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Tag Archives: Fair Use

The Five-Finger Copyright Discount

Posted in Audio, Copyrights, Fair Use, False Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, International, Loss of Rights, Social Media

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Recently violinists Rhett Price and Shiva Chaitoo got two very different lessons on the downside of posting performances on the Internet. According to an article in The Boston Globe, a fan of Price alerted him to a video of Chaitoo’s playing. Turns out, Chaitoo was pulling a Milli Vanilli, fingering his… Continue Reading

Help! Someone Copied My Stuff!

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement

At some point in this digital age, almost every individual or business in the creative space will discover that somebody has copied them. You may see it yourself, or you may get the stomach-dropping “Doesn’t this look an awful lot like…..” e-mail from a friend. It might be that potential client who said your design… Continue Reading

Boldly Going Where no Fanfic has Gone Before

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Fanfiction refers to the art of creating fiction using another author’s characters or universe.  I was first introduced to the concept in high school, when a friend began writing Harry Potter fanfiction.  (Side note: this is not one of those situations where the “friend” is actually me.)  My friend used the same well-known characters—Harry, Hermione,… Continue Reading

Trademark satire is no joke to the City of Atlanta

Posted in Fair Use, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts

Check out this City of Atlanta Facebook page.  The funny thing is that it’s not run by the City of Atlanta.  Although the posts are titled “City of Atlanta” and use the City’s official seal, the page consists of satirical humor composed by Ben Palmer, an Atlanta resident.  Although the first post was only a couple weeks… Continue Reading

The Hashtag / Trademark Paradox: #Trending, but #Proprietary?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking

As the hustle and bustle of the INTA 2016 Annual Meeting drew to a close yesterday, I reflected on the session “#HASHTAGS #EverythingYouNeedToKnow” from Tuesday. It seems trademark protection may not (yet) fit comfortably into the hashtag world. DuetsBlog previously provided a helpful tutorial on the nuts and bolts of hashtags and how they function, particularly on the sites Twitter and… Continue Reading

An E-Bay User Copied and Sold Thousands of Designs for Profit, but is it Legal?

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Idea Protection, Infringement, Loss of Rights

Three-dimensional printing technology continues to be a new frontier of creativity, advancement, and of course, legal issues. The laws surrounding 3D printing have always been a topic of concern, but the discussion took center stage over the last few weeks in an unprecedented way. If you’re new to the idea of 3D printing, here’s a… Continue Reading

No MN State Fair Photos, Pretty Please?

Posted in Articles, Copyrights, Fair Use, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Trademarks

Well, it is opening day at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair, it was a great day, perfect weather, thank you very much! Happy to see that Lulu’s Public House is going strong, she appears to have some new food items this year, and they look amazing — a Minnesota Wild Rice Benedict Muffin and a… Continue Reading

Update: Ikea Voids the Warranty on its Demand Letter

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

A few weeks back, we discussed IKEA’s claim of trademark infringement against the popular website, IKEAhackers.net, and the resulting online backlash. In what’s become an increasingly common result, IKEA has reportedly backed off from its demand letter: We want to clarify that we deeply regret the situation at hand with  IKEAhackers. It has of course… Continue Reading

IKEA översittare: Bully or Baloney?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

I once spent 20 minutes trying to figure out whether I was installing a metal insert for an NYMÖ lamp upside down, or rightside up. I’m still not sure I ever installed it correctly, but it’s still working. So there. But a new IKEA översittare is getting a lot of attention on the internet, and… Continue Reading

The World Is Not Enough, We Want the Whole Genre

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Television

The James Bond franchise is one of the most well-known and successful movie franchises in history. There are few characters who reappear in 23 full length movies, let alone have the 23rd movie reach the top of the box office charts. The James Bond franchise, however, has obtained a unique status among average viewers and… 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

One Man’s Trash Is Another Transit Authority’s Trademark

Posted in Fair Use, Infringement, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

A while back, I discussed the New York State Department of Development’s enforcement efforts to prevent others from using the I♥NY logo. It looks like the West Coast may have learned something from the East Coast, as San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit District (affectionately known as BART) has been sending out cease and desist… Continue Reading

Would the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up

Posted in Fair Use

Before I launch into this post, I must provide the disclaimer that I am not a Tweeter and I do not regularly use Twitter.  That being said, here we go. If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Twitter is quickly becoming sycophancy central. “Fake” Twitter accounts abound throughout the Twitter-verse and, frankly, I find… Continue Reading

NCAA-holes

Posted in Fair Use, Law Suits

There has been a recent (over the last two years) rash of lawsuits by former NCAA athletes alleging a right to recover money arising from the exploitation of their likenesses in video games. Recently, the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in the case Keller v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (complaint here). For a summary of the case and arguments,… Continue Reading

Honoring Randy Moss Doesn’t Make It Fair Use

Posted in Advertising, Famous Marks, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

This little gem arrived yesterday, basically an email promotion for this weekend, featuring Randy Moss and celebrating his return to the Minnesota Vikings: Of course, I’m thrilled too, that Randy Moss has returned to play ball in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean we forget all about his legal rights (name, image, likeness, right of publicity, to name a few),… Continue Reading

A Parody Is Forever?

Posted in Advertising, Idea Protection, Marketing, Television

Recently, a new Verizon commercial caught my eye.  Perhaps you’ve seen it: This immediately reminded me of a circa 1993 (has it really been that long?) De Beers commercial (seen here).  Apparently, this is one of at least two Verizon commercials intended to "spoof" some of the classic, well-known commercials from our past.  My immediate reaction, to these… Continue Reading

Obamatunistic Advertising

Posted in Advertising, Branding, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Marketing

Jacket maker Weatherproof Garment Company took advantage of a GQ-style photo of the President standing in front of the picturesque Great Wall of China. The White House was not pleased. Smack in the middle of Times Square in New York – one of the busiest and most-watched intersections on Earth – stood a larger-than-life billboard… Continue Reading

Good Luxo

Posted in Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, Fair Use, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Product Configurations

Luxo AS, a Norwegian light manufacturer and distributor, has sued Disney and Pixar et. al. asserting various trademark-related claims arising from Disney’s and Pixar’s use of the LUXO trademark.  In an always interesting case of trademark law/branding meets fair use, Luxo has alleged that Disney/Pixar’s use of "Luxo Jr." to identify the "hopping lamp," which has been the corporate mascot of Pixar… Continue Reading