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Archive for the ‘Entertainment Law’ Category

33 Months for Moviehouse Copyright infringer

26 Aug

Consider this interesting case from the UK where a copyright pirate was sentenced to 33 months in jail for downloading Fast & Furious 6 from the back of a moviehouse and then posting it where it was downloaded 700,000 times.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28896675

 

facebook now playing the patent game?

30 Jun

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-granted-patent-for-gift-giving-after-facebook-gift-shop-closes/1806

 

broadcasting on the web

31 Jan

Question:

Can I broadcast a live show on the web with my band. Playing cover songs and original songs without getting in trouble? We aren’t gettting paid for the show but we are asking for donations in a guitar giveaway. To help with more broadcasting equipment and chords, strings etc.

Texas 77530 1/30/11, 4:27 pm
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Answer:

Yes for original songs, although you should obtain copyright registration on any original work of your band. You would be subject to royalty payment for any copyrighted songs you play. Call me (618-462-3450) if you need more detailed advice. I represent several bands in intellectual property law matters, which seem simple on the surface but can get sticky if you do not take the proper steps to create protections to protect your creations and if you do not respect the copyrights of others.

 

Regional versus national and first use of service mark – a band gets in a “jam”

31 Jan

Question

I have applied for a trademark for the mark ___________ (my bands name). It is now being reviewed by a lawyer, and has a serial number filed with the USPTO. We have been using the name regionally in south texas since 2007, and have recorded and self-released an album. All of our music has been registered with ASCAP, and each member of the band is a member of ASCAP. There are a handful of bands with the same name. Since we are about to tour nationally, do i need to send C&D letters. I have tried to send very nice messages to each of the bands letting them know we have applied for the trademark, and for all intents and purposes it is a done deal. I have heard nothing from them. The info the USPTO sent me states that we MUST be vigilant in keeping up with our mark, and if we do not stop other entities from using the mark, we will lose ours. Please point me in the right direction.
San Antonio, Texas 78239 – 1/31/11, 9:44 am

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Answer:

The short answer is YES and NO and OMG and SNAFU. When you allow others to use your service mark (what you applied for was a service mark registration, not a “trademark”) uncontested, then you have great difficulty stopping anyone later on. The logic is that why should a Court intervene to protect your band’s name when you didn’t protect it when you had the chance and should have. You have major problems with protecting your band’s name due to long and prominent prior use by others. You need a top notch lawyer (I am one & there are many others) that is experienced in trademark litigation if you are to have any chance to get out of this mess. Location of your lawyer is not nearly as important as the skill of your lawyer, as you will recognize upon reading this. The _____ punk rock band in _____ probably has you 5 from ___________ beat legally unless you play this exactly right. The ___________ reggae band in ______________ likewise probably has you beat legally unless you handle this exactly right. Are there others? Call me (618-462-3450) and I can explain why and what you need to do. I handle several bands and have gotten people out of similar situations before. Do not send out a CDL (cease and desist letter) to them until you get your ducks in a row legally or you could lose your band’s name. You also have serious problems with your the service mark application apparently self-filed by _____, which I can explain to you. Also, you should not have posted this on the online legal answer site __________ as someone may tip off your opposition. For example, since you are not yet a client, there is nothing yet to stop me, for example, or any other attorney from simply emailing or picking up the phone and calling up one of the other bands and representing them instead and heaven help you if that happens before you get this cleaned up. Who the heck is advising you legally, to let you do something like this and get into this awful mess? The application lists _____ as correspondent, which implies that you are using self-destruction as your attorney. You are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ so consider this a top priority item if the name is important to you. To others, the lesson to be learned is that choosing and protecting a band’s name is not something for do-it-yourself amateurs, you need good legal representation so it is done right or you, too, could get in this type of jam. [names redacted to avoid hurting this band further]

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