The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on on-line intellectual property piracy.  A recent blog post described the hearing held on February 16, 2011.  One might be skeptical when a report purports to suggest that internet piracy costs 2.5 million jobs or goods valued at over $650 million, but the wary might do well to be concerned about the scope of the investigation.

It is one thing-- and probably a good one-- if the topic of discussion is counterfeit products, especially those such as pharmaceutical products that implicate health hazards.  However, the hearing also ranged from counterfeiting to other types of infringement, to keyword advertising, to "piracy."  These are all different topics, far too broad to be swept under one rug or covered in one bill.  The issues raised by counterfeiting are fundamentally different in nature from the public policy considerations-- addressed by the courts regularly-- that arise in keyword advertising disputes.  And it is not proper to talk about "infringement" as "piracy."  In short, the issues are nuanced, with different factors to be considered for different aspects of intellectual property infringement.  Congress would do well if it took the time to understand these nuances, and to legislate accordingly.

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Categories: Intellectual Property

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The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on on-line intellectual property piracy.  A recent blog post described the hearing held on February 16, 2011.  One might be skeptical when a report purports to suggest that internet piracy costs 2.5 million jobs or goods valued at over $650 million, but the wary might do well to be concerned about the scope of the investigation.

It is one thing-- and probably a good one-- if the topic of discussion is counterfeit products, especially those such as pharmaceutical products that implicate health hazards.  However, the hearing also ranged from counterfeiting to other types of infringement, to keyword advertising, to "piracy."  These are all different topics, far too broad to be swept under one rug or covered in one bill.  The issues raised by counterfeiting are fundamentally different in nature from the public policy considerations-- addressed by the courts regularly-- that arise in keyword advertising disputes.  And it is not proper to talk about "infringement" as "piracy."  In short, the issues are nuanced, with different factors to be considered for different aspects of intellectual property infringement.  Congress would do well if it took the time to understand these nuances, and to legislate accordingly.

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Categories: Intellectual Property

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Barbie Rockin' without Permission

Posted on December 28, 2010 07:06 by David H. Levitt

According to the article appearing on DRI Today from Courthouse News, Mattel/Barbie are once again heading to court.  The Hard Rock Barbie series sought permission from Cyndi Lauper and Joan Jett for dolls modeled after them, but neglected to seek permission from Patricia Day of HorrorPops for this version.  It is noteworthy that Ms. Day has chosen Indiana as the venue for her right of publicity lawsuit.  The right of publicity is a creature of state law, not federal law, and Indiana is considered by many to have among the most far-reaching right of publicity statutes.  The choice of law decision by the federal court will be interesting, since Ms. Day is from Denmark (the Complaint does not allege in which U.S. state she resides) and the target defendants are based in California (Mattel) and Florida (Hardrock International).  In addition to the right of publicity, the lawsuit also claims false association and false endorsement as a violation of Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act.

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Categories: Federal Law | State Law

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