Copyright vs Trademark vs Patent

Copyright vs. Trademark vs. Patent

Copyright vs Trademark vs Patent

“Intellectual property” covers a wide range of business assets, such as books, screenplays, photos, movies, computer software code, inventions, and formulas. Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are the main types of intellectual property. Federal law provides strong protections for the creators of original works, inventors, and licensors of IP rights, but the law is complex. In fact, people often confuse copyright, trademark, and patent because each kind of intellectual property protects creators or licensors against unauthorized use or infringement by others, but they do so in different ways. If you are involved in an intellectual property dispute, you need to have a solid understanding of what the law says with respect to copyright vs. trademark vs. patent.

To learn more about the differences between copyright law, trademark law, and patent law, keep reading this blog.

What’s the Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents?

Intellectual property can be an extremely valuable business asset. That’s why it is important that only the rightful owner of the asset’s IP rights be allowed to exploit the intellectual property for profit, whether that involves selling it or licensing it. The three most common tools used to protect the intellectual property rights of certain types of assets are:

  1. Copyrights
  2. Trademarks
  3. Patents

Copyrights

As set forth in the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright protects original creative works like novels, songs, paintings, videos, photographs, drawings, clothing, jewelry, and even websites. Only the copyright holder may copy, sell, perform, or display the work for profit, or license the work to someone else for commercial reproduction, distribution, performance, or display.

When it comes to securing copyright ownership, the original creator of a work technically doesn’t need to do anything to acquire the copyright of that work. But there are a number of benefits only available to those who actually register their copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. For example, if someone does infringe on your copyright, you will first need to file for copyright registration before you can bring a lawsuit in federal court to enforce your copyright. Additionally, copyright registration will probably make it easier for you to back up your case in court because there will be a public record of the copyright claim: all officially copyrighted works published after 1978 are deposited with the Copyright Office and entered into an online database.

Trademarks

While copyright applies to original works of authorship, a trademark covers unique words, phrases, slogans, symbols, and designs that can be used to identify a good, product, or service. A requirement for a company trademark is that the name or logo being trademarked should distinguish the product or service from any other products or services. For example, the product name for Coca-Cola is trademarked because it stands out from all other soft drinks on the market, and everyone who hears the name knows exactly what it refers to.

Just as with copyright law, a trademark does not actually have to be registered in order to get trademark ownership. Even without registering the trademark, you can still use common law to protect against trademark infringement by competitors who attempt to copy the look of your product and pass it off as their own. Just as with copyright law, however, official registration of your trademark comes with certain advantages, including the ability to file a lawsuit in federal court to enforce your trademark against unauthorized use.

To get trademark protection solely within your home state, or in the state where you conduct business, you must register with that particular state. To get federal trademark protection that crosses state boundaries, you must file a trademark registration application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Once you’ve registered your trademark, you will be allowed to use the registered trademark symbol (®). Otherwise, you are limited to the common law trademark symbol (™).

Patents

Generally speaking, patent law protects inventors by giving them the exclusive right to make, use, copy, or sell their inventions or discoveries, or to license their inventions to another person or entity. Obtaining a patent can be extremely difficult, and it often requires the assistance of an experienced intellectual property lawyer.

Unlike with copyrights and trademarks, the only way to avail yourself of patent protection is to apply for and be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the same agency that handles trademark applications. Absent patent registration, the formula or process used in the invention may be considered a “trade secret.” The main advantage to obtaining a patent is that you can then sue anyone who infringes the patent by using or selling your invention without consent. But patent registration does come with a significant downside: you must publicly disclose the unique process or composition of your product. For certain companies that wish to maintain trade secrecy (e.g., pharmaceutical drug manufacturers), this can present a dilemma.

Contact the California Intellectual Property Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP

If someone has infringed on your exclusive intellectual property rights, or if you have been accused of violating someone else’s intellectual property rights, your best move is to speak with a knowledgeable IP lawyer immediately. The California intellectual property attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP, with a main office in Los Angeles, are prepared to help you bolster your IP claim or build a strong defense against an accusation of copyright or trademark infringement. Call us now at 310-590-3927 or fill out the online contact form below.

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Copyright Ownership

Determining Copyright Ownership

Copyright Ownership

When it comes to determining copyright ownership, it helps to understand exactly what a copyright is and who can benefit from a copyright. Copyright is a form of intellectual property that provides the creators of original works of authorship with protection against infringement by competitors or anyone else who is not authorized to use, display, or present the work for profit. The general idea behind copyright protection is that painters, photographers, filmmakers, authors, and other artists will be motivated to continue producing if they know that no one else will be able to steal or otherwise misappropriate their work. Importantly, it is only the author of the work, or a person to whom the author has licensed their IP rights, who can legally claim copyright ownership.

To learn more about how to determine who owns a copyrighted work, keep reading this blog.

Who Owns the Copyright for a Creative Work Generally?

Copyright protection applies to most creative works, including films, book manuscripts, photographs, songs or sound recordings, and even computer software. If you have created one of these types of works, then it will typically be assumed that you are the person who holds the copyright. If you were not the author and you want to have the copyright assigned to you, it is best to do so in writing. That’s because mere possession of a work – even if it is the only copy of that work – is not the same as copyright ownership. In other words, if the author sells you the actual work (e.g., an original book manuscript), that might not be the same thing as selling you the work’s copyright ownership.

The bottom line is that, in the absence of a contract to transfer the copyright, the default rule will usually be that the copyright is owned by the work’s original author or creator.

Who Owns the Copyright for Joint Works?

A joint work is defined as an original work that was created by two or more people. Copyright disputes can arise when a work has more than one author because each of the authors is considered a co-owner of the copyright. This means that each author has the ability to license the copyright, as long as they share the licensing profits with the other copyright owners. It is also possible for joint authors to reach an agreement in advance of publication, or after the fact, to transfer sole ownership of the copyright to a single person.

Copyright Ownership of Works Made for Hire

In certain situations, it’s not the actual author of the work who gets copyright ownership but instead someone else who derives their intellectual property rights from the original author. For example, if the author was an employee who created a work for hire during the course of their job duties, then it is usually the employer who gets copyright ownership and who can profit off the work in the future.

Works Created by Employees

Section 101 of the United States Copyright Act addresses works made for hire. As set forth by the statute, a work that was prepared by an employee acting within the scope of their employment constitutes a work for hire.

Works Created by Non-Employees

What about works created by non-employees, such as independent contractors or freelancers? The federal copyright law stipulates that, in these situations, an employer may be the copyright holder of a work if that work was specifically commissioned for use in one of the following ways:

  1. A contribution to a collective work.
  2. Part of a film, video, or other audiovisual project.
  3. A translation of another work.
  4. A supplement to another work.
  5. A compilation.
  6. An instructional text.
  7. A test or answers to a test.
  8. An atlas.

Keep in mind that even if the work fits into one of the above categories, there should still be a signed agreement between the parties in order for ownership of the copyright to transfer from the original author to the company or other party. The presence, or absence, of a written contract stipulating that the work is, in fact, a work made for hire will go a long way toward determining copyright ownership.

Involved in a Copyright Dispute? Contact the Los Angeles Copyright Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP

If you are involved in a copyright dispute, the Los Angeles copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP can help you. Our legal team has experience representing clients in intellectual property cases involving copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and other IP claims. Call us now at 310-590-3927 or submit the online contact form below.

Do you have a copyright case?

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Copyright Registration

What Are the Benefits of Copyright Registration?

Copyright Registration

Copyright protection is a vital part of ensuring that your creative work is not used or appropriated for profit by someone else without express authorization. In fact, one of the reasons that copyright laws exist in the first place is so that authors, musicians, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and others have a financial incentive to create original works of authorship, and so that they don’t have to worry about their hard work being stolen after the fact. One of the best ways to make sure that your work is granted copyright protection and is safeguarded against intellectual property theft is by registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Although copyright registration is not technically a requirement for protection under federal copyright law, it is often a very good idea, and it also provides the copyright holder with many advantages.

What are the benefits of copyright registration? Keep reading to find out.

Filing for Copyright Protection with the U.S. Copyright Office

The primary function of the United States Copyright Office is to maintain all of the country’s records of copyright registration. When someone needs to determine whether a particular work has been formally copyrighted, they can search for the work’s chain of title in an online Copyright Catalog on the U.S. Copyright Office website. All copyrighted works published since 1978 are entered in the online database.

If you are the author or owner of a work, you can apply for copyright registration by filling out an application form (called a Certificate of Registration), paying a filing fee, and submitting a copy of the work that will be deposited with the Copyright Office and that will be viewable on the agency’s website. When you file your Certificate of Registration with the Copyright Office, you will need to include certain information on the form:

  • The title of the work for which you are seeking copyright protection.
  • Important dates, including the year in which the work was completed and the exact date on which the work was first published.
  • The country where the work was first published.
  • The name and address of the person or company who identifies as the copyright claimant.

The copyright application can be submitted online with the Copyright Office, or a paper application can be downloaded from the website and then mailed to the agency. You are allowed to do this at any point after creating the work. Additionally, if you register the copyright before the work has been published, you will not have to re-register the work after publication.

The Advantages of Copyright Registration

Although you can still receive copyright protection even if your original work is not officially registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, it is often a good idea to do so. Copyright registration can provide you with a number of important benefits, including the following:

  1. You are required to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office before you can bring a copyright lawsuit in federal court. However, you can do this at any time – even after you learn about the copyright infringement.
  2. Copyright registration will create a public record of your copyright claim, which can be important later if there is ever a legal dispute about when the work was first created and by whom.
  3. Early registration (typically within three months of the work first being published) can give you more options when seeking damages later in a copyright lawsuit. For a work that was already registered, you can pursue statutory damages and attorney’s fees if you win your legal action, in addition to actual monetary damages caused by any copyright infringement.
  4. Later registration (within five years of the work’s publication) may create a presumption in your favor if the copyright is ever disputed through litigation. Basically, anything you stated on the Certificate of Registration will be assumed to be true.
  5. Copyright registration will give you an additional tool if a copyright infringer ever attempts to import unauthorized copies of your work from foreign countries. You will need to provide a record of your registration to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Responding to Copyright Trolls

Registering your book, screenplay, film, photograph, song, or other work with the United States Copyright Office comes with a number of benefits. Regardless of whether your work is officially registered, however, you can still be targeted by copyright trolls who claim that you do not have a right to use the work. If you have received a copyright cease & desist letter or DMCA takedown notice, you need to speak with a copyright defense lawyer immediately.

Contact the L.A. Copyright Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP Today

The legal team at Tauler Smith LLP includes Los Angeles IP attorneys who have experience responding to copyright demand letters and dealing with copyright trolls. You can call us anytime at 310-590-3927 to discuss your case. You can also submit the online contact form below to schedule a consultation.

Do you have a copyright case?

Contact us for free evaluation.


Copyright Duration

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

Copyright Duration

Copyright protection exists to ensure that the creators of original works of authorship, such as movies, photographs, and novels, are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, so to speak. As set forth by U.S. copyright law, creative artists and authors are generally afforded the exclusive right to profit from their work for a certain period of time. The idea is that people will be motivated to create works that benefit society if they know that they, as well as their descendants, will be able to generate income from the creation, performance, and public display of those works in the future. But how long does copyright protection last? Keep reading this blog to find out.

The U.S. Copyright Act and the Length of Copyright Protection

While the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to pass laws that protect copyrights, it is the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 that sets a time limit for federal copyright protection. According to the statute, the creators of original works of authorship can only have this protection for a certain amount of time before the works enter the public domain and can then be used by anyone. Until that happens, however, only the original author is allowed to sell copies of the work or display the work in public for a profit. When a copyright dispute arises, one of the first questions that almost always gets asked is this: is the work still subject to copyright protection, or has the copyright protection expired?

The precise duration of copyright protection depends on the answers to a number of other questions, including the following:

  • What type of creative work is it?
  • When was the work created?
  • Was the work published? If so, when was it first published?
  • Were there any copyright renewal procedures for the work that needed to be followed?
  • Were there multiple authors?
  • Was it a “work made for hire”?
  • Do we know the identity of the work’s author, or was the author anonymous?

Copyright Duration for Works Created After 1978

The default rule for any work created after January 1, 1978 is that copyright protection lasts for a period of either 70 years from the date on which the original author died. This is also the length of copyright protection for any work created prior to January 1, 1978, as long as that work was not published or registered until after 1978.

Additionally, the length of copyright can vary according to the answers to the questions listed above.

Type of Creative Work

The term of copyright protection follows the same rules for most types of creative works, including literary works, photographs, and films. However, there are some exceptions. For example, sound recordings were affected by the Music Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2018. The legislation established date ranges (e.g., 1923-1946, 1947-1956, 1957-1972) with different durations for audio recordings and musical compositions.

Identity of Author

Anonymous works (as well as works where the author used a pseudonym) created after 1978 have a copyright duration of either 120 years from the date when the work was created or 95 years from the date when the work was initially published, whichever expires first. However, the default length of 70 years after the author’s death will apply if, at any point, the author’s identity is revealed through an official registration of the work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Joint Works

When the work had multiple authors, the copyright lasts for the life of the last surviving author plus an additional 70 years after that author’s death.

Works Made for Hire

Works created by an employee during the course of their employment are subject to different copyright rules because it is the employer who is technically considered the legal author of the work for the purposes of federal copyright law. Works for hire have the same copyright duration as works created anonymously: either 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation.

Copyright Duration for Works Created and Published Before 1978

Things get more complicated for works that were created and published before 1978 because of subsequent intellectual property laws that allowed for automatic copyright renewal. Since these creative works already had federal copyright protection prior to 1978, they are generally subject to the U.S. Copyright Act of 1909 when it comes to calculating the length of copyright protection. The initial term of protection was 27 years from the date of first publication, with copyright protection able to be extended with renewals. These renewals became automatic with the passage of the U.S. Copyright Renewal Act of 1992.

Contact the California Copyright Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP

Do you want to know how long the copyright will last on your creative work? Do you have another question about your intellectual property rights? The Los Angeles intellectual property attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP can assist you. You can call us anytime at 310-590-3927, or you can fill out the contact form below.

Do you have a copyright case?

Contact us for free evaluation.


Copyright Cease & Desist Letters

Responding to Copyright Cease and Desist Letters

Copyright Cease & Desist Letters

One of the most common tactics used by copyright trolls is sending a cease and desist letter demanding that you stop using “their” intellectual property, as well as insisting that you owe them a substantial amount of money for any use that has already occurred. These letters are ostensibly supposed to put you on notice about a copyright violation, but they are often abused by individuals and companies who are simply looking to make a quick buck by threatening a frivolous copyright lawsuit. Responding to copyright cease and desist letters usually requires a solid understanding of intellectual property law, which is why it is imperative that you speak with an experienced California copyright lawyer before communicating with the other party in your copyright infringement case. An attorney can draft an effective response to the letter, as well as ensuring that you don’t make any damaging admissions that might be used against you later if the case goes to trial.

For more information about how to respond to copyright cease and desist letters, keep reading this blog.

What Does “Cease and Desist” Mean?

The legal definition of “cease and desist” is to prohibit a person, company, or other entity from starting and/or continuing a particular action. Basically, the sender of a cease and desist letter wants the recipient to stop doing something. In the context of a copyright infringement claim, the objective of a cease & desist letter is to get the alleged infringer to bring an end to their unlawful use of a copyrighted product or service. For example, if you are accused of publishing a photograph on your website or social media account without authorization to do so, the photograph’s copyright holder may send you a DMCA notice alleging that you violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and demanding that you take down the photo by a specified deadline. The letter might provide information about the sender’s copyright registration, as well as screenshots of the alleged unauthorized use by the recipient of the demand letter.

Most cease and desist letters include some kind of warning – either implied or explicit – of legal action if you fail to stop the conduct and/or refuse to compensate the original copyright holder for your use of their intellectual property. This last part is what a copyright troll is likely to focus on: getting paid a few thousand dollars. Moreover, since they are often represented by aggressive intellectual property attorneys, many copyright trolls are able to effectively use the threat of a lawsuit to get the recipient to settle the case quickly.

The Best Response to a Cease & Desist Letter Accusing You of Copyright Infringement

Since a cease and desist letter typically comes from an individual or company and it precedes litigation, its “demands” are more like “requests” that you are not legally required to respond to or comply with. Only when a court issues a cease and desist order that enjoins your use will you actually have to stop using the intellectual property. But a strong response to the cease & desist letter may be your safest course of action. The reality is that many copyright cease and desist letters are sent by copyright trolls attempting to intimidate and bully the recipient into paying the sender in order to avoid costly litigation. Even if you have a right to use the intellectual property, such as a fair use exception for non-commercial use of an image or video, the threat of legal action can make it difficult to fight back against a copyright troll with vast financial resources. That’s why your initial response to the cease and desist letter is so important: it may be your best chance to stop the IP litigation dead in its tracks and avoid the need for costly legal action.

The best answer to a cease and desist letter is usually one that convinces the other party to drop their claim. You may want to point out any facts favorable to your case, including any copyright exceptions that justify your IP use, statute of limitations issues, or the existence of a licensing agreement that allows for your use of the original work. Additionally, having your response drafted by an attorney will send a powerful message to the other party that you are not going to simply back down and pay them. If you respond to the letter on your own, and without the assistance of a qualified lawyer, you might not be taken seriously.

IP Licensing Agreements

In some copyright cases, the sender of a cease and desist letter is looking to enter into a licensing agreement where the recipient can avoid litigation by agreeing to pay a fee to the copyright owner for licensed use of the intellectual property. Depending on the circumstances, an intellectual property attorney may be able to assist with those licensing negotiations so that you can minimize liability and still retain your ability to use the image, video, or other type of intellectual property at issue.

Contact the Los Angeles Copyright Attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP

Whether you’ve received a cease and desist letter alleging copyright infringement, trademark infringement, patent infringement, or any other type of intellectual property violation, you need to speak with a qualified attorney immediately. The Los Angeles copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP understand the nuances of IP law, and we have experience dealing with copyright trolls. We are prepared to help you draft a strong response to the copyright cease and desist letter.

Call the Tauler Smith legal team today at 310-590-3927 or submit the contact form below.

Do you have a copyright case?

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Best Copyright Infringement Defenses

5 Best Defenses Against Copyright Infringement Claims

Best Copyright Infringement Defenses

Original creative works can provide valuable revenue streams to their authors. That’s one reason that copyright can be used to protect original works in certain tangible mediums (e.g., movies, books, photographs, and computer software) against unauthorized use. Unfortunately, copyright trolls often attempt to take advantage of the law by pressuring others into cash settlements. When this happens, the party on the receiving end of a copyright demand letter will need to respond immediately – or risk a costly lawsuit. The experienced Los Angeles copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP can help you mount a strong and vigorous copyright defense.

To learn more about the 5 best defenses against copyright infringement claims, keep reading this blog.

Responding to DMCA Notices from Copyright Trolls

A lot of copyright infringement claims are brought by copyright trolls. These are people who strategically sue individuals and businesses with the goal of pressuring the defendant into quickly settling the case in order to avoid expensive litigation. For example, a copyright troll might send a DMCA notice to a website owner or social media influencer alleging that they violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by publishing an unauthorized reproduction of an image, video, or text.

Whether it’s a copyright troll, or perhaps someone with more merit bringing a copyright or other type of intellectual property claim against you, most claims will start with a copyright infringement letter or takedown notice. How you respond to the initial claim will likely determine the next steps, which could include negotiating a settlement with the other party or contesting the copyright claim in federal court.

What Are the Most Common Defenses Available in Copyright Infringement Cases?

If the case does go beyond settlement negotiations and eventually reaches the litigation stage, it may be necessary to raise a strong defense at trial. These are some of the most common defenses available in copyright infringement disputes:

Defense #1: There is no substantial similarity between the original work and the new work.

One of the main tests used by courts to determine whether copyright infringement has occurred is the substantial similarity test. A work can only be found to have exploited another work’s copyright if both works are “substantially similar.” This means that, despite any superficial similarities, the two works are so strikingly similar that the second work could only have been copied from the first work.

Defense #2: Use of the work was licensed.

Even if you did not create the original work in question, you may still have a right to use, distribute, reproduce, or perform that work if you secured a copyright licensing agreement. Depending on the terms of the IP transfer, the licensed use might not have constituted an infringement of the copyright.

Defense #3: The fair use doctrine applies.

The Copyright Law of the United States explicitly provides for exceptions when copyrighted material is being used for certain purposes, such as news reporting, research, scholarship, commentary, and criticism. Courts use a balancing test to determine whether a particular use of the work constitutes a “fair use”:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is for commercial purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work, such as whether the work has already been in the public domain or whether there is a public interest in ensuring that the work is available to everyone.
  3. The amount or substantiality of the portion used, such as when a website quotes a few sentences from a much longer publication.
  4. The effect of the particular use on the work’s value.

Judges typically determine whether a specific use constitutes “fair use” by looking closely at the precise facts and circumstances of the individual case. The reality is that two similar uses of an identical work could yield entirely different results in court. That’s why it is crucial for anyone looking to raise this defense in a copyright infringement lawsuit to have an experienced copyright attorney on their side.

Defense #4: The plaintiff does not own the copyright.

In order to sue for damages, the copyright troll must be the “owner” or “exclusive licensee” of the copyrighted work. Often, copyright trolls send letters demanding money (and sometimes file lawsuits) when they are not the owner or the exclusive licensee. Tauler Smith LLP has won copyright cases on this basis, and the knowledgeable L.A. copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith can get to the bottom of who owns the images in question.

Defense #5: The statute of limitations has expired.

The statute of limitations in most copyright infringement claims is three (3) years. However, there is some question as to when the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations. For instance, courts have held that the statute of limitations restarts after each new violation, meaning that a copyright owner could delay filing suit as long as they are only pursuing damages from the last three (3) years. Additionally, most courts have ruled that a copyright owner must first discover the violation before the statute of limitations begins to run.

Contact the Los Angeles Copyright Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP Today

The damages in a copyright infringement lawsuit could be substantial, which is why you need to act immediately when you are first notified of an alleged violation. Your first step should be to speak with one of the Los Angeles copyright lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP. Our legal team has experience responding to copyright claims on behalf of our clients and protecting them against copyright trolls.

If you’ve received a copyright demand letter, call us today at 310-590-3927. You can also fill out the contact form below to schedule a consultation.

Do you have a copyright case?

Contact us for free evaluation.


Bitcoin

BitClout Raises Intellectual Property Concerns

Bitcoin

With the Bitcoin and NFT bubbles continuing to grow, a new crypto-based company has hit the market looking to capitalize on the investment wave. Instead of investing in a business or product, BitClout offers users a new investment option that is described by its owner as a “new type of social network that lets [users] speculate on people and posts with real money.” Backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors, like Sequoia Capital and Winklevoss Capital, BitClout’s creators hope that it is poised to have a bright future.

However, BitClout is not without controversy over some of its current business practices, some of which may raise intellectual property concerns. To learn more about the possible legal issues posed by BitClout, keep reading this blog.

What Is BitClout?

BitClout users deposit Bitcoin into the platform in exchange for BitClout currency, or creator coins. The value of these coins is based on the reputation or popularity of the celebrity profile the user chooses to invest in. The more popular the profile, the more valuable the creator coin. In theory, if there is a new indie band that a user believes will break into the mainstream, the user can purchase the band’s creator coin now while the cost is low; as the band’s popularity increases, so will the value of the coins the user has purchased.

While users can deposit BitCoin in exchange for BitClout currency, there is currently no way for a user to cash out should they want to do so. The founder of BitClout hopes to have a currency exchange in the future but has no specifics on how or when they will be able to offer a cash-out option. BitClout appears to be a volatile investment, offering the potential for a quick rise and equally quick fall in investment value, with no way for users to cut losses and cash out.

Legal Issues Posed by BitClout

Another point of controversy surrounding BitClout is their aggressive growth strategy, in which their network was pre-populated with profiles from the top 15,000 public Twitter profiles. Influencers like Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk had profiles created without signing up for or agreeing to the platform. While the founder of BitClout says this was done to prevent user impersonation or handle squatting, the company is currently using the private information of celebrities and influencers without their expressed consent.

One influencer, Brandon Curtis, has already served BitClout founder Nader Al-Naji with a cease-and-desist letter for using his personal information without consent. Curtis is arguing that it is the individual’s right to profit from his or her own identity, and to choose what organizations they collaborate with. Depending on the outcome of Curtis’ intellectual property case, it is possible that many of the other pre-populated profiles on BitClout will also seek to be removed from the platform.

Contact the California Intellectual Property Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC

Tauler Smith LLC is a Los Angeles law firm that represents clients in intellectual property disputes, including cases involving copyright infringement. If you believe that you are a victim of a copyright violation, or if you have been accused of a copyright violation, our experienced IP attorneys can help you. Call or email us today to discuss your legal options.

DMCA Takedown Notices

Using Section 512(f) to Fight DMCA Takedown Notices

DMCA Takedown NoticesCopyright trolls have become a serious problem in recent years, with more and more people using outdated copyright laws to take advantage of an internet and social media landscape that is constantly changing. Using a decades-old law that pre-dated YouTube (let alone hundreds of thousands of fan sites on Instagram), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows anyone to send automated notices to social media sites claiming that they own copyrights on content used by certain accounts on the sites. The objective of malicious DMCA trolling is typically to shut down the victim’s social media account. This is most commonly done because of personal jealousy, animosity, and/or retribution. Unfortunately, social media sites and their users are often powerless to do anything about it.

Could there be a new tool in the arsenal of copyright lawyers who look to aggressively defend individuals against fraudulent DMCA takedown notices? Keep reading this blog to find out.

What Is Section 512(f) of the DMCA?

The drafters of the DMCA statute wanted to prevent abuse of the system, which is meant to protect legitimate copyrights. So, they included a subsection called “Section 512(f),” which allows victims to sue if they are served with a DMCA takedown notice that is fraudulent.

Until recently, however, this provision in the law has not been put to good use by copyright defense lawyers. Since the DMCA was enacted in 1998, Section 512(f) has been only a “weak counterpressure on sending DMCA notices,” according to many commentators. In fact, one leading writer stated bluntly, “Section 512(f) of the DMCA is effectively dead.”

Hope for the Future of Section 512(f) as a Tool to Fight Copyright Trolls

Despite the long history of Section 512(f) being largely ineffective at stopping fraudulent DMCA takedown notices from copyright trolls, a recent order from the Central District Court of California has breathed new life into Section 512(f) and provided some measure of hope that victims of DMCA fraud can make dishonest people pay for their misdeeds.

Contact the California Copyright Defense Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC Today

Have you been served with a DMCA takedown notice? The Los Angeles copyright defense lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC can help you. Contact us anytime by calling 310-590-3927, or by filling out the contact form below.