• You Don’t Have to Parody the Owner of the Mark

    by  • April 18, 2014 • 0 Comments

    The Office of the Lieutenant Governor for Louisiana owns a state trademark registration for LOUISIANA PICK YOUR PASSION: The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which is under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, also registered the word mark PICK YOUR PASSION with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. MoveOn.org used the...

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    Four Agreements, No Standing

    by  • April 14, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Today’s post is another of the many currently-pending lawsuits by photographers against textbook publishers (recursive link) for under-reporting the number of copies of books that were published. In this case, the defendant publisher Pearson Education challenged the standing of plaintiff Viesti Associates, Inc., a stock photo agency. Viesti had four different agreements with photographers,...

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    Sometimes Everyone DOESN’T Know What It Means

    by  • April 10, 2014 • 0 Comments

    I have often wondered about the distinction commonly used in photography contracts for “editorial” use. I never quite knew what it meant, but then I’m not a specialist in that industry. Industries have their own terms of art and I figured that everyone who works in photography knows what kind of use crosses the...

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    9th Circuit Agrees with Copyright Office

    by  • March 27, 2014 • 0 Comments

    There is a rash of lawsuits brought by photographic agencies against textbook publishers, claiming that the publishers underreported the number of copies of books that were published. The publishers are fighting back and there are two main grounds for attack—that the requirements for registration were not met and that the individual photographers’ assignments to...

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    Words Matter

    by  • March 24, 2014 • 2 Comments

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” William Goldman, The Princess Bride (1973). I’m starting a new category of posts, about agreements where their wording, upon examination by a court, didn’t manage to do what the parties probably had set out to do. First up...

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    The Deposit Copy Doesn’t Define Your Ownership

    by  • March 16, 2014 • 1 Comment

    The case is several months old, but still worth writing about: it’s a cogent explanation by a court of appeals about the scope of copyright registration for joint works. The case is complicated with many issues, but I’ll only relate the part of the story relevant to ownership and registration of copyright. In 1993,...

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    It’s Not That Hard

    by  • March 14, 2014 • 0 Comments

    It’s not a hard concept—to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit you have to own a copyright. Nevertheless, getting that right seems to be a challenge sometimes. Today’s version of the challenge is ownership of the copyrights for works created by Earl Vernon Biss, Jr., who died in 1998 – here is his biography on...

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    How Not to Manage a Brand

    by  • February 17, 2014

    I’m very interested in C.F.M. Distributing Co. v. Costantine, a case about a failed franchise and a son’s effort to revive it. The effort failed because there were so many former uncontrolled licensees that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held (as affirmed by the Federal Circuit) that the applicant was not the owner...

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