5 Ways to Protect Your TV Show (or Film Script) Idea

5 Ways to Protect Your TV Show (or Film Script) Idea

Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Entertainment
Lately, I’ve been fielding questions from aspiring script- and screenwriters (most recently from an old high school classmate and, before that, a colleague of mine who is apparently more creative than most of us!) who have asked me, “How can I protect my new TV show or movie idea?” In this post, I’ll go over what I usually tell these creative types in advance of their “pitch” to a producer, studio, or some other (actual or perceived) Hollywood insider they’ve managed to get in front of. Can Ideas Be Protected? Before we dive in, you need to understand one thing-- ideas (in and of themselves) cannot be protected. In fairness, it’s not just the script- or screenwriter hopefuls that sometimes hold this mistaken belief. I hear it at least a…
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Is Reposting Another’s Photo of Your Own Product Copyright Infringement?

Is Reposting Another’s Photo of Your Own Product Copyright Infringement?

Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Intellectual Property, Online Advertising
"Share" courtesy of www.gotcredit.com via Flickr Your company learns of a photo of a celebrity or some social media personality using your product or service. Can you just repost it on your business’ social media account? That can't be copyright infringement, right? After all, it's your own product or service that is the subject of the work! Well, if the decision out of a Federal district court in New York is any indication, companies reposting another’s copyrighted photo without express permission or license--even where the subject is clearly wearing or using the company’s designs--could be setting themselves up for costly copyright infringement liability. Tahari: What can happen if you re-post or "share" a photo that's not yours In Iantosca v. Elie Tahari (1:2019cv04527 - Document 69 (S.D.N.Y. 2020)), Plaintiff Iantosca…
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Does DMCA ‘Safe Harbor’ Apply to My Company’s Own Conduct?

Does DMCA ‘Safe Harbor’ Apply to My Company’s Own Conduct?

Copyright, Copyright Infringement, DMCA
"Image Deleted DMCA on Black" by Lexein is licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 One of the interesting things about practicing law (particularly in the space I do), is the trends in inquiries to our Phoenix law firm's Copyright law practice. Of late, it has definitely been issues surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 512) ("DMCA") and, in particular, it's "safe harbor" provisions. DMCA was certainly on the mind of a new client who had initially contacted me about DMCA registered agent services. In getting to know more about her and her partner’s business, I learned that they actually owned and operated several blog-style websites which they had “acquired”. Some of these acquired websites were producing content which might lead to DMCA "take down" and counter-notice issues.…
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How Do I Register a Copyright?

How Do I Register a Copyright?

Copyright, Copyright Infringement
While U.S. trademark registration takes up the bulk of our Phoenix intellectual property law practice, lately my office is seeing more and more interest in copyright registration lately.  A common question I get from current and potential clients is, how much does it actually cost to register a copyright? What does it even mean to "copyright" something anyway? Before I answer the question posed in the title, it's usually helpful to clear up some what it means to "copyright" something, whether it's a poem, drawing, song, video you uploaded to YouTube or whatever. Frankly, when someone says they want to "copyright" something, the phrase is basically meaningless from the legal standpoint. An owner's copyright (i.e., the exclusive right to display, reproduce, perform, etc.) in a work they've created attaches as…
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Yes, Your Website Needs a DMCA Agent. Here’s Why.

Yes, Your Website Needs a DMCA Agent. Here’s Why.

Copyright, Copyright Infringement
As a Phoenix law firm focusing on the needs of e-commerce and online services companies, I often see website owners who have selected a DMCA designated agent in their Terms of Service or Terms of Use but have done little else beyond that. What they don't know is that this failure to take necessary steps after selecting their Designated Agent could be a serious (if not costly) oversight. What is The DMCA? Just because a copyrighted work is on the Internet or in digital form, doesn't mean copyright no longer applies. However, while it is a lot harder to copy an author's book or an artist’s painting in the physical world, reproducing or displaying a digitized work in cyberspace is as easy as a couple clicks of a mouse or…
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