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.

 

 

Quote Brahms: Any ass can see the similarities with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ 2

A page from Beethoven's manuscript for his 9th Symphony available at www.wikipedia.org

A page from Beethoven’s manuscript for his 9th Symphony available at http://www.wikipedia.org

The program notes for a recent concert of Brahms Symphonies No. 1 & 3 contained an admission by Brahms that the “big string section” in the finale of his first symphony was similar to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”  Evidently, when Brahms was confronted about the resemblance, he replied, “Any ass can see that.”  I’m not sure how this quote has managed to survive almost 200 years, but it’s a fascinating example of an admission to copying another artist’s work. [Today this would be an example of admitting to copyright infringement by copying another artist’s work and/or creating a derivative work based on another artist’s work].  While the Brahms’ quote may seem comical, it is not so uncommon today for similar admissions to be made to the media or on social media regarding plagiarism or copyright infringement.  Often this type of admission is made off-the-cuff by an artist who has copied another artist’s work without any thought being given to a possible copyright infringement claim.  Yet, when the copyright infringement claim surfaces it may be difficult to overcome because of the prior admission.  Admissions made off-the-cuff, even in a slightly comical tone or on social media can have detrimental repercussions.

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

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

See also: U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; NY Times, What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling at www.nytimes.com; Carnegie Hall calendar and announcement of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra playing Brahms Symphony No. 1 at www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2015/2/27/0800/PM/Vienna-Philharmonic-Orchestra; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Rosita Missoni: Queen of Zig Zag (PS fabric designs are Copyrightable) Reply

IMG-it

photo credit: Yavidan at VIOLETA PURPLE

“There are few people in fashion that are an institution like Rosita Missoni, she is not only the head of one of the most successful Italian houses but the Queen of a very beautiful family. With her late husband Ottavio they founded what today is one the most successful Italian houses thanks to their unique knits and colors.”

Reading this (which was posted on www.violetapurple.com by Yavidan) brought the COPYRIGHTABILITY of unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs to mind.

It’s true, unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs are eligible for U.S. copyright registration.  In the U.S., they are registered as a “work of visual art.”  To apply for copyright registration of an original fabric or weaving design, either a color photo of the complete design or a fabric swatch showing the complete design may be submitted along with the application for registration and payment of the filing fee. (The general filing fee is $35 or $55).

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

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

See also: www.violetapurple.com for Yavidan’s post on “Rosetta Missoni: Queen of the Clan”; other blog posts on copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40 on Copyright Registration for Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works including fabric designs at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40A on Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Materials at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40a.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Dueling Noodle Trademarks: CHUBBY NOODLE vs FAT NOODLE Reply

CHUBBY NOODLE has challenged FAT NOODLE for using a trademark too similar to its own to sell noodles to folks in San Francisco.  Evaluating whether these two trademarks are “confusingly similar” will be key to the outcome of this lawsuit.  In trademark law, evaluating if two marks are “confusingly similar” is critical.  For example, will noodle-loving patrons be confused by the similarity of the CHUBBY NOODLE and FAT NOODLE trademarks (pictured below) and think these two separately-owned restaurants are related, affiliated or have the same owner?Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 5.17.44 PM

Curiously, do you think the two trademarks look so similar that you would assume the two restaurants are related?

Are the CHUBBY NOODLE and FAT NOODLE trademarks more or less “confusingly similar” to you than these registered trademarks for other noodle shops?

other noodle regIn the lawsuit filed by CHUBBY NOODLE they also claim that, since the words “CHUBBY” and “FAT” are synonyms consumers are more likely to be confused and think the restaurants are related.  It will be interesting to see how this duel between the noodle shops pans out.

A copy of the complete complaint filed by CHUBBY NOODLE against FAT NOODLE is available at: http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/files/2015/01/11329862-0-48091.pdf

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 trademarks at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/; the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Trademarks – What Types Of Trademarks Are There? Reply

For fun, here is a list of some types of trademarks.  Are there more types than you would have guessed?

  • Logo
  • Numbers
  • Slogan
  • Nickname or abbreviation
  • Internet domain
  • Words
  • Packaging
  • Character
  • Color
  • Distinctive Building Shape

The key to “being a trademark” is “being USED as a trademark.”  One way to explain this is to ask if the trademark is being used to identify and distinguish goods and services of a particular company or brand. For example, does the trademark enable consumers to identify the company that makes the goods?  Do you notice the trademark on the items or in advertising? Does the trademark distinguish the goods of one producer from the goods of competitors?

Here are examples of each of the types of trademarks listed above:

  • Logo: NIKE SWOOSH                                                                                          TM Types
  • Numbers: 1664   (Kronenbourg beer)
  • Slogan:  A DIAMOND IS FOREVER   (De Beers)
  • Nickname or abbreviation: VW   (Volkswagen)
  • Internet domain: GODADDY.COM
  • Words: GROUPON or APPLE
  • Packaging: COCA-COLA BOTTLE
  • Character: GEICO GECKO
  • Color: TIFFANY’S BLUE JEWELRY BOX
  • Distinctive Building Shape: APPLE STORE

See also: Another post containing instructions on “how to run a basic search on the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) trademark database” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-BMcCarthy on Trademarks Vol 1, Ch 7[B]; the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov, the trademarks listed above: NIKE SWOOSH (USPTO Reg. No. 2107521 and others); 1664 Kronenbourg (USPTO Reg. No. 2702301, 3282436 and others); A DIAMOND IS FOREVER (USPTO Reg. No. 337133); GODADDY.COM (USPTO Reg. No. 2945200, 3605479 and others); GROUPON (USPTO Reg. No. 3685954 and others); APPLE (USPTO Reg. No.4088195 and others); COCA-COLA bottle (USPTO Reg. No. 4200433 and others); GEICO GECKO (USPTO Reg. No. 3398021 and others); TIFFANY’S BLUE BOX (USPTO Reg. No. 2184128 and others); APPLE STORE (USPTO Reg. No.4021593); @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

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

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

 

SELMA: Bravo for the Movie & Creative Script (mixing original text & public domain works) 1

Selma Hostoric Route sign

photo from wikipedia.org

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the movie SELMA and the creative script that uses accent, aura, scripture, lyrics of gospel songs and original text instead of historic speeches.  Before seeing the movie, SELMA, I read that the speeches given by Dr. King in the film were written by [the talented writer, producer, director and distributor] Ms. DuVernay and were not the historical speeches given by Dr. King.

Dr. King’s heirs did not grant permission for his speeches to be quoted in “Selma,” and while this may be a blow to the film’s authenticity, Ms. DuVernay turns it into an advantage, a chance to see and hear him afresh. Mr. Oyelowo, a British actor of Nigerian background, has mastered the Southern inflections and preacherly cadences that have become part of the permanent soundtrack of our educational system, and the script offers credible paraphrases of his character’s unmatched eloquence.

[–BRAVO, Ms. DuVernay, for turning this into an advantage].

It is not uncommon for permission to use famous copyrighted works, like Dr. King’s famous speeches, to be unattainable or denied.  (Obtaining permission to use a famous copyrighted work is often cost prohibitive).  Whatever the reason that permission to use a famous work is unattainable or denied, creating an original work is a brilliant solution.  After seeing the movie SELMA this past weekend, I was impressed with the use of bible verses and gospel lyrics in Ms. DuVernay’s script.  Bible verses and gospel lyrics are often in the public domain and free to use.  Intermixing public domain material and original text in a movie script works.  For example, Ms. DuVernay’s script uses the lyrics of the “Battle Hymn of The Republic” in a final scene with Dr. King.  The lyrics of this old hymn (written in the 1860’s and now in the public domain) were a powerful, spoken finale.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

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

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

See also: An earlier blog post on Copyright Law & Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at http://wp.me/p10nNq-3R; Free tickets for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students at http://selmastudenttickets.com; the SELMA website at www.selmamovie.com; www.paramount.com/movies/selma; www.avaduvernay.com/about; movie review by Kenny Miles at http://themovieblog.com/2015/ava-duvernays-masterful-selma-is-the-timely-movie-america-needs/; quote above is from the NY Times article titled, “A 50-Mile March, Nearly 50 Years Later. In ‘Selma,’ King Is Just One of Many Heros” by A.O. Scott on Dec. 24, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; NY Times article titled, “The Man Who Would Be King.  David Oyelowo’s Pivotal Role in ‘Selma’ by Felicia R. Leedec on Dec. 18, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; information on the Battle Hymn of the Republic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic; NY Times article titled, “An Unsettled Chapter in Martin Luther King’s Legacy” by Richard Fausset on Jan. 12, 2015 at http://mobile.nytimes.com; Wikipedia photo credit at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

“Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.” Reply

Among other cherished values, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. The U.S. Supreme pencilsCourt often has struggled to determine what exactly constitutes protected speech. The following are examples of speech, both direct (words) and symbolic (actions), that the Court has decided are either entitled to First Amendment protections, or not. [quote from & available at www.uscourts.gov]

The First Amendment states, in relevant part, that:

“Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”

Freedom of speech includes the right:

  • To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
    Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
  • To engage in symbolic speech, (e.g., burning the flag in protest).
    Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990).
  • Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
    West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
  • Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
    Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
  • To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
    Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976).
  • To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
    Virginia Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748 (1976); Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977).

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
  • To make or distribute obscene materials.
    Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
    United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968).
  • To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
    Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
  • Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
    Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
  • Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
    Morse v. Frederick, __ U.S. __ (2007).

See also: the text above (emphasis added) and other information on the meaning of free speech at http://www.uscourts.gov; the full text of the U.S. Constitution at http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution/full-text; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Throwback Thursday – JAZZ FOR JUSTICE Reply

The historic “Jazz For Justice” tours brought jazz to audiences around the world, defying racial and photo(3)social prejudices and demanding equal treatment for African-American musicians.  At the same time as the civil rights movement, Illinois Jacquet, Charlie Parker, Benny Carter, Erroll Garner, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats were in their prime, astounding audiences with their music.

Here are a few legendary Jazz For Justice era recordings:

  • Illinois Jacquet, Nat “King” Cole and Les Paul!  Song: “Blues” featuring Illinois Jacquet’s solo. Album: Complete Jazz at Philharmonic.
  • Charlie Parker!  Song: “Just-Friends.” Album: Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes
  • Benny Carter!  Song: His version of “Flamingo” recoded on tour in Japan in 1953. Album: New Jazz Sounds: The Urbane Sessions
  • Oscar Peterson!  Song: “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues.” Album: Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass à la Salle Pleyel
  • Ella Fitzgerald!  Song: “C-Jam Blues” is a powerhouse jam session.  Album: Jazz at Santa Monica Civic ’72
  • Erroll Garner! Album: Concert by the Sea

Bravo to these legendary jazz musicians, their audiences, supporters, music and accomplishments.  Music can be powerful vehicle for change.  Music and harmonics resonate.  Let freedom ring.

See also: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ablogsupreme/2011/10/20/141419438/norman-granz-five-recordings-by-the-man-who-used-jazz-for-justice; Jazz at the Philharmonic, or JATP (1944–1983), was the title of a series of jazz concerts, tours and recordings produced by Norman Granz at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_at_the_Philharmonic; http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520267824; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.