A Troll Is Born

In May of 2016, a Facebook Live user named Kali Kanongataa offered the world something uplifting, graphic and intimate: the birth of his son for all the world to see. According to Kanongataa, he had originally attempted to share the live broadcast only with his Facebook connections, but mistakenly broadcast to all of Facebook — […] Read More

Hotel California: A Great Song, a Great Title, But a Great Hotel?

Here’s the case of a dark, desert highway with, perhaps, a cool wind in your hair:  The Eagles Ltd v. Hotel California of Baja. It concerns a hotel in Mexico that had been opened in the 1950s under the name Hotel California. The owners decided to stop using that name and retitled the property “The […] Read More

A Friend of a Friend Said… You Should Actually See a Lawyer

The other day a client sent me two pictures. One was of a someone else’s textile design, and the other was my client’s own rendering of it. The client said “We copied our design from their design. Can you tell us whether it’s infringing?” Rather than respond to the email, I called my client and reminded him […] Read More

“UL” is Not in the Public Domain. Don’t Mess with Certification Marks!

What two words are worth $500,000 each? In the case of HOVERBOARD® The Space Chariot, those two word are “UL Certified.” (Yes, HOVERBOARD is a federally registered trademark; while it appears to be on the road to becoming generic, that’s a topic for another day.) Why they are called HOVERBOARDs is beyond me. They clearly […] Read More

Breitbart’s Biggest Enemy is the Truth…Including Todd Bigelow’s Copyright

A lawsuit was recently filed in the Southern District of New York that isn’t exactly fascinating for its merits, but it does speak to the perennial issue of intellectual property rights: the erroneous but popular idea, even among commercial users, that “if it’s on the internet, it’s free to use!”   In Bigelow v. Breitbart […] Read More

5Pointz: The Intersection of Intellectual and Real Property

  Anyone who has had the pleasure of riding outbound LIRR trains from New York’s Penn Station over the years probably remembers a memorable sight: the 5Pointz graffiti artist showcase emblazoned on the exterior walls of some aging factory buildings in Long Island City. Having reached at least a tacit deal with the owner of […] Read More

No Trademark? No Problem

An interesting case was recently decided in the Southern District of New York called Charisma World Wide Corp v. Avon Products. It appears to be a case over intellectual property rights, but decided without relying on intellectual property law. The case was over a technical analysis as to whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction […] Read More

It Takes All Sorts of Torts, Indeed!

A copyright dispute late last year forced a holiday play to go dark before the Rockefeller Center tree was ever lit. The suit centers around the play Who’s Holiday by Matthew Lombardo. No, the dispute is not over the apparent typo in the play’s name. Rather, it is that the defendant’s play is based on […] Read More

Before I Pay You for Copyright Infringement… Who Are You, Anyway?

Readers of my blog know that I’m generally in favor of enforcing copyright. If you’ve got the goods on someone and those are your rights, you should be entitled to collect for it — or at least stop it. Likewise, if you’ve been called out for infringing, the right thing to do is usually to […] Read More

To Boldly Go Where No Nerds Have Gone Before…

To boldly go where no nerds have gone before… In Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. the U.S. District Court for Central California was presented with a case of fan fiction gone awry. A small studio called Axanar Productions set out to produce a piece of Star Trek fan fiction centered around an obscure […] Read More