Copyright law is intended to protect artists of varying mediums and their work. The thought is that other people shouldn't be able to steal and profit from an original work that someone else has already created. The internet and meme culture are changing the game on this idea. Some celebrities in New York and around the country are concerned that others are profiting off of their intellectual property, specifically original dance moves that they have popularized. Unfortunately, these cases may be difficult to prove.
Lawsuits filed by patent trolls have been the bane of many companies over the years. The problem became so extensive that in 2016, Congress passed the Defense of Trade Secrets Act in an attempt to stem the flow of these lawsuits in order to allow them into federal court since they were ordinarily filed in state courts, including those here in New York. Unfortunately, it now appears that this opened up this type of intellectual property to patent-troll type lawsuits.
When the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board recently announced its decision to raise the royalty rates record labels and digital services will pay to songwriters, many rejoiced. Songwriters in New York and elsewhere have arguably been a forgotten group of artists, and recent changes in intellectual property laws have brought their important work into the public consciousness. Unfortunately, streaming services may not have the same respect for songwriters as the CRB does.
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 law is complex to begin with, but certain claims often create a gray area that requires legal action to clarify. Intellectual property law, including trademarks and patents, allows one person or group to take legal action if someone else attempts to use and profit from a protected work. Trademark protection includes items such as a symbol, design or word that identifies the product. However, it may not always be clear how far that protection may go.
It has been a long ordeal for music artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. Since 2013, the two have faced accusations that their song "Blurred Lines" infringed on the intellectual property of the late Marvin Gaye because of its similarities to "Got to Give It Up," a 1977 R&B hit. Thicke and Pharrell initially attempted to preempt any copyright claims by filing a lawsuit seeking a court's ruling that the song did not infringe on the Gaye's copyrights. A final ruling came down this week.
When an artist, writer, entrepreneur or other creative person discovers someone else using copyrighted material without permission, it can be shocking and upsetting. After all, not only may the other person profit unjustly from the copyright owner's intellectual property, but he or she may damage the reputation of the creator if the material is misused. The first question a New York copyright owner may have is, "How do I make them stop?"
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.
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.
School mascots are meant to inspire and rally students to strive for success. Those mascots are often symbols of desirable traits, such as strength, perseverance or indomitability. Sometimes, however, a New York school chooses its mascot or logo because it is familiar to students. For one school in another state, a familiar mascot was also a violation of intellectual property rights.