The Traklight Blog

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

Italian Festival In Trouble for Improper Attribution

The internet can seem at times a terrible, negative place, but it can also be a tremendous resource for collaboration and sharing. People the world over are willing to take the time and effort to create fantastic works of art, photography and video, and many are willing to share them with everyone with no desire for compensation. Others ask simply that users attribute the material they use and follow a licensing agreement. While that may not seem a particularly onerous requirement for the free use of others' works, many companies and individuals still manage to get themselves in trouble by not reading those agreements. 

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Google Wins Key Decision in API Fair Use Case

Given the omnipresence of technology in our lives, tech giants like Google manage to touch almost every aspect of society to some degree. And you can't be as big as a Google or an Apple without running into a few issues. We've previously written about the copyright case that Oracle had filed against Google, in which a court had ruled in favor of Oracle in the company's assertion that APIs are copyrightable and that Google had violated their copyright in using parts of Java APIs of their Android platform. The ruling allowed for Google to mount a fair use defense for their usage of the APIs, and the matter headed back to district court for a ruling that was issued late last month.

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Rock Band Upsets Cartoon Creator With Potential Copyright Infringement

In the world of films both short- and long-form, you can often see the influence of other works in what a particular artist brings to the screen. Many artists craft original works that still manage to evoke the look or sound or feel of a piece of art that influenced them in some way. In its purest form, many would cite that evocation as homage rather than copying. But in certain cases, mimicking a particular style in your work can be seen as copyright by the original artists, and that can cause an unpleasant dispute.  

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Supreme Court Rejects Fair Use Challenge Against Google Books

In the modern marketplace, consumers like to be able to have an idea of what they're purchasing. From free samples at the grocery store to free 30-day trials for software and apps, the though is that being able to try something before you have to put down hard-earned money will make consumers more willing to try something and hopefully like it enough to eventually pay for it. For book lovers, the idea of sampling before purchasing is a long-standing tradition. Walk into the few remaining brick and mortar bookstores and you'll see people sitting in chairs and benches reading books and magazines from off the shelves. Find a book that you might be interested in buying and you'll inevitable skim a page or two to see if the prose appeals to you. And online book shoppers will still be able to enjoy the same sampling thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

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Facebook Introduces Rights Manager to Combat Infringement

technology-785742_1280.jpgSocial media is a great way to connect to a large audience. It allows for individuals and companies to share content with people all over the world. But the inherent danger that comes with such a large audience is the increased number of people who might misappropriate your creations. The relative anonymity that you can find online emboldens many to steal video, audio and pictures from others. Now Facebook is introducing a tool to try to combat copyright infringement on the platform. 

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Google Copyright Takedown Requests Increase Yet Again

In the modern age, Google has become the repository of almost all knowledge. There's hardly a fact or story or video that can't be tracked down with the right search. Given how much is online these days, it comes as no surprise that Google and other content hosts have to deal with copyright issues. But recent reports on the number of complaints is both shocking and concerning. 

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Warner Music Reaches Settlement over "Happy Birthday" Lawsuit

Birthdays are a special time for most people. They offer the chance to celebrate another year, and for people to celebrate you as well. There's usually gifts, cards, a cake, and the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday." Generally speaking, songs like "Happy Birthday" have been around so long that most of us don't give much thought to where they originated, almost assuming that somehow they've always just existed. But those songs and others that exist in the collective consciousness have an origin, and a writer somewhere back in time. And understandably, the estates of those writers want to make sure that the legacy of those songs is protected. 

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CBS and Paramount Issue Prime Directive to Stop Star Trek Fan Film

When it comes to geek culture, passion is what drives the industry. Sure, making money is ultimately the bottom line, as it is in every other industry, but those dollars come from passionate fan bases that are invested in shows and films and books that they love. One need only look at the recent success of The Force Awakens to see that passion on display. It is that investment that has allowed many of these franchises to maintain such a long life. The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977. Doctor Who has been on and off the air for over half a century. And Star Trek is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, a show that has become synonymous with zealous fans. But the studio behind Star Trek is less than thrilled with fan-made projects springing forth from that zeal.

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Big Bang Theory Facing Copyright Lawsuit

Given today's media landscape, it's hard for television shows to gain the sort of popularity that their predecessors did in decades past. The one show that has come closest to the notoriety of its network sitcom predecessors is The Big Bang Theory. GIven how fragmented viewing audiences are, the show is as close to a cultural touchstone as we may have, regularly topping the ratings and views on streaming services. But now TV's most popular sitcom finds itself in a copyright lawsuit over one of its songs.

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Spotify Up Against Class Action Suit for Copyright Infringement

Streaming services have become the latest step in the evolution of how we consume content. People are no longer encumbered by physical copies of the movies they want to watch or the music that they wish to listen to. That is especially true for music: not only do you not need to carry around your CDs or your iPod, you don't have to own the work in order to listen to it, thanks to services like Spotify. All Spotify asks of its listeners is to listen to ads every few songs, or pay a nominal fee for the ad-free version of the app. But a recent lawsuit may shake up the way that millions of people get their music.

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Is the Media Taking Advantage of Your Ignorance of Copyright?

There are 500 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day and 40 million photos are posted on Instagram every day. (Source)

Impressive figures, but why do they matter? They matter because they represent opportunities, some that have been missed. With tens of hundreds of millions photos uploaded to social media every day, there's bound to be infringement on your content. Yes, YOURS. Let me explain in more detail below.

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Katy Perry Copyright Case Jumps The Shark

Ever since the Super Bowl halftime show, the costumed "Left Shark" has gyrated his way into the nation's heart. Not since a fateful office party has such poor dancing propelled someone to such heights of fame. In the week plus since the big game, "Left Shark" has become an internet meme used for just about every conceiveable purpose. You'd even bet money on shark costumes being the big seller this Halloween save for the relatively short lifespan of such novelties. Given the relative lack of longevity of such sensations, it was inevitable that some would try to cash in as soon as possible. One 3-D printer's attempt to do just that has prompted Katy Perry's lawyers to shut him down faster than Amity Island.

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What Does Intellectual Property Mean for Small Business?

How is intellectual property defined? Intellectual property (IP) pertains to things you create with your mind, not the ideas themselves, but the expression of the ideas in some form. An idea all by itself in your head, is not IP.

If you created something original, you may have a certain degree of protection against someone else using, claiming, modifying, or selling it. There are four common types of IP: copyrights, patents, trademarks (including design rights), and trade secrets. Every once in a while we like to recap these four intellectual property types and distinguish them for our readers. Enjoy!

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Is This Browser Extension Violating Copyright?

For as much fun as college can be, one of the least pleasant aspects of attending university is purchasing textbooks. As a student, you have the distinct privilege of paying hundreds of dollars for books that you'll only use for a brief period, *cough* if at all *cough*. And while yours truly was unlucky enough to attend college during the nascence of eCommerce, today's students have a litany of options when it comes to ordering books online and finding the best price. But one startup's price-comparison tool has a major textbook company threatening legal action.

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Worst IP Mistakes in 2014, Part 2

This is the second of three posts (read Part 1 here) on the Worst IP Mistakes made in 2014 by some companies we spoke with last year.


I have written on this before but multiple questions about using open source code keep coming up with clients and in presentation question and answer. A couple of concepts are involved but at the root is copyright and the related licensing terms and conditions.

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Sony's Copyrighted Material Leaked, Possibly by North Koreans

In today's increasingly interconnected world, data security is as great of a concern as it has ever been. Even since an enterprising Ferris Bueller altered his attendance records to afford himself a day off, hacking has become far less farcical and far more malicious. From personal information to financial data, seemingly nothing is safe from the reaches of digital piracy. And one of Hollywood's largest studios has fallen prey to this scourge.

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From #Instagood to #Instabad and Back to #Instagood Again

I know it can be annoying or often downright difficult to figure out what is fair use and what is not fair use of copyrighted material, but that never means it is 100% free to distribute or even rebrand it as your own. If you think about it, adhering to the rules of protected intellectual property (IP) is really just a complicated version of a lesson we all learned in kindergarten: Don’t take what isn’t yours. 

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Software Copyright Infringement | Oracle Vs. Google

We take a lot of things for granted when it comes to technology. We don't bat an eye at our ability to press a couple buttons on our computer and print a document, or that we can touch an icon on our phone and open applications that provide us directions, news, or pictures of what people had for dinner. For that connectedness and interactivity, we have application programming interfaces to thank. Simply put, they enable different applications to communicate with one another, creating a digital ecosystem where your iPhone works with your Twitter account, which links to your Facebook account, and both are linked to your Instagram...you get the idea. But a court ruling this year has thrown the future of open source platforms into tumult.

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