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Oprah named in intellectual property litigation

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful and respected women in the entertainment world. In fact, to fans in New York and beyond, she seems to have a Midas touch, turning to gold anything to which she grants her blessing, including cars, diet products and charities. She has been a friend to those in the arts, including authors who profit from soaring sales when Oprah recommends their books. However, according to recent intellectual property litigation, not every artist feels Oprah is entirely benevolent.

When two artists submitted an idea for a series for the Oprah Winfrey Network, they likely hoped Winfrey's nod of approval would bring them success. However, a few years after they received a rejection from the network, they were shocked to see the OWN series "Greenleaf." The writers, one of whom is a church pastor, say the network blatantly ripped off their idea.

Copyright law will soon release items into public domain

It is not always surprising when someone violates the intellectual property rights of an artist in New York or elsewhere since laws protecting creative works are often complex and fluctuating. One of the more confusing aspects of copyright law is the concept of public domain. A work of art in the public domain is available for anyone to use without needing permission from or payment to its owner.

For decades, it has seemed that as certain works get closer to entering the public domain, the laws change to pull them out of reach again. Until the 1970s, copyright protection lasted about 50 years. However, in 1976, Congress passed a law extending copyright protection to 75 years for anything created after 1923. Just as those copyrights were about to expire in 1998, Congress extended the protection to 95 years. This means that many copyrighted works created in 1923 are due to enter the public domain on Jan. 1, 2019.

Copyright law: An example of legal malpractice

Legal malpractice can happen in all areas of the law. One area that is especially vulnerable to issues relating to legal malpractice is the area of copyright law. Imagine, for example, that a lawyer representing a creator fails to appropriately license a piece of music.

Infringement lawsuits are common in the entertainment industry, especially when artists incorporate samples from other music into their own. Also, two songs might be created that are very similar to one another. If an intellectual property lawyer fails to license music or ideas that belong to another artist, a difficult copyright lawsuit could ensue.

Seinfeld accused of violating copyright law

Fans of Jerry Seinfeld may have been delighted when his Netflix series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" debuted in 2012. Those who loved "Seinfeld" in the 1990s enjoy his witty banter with other A-list comedians in a talk show with the gimmick of driving around New York and other cities in a car chosen by Seinfeld and stopping at coffee shops. While it may seem like a clever idea, one man claims the comedian stole his concept for the show, and he is invoking copyright law to stake his claim.

The lawsuit alleges that Seinfeld took credit for the man's concept for the Netflix talk show, but Seinfeld says no one can own a concept that is so generic. The comedian cites several other popular shows with a similar premise, such as "Carpool Karaoke" and "Jay Leno's Garage." Seinfeld also asserts that his opponent has missed the statute of limitations for filing a copyright claim, which is three years.

Man sues for legal malpractice after losing workers' comp case

When someone in New York hires an attorney, it is usually because there is a lot at stake. Often, the clients of attorneys have limited understanding of the laws pertaining to their circumstances, and they depend on the experience and knowledge of their attorneys for the important decisions throughout the course of legal proceedings. When an attorney's failure to provide adequate representation causes harm, the clients involved may have the right to file a claim of legal malpractice.

One man in another state is seeking over $50,000 from his attorneys because he says their breach of duty toward him caused him to lose a workers' compensation claim. The client was facing an arbitration hearing against his employer following a workplace injury. The client provided his attorneys with names and contact information of witnesses to the accident and to the client's subsequent reporting of his injuries. The client's fiancée also agreed to testify to the man's pain and suffering.

The statute of limitations: The importance of limiting lawsuits

The statute of limitations is an important rule that establishes how long a victim has to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on what the case or lawsuit is about. For example, New York's statutes of limitations are usually between one and six years in length.

Sometimes, even if the statute of limitations passed without a claim, a person can pursue a claim through the courts. There are, occasionally, exceptional circumstances. This is why anyone who is close to the statute of limitations or who isn't sure if they can file a claim should consider seeking legal help before making a decision.

Makeup artist fights intellectual property theft online

New York is certainly one of those places where creativity abounds. Those creative people in this city and elsewhere understand the importance of protecting their art from those who would try to profit from it. The internet has made it a challenge to keep one's intellectual property safe. One artist is committed to protecting copyrighted images online, and she has taken her campaign to Instagram.

Vlada Haggerty has been the victim of intellectual property theft numerous times. She is a world-renowned makeup artist whose signature "drip-lip" has caused a sensation in the world of beauty products. Images of her makeup designs that she posted online have been stolen and used in the marketing campaigns of other brands, including Kylie Jenner and Make Up For Ever, forcing Haggerty to file lawsuits to reclaim her rights.

Intellectual property litigation pits H&M against artists

A recent legal dispute between graffiti artists and the fashion retail giant H&M brought attention to the struggle many artists face when protecting their work from those who would infringe on its copyright. Many artists, writers, photographers and creative people in New York and across the country get little respect for the work they do and may find themselves involved in David and Goliath battles against corporations that take advantage of them. This lawsuit is an example of how intellectual property litigation can bring about change.

Street artist Revok heard through friends that H&M was using for a marketing campaign images Revok had painted in New York. The paintings were on public property and had been painted without the city's permission. The artist filed for a cease and desist order because he had not authorized the use of the images in the ad, and he did not want his art associated with a retail clothing chain. H&M responded with its own lawsuit, alleging that Revok cannot own a copyright on graffiti that is essentially vandalism.

How the public domain is part of copyright law

Having a copyright means having the legal right to prevent someone else from using or profiting from a creative work. The owner of a copyright may take legal action if someone else takes credit for the creative work or uses it in such a way that the creator is denied the benefits. However, there is a part of copyright law that some in New York may not understand, and that is the concept of public domain. After a certain amount of time, a copyright expires, and the work becomes available for the public to use without any restrictions.

Typically, a copyright is active as long as the creator of the work is alive and 70 years beyond his or her death. After that, the work is in the public domain and is no longer protected by the copyright. A creative person may also choose to put his or her work into the public domain before the expiration of the copyright. For example, photographers sometimes release their work for public use.

Victimized by legal malpractice? Here's what you should know

You thought your case was relatively straightforward. You expected your attorney to file it with the court, and you waited day after day for information on a hearing date to arrive. After waiting several weeks and reaching out to your attorney for updates with no response, you finally go to the office and find out that your attorney forgot to file the documents until your most recent call. Now, you've wasted several weeks of your time trying to figure out what was going on, and the case has reached the statute of limitations.

Once you received the news that the case couldn't be heard, you knew you had to do something to make the negligent attorney pay for his actions. You want to file a claim against him directly, because you surely would have been awarded compensation for your injury claim if he'd filed it on time.

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