Who Owns What? Presentation on Copyright Ownership at MCSC!

I was invited by the McHenry County Software Craftsmanship group to speak about copyright ownership, since questions of authorship, work-for-hire, and related topics are of interest to many programmers. I spoke for 45 minutes, asked for questions… and spoke for another 45 minutes! They were very gracious hosts and the members had wonderful questions. Very much enjoyed it.

A link to the group – and the event – is here:
https://www.meetup.com/Software-Craftsmanship-McHenry-County/events/fvvtxnyzgbvb/ .

The presentation materials, as promised, can be downloaded from this link on the off chance anybody wants them:


Likelihood of Link Confusion: Searching For And Linking to Trademark Registrations

Okay, so I saw this group linked to on Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TrademarkWatchDawgs/

And I have to say this is really an interesting idea. I’m going to go through some of the posts and see how things are going.

But speaking of posts, I noticed that a few people were doing something that happens ALL THE TIME when people try to discuss trademark registrations online: they were posting TESS links instead of TSDR links. As all trademark attorneys know, that doesn’t work.

*record scratch noise*

Say what?

Okay, here’s a quick how-to on posting links to trademark registrations from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO, or sometimes just PTO, for short) website so they work for everybody.

Read The Rest

But What About The Memes??? (Interview on CheckpointXP Radio)

I love doing media interviews and it’s always a blast talking to the folks at CheckpointXP Radio. I was on the show yesterday (April 2, 2019 for those of you visiting FROM THE FUTURE!) to talk about The Article Formerly Known As Article 13, namely Article 17 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. And while of course everybody was up for a brief legal scholarship session, we did get to the most crucial question of our day:

WHAT ABOUT THE MEMES? ARE OUR MEMES SAFE???

If this issue concerns you – and I literally can’t imagine that it doesn’t – here’s a link!

https://checkpointxp.com/2019/04/02/checkpoint-xp-daily-tuesday-april-2nd-2019-feat-march-whipple-on-article-13/

Not Walking Away from Omegaverse

This is an update to the post Copyright: The Alpha and Omega(verse,) written after I found a website (!) one of the parties had created with some additional court documents. I am not linking to the website, but you can find it very easily by searching for “Omegaverse litigation.”

For starters, putting up a website about ongoing litigation is not something I’d ordinarily advise a client to do. Anything you post publicly can (and probably will) be admissible evidence in that litigation, and could also irritate the judge for some reason (or no reason, judges are human too.) This one appears to be fairly nonincendiary, but I surely hope the party’s lawyers are aware of it and are providing at least general oversight and approval of everything posted thereon.

Read The Rest

Copyright: The Alpha and Omega(verse)

UPDATE 03/15/2019: One of the parties has created a website about the litigation, which posts additional information and some court documents I didn’t have when I wrote this post. I am adding another post as this one is already quite long. See: Not Walking Away From Omegaverse.

As sometimes happens, I was wandering the wilds of Twitter and started running across references to a legal spat between two authors. In this case, two romance authors who both write in the “Omegaverse,” an “alternate universe” or AU, which is used by a large number of writers, both commercial and amateur, as a setting for romance novels of various kinds and levels of explicitness. So be warned: both the case documents (which I’ll be discussing) and the setting and subject matter of the works will produce some very not-safe-for-work results if you search for them. Here, there be monsters. Some literal, as a common element of Omegaverse fiction is werewolves and other shapeshifters.

This spat involves DMCA notices, but as of this writing (3/14/2019,) does not involve a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Instead, the copyright part is a much less common and (to laypeople) much less well-known type of copyright lawsuit called a Declaratory Judgment action. How that works is that someone accuses someone else, not in a lawsuit but just in direct or public communication, of infringing their copyright, and the accused goes to court and files a lawsuit asking the court to rule pre-emptively that their work does not infringe the accuser’s work.

In this case, an author who goes by “Addison Cain,” published by a publisher known as Blushing Books Publishing, accused an author who goes by “Zoey Ellis,” published by Quill Ink Books Limited, both of plagiarizing, and outright infringing on the copyright of, her Omegaverse-setting romance novels. Cain allegedly set some of her fans after Ellis, including inciting them to post bad reviews for Ellis’s books. She (and/or her publisher Blushing Books) also filed Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices (click here for a discussion of the DMCA) against some of the books, allegedly including one which hadn’t even been published yet. As I said in the linked post above, the DMCA is not a Weapon for Great Justice, and trying to use it as one is a Stupid Legal Trick which can backfire on you if you don’t do it appropriately.

Read The Rest

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