The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Cloudflare Wins Summary Judgment in Copyright Case

As has been noted before, it’s particularly hard for rightsholders to nail down exactly who to blame for copyright violations on the internet. There's the obvious answer — the people who are actually committing the infringement — but they can be hard to actually track down and are typically just one of thousands doing similarly bad things, so stopping them doesn’t do much to solve the problem on a larger scale. And so many of those rightsholders go after those who serve as middlemen and women for the legion of copyright infringers, be they platforms or internet service providers or any other service that has some incidental role in the act, even without direct knowledge. 

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Copyright Case Highlights the Risks of Stock Photos

A point we’ve made on this blog and website is that you have to be careful when using anything on your website that you haven’t created yourself, or that you haven’t paid someone to create for you (while ensuring they sign over the rights.) Admittedly it’s not a message that the internet as a whole has caught onto, although there is some distinction between some person reposting pics on Instagram and what gets posted on business websites, with names and addresses and people that can ultimately be sued if they’re not careful. 

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Model Sues Twitter Over Copyright Infringement By Algorithm

It’s probably not easy to be famous in the age of social media. Certainly it’s easy in the most obvious ways that have carried over for decades: money and some measure of power and certainly free stuff sent to your well-appointed home and invites to the best parties and premieres. But with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and TikTok as the most prominent means of communicating, people can say and post what they want about you (short of the legal definition of libel) and given that fame it’s likely to be tens or hundreds of thousands or even into the millions of mentions you’re getting every day. Which is good when the mentions are good, but when it comes to control of your own image, it’s an uphill battle. 

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Marvel Tries To Stop Copyright Termination On Iconic Characters

With a few possible exceptions, it’s hard to imagine that most of the creators of wildly popular innovations know that their ideas are going to be a hit when they first put them out into the world. (The inventor of the wheel, on the other hand, probably knew they landed on a winner pretty quickly.) As such, our recent history is littered with stories of creators signing away the rights to their work for little more than a pittance, only to see that creation go on to be worth millions of dollars in the hands of someone else. 

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Non-Profit TV Service Shuts Down Upon Losing Copyright Case

Despite the proliferation of streaming services, there's still a market for broadcast television, as evidenced by the fact that cable packages remain a thing, albeit a diminished thing, and that there are ever more options that offer customers the channels they love served to them over the internet rather than through a cable box. Most are legitimate — YouTubeTV seems to have a healthy subscriber base, as does Sling and other competitors — but there has been a strain of fly-by-night options that can seem too good to be true, often because they flout the established rules regarding licensing and copyright and all the other hoops that mainstream services have to worry about. 

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Disney's Expiring Copyright Gives Rise to 'Famous Mouse' Token

The public domain is, broadly speaking, a good thing for both consumers and creators, although the creators of the original work passing into the public domain might feel differently were they still alive to put up a fuss. Regardless, it’s useful to have works that become available for smart folks to offer their own take and interpretation. And it’s the law as written, so like it or not artists have to accept that their art will one day be made available to the public to do with as they please.

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Who Owns The Copyright On The Moon?

Questions of ownership have always plagued human existence, dating back to countless wars over tracts of land that more or less continue apace today. They’re also fought in the intellectual property space now, a less bloody but sometimes equally contentious arena. And much like the aforementioned wars, they have as much to do with avarice and rapaciousness and a generally unthinking, reflexive need by some to control as much as possible.

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Cannabis Company Facing Copyright Suit From Sacha Baron Cohen

If you look hard enough, you can find celebrities or pseudo-celebrities endorsing all sorts of products. If you have enough money to splurge on the requisite fees, stars of stage and screen and the athletic arena will pitch your wares to audiences, and the more money you have, the bigger the star will be. I don’t know that I’ve ever been swayed by a celebrity endorsement precisely for the fact that I know they’re being paid for their endorsement, but the star factor is enough to at least have the ad and brand stick in my brain, which may be what these companies are hoping for after all. 

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Sony Music Takes On Gymshark Over Infringement In Ads

It’s hard to sell the idea of working out to people who aren’t already committed to the concept. No one is disagreeing on the benefits of looking and feeling better, but the cost of time and sweat and agony isn’t something many of us are eager to pay. How then can fitness companies sell to those who are hard to persuade? By making working out seem cool.

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Record Labels Take On Charter Communication Over Copyright Infringement

Combating copyright infringement on the internet must seem like an impossible task if you’re a rightsholder, whether you’re a solo creator or a major studio with a dedicated team. As it turns out, a system created for the dissemination of information and data, when turned towards copyrighted material, can spread those songs or images or films far and wide, making it next to impossible to track down every person who may have pirated that work. Such is the nature of the beast, and to try and undo it would be akin to putting the proverbial toothpaste back in the tube.

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The Newest Olympic Event: Copyright Hammer Toss

Depending on your level of engagement, the Olympics can be an all-consuming event for the two or so weeks it’s on every two years. It’s typically everywhere on TV across a family of networks, unless you’re NBC and more interested in making viewers jump across websites and channels and platforms called Peacock to find their event of choice as though that hunt was an Olympic event in and of itself. And in recent iterations, it’s all over social media, as viewers share the best or at least most interesting moments of the day’s events. 

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Nintendo Wins Judgment in Infringement Case, Gets Nothing

It’s not uncommon to see corporations go after fans who are engaged in infringement of that company’s intellectual property, and it’s easy to understand why even if you don’t always agree: every business wants full control over their IP and how it’s used and sold, and these fans are taking money out of the pockets of said business or using the IP in a way that the company doesn’t agree with, or often both. And it’s usually the case that these corporations prevail; after all, they have both the legal rights to that IP as well as a legal team to see out these cases, whereas individuals are probably put in some degree of financial distress just to afford a single lawyer for their case. Which raises an interesting question: what exactly are these corporations getting out of the lawsuits they pursue against individuals?

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EU Sides With YouTube in Copyright Infringement Challenge

It’s nothing new, but the role and responsibility of social media platforms when it comes to the behavior of its users is something that will probably be contested until such time as the internet ceases to be a thing, which at this point seems concurrent with the end of humans as a species. Platforms profess to be little more than middlemen and -women, understandable not wanting to be responsible for the behavior of tens or even hundreds of millions of users, most of whom are shorn of the inhibitions that otherwise constrain them in real life. Arrayed on the other side are governments and rightsholders and anyone else troubled by the notion of a digital world largely free of the laws that govern civil society. 

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Will Suns Fever Bring Copyright Concerns?

It’s a common thread in IP stories that fans — those passionate, dedicated individuals that make up the core constituency of any successful product, particularly in entertainment — don’t know and often don’t care all that much about trademarks and copyrights when it comes to their fandom. The law surrounding IP isn’t something that most people are all that familiar with in the first place, and in the heat of their passion they’re not about to go digging about on the USCO or USPTO websites to see what they can and can’t do. And passions can run high particularly in sports, where there are wins to celebrate and results to measure, and as wins mount the fervor grows.

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EU's Copyright Filters Fail to Protect Users

In a past life I was a student of governance and politics, and while that pursuit left me with little to show for it beyond a considerable raft of student loan payments, I did learn some important truths about how laws and rules actually work. There is of course the law as it’s proposed and written, the version of the law that is passed, and the law as implemented and interpreted. It’s in the latter stage where things can go a bit sideways, if they haven’t already done so previously, and where no small amount of public frustration with bureaucracy is born. 

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Spurious Copyright Case Against Netflix, 'Outer Banks' Dismissed

I’m not privy to the thoughts of smart, creative people, but if I had to guess there are many ideas and stories bouncing around at all times, and enough creatives in the world to guarantee that there is going to be overlap between ideas, or similar ideas that occur concurrently, without any theft or misappropriation. Who could forget the summer of Dante’s Peak and Volcano, or the very next summer of Armageddon and Deep Impact? The point is that coincidences happen, and that we had a real taste for natural disaster movies in the 90s. 

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Instagram Faces Copyright Suit Over Embed Policy

If you’re of a certain age, you’re probably familiar with the many practices that were necessary to circumvent ownership and copyright in the halcyon days of the 1990s (and earlier). Given that many of us were too young to think about the relative morality of what we were doing, or to even be aware of copyright, taping songs off of the radio onto a cassette, or using the two-VCR method of making copies of the tapes you rented from the local video store was something you did without compunction. The point isn’t about the advance of technology or the relative behavior of kids decades ago, but rather that means of working around copyright protection have always existed, and persist to this day.  

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Are Copyright Filings Spoiler Material?

If you’re someone who prefers to go into a movie or show cold, with no knowledge of what might happen, then you’re living in challenging times. Regardless of how you feel about the concept, we’re in the age of spoilers, inescapably and ineluctably. Avoiding knowing how the hottest show or biggest movie of the moment involves staying off the internet entirely, which is wholly inconvenient; conversely, if you’re the impatient type who just has to know the big twist or shock ending, there are plenty of places to go to get the information you’re looking for — including, improbably, the Copyright Office. 

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