Author - Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

Copyright infringement is a high-benefit, low-risk business model
Intellectual Property

Copyright infringement is a high-benefit, low-risk business model

An increasing number of print-on-demand sites, such as Zazzle and Café Press, are popping up on the Internet. Users can create customizable products featuring their own photos or other graphic designs.  Unfortunately, there is very little stopping some of these users from creating products with stolen copyrighted designs and other art, with the copyright holder never even knowing that their work...

Work made for hire in copyright
Intellectual Property

Who Owns Works Created by a Freelancer?

As a general rule, when an artistic or literary work is created, the author is the one that holds the copyright. Nobody can copy, distribute, or display the work without the author’s permission.  When a painting is sold, the buyer owns the painting itself, but does not have the right to use that image for anything else other than to hang it. But what happens if the artist was hired specifically...

Ellen DeGeneres Selfie
Intellectual Property

Who Owns the Copyright in the Now Famous Oscar Selfie?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you have probably seen the Ellen DeGeneres orchestrated selfie.  For a recap, Ellen wanted to beat the all-time record for re-tweets by gathering a gaggle of actors and actresses for a group selfie. She used a Samsung phone for the photo, which was a prop provided by Samsung, one of the sponsors at the Oscars. The camera required some...

Star Trek Fan Fiction
Intellectual Property

How Can Fan Fiction Authors Use Other Author’s Works?

There is popular misconception that fans who create works of their favorite fictional characters are allowed to create these works as long as they don’t try to make money from it. That supposed “loophole” has led to an entire genre of “fan fiction.”  With the rise of the internet, fan fiction has exploded. The non- for-profit site, fan fiction.net, has millions of stories, in...

Mickey Mouse Copyright
Intellectual Property

How Mickey Mouse Keeps Changing Copyright Law

When the Copyright Act was first enacted in the United States, the copyright duration was only 14 years. Today Copyright duration can last over a century in some cases.  Why such a drastic change?  Some say it is all due to a cute little mouse named Mickey. Copyright duration had some changes over the 125-years before Mickey Mouse. In the Copyright Act of 1790, the 14-year term was...

Creative Commons Art Alw
Intellectual Property

Why should I use a Creative Commons License?

Go to Flickr, Deviant Art, Sound Cloud, or even Wikipedia and you will see the term “Creative Commons License” peppered throughout attached to images, music files, and videos. Creative Commons licenses enable the owner of an original copyrighted work to allow use of their creative work by others without applying a full copyright. While copyright gives a creator the exclusive right to copy...

Copyright for Architectural Designs
Intellectual Property

Copyright for Architectural Designs

It is a common misperception that you cannot copyright a building design. That is probably because before 1990, there wasn’t much protection for building designs. At that time, anyone could reproduce buildings that looked identical to those created by others, as long as they didn’t actually use copied drawings to build them. With the passage of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act in...

Henson Sued for Empire State Building Photos
Corporate Law

Photographer sued for topless photos at Empire State Building

Last year, New York City police officers were told that if they see any topless woman in public, they were not to arrest them. If crowds form, just disperse them in an orderly fashion.  To test how police would react to that directive, photographer Allen Henson began taking photos of topless women around the city.  This past August, Henson and a model climbed to the crowded observation deck of...

How to Submit a Copyright Takedown Notice
Intellectual Property

How to Submit a Copyright Takedown Notice

If a U.S. website is using your images without your permission, the easiest and fastest way to stop the infringement is to send the website a “DMCA Takedown Notice.” DMCA stands for the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”  Websites that host user generated material are immune from prosecution for infringement  (Safe Harbor) if the site implements notice and takedown procedures as provided for in...

Copyright Symbol all rights reserved
Intellectual Property

Do I Need to Use the © Symbol?

The copyright symbol © is one of the most recognized symbols in the world.  The reason it is so well known is that for quite a long time, it was required that creators display the © symbol on their artistic works to receive the benefit copyright protection. Look at any movie poster and you will see a copyright symbol with the name of the copyright holder and the year of the work’s...

Contingency Art Law case
Intellectual Property

How we decide to take a copyright case on contingency

When someone discovers that their creative work has been stolen, their first emotion is usually anger and outrage eliciting waves of yelling and screaming of pithy commentary such as “I am going to sue them for everything they’ve got!!!!!” But once this initial reaction subsides, the next phase turns into confusion. Questions abound: “What should I do” “Can I...