“They’ve got the Golden Arches, Mine is the Golden Arcs”

Matthew Peterson : December 8, 2014 3:09 pm : BeyondIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed

comingtoamerica12McDonald’s has officially gone to war with Irish restaurant Supermac’s as the fast-food chain successfully stopped Supermac’s from registering its trademark in Australia. McDonald’s argues that the public will become confused if Supermac’s is given trademark protection and that Supermac’s name is harmful to McDonald’s trademarks, namely the Big Mac, the McMuffin, and Chicken McNuggets. In response, Supermac’s founder Pat McDonagh asserted that his company is  “not infringing on anyone’s name ” and that “I was born with this name, so I hope that common sense will prevail.” Read more about the battle over trademarks between the two companies here and here. Hopefully Supermac’s is a bit more original with its arguments than McDowell’s in “Coming to America.”

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Copyright gets Comical

Matthew Peterson : December 8, 2014 1:16 pm : Arts & EntertainmentBeyondIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

CSPDFrontCoverWhile copyright laws can be confusing and difficult to navigate, Duke University has recently taken a step to make copyright laws easier to interpret.  The University, through its Center for the Study of Public Domain, has made available a comic book titled “Tales from the Public Domain” that discusses fair use, public domain, and copyright infringement. The book serves as a tremendous resource for anyone without a copyright law background or expertise as it makes the law straightforward and easy to understand. While a print copy of the book can be purchased for $6 from the Center’s website, a free PDF of the the comic book can be viewed legally here.

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The Cost of a Tweet

Garrett Busch : December 2, 2014 4:32 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

Social media erupted following the recent decision that charges would not be pursued in Ferguson, Missouri in relation to the death of Michael Brown at the hands of officer Darren Wilson. While the Tweet HatFirst Amendment protects free speech, that protection is not without bounds. It appears, however, that many in the United States on both sides of this controversy have failed to realize those boundaries exist. In north Texas, for example, a high school English teacher is in the process of being discharged due to the insensitivity of her recent tweets. She is certainly not alone though, as a new Tumblr titled “Racists getting fired” (Warning: link contains explicit language) has illustrated, numerous other Twitter users are being met with serious repercussions due to tweets they have posted from their own personal accounts. Even though these users are tweeting from personal accounts, employers are finding out and cracking down. It appears that even during a time of national controversy, cooler heads do prevail, and everyone needs to watch what they tweet.

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St. Louis Rams and Free Speech

Nichole Kazimirovicz : December 1, 2014 5:38 pm : First AmendmentMediaMediaMETAfeed

Yesterday, November 30th, St. Louis Rams players walked on to the field with a “don’t shoot” gesture with their hands up.  There have been riots and lots of discussion since the Ferguson grand jury ruling.

The First Amendment of the Constitution states the following: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  

It’s nice to see the Rams exercising their freedom of speech.  But the St. Louis police didn’t appreciate the gesture and demanded the NFL discipline the players.  The NFL allowed the players to continue their activism and free speech without repercussion.  Free speech- 1 : St. Louis Police- 0.

Read More at St. Louis Rams players show solidarity with Ferguson protesters | MSNBC.

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Hackers Strike Again: Sony’s New Movies Leak

Nichole Kazimirovicz : December 1, 2014 5:04 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about hackers invading privacy, leaking pictures, and now they’ve struck again.  Last week, five Sony movies were leaked on the internet.  As of yesterday, millions of people are downloading the leaked videos.  The five movies include Sony’s recent releases “Fury” (downloaded 1.2+ million times), “Annie” (206,000 downloads), and “Mr. Turner” (63,379 downloads), but also include “Still Alice” (103,832 downloads) and “To Write Love on Her Arms” (19,946 downloads), which haven’t even hit the box offices yet.  In addition to criminal charges for computer crimes, this would likely be a huge case of copyright infringement.  I can only imagine what a huge economic impact this will have on Sony’s box office sales.  The leak is being credited to a group called  #GOP (Guardians of Peace).

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Read more about it at Sony’s New Movies Leak Online Following Hack Attack | Variety.

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Gum Guru Gone Greedy: Wrigley opposes rival’s “WTF” trademark application

Nickolas Galendez : November 30, 2014 9:42 pm : METAfeed

The chewing gum gurus at the William Wrigley Jr. Company recently filed a Notice of Opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Wrigley owns the “Winterfresh” gum trademark, but Perfetti Van Melle (one of Wrigley’s rivals) recently filed a trademark application for “What the Fresh” and the acronym “WTF.”  Wrigley alleges that Perfetti’s trademarks are “likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception in that consumers are likely to believe [Perfetti’s] goods are [Wrigley’s] goods.”  In my opinion, there is not a likelihood of consumer confusion between “What the Fresh” and “Winterfresh.”  What do you think?

See Wrigley’s Notice of Opposition here.

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Spotify’s Response is Spot On

Garrett Busch : November 11, 2014 6:14 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

Recently Taylor Swift’s music was pulled from Spotify because, as the President of Big Machine Label Group (the label Swift is signed to) stated, “we never want to embarrass a fan.” Apparently the shame of actually purchasing a record, or paying for the download from iTunes is so great for some superfans that Swift and her label had to do something to protect these fans from the evil of free music services. While I applaud the effort to protect the fans and to protect the royalties an artist ultimately deserves, it appears that Swift’s retaliatory actions were completely misguided. While Spotify does offer a free service that is supported by ads, it also licenses all of its music and pays royalties. It also has an increasingly popular paid service that generates even more cash for artists. However, the same cannot be said for services like SoundCloud, YouTube, and download sites like The Pirate Bay.Swift

Spotify made all this quite clear in a response tailored specifically for Swift. Spotify notes in its response that in the last year alone, the company has paid over $1 billion in royalties to the actual creators of music while illegal downloads and free services continue to provide artists’ music with no concern for royalties whatsoever. The seemingly genuine response from Spotify that illustrates its intent to help artists claim the royalties that are rightfully theirs ultimately makes Swift look like just another famous musician trying to take every dime possible out of the pockets of fans. Given Swift’s popularity and mass appeal, however, I’m sure this is only a small blow to her image, and she will no doubt be able to “shake it off.”

 

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Hacking Humans

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : November 11, 2014 1:47 pm : BeyondIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

hacker2Computer hackers are getting a significant amount of attention in today’s world. Hardly a week goes by without the media reporting some hacking calamity involving either government files or scandalous celebrity photographs (links are to news stories). When most folks think of hacking, it probably calls to mind images of computer code and sophisticated equipment breaking down encrypted data. But it’s not always that complicated. Lawyerist.com recently published an article about a convicted hacker who simply called companies and managed to acquire proprietary information by basically “faking it til he made it.” That is to say, the hacker would speak to employees, string them along to make the employees believe he was someone authorized to have the information that he wanted, and the employees would hand it over–no questions asked. What does this mean for lawyers? If you want to avoid a malpractice suit, make sure that you and your staff perform your due diligence before handing over any information.

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The Curious Incident of the Detective in the Public Domain

Josh Beurer : November 4, 2014 3:43 am : METAfeed

In February, we posted about a Seventh Circuit ruling that created a duality within Sir sherlock-453427-1Arthur Conan Doyle’s copyright portfolio – Despite the fact that his most recent Sherlock Holmes novels still enjoy valid U.S. copyright protection, most of his characters and other stories are firmly in the public domain, allowing for the multitude of derivative uses that have recently found favor in pop culture. The Supreme Court has just denied cert on the appeal, resolving the question once and for all and leaving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate no other option to enforce such wide copyright protection in the United States. This is great news for Sherlock fans. Now the only thing standing in between us and more episodes is waiting for Moffat to write them! Read more about it here.

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Thicke vs. Gaye: Copyright Suit over “Blurred Lines” Proceeding to Trial

Matthew Peterson : November 3, 2014 9:18 am : Arts & EntertainmentBeyondIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed

Back in 2013, Beyond Clause 8 ran a short post on the copyright battle involving Robin Thicke’s mega-hit “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” Now it appears that the case is finally gaining traction in favor of Gaye’s family after a federal judge denied Thicke’s motion for summary judgment. The judge noted that the songs were substantially similar based on phrases, hooks, baselines, and harmonic structure. Trial is now set for February 1o, 2015. You can read more about the case here or here.

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