November 2: Amateur Hour Conference in NYC

Get CLE Credits! See me twirl plates on sticks while humming “Saber Dance” by Khachaturian! From the NY Law School website:
On November 2, 2007, the Amateur Hour Conference (www.nyls.edu/amhr) will convene leaders in business, law and technology to address the opportunities and challenges of user-generated creativity to traditional media, entertainment law, and business.
From television (YouTube and Revver) to advertising (Craigslist and consumer-made TV ads) to movies (Machinima) to photography (Flickr and iStockPhoto) to news (blogs and citizen journalism), technology is enabling amateurs to produce and distribute high-quality product that people want to watch, read, consume, buy, and re-use. Media and entertainment businesses are faced with a range of business, legal and management issues that are both new and challenging. This conference seeks to bring together all the players in this new media environment to discuss the future of user generated content and existing media businesses.
Among the questions that will be explored at this year’s conference are:
What are the innovative legal arrangements that can be deployed to channel amateur production and distribution for success and profit?
What are the legal risks in giving your output to people who are not under your control?
What new business models enable traditional businesses and amateur contributors to collaborate?
How can new markets for participatory media be created capitalized upon?
What are the latest tools, technologies and online platforms to enable user-generated creativity and successful business?
Please join us at New York Law School for this first Amateur Hour Conference. By bringing together attendees from law, business and technology, the event promises to be educational and entertaining. Participants will be eligible to earn CLE credit.


Counterfeit Chic: Knockoff News 70

Counterfeit Chic: “Knockoff News 70


Dot Name: Relationshp Between Cybercrime And Paid Whois?

Wired: “Dot-Name Becomes Cybercrime Haven
“The domain name system has grown bigger than it was ever planned to be, is doing more than it was ever intended to do and does it proudly,” Evron said. “But the governance around it has become profit-based, and we have no fallback system to handle criminal organizations and countries that abuse domain names.”


9th Cir: You May Continue To Discuss Trademarks Amongst Yourselves

Freecycle Network v. Oey – Defendant stated that Freecycle Network’s FREECYCLE mark was generic. District Court issues an injunction that such claims were a violation of the Lanham Act without doing much of an analysis of any particular provision of the Lanham Act. People like me participated as amici pointing out various problems with the District Court decision. 9th Circuit overrules.
Thorough 43(B)log discussion of the decision here.


Settlement in Seattle Furniture Trade Dress Dispute

Seattle Trademark Lawyer: “Bourne Ultimatum: Vancouver Importer Settles Trade Dress Case.”


Prof Lessig on the Flickr/Virgin/Creative Commons Suit

Prof Lessig: “On the Texas Suit Against Virgin and Creative Commons.”
“Slashdot has an entry about a lawsuit filed this week by parents of a Texas minor whose photograph was used by Virgin Australia in an advertising campaign. The photograph was taken by an adult. He posted it to Flickr under a CC-Attribution license. The parents of the minor are complaining that Virgin violated their daughter’s right to privacy (by using a photograph of her for commercial purposes without her or her parents permission). The photographer is also a plaintiff. He is complaining that Creative Commons failed “to adequately educate and warn him … of the meaning of commercial use and the ramifications and effects of entering into a license allowing such use.” (Count V of the complaint).”


Separation of Church and Brand?

The Seattle Trademark Lawyer has a post on Kerusso, a seller of Christian-themed t-shirts. Several of its reported best-sellers are based on well-known trademarks. STL points to two Ninth Circuit cases, the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. v. Penguin Books USA, Inc., 109 F.3d 1394, 1405 (9th Cir. 1997), and the Barbie Girl case, Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 901 (9th Cir. 2002), to conclude that these are likely infirnging uses. To put it simply, the shirt uses the Deere logo (for example) not to mock Deere but to get attention, and therefore is not a permissible parody.
However, to refer out loud to the elephant in the room, a trademark owner protesting such a usage runs the risk of being seen as anti-First Amendment and anti-religious expression. This can be handled in part by emphasizing that Jesus Christ is not a named party to an infringement suit but Kerusso Activewear, Incorporated, would be.


Lawsuit Over Use of Flickr Photo – And Creative Commons Is Named

Dallas News: “… Mom Sues Virgin Mobile Over Teen’s Photo
What would you do if a company grabbed a goofy picture of your kid off the Internet, slapped some snarky text on it and used it to sell mobile phone service half a world away?
Susan Chang decided to sue.

Extremely muddled legal discussion in article that misses the significance that Creative Commons, promulgator of the Creative Commons license, is a named party.


Yes, DONTTAZEMEBRO.COM Was Registered Yesterday

Alexander Shkirenko
489 Lindbergh Place NE
Suite 938
Atlanta, Georgia 30324-3357
United States
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Created on: 18-Sep-07
Expires on: 18-Sep-08
Last Updated on: 18-Sep-07


Jack Thompson v Take Two

I’m late to reporting about the, well, maybe vendetta is the right word, for the on-going dispute between lawyer Jack Thompson and video game publisher Take Two, which distributes Grand Theft Auto. Take Two has apparently sued Thompson in the past over ‘nuisance’ lawsuits, and now Thompson alleges that Take Two has modeled a character after him in the new GTA. His letter to Take Two is worth reading.
For a blast from the past, here is an amicus brief submitted in the Tony Twist case which refers to an author’s right to model fictional characters on real people. One of the signers of the brief was Michael Crichton, who availed himself of this right, as described here.