Using the Registered Trademark Symbol: ® Reply

trademarks on the streetWalking down the block today in New York City, I noticed a dozen famous trademarks: WHOLE FOODS MARKET (store sign), NYC TAXI (decal on a cab);  LOUIS VUITTON (purse), 7 ELEVEN (store sign), CON EDISON (on a service truck), UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE (on a blue mail box), DUNKIN’ DONUTS (store sign), POLO RALPH LAUREN (logo on a man’s shirt), NIKE (swoosh on a shopping bag); HAAGEN-DAZS (on an ice cream delivery truck); GAP (store sign) and MTA (logo on a poster announcing a subway update).

Once a trademark has been registered with the USPTO, the trademark owner is vested with a bundle of exclusive rights to use the trademark AND the owner also has the right to use the coveted Registered Trademark symbol: ®.  The photo-collage inserted into this post points out several uses of the ® symbol that I noticed out on the street.

Here is a brief excerpt from the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s website on using the ® symbol:

[Y]ou may use the federal registration symbol “®” only after the USPTO actually registers a mark , and not while an application is pending. Also, you may use the registration symbol with the mark only on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the federal trademark registration.

Registered trademarks are all over the streets of New York City!

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Other blog posts on using trademark symbols at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/trademarks-tm-sm/; USPTO (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office) resources at www.uspto.gov and www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp#_Toc275426682; INTA (International Trademark Association) fact sheet on trademark use at http://inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/TrademarkUseFactSheet.aspx; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Avalanche of photos uploaded in a 24-hour period Reply

Image shared in Facebook

Image shared on Facebook

Seeing the printouts of photos uploaded to Flicker over a 24-hour period is a sobering visual of the amount of content uploaded and shared in one day (on just one of many online photo-sharing websites).  Mountains of photographs… from floor to ceiling… as part of an installation by Erik Kessels titled, “24hours in Photos.”

http://www.kesselskramer.com/exhibitions/24-hrs-of-photos and http://www.images.ch/2014/en/festival-en/program/artists/erik-kessels-3.  The photographs included in this second link are particularly amazing, because, the instillation appears to be in a church and echoes a “devotion” to online photo-sharing which may be an almost, automatic reflex for many folks.  Personally, I find the sheer volume of content that folks share online staggering (often without even considering the rights that may be given away by merely using and posting the photos to an online photo-sharing website or social media site).

Before sharing photos online, it’s always a good idea to read the Terms of Use of the website so that you are aware of how your photos may be used by other folks after you post them.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Other blog posts on Terms of Use for websites and social media at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/website-terms-of-use/.

I like Taylor Swift’s Voice (and she sings great too). Reply

This week the musician Taylor Swift spoke out against Apple’s proposed plan NOT to pay music royalties during the 90-day free vlaueyourarttrial they are offering to customers who sign up for the new Apple Music streaming service. In a savvy and effective move, Taylor Swift asked Apple (in a letter posted online) to change their policy and refrain from asking musicians to provide their music without compensation during the 90-day period. The letter begins with a threat to not release her new album on Apple Music streaming service due to the 90-day-no-compensation period.

The goods news: Apple responded the same day with notice that they changed their tune and WILL pay artists for streaming during the 90-day free trial period.

Tis A “Swift” Change to benefit musicians! Bravo!

Here is the full text of Taylor Swift’s letter (also available at: http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor):

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Taylor

Thanks for your letter Taylor Swift. (You have a powerful voice!)  swiftchange

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Other blog posts on Music Copyright and royalties at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/copyright-music-copyright/; “Apple Changes Course After Taylor Swift Open Letter: Will Pay Labels During Free Trial” by S.Halperin at http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6605568/apple-changes-course-after-taylor-swift-open-letter-will-pay-labels-during; “Apple Responds to Taylor Swift’s Open Letter, Says It Will Pay Artists During Apple Music Free Trial Period: ‘We Hear You’” by J.Andriakos at http://www.people.com/article/taylor-swift-apple-music-open-letter-response; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Happy 225th Birthday – US Copyright Law Reply

Happy Birthday US Copyright!  This week is the 225th anniversary of the first Federal US Copyright Law, FullSizeRender (3)which was signed into law by President George Washington on May 31, 1790.  The 1st US Copyright Law was enacted less than 2 years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and was modeled after the British Statute of Anne.  Kudos to the First Congress of the US!  Here is a bit more information on the 1st US Copyright Law:

The law was called “An Act for the encouragement of learning,” and it protected “maps, Charts, and books.” The decision to protect maps and charts indicates that the First Congress wanted to encourage exploration of the American continent, including its lakes, rivers, and harbors. The decision to protect books confirms that the First Congress also valued the creation and distribution of authorship, both for informational and artistic purposes. These objectives are reflected in the works that were registered in the first month after enactment, which included an atlas, a spelling book, a collection of court decisions, and a “comedy in five acts.”

The first federal copyright law established many of the fundamental principles that are a vital part of the law today. It stated that copyright initially belongs to the author—the person who conceived and created the work— rather than the publisher or the state. At the same time, it recognized that an author’s rights are not perpetual but instead should be limited in time. And it recognized that authors are part of a larger economic ecosystem, and that they often transfer their rights to publishers, retailers, or other parties. The first federal copyright law established the principle that authors should have rights to control the use of their works, such as how they are printed, reprinted, published, and sold. It recognized that authors should have meaningful remedies to encourage others to respect these rights and to provide appropriate compensation when those rights are infringed. And it recognized the central role a registration system plays in documenting a public record of creativity, ownership, term, and other legal facts.   [Excerpt from the US Copyright Office commemoration at http://www.copyright.gov]

US Copyright Law has changed a lot in the last two centuries including offering copyright protection to a broader spectrum of works.  For example, US Copyright registration and protection is now available for computer software and website content which were not conceivable in 1790. (Not even a figment in George Washington’s imagination).   The full text of the 1st US Copyright Law is available at http://copyright.gov/about/1790-copyright-act.html  and the current US Copyright Law is available at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf.ACT

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Information on how to write a copyright notice at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18; other blog posts on copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/;  the US Copyright Office’s website at www.copyright.gov; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

Selling Someone Else’s Instagram Photo for $90,000 Reply

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.38.40 AMDiscussing the broad usage rights given away by posting original content to social media is discussed frequently on this blog and elsewhere.  Reading that the controversial artist Richard Prince recently sold enlarged screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos without warning or permission for $90,000 a piece at the Frieze Art Fair in New York is a case in point.

Be mindful of the Terms of Use on Instagram and other social media sites that you use and where you post your original photos, artwork and other content.

Mining social media content might be the new wild frontier.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also:  more information on Instagram’s Terms of Use at http://wp.me/p10nNq-En; Washington Post article: “A reminder that your Instagram photos aren’t really yours: Someone else can sell them for $90,000″ at http://wpo.st/XXOJ0; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Inspired by 19th Century Imperial Robes (Copyright & Design) Reply

Splendid 19th century imperial robes from China inspire modern fashion reddesigns in a new costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (titled: China Through the Looking Glass).  A fascinating element of this exhibit is that the imperial robes and the modern, couture gowns are displayed side-by-side.  While the styles, silhouettes and lines of the old and new fashions are drastically different, the inspiration linking the old and new is clear, including, borrowed colors, designs and artwork.

Borrowing colors, designs and artwork isn’t always free and easy.  Copyright laws in countries around the world vest the original creators and owners of designs and artwork with a bundle of exclusive rights to control the use and copying of their original designs and artwork.  However, these exclusive rights only last for a finite period of time. The duration of these exclusive rights varies country by country depending upon the national copyright laws.  The copyright laws in each country outline the length of time that the exclusive rights last (also known as the “term of copyright”).  Once the term of copyright expires, the work becomes part of the public domain and is free to use and copy.

Treat yourself to a visit of this exhibit, if you can. I give it two glamorous thumbs up.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: other blog posts on public domain at http://wp.me/p10nNq-ft and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/public-domain; a blog post on Traditional Knowledge of indigenous people and tribes which can be an exception to public domain works at http://wp.me/p10nNq-AC; information about the MET costume exhibit at http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass/images; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

It is a MYTH that Copyright Registration is Expensive Reply

News of Target copying a t-shirt design from SandiLake Clothing (a small business started by a creative and entrepreneurial young woman) …broke my heart because the designer, Ms. Lay, evidently stated that she did not have her design copyrighted due to the “high cost” of copyright.

IT’S A MYTH that copyright registration is expensive!  Applying for Copyright Registration is not expensive folks.  Applying for for Copyright Registration costs $35-$55Instagram design CR.

My heartbreak is somewhat abated by the fact that Target has pulled the copy-cat shirts off their shelves.  Evidently, Ms. Lay launched a clever social media flurry by posting a photograph of herself in a Target Store wearing her original shirt and holding a copy-cat shirt being sold at Target and appealing for support of mom-run businesses.  (The photo is inserted to the right).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: other blog posts on related topics –  “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35″ or As of 5/1/14 “Some Basic Copyright Claims now cost $55; “How to Write a Copyright Notice And Why To Use It“; “How to use the ®, TM, SM, © symbols for trademark and copyright“; “Copyright Is Valuable, ‘The Birthday Song’ Earns $2 Million a Year In Royalties“; #smallbiz #valueyou #valueyourart; @ iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Flaunt Your Originality (originality is key to copyright) 1

While speaking to a group of visual arts students recently, a recurring theme was to FLAUNT YOUR ORIGINALITY and savor using your original work.  We had a heart to heart moment that went something like this:FullSizeRender (2)

You all are an incredibly talented group of people.  You wouldn’t be sitting here in this room, in a prestigious art school, if you hadn’t already proven how talented and artistically creative you are.  When you create a montage or a creative work, make every bit of it original.  You want your work to show every person who sees it how talented YOU are.  Use your gifts.  Pitch your genius.  Tap into your creative talents and let your originality shine.

This heart to heart moment arose spontaneously in response to a question about originality being a fundamental element of copyright and the fair use exceptions to copyright.  (In my opinion, original work created by talented folks is always best.  Don’t even think about how or when a fair use exception may apply.  Just flaunt your original work).

Originality is key to securing copyright protection under U.S. Copyright Law.  Section 102 of the U.S. Copyright Law includes “original works” within the general definition of copyrightable materials.  Here is the text of Section 102(a):

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works. [Full text of U.S. Copyright Law is available at www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf].

Today I am flaunting my originality with a flower arrangement of daffodils and parsley on my desk.  (Pictured above).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18 An outline of the topics covered in my discussion with art students on copyright is available at http://www.kasterlegal.com/iplegalfreebies/2015/4/6/copyright-contracts-outline.html ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Epic Launch -> of Hillary’s Trademark and Campaign Reply

Launching a trademark on Sunday night and having it featured in a New Yorker cartoon the next day Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.12.23 AMmay be a trademark dream come true.  It’s Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo (featuring an H and a right arrow) that has created the buzz of attention.

The Washington Post ran an article on Monday that compiled public comments, reactions and look-a-likes to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo.  An interesting look-a-like logo mentioned in the article caught my attention: a logo for a defunct English supermarket chain called “Hillards” that had a similar H-arrow logo. (Pictured in the bottom right corner of the Hillards advertisement.)  The good news for Hillary’s campaign is that this look-a-like should not block nor create any issue with her new campaign logo.  This is because: Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.46.02 PM

  1. The supermarket trademark was not used in the United States. (Trademark rights are acquired by use of the trademark in a particular geographic region and can be registered in a specific country or countries.  Once registered, continued use of the trademark is required to maintain the registration); and
  2. The trademark does not appear to be “in use” any longer in any country due to a reportedly hostile takeover. (Trademark rights are sustained by actual use of the trademark to sell particular goods and/or services.  Failure to continuing using a trademark in commerce to sell particular goods and/or services “kills” a trademark).  Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.11.51 AM

Personally, I like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Basic facts about trademarks issued by the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/trademarks/basics/BasicFacts.pdf; more posts on trademarks at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/; The UK Intellectual Property Office with trademark search options at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Give me original British Cadbury or give me death Reply

Easter chocolates (and the Easter chocolate trademarks) are big business.  It’s estimated that 50 millionImageAgentProxy Cadbury Creme Eggs will be sold in the U.S. this year.  Who is selling the Cadbury Creme Eggs in the U.S. and how they taste on this side of the pond is at issue.  Evidently, Hershey owns the rights to make and sell Cadbury Creme Eggs (probably via an exclusive trademark licensing deal with Cadbury U.K.).  As per a recent PBS article, Hershey paid $300 million dollars for these trademark rights back in 1988 and has been enforcing the exclusive distribution rights to the dismay of British Cadbury loyalists.  Hershey’s enforcement has ruffled feathers of small shops that import and sell the British Cadbury chocolates.

Hershey’s position is that small shops (or shops of any size) should purchase the Cadbury Creme Eggs through them because they “own” the right to make and sell the chocolates here in the United States.  The British Cadbury loyalists who import and sell Cadbury made in the U.K. want to have their British Cadbury and eat it too!  It will be interesting to see how this dispute plays out.

The International Trademark Association provides a fact sheet on trademark licensing at: http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/TrademarkLicensing.aspx

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Why some Cadbury-lovers are bitter that they can’t buy their favorite sweets at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/hershey/; more posts on exclusive trademark rights at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/trademark-exclusive/ @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.