Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We're back!

After months of technical issues, we're back. The problem I learned was that when Google (which sends out the e-mails) and Blogger (which hosts this log on the web) merged, the accounts merged as well and it took forever to make them separated. But all is back to normal! I hope to send out a biweekly update, as done in the past.

The NFL recently backed off its attempt to register a trademark in the phrase "The Big Game." Why? There are several reasons. Although I disagree with the use of the word "insanity" in this article, mainly because the law did work and the correct results were seen, sports and intellectual property continue to intersect more and more.

Why did the NFL try to register "The Big Game" as a trademark? Because it ruthlessly protects its trademark of "Super Bowl" from being used outside licensed properties. (Intent to use U.S. Serial No. 78804122 ).

And this is something we are all familiar with. How many advertisements can we think in our head come from electronics stores asking us to buy a HDTV so that we can watch THE BIG GAME at home with the best set available? Also, don't hesitate to look at a page on Wikipedia, which shows other uses of the phrase "The Big Game."


In some copyright news, some people believe that Prince is being unfair because Universal Music Group is responsible for taking down a home video on YouTube posted by a mother of her infant being seen dancing to a Prince song.

Section 512 of the Copyright statute discusses the ability of a copyright owner to ask that infringing material be taken down - especially from a site whose content is user-generated. Fair use - again, the ability to use small clips of copyrighted works - would still apply. Here? It does seem as if the song is being fairly used in the home video (the sound quality is awful as it is a recording of a home system through the air, it is not the entire song, the point of the video is the kid moving around - not the song). Google, do not forget, bought YouTube for $1.65 billion - so there are lots of dollars floating around the ads on a YouTube clip, even one that might contain the fair use of a copyrighted work.

In short, if a client came to me asking what my rights were to a clip that was on YouTube, then I would have to speak to my client for a long time. It's a touchy subject that requires a lot of balance. One musician's copyright violation is another musician's viral marketing campaign.

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