Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy World Intellectual Property Day

The theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day is “Designing the Future.” According to the remarks of the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), “With today’s increasing emphasis on ecologically sound living, 'designing out waste' is now an aspiration shared by many creators. The designs of the future will necessarily be green, and the intellectual property system will encourage designers to produce them, by helping to protect original designs against unauthorized copying and imitation.”  

My vote for a clever, recent sustainable design is Studio Aisslinger’s, Yill, a mobile energy storage unit that can store enough energy from solar panels and other renewable sources to power a modern workstation for two to three days without cords or cables. 

Studio Aisslinger
Image from Studio Aisslinger’s website.

Do you have any cool sustainable designs you’d like to share?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Event: Legal Issues for Dance Companies

The New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Bar Association are presenting a free, all-day symposium on legal issues for dance companies at NYU School of Law (RSVP required). Topics include copyright ownership of dances, business entities and accounting, and contracting with collaborators. More information at http://www.nyfa.org/level3.asp?id=841&fid=2&sid=78. I will be there for sure!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Artist visa renewals get easier for UK applicants

Good news for artist visa holders from the UK: when it's time to renew your visa, the US Consulate in London may reissue the visa without you having to attend an interview in London. In order to qualify, you have to meet certain requirements such as having provided a full set of fingerprints when you last applied for your visa. More info on eligibility for the expedited process is available here, from the consulate's website. Hopefully, other US consulates will start following the London consulate's lead!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hardcore Infringement

Oh the irony!  Back in January, I brought you the story of a Dutch court whose decision in a copyright infringement lawsuit plagiarized (and possibly infringed) another lawyer's work. Well, those fast and loose copyright attorneys are at it again. A Chicago lawyer named John Steele has filed a lawsuit suing hundreds (if not thousands) of file-sharers for copyright infringement on behalf of First Time Videos LLC, "a leading producer and distributor of adult entertainment content within the transsexual niche." But Mr. Steele sets a poor example for all the porno buffs out there who just got sued. According to Ars Technica, the complaint that Mr. Steele filed with the court is itself a glittering monument to infringement, with swathes of text lifted word-for-word from complaints filed by another company, the U.S. Copyright Group. Fortunately for Mr. Steele, the U.S. Copyright Group doesn't mind. Says Tom Dunlap, who wrote the filings that Mr. Steele infringed, "I don't know Steele but I'm flattered he likes my pleadings."

In Mr. Steele's defense, he's not an expert in copyright law. He makes his bread and butter from matrimonial cases and his number (if you happen to be in northern Illinois) is 1-800-DIVORCE.

via Ars Technica.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, the Innovative Design Protection and Privacy Prevention Act

Early this summer, I wrote a post about how fashion designers are bereft of copyright protection. Turns out, Chuck Schumer and the Council of Fashion Designers of America are trying to do something about it. In August, Senator Schumer introduced proposed legislation into Congress that, if passed, would extend limited copyright protection to fashion designs. Specifically, the new legislation would protect any fashion design from being copied for a period of three years from the date the fashion design is made public. You can read the bill here.

Clearly, a lot of designers are in support of the proposed legislation. On the other hand, Johanna Blakley, our fashion theorist in a bullet-proof vest from early this summer, points out that "right now, designers pore over vintage magazines and patterns and visit museum archives in order to find inspiration for the next season’s look, cherry picking design elements that feel fresh and in line with the current zeitgeist. It’s a refreshingly open process unhindered by legal consultations. Those archives could become battlefields where litigants try to find evidence to support their assertion that a design is or is not unique. The geeky librarian in me is worried that some powerful people may attempt to limit access to particularly rich collections of design history and some unscrupulous types may destroy or hide rare materials that prove that their new design isn’t as unique as they claim."

Monday, August 16, 2010

The perils of licensing defunct texts

The unfortunate thing about our present copyright system is that some copyright owners are easy to find and some are not. I wrote previously about how this phenomenon affects academics, so I really enjoyed a recent blog entry entitled "Don't do Art History" by Mary Beard, a professor of classics at Cambridge, about her harrowing experiences trying to get rights to reproduce photos from the Soprintendenza of Pompeii and other characters.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Everything you ever wanted to know about artist visas

I get a lot of questions about artist visas so I added a page on my website about them (plug for my law practice: artist visa preparation is one of my practice areas).

View it at www.justinlynchlaw.com/artist_visas.html.