Copyright

Billionaire Richard Branson and Copyright – International Intellectual Property Law – Case Study #8

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, has just sent a cease and desist letter to “I Am Not A Virgin,” a small New York eco-friendly denim label, claiming that the company’s name infringes on his copyright (Antunes). The small label was founded three years ago by Peter Heron and makes their garments from a blend of virgin cotton, and a variety of recycled materials, including plastic bottles, food packaging, and discarded X-Ray films. After holding his trademark for

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Hey, DJ Keep Playin’ That Song… Unless You Didn’t Pay For It!

By Breanna Pendilton | amdlawgroup.com “Mic check, 1..2..1..2!”  With the summer time here and the fall vastly approaching, we find ourselves in the season of parties: wedding parties, graduation parties, and soon, back-to-school parties.  And with parties, come people, music, and DJs.  While these three things are normal for every party, these three things can also put you at risk for violation of a federal copyright law.  (Ask yourself, “Is the roof really on fire?’) Copyrigh

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Copyright Protection for Graffiti a/k/a Street Art

By Shandice Sluch, Staff Writer | www.amdlawgroup.com The esteemed author William Shakespeare once said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Does that same idea apply to the copyrightability of street art? The term street art is defined as any visual work created in public locations. Some common media include spray paint, stencils, sticker art, street installations, and sculpture. However, the legality of this street art becomes a problem when it is not commissioned. Most

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I Wrote This On A Public Wall…. But, You Still Can’t Use It!

By Breanna Pendilton | amdlawgroup.com Miami artist David Anasagasti (or “Ahol” as most people call him) has recently filed copyright infringement against clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters.  No, they did not steal his clothing designs or illegally use his music in their stores or advertisements (which would be the normal copyright infringement claim against a retail store).  Ahol claims, however, that American Eagle’s recreation of his public street mural entitled “Droopy Ey

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YouTube Refuses to Remove Songs

By Christina Severino | amdlawgroup.com Amid threats from one of the most prolific managers in the music industry, Irving Azoff, YouTube has refused to remove roughly 20,000 songs from its website. Azoff represents many of the artists whose songs are still made available on the site. Even though many artists are already protected by music rights advocacy organizations such as BMI and ASCAP, Azoff is also implementing a new initiative, Global Music RIghts (GMR). So far, the GMR has enlisted 42 a

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How to Use Photos without Violating Copyright Laws

Visual media has become instrumental in designing a website or posting in social media sites such as Pinterest and Facebook. But if you don’t own the photos you plan on using, how do you go about getting the photos your site needs? Grabbing pictures from Google images, off of other websites, or even assuming that you have the rights to photos of yourself or your business despite that it was taken by someone else are all common mistakes that violate copyright law, and if charged, you can be

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Biz Owners Must Know the Difference Between Copyright & Trademark

It is easy to confuse a trademark with a copyright because they are both in the intellectual property field of law. It is important for small business owners to know the difference between the two to protect their products and/or services.        A trademark can be a word, symbol, and/or design, and can also refer to service marks.  Trademarks and service mark simply allow a customer know where the goods and/or service came from.  Sometimes, a customer will want to continue buying from

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Photos, Intellectual Property Rights and Social Media

By Gabrielle Sherwood | Editor: Tikwiza Nkowane | www.amdlawgroup.com When people take pictures, the focus has always been on their looks and the quality of the picture. To a large extent, one may assume that people do not even question the ownership rights to those pictures unless an issue arises that turns into a lawsuit. Issues of ownership and property rights are gradually becoming a popular topic among business owners as risks of lawsuits and legal action are on the rise. With nearly

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A Harlem Shake Infringement

By Tasha Schmidt | amdlawgroup.com Have you heard of the “Harlem Shake?” The “Harlem Shake” is more than just a really popular video. Voices being heard in the background of the viral Internet hit on “Harlem Shake,” have caused quite the uproar. One of the individual’s whose voice can be heard in the video, Hector Delgado, received a surprise phone call from his former manager stating that his voice could be clearly heard in the background of the song “Harlem Shake.” The son

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Getting Out of the Weeds: Why Cannabis Products Can Be Patented but not Trademarked

By Gabrielle Sherwood|www.amdlawgroup.com Cannabis: patentable but not trademarkable Cannabis is legal for recreational or medicinal use in almost 30 states, and this number is likely to grow. However, cannabis remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not register trademarks for retailers of cannabis, or for products that contain cannabis. However, what is especially interesting is that the USPTO will grant patents involv

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Resale of Books and Copyright Law being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday October 29, 2012, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments of a copyright infringement case dealing with whether or not copyrighted goods made outside the United States can be resold in the U.S. without first attaining permission from the copyright holder. The case has garnered the attention of such companies as eBay and Google, who have stated that a person should have the right to sell an item that they have purchased regardless of where it was made. Publisher John Wiley &a

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Fight OVER Evil: The Yankees Win A Lawsuit

The Yankee’s successfully took an intended insult and created something great when they adapted to the title “Baseball’s Evil Empire”. When Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino threw the phrase at the team in 2002, he probably did not predict that it would help them win a lawsuit.             With the help of the Major League Baseball industry, a corporation was brought to its’ knees after trying to coin the phrase themselves and sell merchandise with it. T-shirts, hats, pants,

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Do Memes Violate Copyright Law?

By Laura Schrauth | www.amdlawgroup.com Anyone who has used the internet in the last several years has undoubtedly seen or heard of memes.  Meriam-Webster defines memes as, “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that are spread widely online especially through social media.”[1] While memes are enjoyable and sometimes controversial, they are also legally relevant. Memes can take on legal challenges in cases where the underlying photo is

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Kaught Red Handed: Kardashians Sued for Stolen Name

By Kathleen Melhorn | amdlawgroup.com   After adding an H in “Kroma”, the Kardashians are facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit over their new line of beauty products. In fact, a judge ruled that all of the products be removed from over 5,000 retail stores because of the brand theft. The sisters are facing a serious battle considering how deliberate the stealing of the name looks. The original Kroma products, created by Lee Tillet over 12 years ago, have been patented by t

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Who Owns the Rights to the “Happy Birthday” Song?

By Kelsey Laugel  |www.amdlawgroup.com In a recent suit against Warner/Chappell, the current owners of the copyright to the famous “Happy Birthday” song, plaintiffs Good Morning to You Productions Corp. called the validity of the copyright into question. The California federal judge overseeing the case has since ordered the parties to provide more evidence regarding the alleged abandonment of the copyright. It may surprise some to know that this popular song, consisting of a six-note

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