Friday, November 13, 2009

Music - now and then

This was a good week.

I hope it was a good week for everyone else.

Now that Friday is almost ending, I hope everyone has some kind of relaxing weekend plans. Even if that means just letting your brain rest after a long week of work. (I know many of you out there had that.)

Can I share some music with you? I have been listening to and digging Raul Midon a lot lately. Yes, certainly, the classics of my playlist are R.E.M., Paul Simon, Tori Amos, The Clarks, Charlotte Martin, and Marvin Gaye. They still go round and round in my head, but Raul Midon has been taking up more and more space. Besides his being an amazing guitarist, I love the ups and downs that his songs record. It is always a personal journey through his lyrics, and his music mixes pop, rock, jazz, r&b, and latin beats.

Check him out. I know you will love it.


Speaking of music, there is a ticking time bomb in copyright law - that is the ability for musicians and composers to recapture their copyrights in music they make.

Music has always been treated as an exception to the Work-for-Hire provisions of copyright law.

This means that musicians are going to be recapturing their copyrights in about 2013. So, bands will be taking their music and selling their music directly. Yes, for all the musicians out there reading this who are not signed to a major label, you are already doing this. In fact, is this not what all businesses do? We sell our goods and services ourselves.

But, in exchange for keeping only a percentage, the major labels have better reach in sales and publicity than just the musician would.

So now those recording labels will have. . . a lot less music to sell.

Will the law change? Will record labels survive without these big back catalogues from the 1970s? It looks like they will have to churn out more current content that consumers can buy.

Do you have a copyright question? Call us at 212-201-5473.


Two years ago, ICANN (the international organization) started to test the ability to have Internet domain names be in alphabets outside of the usual Roman characters.

ICANN will begin to take applications for domain names to be in other languages and alphabets starting on November 16th. The first domains will appear live next year.

What does this mean from a trademark perspective?

It means a lot more websites to protect from trademark infringement and trademark dilution.

Let me give you an example. Your company has a website. Your company probably has several different forms of the website (for example, and lead to the same place). If it does not, it should.

What happens if Chinese characters sound similar to "Coca-Cola"? Will the company want to buy all those domain names? Will the company want to police all those domain names for cybersquatting issues.

Can your company afford not to?

If you are new to the list, do not forget to hit "reply" in your inbox and ask about your free copy of our Intellectual Property Self Survey, it is a $600 value which we will give to readers at no charge. Start a dialogue with us about your trademarks and copyrights.

Do not forget to read up on our Intellectual Property Security System. We can speak to you about it.

Do you have a question about copyrights or trademarks? Call us! 212-201-5473

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Protect yourself. It's cold outside.

It has been a busy, busy two weeks here. Yes, the Yankees won the World Series, defeating my Phillies 4 games to 2. I also did go to Game Four with my father and my sister. Family baseball fun in. . . November. We all wore lots of layers of clothing.

It was cold and chilly with the wind whipping around the upper tiers of Citizens Bank Park. (I drove to Philadelphia for the weekend.) It was a wonderful game, with Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz hitting a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. In the top of the 9th inning, Phillies' pitcher Brad Lidge had the game in hand, had two outs, had two strikes to Johnny Damon, who was able to get on base. Then he stole second. Then he stole third on the exact same play.

It was disheartening, but I went to a World Series game and I went with family and had a lot of fun. It was cold and you had to protect your skin with lots of layers of clothes.


Speaking of protecting yourself, many clients ask me about filing copyrights. I do file copyrights. Remember, when a work falls under copyright law, the creator of the work has a copyright in the work. No lawsuit can be filed without registering the copyright in the work, however. Also remember that damages that can be recovered go down when the copyright is not filed before infringement happens.

As for the filing copyrights, there are two mistakes that many people and businesses make when filing the copyrights themselves:
  1. Filing separate works as collections.
  2. Not understanding who the copyright owner is.
The main issue I find in copyright registrations is that a lot of people file many different works in one copyright registration. This is most common in the photography industry, where it is easy to collect photographs.

The problem? When a copyright represents many different works, then the copyright really represents a collection. Infringement upon a collection is weaker than infringement upon an entire work. So, make sure that you file each work (no matter what medium the work is on - be it canvas, film, or digital).

Another problem is understanding who the copyright owner is. The creator of a work that falls under copyright law is the copyright owner. The only exception to this is when a work-for-hire agreement is made and signed (it MUST be a written agreement). Make sure that the correct owner is listed in the registration (and make sure that the creator is listed, too, but just as a creator).

Copyright questions? Call us at 212-201-5473 or send an e-mail to for more information


I have not been making a big deal of the Shepard Fairey copyright case or the revelations that Fairey himself has changed his story on the witness stand. But his lawyers are still on the case. Permit me to yawn. Ultimately, this case will turn on the work - not testimony from people. Whether or not the original Associated Press photograph was the inspiration for the "Hope" poster that Fairey made is not the issue - the issue is whether the poster is transformative enough.


Google is still fighting to claim the ANDROID trademark.


Yahoo settles a lawsuit that Mary Kay filed for allowing unauthorized Mary Kay resellers to advertise on Yahoo.


Lil' Wayne is sued for copyright infringement. This sounds like it has been said before.

Copyright law questions? Trademark law questions? Call 212-201-5473 to speak to Anthony Verna or send e-mail to for more information.

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