April 22, 2011
There are three major types of intellectual property law: Copyright, Patent and Trademark.
The distinction between the three can often be confusing and gray, but in general copyright protects artistic expressions (literature, movies, photos, music, etc.), patents protect ideas and inventions and trademark protects any “mark” associated with a business.
However, trademark is very different from other areas of intellectual property. You don’t run afoul of the law simply by copying the mark itself but, as a tradeoff, trademarks can protect a much wider variety of things that would not fall under any other area of protection.
Yet, at the same time, trademark often overlaps with copyright, especially when dealing with some logos, and there is a great deal of confusion between copyright and trademark in discussions online.
All in all, trademark is a thorny and often misunderstood area of intellectual property law that demands a closer look, especially if you routinely write about companies or use trademarks in your post.
So what do you need to know about trademarks? The basics are below.
Tags: copyright, copyright law, intellectual property, patent, trademark, trademark law
April 14, 2011
YouTube has long had to deal with Copyright infringing members, however they are now taking a more proactive measure to educate those users about copyright infringement, launching what they call the “YouTube Copyright School.”
The program, a four and a half minute video in the style of a cartoon based PSA has now become required viewing for any site user who receives a copyright infringement notice from the world’s largest social video sharing website.
Watching the video (shown at the bottom of this post), you’ll quickly realized that it features characters from Happy Tree Friends, a popular YouTube video series. The video gives a quick rundown of copyright law and must be viewed before an infringing user can once again begin uploading videos to the site. After watching the video users are then required to take a short quiz about the content they just watched.
Along with the new video, YouTube has amended how they control copyright offenses. In the past users had a “permanent record” of violations, while users can now have one offense fully removed from their record by watching the video. Consider the new policy a “defensive driving class” type solution to copyright rule breaking.
YouTube is also launching a Copyright FAQ section, shown below: read more
Tags: copyright, copyright infringement, YouTube, Youtube Copyright School
April 8, 2011
When it comes to blogging and the law, there is one area of the law that you pretty much can not avoid: Copyright.
Though you can avoid libel by never talking about anyone else, the same goes for privacy, and you can largely avoid trademark by being careful with your domain and not creating a business, it is impossible to blog and avoid copyright.
The reason is simple, every time you hit “Safe Draft” in WordPress, post a comment on another blog or take a photo for your site, you’ve created a copyrighted work and with that comes a set of rights and responsibilities you need to be aware of.
However, the issue of copyright is far too broad and far too complex to cover in any kind of depth in one column. So, in order to help bloggers who might not understand the law get some basic information, here are five copyright facts that you need to be aware of, all of which we will likely go into in future columns.
Bear in mind that these facts are based on U.S. law and, in some cases, may vary in your country. You can also read more about these facts, and other basic copyright information, on the U.S. Copyright Office website. read more
Tags: Blogging, copyright, copyright law, fair use, plagiarism, trademark
April 4, 2011
Hello. My name is Jonathan Bailey. I’m the new guy here at the Blog Herald, once again, and I’m starting up a new column that will be running every Friday targeting the law and blogging. We’ll be tackling some of the major legal issues that bloggers face as they run their sites.
Many of you may already know me from the various sites I have either written for or currently write at. This includes a previous stint here at The Blog Herald, my ongoing Blogging Pitfalls column at BloggingPro, my hosting-related column at WhoIsHostingThis and, of course, my home site of Plagiarism Today, where I talk about copyright and plagiarism issues on the Web.
To be clear, I am not an attorney and nothing in any of my columns should be considered legal advice, but I have studied the law as it applies to mass media for over 12 years, come from a journalism background and have been studying copyright especially closely for over ten.
My goal with this column is to include a variety of pieces including general information pieces about how the law, in particular U.S. law, applies to blogging, legal news and rulings that might affect bloggers and also answer some of your questions as time permits.
With that in mind, here are just a few of the topic areas that this column will cover moving forward: read more
Tags: copyright, defamation, law, libel, slander, trademark
December 14, 2009
The blogging legal climate is one of constant change. Though certain issues will always be of critical importance to bloggers, as they will to anyone who is a part of mass media, there is always a great deal that’s in flux.
This is especially true for bloggers as legislators and judges are just beginning to take on many of the complicated issues that blogging and democratized media brings with it. But where 2009 was a busy year for bloggers on the legal front, 2010 promises to be even more so.
In many ways, 2009 was a set up year for what is going to happen in 2010. In fact, the easiest way to decide what will likely be some of the hottest legal topics in the new year is to look back over the past one and see where the dominoes are likely to fall.
With that in mind, here are five legal areas bloggers should be paying attention to in the new year as they have the potential to be major forces in the blogging world. read more
Tags: copyright, defamation, Disclosure, libel, shield, trademark
November 16, 2009
Most bloggers understand the importance and the value in creating original content. Most would be at least somewhat upset to their own writing used on other sites without permission or attribution and many actively track their work for misuse.
However, there is more to being a good copyright citizen than just writing your own content, quoting only what you need to in your entries and attributing your sources. Your blog is much more than just text and there are many copyright “hazards” that even well-intended bloggers can step in.
That’s why last year, almost to the day, I wrote an article about holiday copyright hazards for bloggers to avoid, But while the holidays are an especially dangerous time for copyright issues, they are a potential thorn in the side year around.
So with that in mind, here are five copyright hazards to avoid, regardless of the time of year. read more
Tags: Blogging, content theft, copyright, copyright infringement, creative commons, images, plagiarism
October 12, 2009
Rapidly the “Wild West” days of blogging are coming to an end legally. As blogging becomes more mainstream as a form of media, so does the legal issues that confronts it. No longer an outlier, blogs are actively competing with newspapers and even television in terms of journalism, audience and trendsetting.
But this has brought with it a slew of new legal headaches. Blogging has become the target for copyright holders, celebrities and even the FTC. There are very real and very serious legal risks associated with blogging and it is important to be aware of them.
So what are some steps you can take to avoid legal headaches with your blog? There are actually too many to list and much of it just comes down to operating in good faith. However, there are a handful of very simple things that you can do to improve your legal position and lessen the likelihood that you’ll be on the wrong end of a lawsuit and also strengthen your own rights.
Just some of the basics are below. read more
Tags: copyright, Disclosure, law, Legal, Privacy, trademark
September 14, 2009
For bloggers it can be a long and difficult road to reach success and occasionally come close to your subjects and conduct an interview with them. It was great to see that UK Manchester United blog Red Rants had the opportunity to run an exclusive interview with world star Nemanja Vidic. This would be the ultimate dream for many a sports blogger but things aren’t always as nice as they seem. Content theft often is an issue, especially when exclusive entries, interviews are scored.
Red Rants was no exception to this rule. Only some later, today, two main stream UK media outlets used the interview without attribution. Both published quotes of the interview without referring to the source. The Skysports article consist of more than 50% quotes. Surprisingly Skysports Terms and Conditions do NOT allow reproduction and even don’t mention Fair Use. read more
Tags: content theft, copyright, fair use, Skysports, The Sun
August 24, 2009
Livestreaming is rapidly becoming a powerful force in blogging. Not only is it a fast way to add interactive media to a site, but it’s also a powerful way to record static media, including videos and podcasts, for later.
However, with this new technology comes a new set of legal challenges, one of the biggest being copyright. Not only do rightsholders face the new challenge of content, including audio, TV shows and sporting events being streamed out live, but the companies behind these new technologies face an uncertain legal future, where laws designed for traditional hosts may or may not apply.
This conflict has lead Justin.TV to partner with content matching service Vobile to filter out infringing material, both in their archives and eventually in their live streams. It also has lead to Ustream being sued by a boxing promoter for allegedly allowing over 2,000 viewers to watch a Pay-Per-View fight for free.
In many ways this legal climate is similar to the one YouTube faced during its early days (and continues to face with its billion-dollar lawsuit vs. Viacom) but it can have serious implications for users of livestreaming services. Many of the protections afforded users under the law of most hosts don’t easily apply to livestreaming services and that could create problems down the road. read more
Tags: copyright, DMCA, justin.tv, livestreaming, ustream, Video
August 10, 2009
In copyright law, the big news is always made by cases such as the Jammie Thomas verdict, the Tenenbaum trial or even The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden. As importance as these cases are, their legal applicability to the average person is dubious, especially since the RIAA has stopped suing file sharers.
For the cases that could have a direct impact on your life, you often have to dig deeper. This is true for the case of Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, a seemingly dull case about two law firms in a dispute over content posted on their respective Web sites.
However a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case, if upheld by other circuits or the Supreme Court, could have a drastic impact on the way copyright issues are litigated in the United States.
How big is the difference? The dissenting judge on the panel said the following, “Under the majority’s opinion, every website operator faces the potential that he will be hailed into far-away courts based upon allegations of intellectual property infringement, if he happens to know where the alleged owner of the property rights resides.”
In short, if you are accused of copyright infringement, it is no longer safe to assume that you would be sued in your own district, but rather that you could be forced to litigate in the plaintiff’s court, enduring the extra costs and expense that comes with it. read more
Tags: content theft, copyright, copyright infringement, jurisdiction, Legal, plagiarism