Courtesy. Kindness. Respect. Copyright Infringement.


Courtesy. Kindness. Respect. Copyright Infringement.



What happened to the simple act of asking for something that does not belong to you before you take?  Courtesy, kindness, and respect no longer seem to exist.  Instead, copyright infringement or theft seem to be the order of the day. Many young people claim they take from the Internet without permission because they don’t know they are supposed to ask – they claim ignorance!  Yet, my silly and obviously antiquated belief is that if something is not yours, you should always ask for permission to use or take it. But so many ignore that concept, or perhaps they never learned it because their role models didn’t. Instead, they seem to believe that you do what you want, hurt whomever you want, create as much havoc as you want and if caught, ask for forgiveness later. What an entitled way to think!

Today’s copyright infringers are definitely from this school of thought. Knowingly or not, they help themselves to the IP (intellectual property) of others without asking permission or compensating the IP owner. If it’s on the Internet, it must be free for everyone to use…right?

Wrong! You no more have a right to take and use IP on the Internet without permission than you do to take and use someone’s car without permission. The criminal penalties for using the car may be far greater, but the moral principle is the same. Sure, a person can get away with using other people’s property on the Internet easier that taking material objects. The Internet’s vastness makes it seem easy. There are millions of websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts out there, this person will never know I am using their IP without permission.

Whether we are speaking in moral or legal terms, the principle is the same. You don’t take other people’s things without asking permission! How much effort does it take to ask? But when these people are slapped with a copyright or trademark lawsuit or a cease and desist letter, they are surprised and often claim victimhood for themselves.

Yes, the Internet is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a bastion of anarchy where the moral and legal rules of society suddenly don’t apply. Just as there is an expectation that we respect other people’s material property, we must also respect the intellectual property of others.

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USPTO Search. Patent Office. Trademarks. ABA.


USPTO Search. Patent Office. Trademarks. ABA.

Patent Office. Trademarks.

Patent Office. Trademarks.

The ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law and the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that they are teaming up to offer the 3rd Annual Trademark Day: Behind the Scenes at the USPTO. The day is filled with information on trademarks for the seasoned attorney, as well as the new trademark practitioner.

The program will take place on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 from 8:30 to 4:00pm, and will be held at the USPTO Campus on 600 Dulany Street in Alexandria, VA.

Trademark Tips and Strategies.

Examiners will share what it is like to be an examining attorney under the discussion titled “A Day in the Life of a Trademark Examining Attorney”. The course will also discuss filing tips, the various forms available and what may work best for you.

Some of the other highlights of the course are:

  • Overview of the Trademark Office including filings, examining process, and review of forms
  • Get tips for filing proper identifications of goods and services
  • Discover how to stay up to date on rule changes, TMEP revisions, and exam guides
  • Learn how to update owner information in the Trademark database

For the last three years, the USPTO has allowed practitioners and law students to actually witness a live Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) hearing.  This year the Intellectual Property Law Section of the ABA and the USPTO are once again, happy to announce there will be another live TTAB hearing, along with tips and advice from judges on prosecution strategies when dealing with the TTAB.

Participants are eligible to receive CLE credit and lunch will be provided. Plus, get to network with USPTO officials and examining attorneys during the lunch break.

To learn more about the 3rd Annual ABA-IPL Trademark Day: Behind the Scenes at the USPTO, visit here.

Periscope. Copyright Infringement. Twitter.


Periscope. Copyright Infringement. Twitter.

Have you heard about the app, Periscope?

Periscope. Copyright Infringement.

Periscope. Copyright Infringement.

This is a video streaming app owned by Twitter.  It is an iOS and Android app, which allows users to live-stream videos to either their friends/followers or out to the public in general. The app allows users to tap an icon on their mobile device and send “hearts” which show appreciation of the broadcast they are viewing. Social media giant, Twitter, purchased the Periscope app from the start-up company that created it for $100 million in March of 2015.

However, Periscope’s launch into the video-streaming arena has not been without controversy, particularly when it comes to copyright law. The app has come under attack by the entertainment industry and from HBO in particular. Shortly after its launch, Periscope users were caught live-streaming the HBO hit “Game of Thrones” out to their friends who weren’t paying for the HBO service. Users of the app pointed their smartphone at the TV and the broadcast went out to friends, and even strangers.

Periscope. Copyright Infringement. Twitter.

Periscope was also accused of promoting copyright infringement and pirating in regards to the recent Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao boxing match. The pay-per-view fight, which aired on HBO, cost up to $100 went out over Periscope.

Analysts in the tech industry anticipated these issues when the app was first released. Twitter, the parent company says it issues strict user guidelines for the app forbidding the streaming of copyrighted material, saying that users who violate the terms of agreement risk termination of their account. But to HBO and other broadcasters, this isn’t quite enough. HBO has issued take down notices to the company in regards to their copyrighted material.

Periscope is just the latest clash between Social Media technology and copyright protection. Since its inception, YouTube has had issues with users posting copyrighted content without permission. YouTube allows people to issue copyright takedown notices, and if users persist in violating copyrights, their channels can be terminated.

The phenomenon that is Social Media and the tech tools used to access it is here to stay, and thus, so are the inevitable arguments over Fair Use vs Copyright Infringement.

Join the conversation on my Twitter Law feed, my Facebook Law Fan Page, my Google+ page, or one of my LinkedIn discussions.




Suits TV Show. Self esteem. Suits USA.


Suits TV Show. Suits USA. 

Suits TV Show. Suits USA

Suits TV Show. Suits USA

Suits – arrogant, cocky, and insubordinate = no self esteem

Ever watch the cable legal drama series, Suits? I have been following the Suits TV Show since it began airing on the USA Network (@Suits_USA) . I loved the first season and I adored the character, Harvey Reginald Specter, played by Gabriel Macht. The second season was a bit disappointing. And for the third season, I am already preparing myself not to waste my time on watching the fourth season.

The entire show has become disturbing. In the beginning, I really liked Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres. As managing partner of the firm, she was the epitome of a strong, confident, beautiful, and successful woman. She was the boss…or so I thought. As the seasons have progressed, it seems that her confidence and authority have steadily become diluted. It’s almost comical how disrespectful her subordinates treat her. For example, Jessica’s paralegal (Rachel Zane Ross) talks to Jessica like crap. One would think Rachel was the managing partner and Jessica was the paralegal. How she gets away with it is beyond reason. If it were me, I’d fire that paralegal and make her pay her own tuition!

And then there is Mike Ross, a lying unethical example of an associate turned partner, who ironically isn’t even a lawyer. He talks to Jessica like she is on the bottom of his shoe. Sometimes my ears perk up when he speaks to her, because I am so shocked that she tolerates his condescending and demeaning manner. Yet, she resolutely stands up to partners in other firms and Senior Partner Harvey allowing.

There is no way, when I worked for a New York firm that I would have been allowed to talk that way to anyone, let alone a senior partner. One consolation is when he tried to pull that crap with Robert Zane, he was put in his place. Thank God for someone with genuine self-esteem.

What is going on here?

In the real world, a woman like Jessica Pearson would not allow subordinates to constantly test her authority. If she did, she would ultimately fail. I am a big believer in giving proper respect to people who have earned it, so this scenario with Jessica is unsettling.

I don’t know if it is the purpose of the show to highlight this, a female boss being belittled, but there is a disturbing trend in this country where people/employees disrespect their bosses/employers, especially if they are female. Many have a sense of entitlement where they don’t believe in the process of gaining respect by way of their actions. Everyone, it seems, wants to be the boss right away, regardless of experience or seniority.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the Jessica Pearson character, it is that some people will not respect you if you don’t stand up for yourself and demand respect. Not in a cocky, arrogant way, but in a way that exudes confidence and strength.

Are you a fan of the show, and if so, what do you think?

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Law FacebookEsteemable Acts Facebook Fan PageLaw Twitter,Esteemableacts Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

Idea Pitch. Movie Script. MTV.


Let’s say that you have a great idea for a product, or even a script for a movie or an idea for a television show. The first thing you do is rush down to the corporate office of the people you want to pitch your idea to and you’re on your way – right?


Idea Pitch. Movie.

Not necessarily!

Pitching an idea or product to someone, without completely understanding what you are getting into, or the rules,  is a risky endeavor that can end in catastrophe–for YOU.

Case in point:

Two Queens, New York roommates are accusing MTV of stealing their idea for a reality show.  In March, comedians Zach McGovern and Stephen Bianchi presented their idea to MTV executives and production company Zodiak Media. Their proposed project called “roommate reset,” centered around two roommates who go around and “rehabilitate” bad roommates.

Not having heard back from MTV or the production company about their project, the friends figured the deal was dead. Then the agent of one of the friends suggested he audition for an upcoming MTV series titled “Grossbusters.” After reading the casting notice, he said he realized that MTV was using their idea.

The roommates promptly hired an attorney who filed papers in Manhattan Supreme Court. Attorney Mark Shirian described his client’s situation as “unfortunate,” saying he hoped both parties mentioned in the suit will “do the right thing and give my clients credit where credit is due.” The lawsuit seeks money damages as well as creator credits.

MTV and Zodiak Media have not commented on the case.

Lost. The Voice.

This isn’t by far the first time people have claimed that their ideas for a television show was ripped off by TV studios and production companies. The hit shows “Lost” and “The Voice,” just to name a couple, were involved in lawsuits claiming they used ideas thought up by others.

There is no substitute for being prepared and having proper legal advice when dealing with your intellectual property. Because you many only get one shot to do it right.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Law FacebookEsteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page,  Law Twitter,Esteemableacts Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.