What does Copyright Protect? (Great Question Eddie!) Reply

Asking what copyright protects is a great question!  Thanks, Eddie, for asking me Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.35.17 PMyesterday in a blog comment. You have inspired this post.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects “original works of authorship” including literary, musical, artistic and dramatic works, such as photographs, articles, novels, sound recordings, sheet music, lyrics, jewelry designs, artwork, graffiti, poetry, screen plays, children’s books, user manuals, website content, movies, computer software, and architecture. [THE KEY is that the material (or work) is ORIGINAL].

Can I copyright a name, title, slogan, or short phrase? In most cases, No.  These things may be protected as trademarks. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.

Can I copyright the name of my band? No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law.

Can I copyright my domain name? No. Domain names are not protected by copyright law. Some domain protection may be available under trademark law.

Can I copyright my idea?  No.  Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description (for example, a user manual), but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

Excerpt from the U.S Copyright Office at: www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html.

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18; blog posts on trademarks and trademark registration at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k; “Copyright Basics” at www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf ; “Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases” at www.scireg.org/us_copyright_registration/circs/circ34.pdf ; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com

Own a .NYC Web Address for $25-$50 1

The open registration phase for purchasing .NYC web addresses has begun.photo

COST: .NYC web addresses can be purchased for an annual fee of $25-$50 from a variety of retailers. You may want to comparison shop between the retailers to find the best deal. (A  list of available retailers is available at www.ownit.nyc/register after running a name search)

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Any person, business, or organization with a physical address within the five boroughs can register a .NYC web address

THE FIRST STEP: Search for .NYC web address availability at http://www.ownit.nyc or https://www.godaddy.com/tlds/nyc?isc=ownitnyc

.NYC web addresses are a new breed of web addresses linked to a city domain. While we are all familiar with country domains like .au, .it, .fr, .ca, .de and .uk (Internet top-level domains, TLDs, for countries) regional domains are now available for cities to apply for.  As far as I know, .NYC is one of the first city domains to be launched.

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

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: An earlier blog post on .NYC at http://wp.me/p10nNq-CK;  Frequently Asked Questions about .NCY at http://www.ownit.nyc/faq and http://www.ownit.nyc/what-it-is; ICANN website for more information on new generic top level domains (gTLDs) at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Franklin & Marshall – Trademark infringement becomes a creative alliance between a small US college and a hot European Brand Reply

If you are traveling in Europe this summer, you are likely to see a lot of young people wearing collegiate styled Franklin & Marshall shirts and clothing… and you might wonder how the small Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania has generated such a following abroad.

THE ANSWER: it’s because of a creative trademark deal.  After a pair of Italian designers were inspired by a Franklin & Marshall College sweatshirt… they created and launched an Italian brand based on the “American varsity style” and started selling a clothing line using the Franklin & Marshall name.  Since Franklin & Marshall is a registered trademark in the US, the College could potentially have a trademark infringement claim against the brand including a challenge to the brand’s domain name (www.franklinandmarshall.com) which infringes on the College’s trademarks.  (Franklin & Marshall College has three USPTO trademark registrations that incorporate the college’s name “Franklin & Marshall” – USPTO Registration Numbers: 2739509, 3536380, 2812109)

THE NEGOTIATION:  the College and the Italian brand decided to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal.  The Italian brand is able to continue selling varsity style gear abroad using the Franklin & Marshall trademarks and in return, it has 1) reportedly paid a licensing fee for use of the college’s trademarks; 2) includes information about the college on clothing hang tags; 3) made a donation to the college’s scholarship fund; and 4) allows the college to review clothing designs and ad campaigns.

With over 200 stores in Italy, the Italian, Franklin & Marshall brand can be a stylish way for the small Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania to get its name out there!  (an Italian brand is just about the hippest form of marketing available!)  The clothes look great… see for yourself at http://www.franklinandmarshall.com/en/Collection/Man/Jackets.

(NOTE: Domain names that infringe a USPTO registered trademark can be challenged with a WIPO Domain Name Dispute.  See, http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/.  A WIPO Domain Name Dispute is a powerful tool available to USPTO trademark owners that enables them to challenge domain names that are based anywhere in the world).

See also: A  great article by Paul Lukas at: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/2608/the-two-identities-of-franklin-marshall, http://www.fandm.edu/, www.uspto.gov, frequently asked questions about Internet Domains and WIPO domain name disputes: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/center/faq/domains.html, @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

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

vk@kasterlegal.com

 

Trademarks are a defense against cybersquatters 3

Popular internet domain names are a hot commodity… and brands and business names are often used as internet domain names.  (for example: www.coca-cola.com and www.nike.com )

Businesses often seek to register and own their business names and brands as internet domain names; however, it’s not uncommon for cybersquatters to beat them to the punch and register internet domain name out from under them.  What can be done if this happens?  If the domain name purchased by the cybersquatter contains a trademark owned by another party, then there a good chance that the cybersquatter will be forced to surrender the domain name.   A cybersquatter can be forced to surrender a domain name if: 1) the cybersquatter who registered the name has no legitimate business interest in the name; 2) the domain name was registered in bad faith; and 3) the trademark owner’s trademark is confusingly similar to the registered domain.

If all three of these points can be proven, then the domain name can be cancelled or transferred to the trademark owner.

For more info on TRADEMARKS and Exclusive Use Rights –> http://t.co/llWyfhN; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

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

vk@kasterlegal.com