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Copyrights & Trademarks

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Open Source Software: Goodwill To All or a Cancer?

Open source software sounds like a good idea.  Your create some code and then put it out there for the public to use and let people build on it and improve.  The only condition is that if someone improves on it and build from it, they often have to share their improvements with the world. … Continue Reading

Back from the Land of Trial Mode: January Quicklinks

There has not been much activity on the blog because we have been engaged in a long copyright and misappropriation of trade secrets trial.  So, we share with you some of the articles we have been reading, but just haven’t had time to write about:
Bloggers entitled to same protections as journalists under the First Amendment. … Continue Reading

Thankful I didn’t copy images, parody the Beastie Boys, use overbearing TOS or have to stand behind TheDirty

With the short Thanksgiving week, I thought we would touch on a few interesting stories developing over the last couple of weeks.
Photographer gets $1 million+ verdict from AFP and Getty for copied Twitpics
In my three part series on using images from the web for your news stories, we talked about the Morel v. Agence France-Press case. … Continue Reading

Regulating revenge porn and explicit online communications with children – easier said than done

Everyone supports the prevention of sexual predators texting illicit material to people under 17.  Everyone knows that revenge porn is a scourge on public decency.  But, can the law do anything about it?  Should it?
Texas Throws Out Law Banning Explicit Online Communications With Minors.
Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (our highest court that hears … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media image for my story – part 3

In part one, we discussed how fair use may apply to the media’s use of social media images.  In part two, we looked at how the various sites’ terms of service come into play.  Today, we look at the one prominent case in this area and describe some best practices.
 The Agence France-Presse Twitter Case
There is … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media picture for my story? – Part Two

Last time, we looked at whether the media can use images from social media sites applying fair use to several typical situations.  Today, we look at the specific terms of service of various popular sites to see if some make it easier than others for the media to use images.
Facebook:
Plain English:  Each user allows Facebook, … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media picture for my story? – Part One

The answer is one that frustrates people the most — it depends.  In most circumstances, you run the risk of violating the copyright of the person who took the picture, so the best practice is to seek permission first (more on that in part 3).  But, let’s assume you can’t get permission — after all, … Continue Reading

Quick Links – August 2013

Rocky Mountain National Park
Because of an extended working vacation away from Houston’s heat in Colorado, I’ve been away from the blog.  Like my kids gearing up to go back to school, I’m getting back to the normal work mode back in the office while recovering from a separated shoulder from a mountain biking incident (riding … Continue Reading

Taking Legal Control of the Company Social Media Account

What happens when the employee who set up the company’s LinkedIn account leaves? Or, what happens when your outside marketing firm set up your Facebook page but refuses to give it to you because of a fee dispute?
Be Proactive
Before we talk about what to do in these situations, let’s talk briefly about how to avoid … Continue Reading

Tread Carefully When Using Competitor’s Trademarked Name With Online Advertising

The Tenth Circuit issued a decision yesterday in the 1-800 Contacts v. Lens.com case we discussed several years ago when originally filed.   For those of you who simply want the result, the Court of Appeals ruled:
1.  There was no evidence of likelihood of confusion – an essential element to a trademark claim.
2.  The court also … Continue Reading