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Photo by Christian Wiediger Amazon® is an incredible source of opportunity for entrepreneurs of all kinds — but also a major source of headaches when it comes to infringement. It can be frustrating to find knockoff versions of your products being sold on this platform, and confusing to figure out the best way to stop it. If you are worried about unauthorized copying, here is a roadmap you can refer to as you plan your brand growth and protection strategy. Before the Infringement Begins There are a number of basic steps you can take to protect your products from the…
Photo by Alex Haney E-sports is a relatively new venture—the world of professional gaming is still in development. For that reason, there are no standard contracts or standard terms, and it can be very easy for the unwary to unknowingly contract away their valuable right. Here are a few things for players to consider when entering into this industry:  Streamer vs. E-sports Athlete: Think carefully about how your personal brand and gaming skill fits in with the gaming industry. Affiliation with an e-sports team is an excellent path for some professional gamers, but those with a sizeable following already may…
Photo by Sean Benesh In a previous post we discussed how Performance Rights Organizations (or “PROs”) govern the ability for the general public to perform music owned by music artists, writers, publishers, and other rights holders. There is, however, a practical question: how does one actually secure proper licensing or ensure a given license fully covers that song’s use? Given that there are multiple PROs each holding licensing rights (even “fractional” rights) to songs (sometimes called “musical works”), the United States remains one of the most difficult music-licensing landscapes in the world. Enter Songview®—the new tool crafted by competitor…
Photo by Fey Marin Amazing. This word is trotted out so often, it sometimes seems to have lost its meaning. After all, almost anything in your daily life can earn this praise — even a good meal can be followed by “that was amazing.” You might say this word multiple times a day, and now you may even be amazed to find yourself noticing that fact tomorrow. So why in the world would this word, of all words, be a key part of our mission statement? It starts with the story of a time traveller — sent back in time,…
Photo by Prateek Katyal The importance of a company’s social media presence cannot be overstated and should be a central part of your marketing and branding strategies. Although social media is a great tool to engage with your customers and is a differentiator for many brands, social media can go sideways very quickly. So here are some solutions to the most common social media issues we encounter in our practice:              Monitor Your Social Media Manager             “Prevention is better than cure.” —Desiderius Erasmus Many companies employ a dedicated social media manager to produce content and engage with customers…
Photo by Parsoa Khorsand The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries into foreign territory with the challenge of improving employee and customer safety standards to combat the airborne virus. The architecture industry stands at the forefront of these new challenges by implementing innovative safety guidelines that affect everyone, and some of these changes are not readily apparent. From determining the distance between students’ desks, to the placement of outdoor coffee shop tables adjacent to sidewalks, to the delineated customer walking path to a restaurant bathroom—all of these require creative thinking to implement new regulations and standards. Such measures may seem…
The Long Now Foundation has inspired us for years, and is well-worth your visit (and membership!) Our firm is driven by our mission statement We Help Inspiring People Build One Amazing Future, but this is a phrase that requires some unpacking. Over eight blog posts, working backwards, we’ll walk through what these words mean to us, and why they are so central. To begin, this mission springs from my deep personal belief that lawyers are a force for good — we have the ability to right wrongs, to promote equality and opportunity, and to support the most innovative people in the…
Photo by Kyle Head The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way many businesses operate—including performance venues and theaters. As most theaters have been shut down since March 2020 (Broadway is not scheduled to tentatively return until May 2021), artists and producers have been determined to find a workable solution to safely continue operations. One of the most popular options has been to stream live theatrical performances online, which would enable patrons to enjoy a show from the comfort and safety of their own homes. This solution, however, has called into question which of the two largest actors unions, Actors’ Equity Association
Photo by Markus Winkler Ever pop in an old VHS tape or DVD and wonder what the prominent “FBI WARNING” before the movie is really talking about (if you didn’t fast forward or just skip past it)? These warnings are not just meant to deter potential bootleggers and pirates, for infringing copyrighted material can carry some serious consequences and make even the most private of cinephiles into a criminal. But does the government really act on these warnings? They sure do. And the bar for criminal copyright infringement liability is lower than you might think. The Copyright Act provides a…
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon The Lanham Act, enacted by Congress in 1946, provides several means of monetary recovery for trademark infringement: these include disgorgement of the defendant’s profits, the plaintiff’s costs in bringing the lawsuit, damages sustained by the plaintiff (“actual damages”), and attorney’s fees (“in exceptional cases”). 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). A prevailing plaintiff is not, however, automatically entitled to an award of monetary damages. In practice, many plaintiffs are only awarded injunctive relief to prevent further infringement. The Lanham Act gives the courts considerable discretion to determine an appropriate remedy for trademark infringement, and the courts have in…