How Do I Protect My Halloween Costume Idea?

How Do I Protect My Halloween Costume Idea?

Copyright, Copyright Infringement, Trademark
Maybe it’s the opportunity to get creative for an upcoming party, an excuse to eat candy brought into the office days after, or maybe it’s just that it signals the unofficial end to our hellacious Summers. Whatever the reason, Halloween rocks IMO. Earlier this year, a client of mine that designs and sells Halloween costumes (in addition to their main lines of novelty costumes, inflatables, signs, etc.) wanted to know how best to protect one of their latest designs which had been big seller so far, and which the client was also considering using as the corporate logo. In this post, we take a very high-altitude view at some of the most basic ways you can help to protect your original Halloween costume design. Copyright in Costumes Copyright protection extends…
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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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Should I Register A Copyright in My Software?

Should I Register A Copyright in My Software?

Copyright, Intellectual Property, Software
Many software developers (as well as lawyers) focus entirely upon patent protection for the software code, oftentimes ignoring enormously valuable Copyright registration entirely. For reasons I outline in this post, Federal Copyright law is arguably the single most important legal protection available to you as a creator of software code. Copyrights explained (again) As I’ve written in earlier posts, a copyright in a work gives you an exclusive right to do a number of things with the work, such as copy, distribute, display, perform, or make adaptations to that work, among other rights. Copyright law says that no one else can do of these things with your work without your permission. Copyright protection is actually available for all copyrightable expression embodied in a computer program. Now notice how I said…
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