The IP Breakdown

A Legal Blog by Aaron | Sanders, PLLC

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A New Kind of DMCA Abuse? Or Just Things Working as They Should? Earlier this week, a spotlight was shined on a fairly obscure part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It involved a comedian, a funny video she made, a song called (I’m assured) “Slob on My Nob,” the Carol of the Bells, and some media company called Barstool Sports. You can read the story in any number of outlets, but I’m going…
Back in the eighties, the United States entered into the Berne Convention, a widely adopted international treaty to do away with a lot of the weird formalities that used to exist around copyright protection. Those formalities made it really easy for a content owner to lose protection, like if they accidentally published a copy of their work without the (c) symbol on it. Most of those formalities were dropped under the Berne Convention, but the…
To wrap up this short series about the dangers of written integrated contracts—see here about contracts meaning what they say, and here about “quantum contracts”—I’d like to put the lessons into a hypothetical that might feel a little familiar to you. Once Upon a Time There Was a Brave Little Startup… Let’s say you’re a SaaS1 provider. You have some clients, but you haven’t hit it big yet. One day, a Very Large and…
Assume Contracts Mean What They Say—But Only if You Can Tell What They’re Saying Last time, I warned about the dangers of “integrated” contracts, how they will sometimes vary from your expectation of what you agreed to, and how you’re in trouble when you try enforce what you thought you agreed to. A contract is “integrated” if it’s in writing and it contains a clause saying that the writing is all there is to…
And if You Didn’t Get a Provision Put into a Written Contract, Don’t Assume it’s Enforceably “There” At the IP Breakdown, we blog about trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets, privacy, the Stored Communication Act, and other stuff like that, because “IP” is in our name—and “IP” means whatever we dangwell think it means. But even we would have to agree that “IP” doesn’t mean contracts. Yet, this post will be about contracts and not about…
The Tao of Trademark, Man The judge in Vynamic, LLC v. Diebold Nixdorf, Inc., starts his opinion with a little trademark zen: Just how similar is “VYNAMIC” to “VYNAMIC”? That is the question posed in this trademark infringement case. It might surprise you to learn that this question is so difficult that the judge didn’t answer it. Perhaps it would be helpful to know what the parties do for a living. The plaintiff, Vynamic, LLC
Is Copyright Law a “Turnkey” Solution? The ReDigi dispute has been going on since 2011. If you don’t believe me, you can read my blogs about it dating to then. I wrote an explainer last time about the Second Circuit’s recent decision against ReDigi’s marketplace for re-selling “used” digital files. But while the ReDigi case was pending, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that was somehow simultaneously unremarkable and astonishing: Aereo. And…
This is an explainer of a decision you may have heard people talking about: Capitol Records v. ReDigi, Inc. Can you re-sell digital content you’ve legally acquired over the internet? The Problem: How Can You Re-Sell Your Digital Content? I’ve been blogging about the ReDigi case since 2011—before the lawsuit was even filed. At first, I was just fascinated with the question of whether there can ever be a secondary market for digital goods. And…
Oh, What a Tangled Web! Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to … go into business with our friends.1 And that business involves software. Some strands are easily torn asunder, but those of intellectual property can end up binding you ever closer to your adversary! This week’s lesson is brought courtesy of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and its decision in Oliver2 v.
A Critique of the NMPA’s and RIAA’s Joint Brief in the “Stairway to Heaven Case” As I explained last time, in their joint friend-of-the-court brief in the “Stairway to Heaven” case, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) raised two substantive points: 1) the “Inverse Ratio” rule should be abolished because it is more distracting than useful, and 2) the copyright in the arrangement of non-protectable…