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…
Read More
The High Cost of Unpaid Internships for Your Startup

The High Cost of Unpaid Internships for Your Startup

Contracts, Copyright, Employment Agreements, Start-Up
Recently, one of our solo founder clients approached me to draw up some short agreement for some (student) unpaid interns he was considering bringing on with his startup. In this post, I touch on some of the things I explained to him after (very professionally, of course) telling him he might want to re-consider his company's plan. If you're a startup founder considering "hiring" unpaid interns to come and work at your new company, it is important that you understand the potential legal and business risks first. Is your startup's unpaid internship even legal? Yes, many business owners never even bother to consider this first, critical question regarding their new or established internship program. The answer is a very legal "probably, but it depends". While not necessarily illegal in and…
Read More
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…
Read More
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…
Read More
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.…
Read More