Category: Popular

All the popular posts want to belong to this category — which is really a catch-all for posts on popular intellectual property topics rather than a bin for lost hats or insane replicant theories of how the universe was created.

Tattoo You!

Is it copyright infringement if I take a photograph of the tattooed lady at the circus? Or of the guy who was so fashion-minded he permanently engraved a Louis Vuitton logo on his head? How about my attempts to nab a celebrity photo courtside at the Lakers' game? Could this be copyright infringement?

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The Unhelpful Trademark

Those of you who watch Hulu on a regular basis will have noticed the ubiquitous advertising that is increasingly crowded into all the popular shows. From two or perhaps three 30-second advertisements when Hulu debuted, viewers are now subjected to five or six full-minute advertisements, transforming the vaunted "cable killer" into the equivalent of traditional cable TV -- except you can't skip or fast-forward through Hulu's ads like you can if you have cable and a Tivo. So Hulu viewers are now paying for the dubious privilege of being forced to watch advertisements

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Collaboration Blues

This is a tale with a simple premise. You and a friend decide to collaborate on a screenplay. He's got a great idea for Godzilla meets Colossus meets Gigantor meets angry mythological Greek from Wrath of the Titans, and you've got massive writing chops, as evidenced by the 14 screenplays you've got moldering in a box in the back of your closet.

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Faulkner Goes Folksy On Fair Use

While the astute reader may have noticed that the company that owns William Faulkner’s literary rights sued Sony for copyright infringement based on a misquoted snippet of a sentence that appeared in Midnight In Paris, it was news to me when I stumbled across the article in the ABA Journal this morning. Given that I try and keep abreast of happenings in the world of copyright, and this should really have been BIG NEWS (in all caps, even), I was shocked that the coverage was so ho-hum, with nary a vitriolic diatribe to be found anywhere. Given that Wilson is time-travelling back to 1920s Paris at the time he makes the statement, it’s more a reflection of his actual condition (i.e., the past is not past because he’s currently living in the past) than a comment on Faulkner’s line of dialogue

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No News But Bad News

America is a land that thrives on hourly updates and has no talent for remembering yesterday's news. We find it perfectly normal to be told the sky is falling on Tuesday only to have the news anchor change his prognosis the following day, announcing with a wry grin that the experts got it wrong and the sky will remain in the firmament for the foreseeable future. In a way, this collective inability to recall the past is a blessing, as it serves to erase the memory of painful events and allows us to look forward as a nation our bright future.

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Who Owns Your Facebook Account When You Die?

It's the first month of January 2013 and you're driving through Malibu in the new Audi coupe your lovely wife bought you for Xmas when, out of nowhere, a truck comes barreling through the intersection right next to D'Amore's Famous Pizza and the last thought you have is "What the . . . ."

Ten days later after the funeral your wife decides she wants to turn your Facebook page into a memorial page for all your friends to post pictures of you and tell intimate stories. So what happens when we die? As Lionel Barrymore famously said, "You can't take it with you when you go."

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The Luck of the Draw

When the same cards appeared several times in a row, it merely seemed like lady luck was smiling down from on high. Since part of  gambling's allure is based on an unpredictable marriage of luck, superstition, calculated odds, and the myth of the unbeatable system, nobody paid much attention when happy go lucky Joe won seven hands in a row. It's known to happen from time to time, so no one blinked an eye. But when the players at the baccarat table at the Golden Nugget began seeing the same sequence of cards . . .

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