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Category Archives: First Amendment

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And the Grammy for Most Likely to Receive a DMCA Notice Goes to…

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Last Sunday was “Music’s Biggest Night,” at least according to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). I haven’t watched many Grammy Award shows, but the possibility of seeing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together was enough for me to tune in, at least for a few minutes. I wasn’t paying particularly close… Continue Reading

The Gold Medal Of Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, First Amendment, Infringement, Trademarks

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – It’s the season of great sporting events, with the Super Bowl and Olympics just around the corner, and with that comes a host of new advertising campaigns.  Companies should beware of infringing on Super Bowl and Olympic trademarks, however.  Both of these events have well-known trademarks that have extensive legal… Continue Reading

How Not to Share Halloween With Your Neighbors

Posted in First Amendment

With Halloween almost upon us, I thought I’d take time to definitively answer that most commonly asked Halloween question: To what circle of hell do the people who give apples and dental floss to trick-or-treaters go?  That one’s easy — they go to Ptolomaea in the Ninth Circle, doomed to be covered by ice for all… Continue Reading

The Two Scourges of the News Media

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology

-  James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA If you’ve been interviewed by any news medium, if there’s a chance you’ll be interviewed any time soon, or you are likely to become the target of news media coverage or new media coverage, this discussion is for you. The two scourges of the news media, primarily… Continue Reading

The MPAA and the Midwives, and Other Cautionary Tales

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

As we all know, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has long taken an active role in the debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of traditional midwifery and modern medical views regarding childbirth. That’s what Rosemary’s Baby was all about, right? Well, the MPAA filed an amicus brief yet again in a lawsuit between… Continue Reading

Do We Need Biometrics to Protect Our Personal Brands Online?

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking

Debbie Laskey, MBA By the time you read this post, hopefully the buzz surrounding Miley Cyrus and the Video Music Awards show will have evaporated into thin air. But there was another related story surrounding the event that generated a ton of buzz on Twitter. On the day after the awards show, an editorial appeared… Continue Reading

If You Want to Go Fast, You Don’t Have Time for Trademark Law.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

If you’re not first, you’re last. Rick’s Cabaret was the first to open a restaurant with the name Ricky Bobby – but will Sony Pictures have the last laugh? Let’s get the background first. In the movie Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell played Ricky Bobby, a successful race car driver who just “wants to go fast.”… Continue Reading

Distinguishing the Fictional From the Real: Names and Brands in Television and Movies

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

We have an interesting question to answer, leading us into the holiday weekend, during which I suspect a few movies will be watched by more than a few marketing types and trademark types: “Is it trademark infringement if a fictional company or product in a movie or television drama bears the same name or brand as a real… Continue Reading

Prince, the DMCA, and Bullying

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Social Media

Minneapolis’ own hometown hero Prince Rogers Nelson, formerly and currently known simply as “Prince,” has been in the news quite often in 2013. It began with his surprise, limited ticket performances in January, which he followed up with a surprise concert to close out the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Prince has also made legal… Continue Reading

Free Speech and The Super Bowl

Posted in Advertising, First Amendment

Litigation and the Super Bowl go together in modern America like litigation and, well, anything (e.g. tattoos, Bill Russell) in modern America.  But since the Super Bowl is on most of our radars for the next few days, litigation and the Super Bowl it is. As we all (hopefully) know, the freedom of speech in America is protected by the First… Continue Reading

I Didn’t Realize William Faulkner Used To Live Under A Bridge

Posted in Copyrights, First Amendment, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts

Those of us that work in the field of intellectual property law have gotten really familiar with a species known as trolls.   I’m not talking about mythical Norse creatures.  I’m talking about patent trolls, trademark trolls, and copyright trolls.  To the uninitiated, these various species of trolls are essentially people and companies that attempt to… Continue Reading

Successful Evolution of an Unlicensed Business Model?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, Truncation

Brand owners and managers may wonder, is a trademark license required when another’s unregistered color scheme is used? Depending on the facts, it may very well be. About four years ago brand owners scored a major victory in LSU v. Smack Apparel, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to the existence and successful enforcement of… Continue Reading

Pinterest, Thy Name is Fair Use

Posted in Almost Advice, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement

–Catlan McCurdy, Attorney   First, there was copyright. Then, there was Pinterest. And now, there is drama. The words “copyright infringement” and “Pinterest” have been thrown around a lot recently, mainly due to the blog post of one photographer/lawyer, Kirsten Kowalski. Kirsten recently blogged about her decision to break up with Pinterest aka delete her inspiration boards, and… Continue Reading

Lunesta and Stoogesta?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks

    It appears that Lunesta (eszopiclone) — apparently, the top prescribed branded sleep aid –  has a new fan, but as you’ll see, and hopefully for the Farrelly brothers, the newcomer won’t be anything close to a competitive medicinal product: Stoogesta (nimbiscus dumbphondenol). Stoogesta video on YouTube can be viewed here. We’ll have to wait until April… Continue Reading

How Fashionable is the Louis Vuitton “Trademark Bully” Label?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Counterfeits, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, International, Marketing, Social Networking, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

There has been quite a flap surrounding the poster and invitation used by the University of Pennsylvania Law School to promote Penn Intellectual Property Group’s Fashion Law Symposium, scheduled for a week from tomorrow. The symposium appears to be designed as a serious affair, boasting an all-star cast of general counsel from the fashion industry, including those from… Continue Reading

Reese for Sheriff?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, First Amendment, Food, Guest Bloggers, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Hat tip to Dave Taylor who provided this photo for some discussion: Looks like a fellow named Mark Reese, currenting Acting Sheriff, is running for Sheriff in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, right in Hershey’s backyard. Do you suppose this Hershey’s trade dress may have inspired the Acting Sheriff’s campaign?  Your thoughts on whether Hershey’s has a claim?… Continue Reading

Ex-Husker QB Leads Offense Against EA Sports

Posted in Fair Use, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Law Suits, Marketing

—By Joey Lomicky, Communications Consultant, Xcel Energy As a Nebraska alum, former (okay, okay, current) sports gaming addict and First Amendment connoisseur, I’ve been intrigued by the high-profile class action lawsuit filed by ex-Cornhusker quarterback Sam Keller, which has recently resurfaced in the news. In fact, there’s a good chance this case may find its… Continue Reading

Environmental Film Disaster, A Case for First Amendment Rights or Past Regrets?

Posted in First Amendment, Guest Bloggers

—Joy Newborg, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. Award winning film producer Joseph Berlinger made a documentary entitled Crude, which followed the case brought against Texaco by a group of civilians who allege that the oil exploration and drilling conducted by Texaco, now owned by Chevron, in Ecuador polluted the rain forest and contaminated their drinking water…. Continue Reading

Facebook Needs Dislike Option for Lamebook

Posted in First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Social Networking

–Susan Perera, Attorney Like most 20-somethings who went to college during the rise of this social media monster, I am quite familiar with Facebook. However, I wasn’t aware of the website Lamebook until the current legal dispute began. Lamebook, a self-proclaimed, “humor blog” was designed to allow people to share the most “ridiculous” things posted on Facebook. The… Continue Reading

Fair Logo, Fair Use & Fair Politics? The Minnesota State Fair’s Trademark-on-a-Stick

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

The newest fare at the Minnesota State Fair is not Camel-on-a-Stick, Buffalo-on-a-Stick, or any other kind of Food-on-a-Stick, but rather, Trademark-on-a-Stick. Earlier this week, the Minnesota State Fair (owned and operated by the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, a Minnesota State Agency) was hot to skewer the unauthorized use of its nearly three-decade-old and more recently trademarked logo, by incumbent Republican U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in a political ad… Continue Reading