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Commingling funds is a serious violation of client trust

One kind of legal malpractice that you should know about is called commingling. Commingling is when a legal professional mingles their own funds with their beneficiary's, client's, ward's or employer's funds. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, it is illegal to do this and subject to disciplinary action.

Mishandling a client's funds is a serious problem for an attorney. Stealing a client's money is obviously malpractice, but there are also other situations that can lead to malpractice claims.

Copyright law: Who owns what artificial intelligence creates?

When it comes to artistic works and ownership, most people probably think that whoever created a particular piece of art is the person who should own it. These matters aren't always so simple, though, since companies can purchase works of art and the copyright that goes with them. The advancement of technology brings a new layer in the discussion of copyright law as experts try to determine how to handle artistic works created by artificial intelligence (AI). New York artists may want to pay attention to this debate since it may affect the usage of artistic works that already exist.

There are several questions that the United States Patent and Trademark Office is trying to answer, but the two biggest may be who owns works created by AI, and is it illegal to feed an AI copyrighted works to produce something new? The first question seems as though it has a simple answer, that whoever created the AI would own any work it generates. However, since a human isn't directly involved in creating that work, it's unclear as to whether it should be protected by a copyright. The answer to the second question might lead to more questions, such as whether an artist whose work is fed into an AI owns any resulting artistic output.

Did Taylor Swift use intellectual property of other songwriters?

Many common and popular phrases appear in different songs. Because certain phrases have been part of common usage for so long, no one is certain who the first person may have been to actually say the words. However, there are often disputes over whether certain phrases actually are part of common vernacular. New York artists of all mediums may be interested in a recent case brought against popular singer Taylor Swift, who has been accused of using the intellectual property of two other songwriters that say she used lines from their own songs in the lyrics for one of her most popular hits. Reps for Swift argue that the lines in question weren't invented by the songwriters.

The songwriters are taking legal action against Swift because they say lyrics from her hit "Shake it Off" were taken from songs they wrote back at the beginning of the century. The lines in question from Swift's song reference two phrases -- "playas gonna play" and "haters gonna hate." The songwriters first filed suit against Swift back in 2017 because they say that those lines appear in their 2001 song "Playas Gon' Play," sung by a female group known as 3LW.

Copyright law may help reclaim your music rights

The music industry used to be different. Music companies practically owned songwriters and artists, and if they wanted to make a career in the industry, they had to sacrifice the rights to their music. After years of giving their lives to these companies, many songwriters and artists across the country, including many here in New York, may want to get back the rights to their music. Fortunately, copyright law may help in that regard.

If you signed away the rights to your work prior to 1978, you may have the chance to get them back. There is a chance you could terminate, or cancel, the assignments you made prior to that year, which is when significant changes were made to the law. This option represents a kind of "workaround" for those who did not benefit from the changes.

Prove legal malpractice and get heard in court

When you hired your attorney, you did so after speaking with several people about working with them in the past. They all said that the attorney was very popular and skilled.

What you didn't expect was that they would be so popular that they wouldn't have time for your case. They took the case, a retainer fee and said that they would get back to you. That was several weeks ago, and you still haven't heard anything.

Search engines allow intellectual property violations

There is no denying the popularity of online shopping. Many in New York may have already started their holiday shopping online expecting to find some bargains. However, a new study recently revealed that more than half of the websites to which search engines lead consumers are selling counterfeit products, many of which are of poor quality. Not only does this place consumers at risk, but it may also lead to trademark or intellectual property litigation from those who created the original product.

About 60% of search engine results for consumer products lead customers to fake goods, often within to top three results of a search. Most worrisome to consumer advocates is that many of these products can be dangerous if not manufactured under careful guidance and regulation. This includes children's products such as teethers, large appliances and even pharmaceuticals. In almost all cases, the test search led researchers to counterfeit products using the same trademarks as original products.

Man files copyright law claim against Chicago Cubs over souvenir

Artists and designers in New York of all kinds have a right to protect their work. Copyright law exists for the purpose of giving them a legal means to do so. If someone else uses an artist's creation without his or her permission, it often means that the person or entity is profiting off of the work without properly compensating the person who created it. This is what one man alleges in his copyright claim against the Chicago Cubs over a trinket he says he created back in the 1980s.

The man claims that he originally created a souvenir to be sold to Chicago Cubs fans in 1984 when the Cubs almost advanced to the World Series. The souvenirs were pieces of plexiglass that contained an ivy leaf from Wrigley Field's infamous outfield wall and had the team's logo. He also alleges that the Cubs wanted to market a version of the same souvenir in 2001 but were unwilling to pay him, so he declined to work with them.

Music and infringement: Sampling is a tricky concept

In music, sampling is often done. It's when one party takes a portion of another sound recording and uses it as an element or instrument of a new song. Usually, a sampler is used to select the recording. Samplers are usually computer programs or specific pieces of hardware used for this purpose.

Sampling has been used for many generations across genres. The question is, though, if it's legal. Sampling is a part of mainstream culture, but copyright laws can easily be violated if the samples aren't taken and used correctly.

Dollywood in copyright law lawsuit

Music artists in New York and around the nation often dream of creating a classic song that people will love for generations to come. Those who have achieved such a feat not only feel a sense of accomplishment, they often take comfort in knowing that their artistic contribution can generate income for themselves and their loved ones. If another person or entity uses that song without the artist's permission, it is considered a violation of copyright law. This is because the entity may use the song in a way that the artist doesn't approve of or that the entity will profit off of the song without properly compensating the artist. This is the current predicament of the theme park Dollywood, as it fights allegations that it used a Christmas song without permission from the songwriters.

Dollywood, named for country superstar Dolly Parton, is accused of using the the song called "Christmas Time is Here" in one of their stage shows at the theme park. It is commonly known as the "Charlie Brown Christmas" song. Representatives for the songwriters say that the park used the song in a live show called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" for over a decade without securing the proper copyright. The songwriters legal team says that it warned Dollywood about impending litigation last year but that the park continued to infringe the copyright.

Understand how music copyrights work

A copyright is an important protection for the person who creates a work of art. This work, in some cases, may be a new song, jingle or musical selection. For a work to be copyrightable, it needs to be in tangible form. That means that you can't just imagine a song and expect it to be copyrighted. Instead, you should record it with the date and time or apply for a copyright.

Sometimes, people have questions about their rights and the copyrights that apply to their work. Here are two common concerns and what you may want to think about if you're looking to stop someone else from using your music or other created work.


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