Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:33 pm

Prenda's John Steele hit with state bar complaint. Took a long time to get here, but it's thorough.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:43 am


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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:10 am


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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:17 pm



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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:29 pm

Republican presidential candidate plays song without permission; bears continue to shit in woods.

I'll say one thing for Biden: I really don't see him violating any RIAA copyrights.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby sei » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:32 pm

Dodd would have to crush himensures he gets license to use whatever he wants.
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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Sharkey » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:49 pm

You know, I really shouldn't be blown away every time some asshole on campaign uses an ironically perfect song in their self promotion, but yeah, it just keeps happening. Forever. This one doesn't quite top Reagan and Bruce Springsteen, or even Paul Ryan and Rage Against the Machine. Or Scott Walker and John Mellencamp, Sarah Palin and Bon Jovi, John McCain and Jackson Browne, or John McCain and the Foo Fighters, or Newt Gingrich and Eye of the Tiger, Kim Davis and Eye of the Tiger, or pretty much everybody and Eye of the Tiger. Survivor is pretty much just the band that has to keep threatening to sue everyone who is an asshole.

But within that enormous field of contenders, Donald Trump and Aerosmith ranks pretty high. Not only in that there's actually someone who represents a bridge too far even for Stephen Tyler's enormous shittiness as a person to drag itself across, but once again the actual lyrics of the song are deeply fucking ironic (yes, ironic. Don't even begin to incorrectly correct me when it comes to definitions of irony. There's a word for that.)

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:50 am

Well, starting with the title. If you are seeking to attain something that many people think you are unlikely to obtain, maybe "Dream On" is not a phrase that you want associated with your efforts.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby zaratustra » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:47 am

Thad wrote:Republican presidential candidate plays song without permission; bears continue to shit in woods.

I'll say one thing for Biden: I really don't see him violating any RIAA copyrights.


beeecaaaause democrats are RIAA's besties?

Really, if republicans said something, ANYTHING about copyright law reform EVER, they could get some traction with the younger generations. But apparently, Big Government is only ever bad because abortions and health care.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:50 pm

zaratustra wrote:
Thad wrote:I'll say one thing for Biden: I really don't see him violating any RIAA copyrights.


beeecaaaause democrats are RIAA's besties?


Well, Biden is, which is the point I'm making. But copyright overreach is pretty bipartisan; let's not forget Sonny Bono was a Republican.

Using campaign songs without permission seems to be a mostly Republican thing, though. I think Al Gore did it once, but that's 15 years ago now.

zaratustra wrote:Really, if republicans said something, ANYTHING about copyright law reform EVER, they could get some traction with the younger generations. But apparently, Big Government is only ever bad because abortions and health care.


There was that rather excellent copyright reform paper in 2012.

Its author was, naturally, immediately fired.

Here's what I said about it then:

There is a strong conservative case to be made against modern American copyright law: it's a big-government handout to Hollywood that grants artificial monopolies, interferes with the free market, stifles innovation, and is clearly not what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution.


I do think this is the sort of thing the next generation of Republicans could get behind and achieve real success with -- but of course the current generation of Republicans is doing everything in its power to ensure there isn't a next generation of Republicans.

I could see voting Republican if the party started taking a strong stance on copyright reform -- but it would kinda have to do something about the whole racism/sexism/homophobia thing too.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:35 am

Mongrel wrote:Yelp is trying to sue South Park over their Yelp episode.

“Our company, along with its millions of users, take Yelp very seriously. The South Park episode was in extremely bad taste and not funny whatsoever. To say our critics are out there trying to get free food and using racist slurs on little Mexican children is beyond ridiculous. To compare the users of Yelp to terrorists is not only cruel, but the definition of libel and slander. I believe any reasonable court in America will agree with the lawsuit and rule in our favor.”

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the popular animated series, were quick to issue a statement of their own.

“We’ve taken a hard look at the information presented to us, and after reviewing it, we have given Yelp and their lawsuit only one star. Their lawyers delivered us legal documents in a very unprofessional manner; not bothering to smile or even a quick handshake. The writing on the envelope was barely legible and in two different colors. It is our personal opinion that Yelp could do a much better job by not suing us for ten million dollars.”


EDIT: Also from the same article:

According to Business Week, Yelp has a complicated relationship with small businesses. Criticism regarding the company focuses on the legitimacy of reviews, public statements of Yelp manipulating and blocking reviews in order to increase ad spending, as well as concerns regarding the privacy of reviewers.

Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, a mascot for a Christian anti-masturbation organization, says the company is losing business because of Yelp reviewers.

“Before being listed on Yelp we had no problem going around the country speaking to elementary school children about the dangers and consequences of masturbation. Now, with our poor reviews on Yelp, people are beginning to question our morals and ethics, like that is so important. Just because I have been arrested three times for public masturbation and each case was pardoned by the Governor, doesn’t mean our federal funding and government support had anything to do with it. With the assumptions made by Yelp reviewers, they are causing deadly self-rape addictions in this country to continue and in the end it is Big Masturbation that wins. Such a shame.”


Pretty sure NBC just got got?

EDIT2: No wait. .co

I just got got.


NBC has sent a C&D to nbc.co.com. As I learned in a strangely bitchy AV Club article by Sam Barsanti.

I think NBC's got a legitimate trademark claim, because nbc.com.co is quite clearly a deliberate attempt to confuse people into thinking it's really NBC.

But Barsanti's claim that nbc.com.co is not a parody site because it's just a bunch of lies is off-base (and there are people in the comments section suggesting that maybe the reason he's so mad is that he got taken in by the site, or maybe just because nbc.com.co creator Paul Horner compared the site to The Onion); Fappy the Anti-Masturbation Dolphin is quite obviously a joke. So is the current top headline, "Obama Endorses Trump".

(Barsanti also spends the lede bitching about trolls who hide behind freedom of speech. Which tends to confuse the issue, as, while misleading people into thinking your site is NBC when it's not actually NBC is unprotected speech, telling lies and pretending they're news is totally cool under the First Amendment.)

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:18 pm

YouTube offers legal protection for four videos that have been hit with frivolous DMCA takedowns.

This is a good (and LONG overdue) start, but I'd like to see YouTube be a lot more skeptical in its response to takedowns in general.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby sei » Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:21 pm

Somehow knew one of those would be Jim Sterling.
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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:41 pm

Ars: Judge sides with Rightscorp, says DMCA doesn’t protect Cox

More specifically, he said the safe harbor provision doesn't apply and the suit can move to trial.

O'Grady hasn't yet published his full opinion, but a two-page order (PDF) published Thursday makes it clear that he doesn't believe Cox is protected by the DMCA. "There is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants reasonably implemented a repeat-infringer policy" as required by the law, O'Grady wrote. How the judge reached that conclusion matters a great deal. When he publishes his full opinion, it will be scrutinized closely by copyright lawyers and tech companies.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:51 am

Judge: Prenda lawyer must sell condo, liquidate assets to pay $2.5M debt

"Here, the debtor has a pattern and practice of dishonesty with the courts," US Bankruptcy Judge Kathleen Sanberg said during the Thursday hearing. She ordered Hansmeier to convert his Chapter 13 (wage earner's plan) bankruptcy filing to a Chapter 7 (liquidation). Under Chapter 13, Hansmeier could have paid his creditors much more slowly.

"This case was designed for one purpose only, to thwart the collection efforts of debtors," the judge added. "It was not because the debtor now wants to pay creditors in full."


I'm frankly a little surprised he hasn't just fled the country at this point.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:07 pm

BMG wins its suit against Cox.

Doctorow:

It's hard to say what the effect of this will be. The case does not mean that Rightscorp's demand letters (or letters from others) have to be passed on to ISPs' customers, and that's important because Rightscorp has admitted that unless the big ISPs agree to do this, it will go bankrupt.

The verdict means that Cox -- and other ISPs -- have to have some means of terminating "repeat infringers" and that "infringers" doesn't mean, "someone convicted of infringement." It may mean as little as "someone accused of infringement," but if the ruling stands, it'll probably land somewhere between those two poles. "Repeat accusations" would be very bad news, because as we've seen, rightsholders are happy to commit knowing copyfraud and sloppy, inadvertent copyfraud, so giving them the ability to sever people from the 21st century's nervous system on their mere say-so is a stupid, terrible idea.

The verdict will almost certainly be appealed. There was an early, unprecedented summary judgment holding that Cox couldn't use the DMCA's safe harbor provisions that is a likely source of appeal. There's also the possibility of an appeal based on the judge's instructions to the jury -- the judge having established himself as extremely hostile to the idea of safe harbor early in the case.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:23 am

Pirate Bay cofounder brokep has built a device called the Kopimashin, a Raspberry Pi which does nothing but repeatedly copy Gnarls Barkley's Crazy to /dev/null and keep a running tally of how much money it has cost the RIAA (based, of course, on the RIAA's assertion that every time a music file is copied without authorization, it represents a lost sale).

Meanwhile, in news that's not an elaborate nerd joke but which does also involve a song with the word "Crazy" in the title:

Don't know how I missed it, but there was finally a ruling on Lenz v Universal (the dancing baby case) back in September, and the good guys won.

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that copyright holders like Universal must consider fair use before trying to remove content from the Internet. It also rejected Universal’s claim that a victim of takedown abuse cannot vindicate her rights if she cannot show actual monetary loss.

“Today’s ruling sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “We’re pleased that the court recognized that ignoring fair use rights makes content holders liable for damages.”


This is a very big deal, and I expect the EFF will be very busy now that this precedent has (at long last) been set.

That also explains YouTube ramping up its legal protection for (some) videos hit with frivolous takedown notices, as I mentioned a few weeks ago.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:42 pm

David Lowery files class action against Spotify for putting up tracks without doing due diligence to find out who actually owns them. Spotify's approach is to just put tracks up and then set aside a fund in case the copyright owners ever show up and ask for money; this is not the first time it's been sued over the practice.

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Re: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and branding irons

Postby Thad » Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:37 pm

I've been meaning to write about In re Tam since it came down, and now Randazza has a good article on it at Popehat.

tl;dr there's a band made up of Asian-American performers called the Slants, and their trademark application was rejected under the Lanham Act's prohibition on "disparaging" trademarks -- the same provision under which the Redskins trademark was recently nullified.

The Slants won on appeal; the court determined that trademarks are subject to First Amendment protections and the anti-disparagement clause is unconstitutional.

While I admit to some schadenfreude when the Redskins trademark was nullified, on balance I think this is the right call. I don't like letting government bureaucrats deciding what is and isn't offensive.

Or, as Frank Zappa put it:

Senator HAWKINS. Well, I might tell you that if you were to go in a toy store — which is very educational for fathers, by the way; it is not a maternal responsibility to buy toys for children — that you may look on the box and the box says, this is suitable for 5 to 7 years of age, or 8 to 15, or 15 and above, to give you some guidance for a toy for a child.

Do you object to that?

Mr. ZAPPA. In a way I do, because that means that somebody in an office someplace is making a decision about how smart my child is.


The reason for Randazza tackling this subject now is that the DoJ just issued a brief reading In re Tam as nullifying not just the prohibition on "disparaging" trademarks but also the one on "scandalous and immoral" ones.

Certainly, I find both prohibitions to be offensive under the First Amendment, but I can at least emotionally (if not Constitutionally) get on board with the government wanting to put its fingers on the scales of justice when it comes to opposing racism. But, as the In re Tam case shows us, when the government tries to do that, it usually does so with all the grace and logic of a Chris Farley character. Nevertheless, give them credit for good intentions.

On the other hand, the prohibition on "immoral and scandalous" trademarks was nothing more than a neo-Comstock attempt to legislate morality and to suppress sexual speech at the to serve illegitimate goals. One of my favorite law review articles ever was by Steve Russell, writing about the Communications Decency Act. He wrote:

By trying to regulate obscenity and indecency on the Internet, you have reduced the level of expression allowed consenting adults to that of the most anal retentive blueballed fuckhead U.S. attorney in the country. (source)


Every time I got a Section 2(a) rejection under the immoral and scandalous clause, I heard those words in my head, replacing "U.S. Attorney" with "trademark examiner." Today, perhaps, those examiners can go listen to Louie Louie, see if they find naughty words in it, and go whine to the FBI about it.


Well la-dee-FRICKIN'-dah.

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