New York New York Legal Blog

Legal malpractice claim may follow substandard representation

There are times when an issue arises that is beyond a person's knowledge or skill to handle. Car repairs, medical problems and home improvements may be more than some people can manage, so they contact a New York professional whose job it is to know the best course of action. The same is true when facing legal issues, and in those situations, one may call an attorney. However, if the attorney does not fulfill the client's expectations, when does this cross the line into legal malpractice?

While the personality of each lawyer is different, there are minimum expectations a client can have when dealing with a legal professional. It is important that the attorney communicate well with the client so the client can make informed decisions about how to proceed. An attorney who fails to return calls or messages, refuses to provide updated information or makes decisions without alerting the client to the potential consequences may be violating his or her duties.

Who pays if you win a legal malpractice case?

If you are fighting a legal malpractice case, then one of the things you'll want to know is who is responsible for paying you if you win the court case. It's not always straightforward, and there could be different people responsible depending on the circumstances.

Before you move forward with your malpractice case, make sure you have the support of an attorney you trust and the right evidence. Many of the costs associated with a malpractice case come down to the time your attorney spends fighting for you, so having plenty of support for your claim will help.

Copyright law challenged with digitally remastered works

Artists, musicians and other creative types in New York and across the country can be grateful for the laws that protect their works from others who would try to use them for their own benefit. Complex copyright law changes frequently, and some state laws fill in gaps that exist in federal law. For example, while federal law includes music that was composed before 1972, it covers sound recordings only after 1972. Some state laws protect pre-1972 sound recordings of those songs. A recent legal decision addressed the question of remastered recordings.

CBS faced a lawsuit filed by ABS Entertainment, owner of many songs recorded before 1972. ABS accused CBS of neglecting to pay state fees on these songs. However, since the recordings of the songs CBS aired were remastered after 1972, CBS contended that they fell under the federal exemption in which traditional broadcasters do not owe royalties. With this argument, CBS won at the district court level, but ABS won on appeal.

Chapman and Minaj in intellectual property litigation

It seems more common than ever for musicians to build on other artists' work by sampling recognizable hooks, refrains or lyrics and repurposing them into a variety of genres. However, a musician who samples another artist's song without permission may end up facing intellectual property litigation. One example of this is singer Nicki Minaj's dispute with Grammy winner Tracy Chapman.

On the cusp of the release of her new album, Minaj used Twitter to publicly ask Chapman for permission to include a sample of Chapman's 'Baby Can I Hold You' on the new release. Chapman apparently denied the request because Minaj later tweeted, "Sis said no." Nevertheless, the next day, a popular New York DJ announced that he had a special track from Minaj's new album before posting on his website a Minaj song that borrowed heavily from Chapman's 'Baby Can I Hold You.'

Protecting your copyright on social media takes consideration

If you work with social media, you know that you have to be cautious about what you put online and how you put it there. Not following the right steps could end up causing you to lose your rights. Then, all the work you put into your content would be worth little to you and could end up making money for others.

Whenever you upload content online, you need to know the rules and regulations of the website you're using. The only way to maintain complete control is only to upload images and videos to your own website and to assert your copyright on the page. If you use other services, you're at their mercy.

Publicly streaming music may violate intellectual property law

Most customers of New York restaurants, cafes and shops have come to expect a certain atmosphere from their favorite haunts. A large part of that ambience includes the music piped through speakers. In most cases, that music comes via a streaming service, such as Pandora or Spotify. However, what customers may not realize is that many business owners may be committing intellectual property theft by misusing their music streaming subscriptions.

Streaming services provide music free with paid ads or for a small fee for commercial-free listening. Through these forms of revenue, streaming services pay the licensing fees that ensure the artists receive royalties when listeners access their songs. However, in many cases, business owners may use their own personal streaming subscriptions to play music in their establishments. Because they are not paying commercial licensing fees to stream the music publicly, they are in violation of copyright laws.

Whose intellectual property are recordings of Gilda Radner?

Those who remember the earliest days of "Saturday Night Live" may have fond memories of comedienne Gilda Radner, who died in 1989 of ovarian cancer. Many likely looked forward to the documentary, "Love, Gilda," which was released last month. For one New York journalist, however, the release of the intimate portrait of the beloved star was a shock, especially when the writer realized the movie used her intellectual property without her knowledge.

Just before Radner's death, the journalist helped Radner write her autobiography by orchestrating a series of interviews, which were recorded on audiotape. Radner maintained possession of those tapes, which, the journalist claims, prevented the writer from registering their copyrights. The tapes, thought to be lost, came into the possession of a filmmaker who used them in the documentary about the comedienne.

Sony files copyright law claim in alleged pirating of games

The development of ideas, photographs, games and other such items take time and money. These developments are often the lifeblood of a New York business. As such, in many instances, these businesses are afforded protection for these items under copyright law.

For example, Sony has undoubtedly spent considerable manpower and financial resources in the development of its various gaming systems and associated games. As a part of their business practices, these various games have been copyrighted. Thus, Sony is the ultimate one to benefit from the sale of these products. Additionally, Sony's customers expect a certain quality based upon the reputation of the company.

Missing a deadline is not acceptable behavior for attorneys

No client wants to find out that they're not going to be able to sue or move forward with a case because of mistakes their attorney made. Attorneys have an education in law and should, at the very least, know how long they have to submit documents. Missing deadlines can be costly and even lead to the loss of a case.

Missing a deadline significantly lowers your chance to win a case. Even if you can resubmit documents and start the case over, that means more expenses. There are deadlines for literally every part of your case, so your attorney needs to stay on top of those deadlines to make sure you can have your time in court.

Inadequate representation may lead to legal malpractice claim

Facing a legal issue in New York or elsewhere often means relying on the representation of an attorney. Whether the matter is criminal or civil, the client has the right to expect quality counsel because there is often a great deal on the line. When an attorney fails to provide adequate representation resulting in a negative outcome for the client, the client may have cause to file a legal malpractice claim.

An attorney does not have to be perfect to be efficient. However, an attorney's incompetence, inaction or negligence may leave a client with many difficulties, including substantial financial losses or the loss of freedom, which is a violation of the client's right to a fair trial. The client may seek to appeal the outcome under these circumstances, but the burden of proof, as well as the added expense, will be on the client.

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