said in an interview on Tuesday, adding that the definition of a trademark “has to identify a single company or individual as a source of a product or service.”

Once something like a meme goes viral and is widely used by people, it cannot legally function as a trademark, he said."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Baby Yoda GIFs Are Being Pulled For Copyright Concerns; ScreenRant, November 23, 2019

Josh Plainse, ScreenRant; Baby Yoda GIFs Are Being Pulled For Copyright Concerns

"Baby Yoda GIFs from the Disney+ show The Mandalorian are being pulled from the internet, apparently due to claims of copyright infringement. Last week, the Star Wars spin-off show The Mandalorian released its first episode along with the simultaneous launch of Disney's streaming service. The show's first episode, titled “Chapter One,” ended with a character reveal which has played a huge role in the creation of viral memes and GIFs throughout the entirety of the internet, all of them containing The Mandalorian character referred to as Baby Yoda for now."

Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio; Variety, November 21, 2019

Jem Aswad, Variety; Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio

"Senator Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler today introduced the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AM-FM), which aims to revise existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians.

Under the current copyright system, radio stations can use sound recordings over their airwaves without paying royalties to creators who own a stake in the sound recordings. The AM-FM Act would require all radio services to pay fair-market value for the music they use...

“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work,” said Senator Blackburn, who introduced the bill in the Senate. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. “The United States is an outlier in the world for not requiring broadcast radio to pay artists when playing their music, while requiring satellite and internet radio to pay,” he said. “This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician for Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work. The bill would also allow them to negotiate rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired.”"

Friday, November 22, 2019

Lawsuit: Target's Good & Gather line infringes trademark of Georgia woman's business; USA Today, November 22, 2019

"A Georgia woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Target claiming the retail giant stole her trademark when it launched its Good & Gather flagship food brand in September.

Emily Golub, founder of the Atlanta-based Garnish & Gather, said the name, logo and products sold in Target's Good & Gather line are too similar to the business name she trademarked in 2014 and could create confusion in the market."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Protect your restaurant’s intellectual property; The Miami Herald, Novermber 18, 2019

Andrew Cromer, The Miami Herald; Protect your restaurant’s intellectual property

"What if I told you that the most valuable piece of your restaurant wasn’t the dollars and cents that flow inward from customer transactions? You certainly take the appropriate precautionary measures to safeguard the money inside your restaurant, but why leave “the safe open” when it comes to arguably your most valuable asset? Of course, we’re talking about your restaurant’s intellectual property!"

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/article237473489.html#storylink=cpy"

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Supreme Court will hear Google’s appeal in massive copyright suit brought by Oracle; CNBC, November 15, 2019

Tucker Higgins, CNBC; Supreme Court will hear Google’s appeal in massive copyright suit brought by Oracle

"The Supreme Court said on Friday that it will hear a dispute between tech giants Oracle and Google in a blockbuster case that could lead to billions of dollars in fines and shape copyright law in the internet era.

The case concerns 11,500 lines of code that Google was accused of copying from Oracle’s Java programming language. Google deployed the code in Android, now the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Oracle sued Google in 2010 alleging that the use of its code in Android violated copyright law...

Underlying the legal issues in the case is a technical dispute over the nature of the code that Google used. Google has said that the code was essentially functional — akin to copying the placement of keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Oracle maintains that the code, part of Java’s application programming interface, or API, is a creative product, “like the chapter headings and topic sentences of an elaborate literary work.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Giant Publisher Macmillan Goes To War Against Libraries; TechDirt, November 15, 2019

Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Giant Publisher Macmillan Goes To War Against Libraries

"In September, librarians around the US launched a campaign -- ebooksforall.org urging Macmillan to rethink this awful plan:
This embargo limits libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all. It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.
Macmillan is the only major publisher restricting public libraries’ ability to purchase and lend digital content to their communities. Before the embargo took effect, we collected 160,000 signatures from readers who urged Macmillan not to go through with their plan. And we delivered these signatures in person to CEO John Sargent. Sadly, he did not listen."

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spinal Tap Creators and Universal Music Settle Copyright Dispute; Variety, November 5, 2019

Jem Aswad, Variety; Spinal Tap Creators and Universal Music Settle Copyright Dispute

"The complaint also sought a judgment in the actors’ right to reclaim their copyright to the film and elements of its intellectual property (screenplay, songs, recordings and characters). Vivendi has claimed that the film was created as a work for hire, with the studio essentially the author. This would prevent the actors from exercising their option to reclaim the rights to the film 35 years after its initial release, which is permitted by law.

“The scale and persistence of fraudulent misrepresentation by Vivendi and its agents to us is breathtaking in its audacity,” Shearer said in a statement at the time. “The thinking behind the statutory right to terminate a copyright grant after 35 years was to protect creators from exactly this type of corporate greed and mismanagement. It’s emerging that Vivendi has, over decades, utterly failed as guardian of the Spinal Tap brand – a truer case of life imitating our art would be hard to find.”"

Thursday, November 7, 2019

NNS Spotlight: Nonprofit uses data research to spur change in communities; Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS), November 6, 2019

, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS); NNS Spotlight: Nonprofit uses data research to spur change in communities

"Numbers can tell only part of a story.

They mean nothing without context.

And that’s where Data You Can Use steps in. The nonprofit works to provide useful local data so organizations can create change on a community level.

“In some of these neighborhoods, people have a fear of research because they’ve always been the subject, but they never see the results. That can be very damaging,” said Katie Pritchard, executive director and president of Data You Can Use. “If you’re only telling one part of the story, it doesn’t help anyone.”...

“We wanted to find a better way to measure the impact of what we do,” [Barb] Wesson [the outcomes manager] said. “One of the things Data You Can Use does really well that I don’t do at all is qualitative data analysis, and that’s what we needed.”"

What if "Sesame Street" Were Open Access?; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), October 25, 2019

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); What if "Sesame Street" Were Open Access?

"The news of iconic children’s television show “Sesame Street”’s new arrangement with the HBO MAX streaming service has sent ripples around the Internet. Starting this year, episodes of “Sesame Street” will debut on HBO and on the HBO MAX service, with new episodes being made available to PBS “at some point.” Parents Television Council’s Tim Winter recently told New York Times that “HBO is holding hostage underprivileged families” who can no longer afford to watch new “Sesame Street” episodes.

The move is particularly galling because the show is partially paid for with public funding. Let's imagine an alternative: what if “Sesame Street” were open access? What if the show’s funding had come with a requirement that it be made available to the public?"

Backcountry.com breaks its silence amid trademark lawsuit controversy to apologize and say “we made a mistake”; The Colorado Sun, November 6, 2019

Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun; Backcountry.com breaks its silence amid trademark lawsuit controversy to apologize and say “we made a mistake”

"“To be fair, this is not about Marquette Backcountry Skis. It’s about the small nonprofits, it’s about the guides and the small businesses they targeted. This has all been about the lawsuits filed against the people in front of me and the ones coming for the people behind me,” [David] Ollila said. “What we’ve witnessed here is that it takes 25 years to build a business and a reputation and it can be lost very quickly with these poor decisions. I wonder how the market will react to this. I wonder if they can be forgiven.”...

“This boycott isn’t about a word,” [Jon Miller] said. “What is happening is that a corporation has a stranglehold over our culture in a battle over a word they literally don’t even own.”"

Ludacris, Tom Luse, More to Speak at Intellectual Property Master Class; Georgia State University, November 6, 2019

Kelundra Smith, Georgia State University;

Ludacris, Tom Luse, More to Speak at Intellectual Property Master Class

"Entertainer and entrepreneur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Tom Luse, former executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” will participate in “Intellectual Property Essentials for Creatives: It’s All About Content” presented by the Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Initiative and the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) on Nov. 16.

This full-day master class aims to teach students, attorneys, artists and industry professionals the particulars of intellectual property protection with a focus on content development and the distribution of music, television and film in the digital world...

“The expansion of Atlanta’s entertainment industry made this the perfect time to focus on content,” said Mo Ivory, director of the Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Initiative. “Understanding how intellectual property laws apply in music and television versus on social media is critical in the digital age. As more content developers move to Georgia, we need attorneys who know how to advise clients and artists who know how to advocate for themselves.”"

Trump administration sues drugmaker Gilead Sciences over patent on Truvada for HIV prevention; The Washington Post, November 7, 2019

Christopher Rowland, The Washington Post; Trump administration sues drugmaker Gilead Sciences over patent on Truvada for HIV prevention

"The Trump administration took the rare step Wednesday of filing a patent infringement lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturer Gilead Sciences over sales of Truvada for HIV prevention, a crucial therapy invented and patented by Centers for Disease Control researchers."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Scientists With Links to China May Be Stealing Biomedical Research, U.S. Says; The New York Times, November 4, 2019

, The New York Times; Scientists With Links to China May Be Stealing Biomedical Research, U.S. Says

""The investigations have fanned fears that China is exploiting the relative openness of the American scientific system to engage in wholesale economic espionage. At the same time, the scale of the dragnet has sent a tremor through the ranks of biomedical researchers, some of whom say ethnic Chinese scientists are being unfairly targeted for scrutiny as Washington’s geopolitical competition with Beijing intensifies...

The alleged theft involves not military secrets, but scientific ideas, designs, devices, data and methods that may lead to profitable new treatments or diagnostic tools.

Some researchers under investigation have obtained patents in China on work funded by the United States government and owned by American institutions, the N.I.H. said. Others are suspected of setting up labs in China that secretly duplicated American research, according to government officials and university administrators...

The real question, [Dr. Michael Lauer, ] added, is how to preserve the open exchange of scientific ideas in the face of growing security concerns. At M.D. Anderson, administrators are tightening controls to make data less freely available."

The pirate Blackbeard is laughing in his grave over a SCOTUS copyright case; Quartz, November 2, 2019

Ephrat Livni, Quartz; The pirate Blackbeard is laughing in his grave over a SCOTUS copyright case

"The high court will decide who is right at some point in the months following the upcoming “aaarrrguments.” Meanwhile, the pirate Blackbeard will be chortling from beyond the grave, laughing at the very notion of property ownership, intellectual or otherwise."