New York New York Legal Blog

3 things to do to build a case for legal malpractice

When you feel that your attorney is putting off your case and isn't listening to your concerns, you should make that known. However, the way you do so can affect your chances of a claim later. If you plan to complain about the way your attorney is acting or want to be able to show that they are not taking your case seriously, you need to keep records.

Good recordkeeping is one of the only ways you'll be able to prove to a judge that your attorney violated their responsibilities and hurt your case. Here are a few things you can do to build a strong case.

Mashups challenge fair use copyright law

When a comic artist and a science fiction writer get an idea, it is certain to be a good one. Recently, award-winning DC Comics artist Ty Templeton teamed with "Star Trek" writer David Gerrold to collaborate on a mashup parody of Star Trek and the Dr. Seuss favorite, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" The project was organized by ComicMix, a company formed for just such mashups and crowdfunded by $30,000 in donations. While New York fans waited excitedly, the project soon stalled under accusations that it violated copyright law.

The copyrights for all the works of the late Dr. Seuss are controlled by Dr. Seuss Enterprise, which sent several cease-and-desist letters to ComicMix after learning of the mashup project, finally filing a lawsuit against the company. Comicmix's defense was that the project fell under the fair use laws, which permits the use of some copyrighted material under certain circumstances, such as for a transformative purpose. ComicMix claimed the parody was transformative, but Dr. Seuss Enterprise disagreed.

Photographers may find intellectual property litigation harder

Photographers here in New York and elsewhere often get excited about their work. In that excitement, they may post their work for others to see without making sure that they receive the appropriate payment for it. Until recently, they could file for copyright protection and file intellectual property litigation against those who failed to pay for the work.

Now, however, that option is not available. A recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court now requires photographers to obtain a copyright prior to filing any lawsuits. Having an application on file is no longer enough. This could add another six months or more to the process since it may take that long to receive a copyright on an image.

Missed the statute of limitations? That could be malpractice

When you have a personal injury, you have only a limited amount of time to file a claim against the person who injured you. If you do not file the claim by the time that the limit is up, you will be unable to make a claim.

In most cases, you'll file your claim well before the statute of limitations applies. However, if you're working with an attorney and are getting close to the time limit, you may be concerned about missing the statute of limitations. If you do, you'll lose the ability to collect any compensation from the person who caused your injuries.

Protection of intellectual property is more important than ever

Advancement in technology has brought many benefits to the business world, but it also presents some unique and specific challenges. One of these includes the difficulty of protecting intellectual property in this current age. Thanks to technology, New York companies are now able to design, build and sell products faster than ever, but this also means that it can be more difficult to keep designs and proprietary information in the right hands. 

Intellectual property protection is a major issue for companies, particularly e-commerce companies. For example, a small business that sells custom T-shirts may post a few designs on social media for marketing purposes. Another company or counterfeiter can come along and replicate and reproduce the same design without the original owner receiving appropriate compensation or even knowing what happened.

Is it too late to file a legal malpractice claim?

If you had the knowledge and experience to handle your court battles yourself, you would not need an attorney. When you have a legal issue, you rely on someone you believe has the knowledge, experience and attention to detail needed to handle the matter on your behalf. If your trust turns out to be misplaced, you could decide to file a legal malpractice claim, but is it too late by the time you discover the problem?

Here in New York, you have three years to bring a claim against your attorney for malpractice. Do you know when that three-year statute of limitations begins? It probably is not as apparent as you may believe. Calculating this date often does not mean simply going back to when you believe the mistake was made. It is more complex than that.

How copyright law protects writers

Many writers are worried that their work will be stolen by others and, thus, they are skeptical about sharing their writing in public domains. These concerns have increased in recent years as writing becomes pervasive in online realms, from social media to personal blogs.

If you are a writer and you want to protect your work from being misused and stolen for another's financial gain, it is important that you take the time to understand the way that copyright law works in regard to texts in the United States.

Intellectual property litigation underway involving Kanye West

When people create visual, audible or physical works, they often put a considerable amount of passion into those works. Whether they create something with the intention of later making a profit or whether they just create for the sake of creation, they have a stake in their work. As a result, it is often wise for creators to copyright their work to prevent unauthorized use, but unfortunately, intellectual property litigation could still take place.

New York readers may be interested in a copyright infringement case currently taking place in another state. According to reports, the case involves the family of a young girl and recording artist Kanye West. Apparently, the young girl had said a passionate prayer while she, her guardian and her biological mother were taking a trip. A video of the prayer was uploaded to social media, and due to its popularity, the family registered a copyright for the girl's prayer.

YouTubers face false accusations of copyright law violations

Diligence is often needed in order for people here in New York and elsewhere to protect their intellectual property. With the advent of platforms such as YouTube, it has become even more of a challenge. For this reason, the video streaming platform allows users and viewers to report so-called "YouTubers" when they believe a copyright law violation occurs. Doing so serves as a sort of community policing in order to stop protected materials being used without permission.

While this helps protect people with copyrighted material, it could also be misused by fellow YouTubers or others. In fact, recently, some YouTubers experienced a type of blackmail by another individual who lodged copyright reports with YouTube in order to put a user's video in jeopardy of being taken down. The platform uses the "three strikes and you're out" rule.

Don't let meme creators get away with stealing your work

Lots of people love to go online and look at memes. They're funny, and they spread like wildfire across social media platforms.

Not everything is as innocent as it seems, though, because memes can violate the copyrights of those who created the original images. Additionally, sharing memes might violate the rights of the person who created the meme, creating another legal issue.

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