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5 errors that lead to legal malpractice allegations

Legal malpractice comes in many forms, but regardless of what happens, it impacts a client's case negatively. Whether it's an attorney who misses deadlines or one who has a conflict of interests, legal malpractice hurts the person the attorney is supposed to protect.

There are dozens of kinds of malpractice, but several are common. Here are the five most common types of legal malpractice alleged by American clients.

Artificial intelligence challenges copyright law

Every generation has its moments of life-changing invention. The telephone, the computer, the internet and more have changed the way people interact with each other. As society changes, laws struggle to keep up. Even now, with the advent of artificial intelligence, those who study copyright law suggest changes may be on the horizon.

Many in New York debate the ownership of creative works that come from AI. When a computer program simulates intelligence by writing a work of fiction or painting a picture, it may seem to the average person that the computer is the owner or creator of that art. However, since computers or robots are not self-aware, the law does not accord copyright ownership to them. Instead, AI is merely functioning as it is programmed to function, not thinking for itself.

Overview of legal malpractice

When people in New York think of malpractice, they likely assume it to mean medical malpractice. However, just as the word malpractice can be used to describe a medical professional who fails to perform up to expected standards, so can the word describe a lawyer who violates the expectations of professional conduct for a legal professional. Determining legal malpractice is not always easy.

Every day, clients win and lose cases, and those who lose are not necessarily victims of legal malpractice. Malpractice involves the violation of rules of ethics or the breach of some legal duty. For example, an attorney who acts as a fiduciary for a client can commit malpractice by commingling his or her own funds with those of the client. Attorneys may allow their other interests or duties to compete or interfere with their duty to their clients.

Spotify facing $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit

The Swedish music streaming company Spotify has been blasted with a $1.6 billion dollar copyright lawsuit for allegedly using thousands of songs without a license and failing to pay compensation to the music publisher.

This is not the first time the music mogul has faced legal trouble. Last spring, Spotify was involved in a large class action lawsuit for $43 million dollars for failing to pay royalties on the songs it makes available to users.

Popular phrases may not be claimed as intellectual property

It is not unheard of for people to file for trademark registration for clever phrases. "Just Do It," for example, is a popular saying New York consumers are happy to wear on their shirts, bags and other merchandise. Nike, Inc. is the owner of the trademark for the saying and thus has the right to use it in marketing to promote its products. However, there are some cases in which the claim for trademark protection is not covered by intellectual property law.

When a new phrase gains popularity, there is often a rush to claim the trademark rights. Dozens of people may file for exclusive rights to use the saying to make a profit. Most often, these efforts fail on several grounds. For example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may determine that the trademark doesn't help the public identify a brand but is only a description of the brand.

The importance of statutes of limitations

You went through an entire personal injury case. You thought you would win your argument without a doubt. Your attorney told you it was a solid argument with enough proof.

Then, you found out he failed to turn in documents on time and that you lost your first court date. You were able to go to the second, but by then, you were struggling to communicate with him and felt he didn't have your best interests at heart. You lost the case despite the evidence. Now you want to file a lawsuit against him for hurting your ability to get the compensation you needed.

TiVo wins intellectual property litigation against Comcast

Most people in New York probably never consider that the technology they use each day is the brainchild of someone else. Such ideas do not develop out of thin air. Often the rights to these inventions are owned and patented by individuals or their companies, and other corporations may pay licensing fees to use the technology. Copyright law protects the inventors from those who would illegally profit from their inventions. When a company fails to pay the appropriate licensing fees, the patent holder has the right to seek redress through intellectual property litigation.

Comcast, for example, offers customers the ability to program their DVRs remotely and customize their channel guides. However, these technologies are not owned by Comcast. Instead the giant cable and broadcasting company pays TiVo a licensing fee for permission to use the capabilities. In fact, all of Comcast's competitors pay the same fee because TiVo owns the patents for the technology.

Does sharing on social media violate copyright law?

Social media is popular for its ability to carry ideas through networks of people at lightning speed. New York users of social media may post and share videos, pictures, quotes and other items in the hopes that they will go viral. What users of social media may not understand is that some of the items they share may be protected by copyright law.

Although clicking and sharing a work of art may take a fraction of a second, the person who created the work may have given much time and effort to creating it. To find that businesses or individuals are using one's copyrighted art, music or other creative endeavor for their own gain is certainly frustrating. However, in some situations, the law of fair use may apply.

Is video game streaming on YouTube copyright infringement?

In recent years, the popularity of online video game streaming has soared. YouTube in particular has seen the development of a booming cottage industry as gamers garner millions of views for their digital conquests. The advent of video games as a spectator sport has made streaming a viable career path for some, with YouTube’s heavier hitters collecting significant paydays from the platform’s monetization model.

As gamers gain profit from their streaming channels, a question of ownership does arise. Are these streamers that are broadcasting someone else’s creation in violation of copyright law?

Attorney faces prison, disbarred after legal malpractice

When New Yorkers reach out to an attorney, it is usually because they are in trouble and/or facing some sort of legal difficulty. They may be accused of a crime that could result in years behind bars, or they may be dealing with a financial crisis due to an injury due to an accident or medical malpractice. The client trusts that the attorney has the skill and integrity to bring about a fair and positive resolution whenever possible. Unfortunately, a small number of unscrupulous attorneys put their own interests ahead of the client, sometimes taking advantage and committing legal malpractice

In another state, one such attorney has just faced his day of reckoning. The news stories portray the man like a villain in a melodrama, helping orphans and disabled people to reach high settlements in court cases, then embezzling the money from them. In one case, parents had established a $1 million life insurance policy to care for their children in case of the parents' demise. When an accident took the lives of the parents, the attorney, who was hired to distribute the policy benefits, kept the money for himself.

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