Technology Law Blog

Do I Need a License to Play Music in My Own Building?

Did you know that playing music in a commercial setting can be copyright infringement?  Listen to this six-minute interview with attorney John Mashni to learn more.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Aereo Loses Supreme Court Copyright Fight, But Does it Have a Future as a Cable Company?

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that streaming television service, Aereo, violated U.S. copyright law. In American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, Inc., the Court overruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, holding that Aereo performs TV broadcasters works publicly within the meaning of the 1976 Copyright Act (the "Act"). Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, News & Events

Kickstarter and Crowdfunding can provide much needed business funds – and a big tax bill

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for creative projects. It has helped a wide range of people fundraise to help finance a variety of projects. Often time people overlook the tax implications to successful Kickstarter campaigns. Check out our Tax Law Blog post to learn more about the tax implications>

Categories: Crowdfunding, Tax

Is customer e-mail data maintained by US companies on overseas servers subject to US jurisdiction?

Microsoft may soon find itself being held in contempt of court after refusing to abide by a U.S. District Court Order, requiring it to produce customer e-mail data stored by the company in Dublin, Ireland.  The United States Department of Justice previously sought and obtained a search warrant for the production of customer e-mail data maintained by Microsoft as part of a criminal investigation relating to narcotics trafficking.

Judge Loretta Preska, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordered Microsoft to produce the e-mail data in July, finding that, although the data was held overseas, it remained under Microsoft’s possession and control, over which the court maintained jurisdiction. Microsoft has yet to comply, claiming that the court lacks jurisdiction over the foreign e-mail data. The judge has since imposed a Sept. 5 deadline for the parties to inform the court on how they plan to proceed. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Privacy

Can Social Media Cost You $5 Million?

I know you've probably heard this before, but it's worth repeating: be careful what you post on social media.

It may be used against you.  For one NFL player, it cost $5 million.  

New Orleans Saints football player Jimmy Graham was recently in a contract dispute with the Saints over whether he should be designated as a "Tight End" or a "Wide Receiver."  While the distinction may seem trivial, it had huge repercussions in terms of salary.  Read More ›

Categories: Social Media

Incoming: Recent News on FAA Drone Approval

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering several petitions for commercial use of low-risk unmanned aircrafts, commonly called drones. Although the most widely-publicized interest in commercial drone use came from Amazon's Jeff Bezos late last year, commercial interest exists for a variety of other uses including both filmmaking and farming. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events

Supreme Court KO's Laches As Defense to Copyright Infringement Damages in Raging Bull Case

Raging Bull is a cult classic boxing film that depicts the life story of Jake Lamotta, a hard-charging, volatile boxer from the Bronx. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert Deniro as Lamotta, a role which garnered Deniro an Academy Award for best actor.

A copyright infringement case involving Raging Bull that has wound its way through the courts recently took "center ring" at the U.S. Supreme Court. In the case, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Inc., the Court considered the question of whether the doctrine of laches is available as a defense to copyright infringement. On May 19, 2014, Justice Ginsberg issued a 6-3 opinion holding that laches is not a defense to a claim for copyright damages. Justices Breyer, Roberts and Kennedy dissented. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright

Cincinnati Who-Dey Ruling is Big Deal for Internet Commerce: Website immune from Ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s Defamation Lawsuit

The gossip website, thedirty.com, is immune from liability for online posts about an ex-Bengals Cheerleader’s sexual promiscuity and acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. In a closely followed decision from a case that has generated considerable media coverage because of its potential to chill online speech and hold internet websites such as Facebook, Twitter and newspaper sites liable, which allow third party users to post content, was reversed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently overturned a jury verdict of $338,000 against gossip website thedirty.com and its owner Nik Richie. Sarah Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC arose after Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher who was subsequently convicted of having sex with a high school student, sued the website after it posted unflattering information about her sexual promiscuity with football team players, she demanded the posts be removed, and the website refused. She filed state law tort claims for defamation and privacy torts and won at trial. The defendants appealed. Read More ›

Categories: First Amendment, Privacy, Social Media

New Michigan Crowdfunding Website

Since the passing of the Crowdfunding Act in December 2013, many questions concerning the applicability of the law have surfaced. This past month, the Michigan Municipal League launched CrowdfundingMI.com, a website pertaining to crowdfunding in Michigan. It is an excellent resource intended to answer basic questions and importantly, aimed to help local businesses connect with investors. The website provides general information, along with frequently asked questions, and tutorials regarding the benefits of crowdfunding Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Will the Government Force the Redskins to Change their Name?

On June 18, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark in its team name, concluding that the term "Redskin" was racially offensive and derogatory towards Native Americans. 

Under the Lanham Act, Federal Trademark Law prohibits the registration of trademarks that "may disparage" individuals or groups or "bring them into contempt or disrepute."  In a controversial 2-1 decision, the USPTO agreed with a group of petitioners who claimed the team name was disparaging to Native Americans, and thus was not permitted to receive the protections afforded by trademark law. The Washington Redskins plan to appeal the decision and have responded by saying that the term is meant to honor Native Americans and is not considered offensive by many. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Trademarks