Category - Intellectual Property

Stories about receiving copyright protection and dealing with infringement

Gillian Street Art Infringement
Intellectual Property

Terry Gilliam Sued by Street Artists

Did the AholSniffsGlue lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters usher in more street artists standing up for their rights? This week finds director Terry Gilliam in hot water over the use of street art in his new movie, Zero Theorem. Gilliam is a master storyteller, with a unique aesthetic that he uses to drive the emotional direction of his narrative. Gilliam calls Zero Theorem the culmination...

Police stop
Intellectual Property

Can the police stop photographers from taking photos?

The shooting of unarmed 18-year old, Michael Brown, in Ferguson County, Missouri has once again made police brutality a topic of conversation across the media landscape. Some may think that police brutality is on the rise, but more likely, its mobile technology that has brought these incidents to light. With the majority of people in the U.S. owning a smart phone and a high-resolution camera...

Monkey selfie
Intellectual Property

The Telegraph is Wrong about the Monkey Selfie.

In the summer of 2011, the infamous monkey selfie went viral. Nature photographer David Slater was shooting in North Sulawesi Indonesia, when his camera stolen by a female crested black macaque monkey. Curious about the seemingly bizarre contraption, the primate began pushing buttons, accidentally taking a series of selfies. Slater posted the photos on his social media only to find that they were...

AholSniffsGlue
Intellectual Property

Did American Eagle Rip Off a Miami Street Artist?

Graffiti or Street Art has come a long way since the raw style adorning New York Subways or marking gang territories in the 1970’s. Street artists have gained a healthy following of fans enamored by their non-traditional approach to shape and color; an aesthetic highlighting socially relevant themes that appeal to a demographic that shuns the ordered and mundane art of the traditional gallery. In...

Etsy DMCA Safe Harbor
Intellectual Property

An Etsy Store Stole My Art. What Can I Do?

It has been about a year since I wrote about the excessive complaints permeating the web regarding copyright infringement on Etsy, the popular ecommerce site dedicated to handmade and vintage goods. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then, at least not from an anecdotal review of complaints on the web. That’s not surprising as the company’s claims DMCA Safe Harbor Protection (Digital...

Drone Photography Law
Intellectual Property

The Law of Drone Photography

Drone photography discussions seem to abound nowadays across the Internet. Today, for around $1600 anyone can buy a drone like the Turbo Ace X830-D, attach a Go Pro Hero 3 Black edition camera, and have an aerial studio which can fly around for 25 minutes, taking either 12 megapixel stills or 4K video. Compare that cost to renting a helicopter, the only way a photographer could get that aerial...

Trademark in Business
Intellectual Property

Need a Trademark? Here are some tips.

Picking a name for a business or product is one of the first steps for any new venture. However, many companies don’t register their trademarks during the start-up phase, usually waiting until a later time when sufficient cash is available, if registered at all. That decision is a bit of a gamble.  In reality, businesses should prioritize trademark registration for their brands or company...

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...