Archive for the ‘intellectual property’ Category

The “How-To” and “Why?” of Filing a Trademark Made Easy(ier)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

December 28, 2011

Lightbulb key on keyboard

I do not recommend that lay persons attempt to register their own trademark without consulting an intellectual property attorney. But I love that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO” or “PTO”) has made its Web site more lay person-friendly and easily navigable so that the average person can better understand the process, timing and requirements of trademark filings.

The PTO consists of two separate agencies, the Patent Office that handles inventions and the Trademark Office that handles the registration of words, phrases and designs that function to identify a specific manufacturer/provider of a particular good or service. The Copyright Office, which registers and maintains copyrights of original literary and artistic works (books, music, artwork, for example), is administered separately, FYI.

As you may know, (more…)

Can you REALLY copy an ENTIRE news article online and claim fair use?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

[Originally published at www.proftonyaevans.com]

Yes. Really. Well, sometimes. Maybe. (How’s that for an answer?) The answer is sometimes yes, at least according to a recent decision in a copyright infringement case between purported copyright “troll” Righthaven and its latest defendant, Wayne Hoehn.

Hoehn is a Vietnam veteran who posted all 19 paragraphs of November editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by Stephens Media. Righthaven is a Las Vegas-based company co-owned by its CEO and founder Steve Gibson and Stevens Media, owner of approximately 70 media outlets, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (more…)

How is trademark different from copyright?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – the mark – used in commerce to identify and distinguish one product from another. Each state has its own state laws to protect commerce within the state. And the Lanham Act provides protection across the country. Unregistered marks are also protected under state and federal case law.

A service mark protects (more…)

Copyright for Writers on the Internet

Monday, May 16th, 2011

[Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Copyright Companion for Writers © 2007 Tonya M. Evans. This excerpt may be "shared socially" and republished provided this post is copied in its entirety and copyright information is included for attribution]

Revisions and Updates

Problems of registration emerge when a Web site is updated frequently. The question arises as to whether it is necessary to register the site after each update. For individual works the answer, technically, is yes because there is no comprehensive registration to cover revisions published on different dates. Therefore, each daily update would have to be registered separately. As an attorney, I recommend that you do register each update to be fully protected. I recognize, however, that this would require much work, and I acknowledge that most people don’t follow this practice because they find it to be impractical. If you are like most people, then I suggest that you make it a practice to register your Web site every three months. If you do that, then you will be entitled to statutory damages and attorney fees if you ever have to sue someone for infringement. A different rule governs automated databases and serials because they qualify to use blanket registration (see below).

E-Newsletters and Other E-Serials

Electronic versions of newsletters and serials are also protected by copyright and can be registered with the Copyright Office in a single registration covering multiple issues published on different dates. Group registration is available for works published weekly or less often (serials) and for newsletters published daily or more often than weekly, including those published online. The requirements vary, depending on the type of work. See Copyright Office Circular 62 for more information on serials. Note that group registration is available only for collective works, such as a collection of articles or an anthology, and not for electronic journals published one article at a time.

Blogs

The rules of copyright also apply to posts on blogs – both the blog owner’s posts and comments by visitors. The owner holds the copyright to the post, and visitors own the copyright to their comments. There seems to be at least some implied license granted by a commenter to the blog owner to display the comment, but it is not clear how far that implied license reaches. But this implied license does not work the other way; nonetheless, reports from blog owners about rampant cut-and-paste infringement from their blogs for unauthorized posting to other blogs are far too common, and present a troubling development in the blogosphere.

To protect your blog and yourself from potential infringement claims from bloggers, always post your copyright information and instructions on how bloggers can use your posts, if at all. At a minimum, require that the post be copied in full and that it keep your copyright information intact. You may also want to ask for a link back to your Web site or blog. Of course, you should also consider registering blog posts; if your blog is a regular series (i.e., serial), then follow the registration guidelines for e-serials.

Need more information?

Description: Through clear and concise explanations and dozens of useful forms, this manual debunks myths such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright” (aka the “mail-the-manuscript-to-yourself” theory of protecting copyright) and examines the difference between fair use and public domain, the definition of infringement and how to avoid it, how a writer may assert a claim, and how to obtain permissions to use copyrighted works such as song lyrics, pictures, and quotes. Also included in this edition is a chapter on Freelancers rights.


 

 

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What Every Freelancer Should Know About Copyright

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Excerpt from Copyright Companion for Writers by Tonya M. Evans

What Every Freelancer Should Know about Copyright

© 2011 Tonya M. Evans

April 11, 2011

If you are a freelancer who submits an article, essay, poem, or other individual literary work to a collective work such as a magazine, newspaper, anthology, or Web site, then you need to understand your rights in your individual contribution before submitting your work – not after.

Contributing to a Collective Work

Copyright in your contribution to a collective work is completely separate and distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole, and vests initially in you as the author of the contribution. And unless you expressly transfer the entire bundle of rights that makes up copyright or of any of the individual rights in the bundle, the owner of copyright in the collective work is presumed to have acquired only the privilege of reproducing and distributing your contribution as part of that particular collective work, as well as any revision of that collective work, and any later collective work in the same series.

Of course, if you sign a contract that requires you to transfer some or all of your rights in your individual work to the publisher of the collective work, you should pay particular attention to whether the transfer is so comprehensive that it prevents even you from using your work for a certain period of time or forever. I cover these contractual issues in detail in my book Contracts Companion for Writers.

Know Your (Serial) Rights

When you transfer to a publisher the right to publish your work, you should spell out in writing exactly what rights the publisher has acquired. This doesn’t need to be a formal document – a series of e-mails confirming the arrangement is certainly acceptable. But whatever the method of memorializing the deal, it should be clear whether the publisher is acquiring first serial rights, second serial rights (also known as reprint rights), all rights, or whether the publisher has commissioned you to create a work as a work made for hire to be used in a collective work. (See the chart in Copyright Companion for Writers for more specifics about the similarities and differences for each grant or license of rights.)

Copyright Companion for Writers

Copyright Companion for Writers

Description: Through clear and concise explanations and dozens of useful forms, this manual debunks myths such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright” (aka the “mail-the-manuscript-to-yourself” theory of protecting copyright) and examines the difference between fair use and public domain, the definition of infringement and how to avoid it, how a writer may assert a claim, and how to obtain permissions to use copyrighted works such as song lyrics, pictures, and quotes. Also included in this edition is a chapter on Freelancers rights.

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