Music is a big part of just about every kind of entertainment. It is, for example, an integral component of most motion picture productions from mega-budget movies to micro budget indie films. Even a relatively large segment of adult videos include music. Online, the use of music is exploding all over the Web. From YouTube content, to online games, to the music playing in virtual world discos, music has become an integral feature of many types of web sites and other online services. For example, music is being used with increasing frequency in web ads, site tours and in online promos for an ever-increasing range of products. Paraphrasing an old Rodgers and Hammerstein song, one might rightly say that the web “is alive with the sound of music”.
Earlier this year, in my article entitled “Warning! Net Neutrality Terminated! This Is Not A Test, ”I discussed how a recent federal court ruling has set the stage for potentially unprecedented regulatory changes that might well spell the end of the Internet as we know it. Specifically, the article focused on the ruling in Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission  (“Verizon v. FCC”) that effectively ended net neutrality.
For those not familiar with the concept of net neutrality, it is the principle that all types of data, regardless of type, source or destination, should be transported and delivered evenhandedly by broadband providers. In essence, net neutrality means broadband providers, such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, are not supposed to play favorites by increasing or decreasing data transmission speeds for particular Internet-based services or companies. Net neutrality requires Internet service providers to treat all the traffic in their pipes the same way, no matter what amount of traffic particular users might generate. All traffic, even the traffic generated by a company like Netflix, which by some estimates is up to 30 percent of all North American traffic during peak hours, would have to be treated the same way as the online traffic generated by a typical small business.
We live in an age of unprecedented consumer access to a nearly limitless amount of content. As a result, sellers of goods and services have been challenged like never before to find ways to reach new customers amid the relentless deluge of information. And as the competition for eyes and ears has intensified, so has the importance of effective branding and brand-building.
For more than two decades, as an attorney and business consultant, I have helped a wide variety of companies develop, exploit and protect their brands. While the process of effective branding and brand-building is by its nature always unique for each company, one critical element is common to virtually every branding and brand-building program: the acquisition and effective use of trademark rights. To help our readers gain a better understanding of how important trademark rights are, I asked attorney Anna Vradenburgh, one of the country’s preeminent trademark attorneys to do the following interview in which we discuss how companies can effectively create, protect and exploit valuable trademark rights as a part of an effective brand-building program.
Unlike producers of non-sexual content, adult content producers must comply with a complex and burdensome set of federal criminal regulations known as the “2257 Regulations”. For those who are not familiar with the 2257 Regulations, they are a pair of statutes (18 U.S.C. §2257 and 18 U.S.C. §2257A) and associated regulations (28 CFR 75 et seq.) that require producers of sexually explicit content to create and maintain very specific kinds of records in precise accordance with certain specified requirements. The law also requires that certain specified compliance statements must be affixed to content subject to the 2257 Regulations indicating where the records are available for unannounced inspection by the FBI.
Most types of live and recorded visual depictions of actual or simulated explicit sexual material are potentially subject to the 2257 Regulations. Consequently, knowledge of, and compliance with, the 2257 Regulations are mandatory requirements for every adult content producer. Underscoring the importance of these obligations is the fact that failure to scrupulously comply any one of the numerous provisions of the 2257 Regulations can subject a producer to severe penalties.
Obtaining a desired domain name is a critical part of modern commerce. Unfortunately, all too often a company or a person will register a domain name and use it without sufficient consideration of whether doing so will infringe another’s trademark or service mark. This can be a very costly mistake. Registration of a domain name that is identical or similar to a trademark or service mark can trigger a lawsuit brought by a trademark or service mark owner under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA’) or an arbitration procedure brought under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”).
A recent federal appeals court ruling has underscored, once again, why it is so important for content producers to properly acquire intellectual property rights from persons providing creative contributions to their content. In Garcia v. Google, Inc., Case No. 12-57308, an actress successfully obtained a court order forcing the takedown of a motion picture from YouTube even though she did not own the film’s copyright and was only briefly depicted in the work.
Cindy Lee Garcia was hired to perform a minor role in a scene shot for an adventure film that was not the work published on YouTube. The project, entitled “Desert Warrior,” was never completed. But the scene Garcia shot for the movie was used instead in an anti-Islamic film titled “Innocence of Muslims.” In the film her brief performance for Desert Warrior had been altered by the producers to include partially dubbed over dialog in which she appears to be asking, “Is your Mohammed a child molester?” Stating the obvious in his opinion, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, “these, of course, are fighting words to many faithful Muslims.”
By Gregory A. Piccionelli
We live in the age of information. It is an extraordinary time, unlike all others, where literally billions of people have access to an unprecedented amount and scope of content. Amid it all is a relentless deluge of advertising information that has challenged sellers of goods and services like never before to find a way to somehow stand out and “get through the noise” to reach new customers. As the competition for eyes and ears intensifies, so too does the importance of effective branding and brand-building.
For more than two decades, as an attorney and business consultant, I have helped a wide variety of companies develop, exploit and protect their brands. While the process of effective branding and brand-building is by its nature always unique for each company, one critical element is common to virtually every branding and brand-building program: the acquisition and effective use of trademark rights. In this article, we will explore some the basics of trademark rights protection that are critically important for any effective branding program.