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.
Last month I reported what some very good news regarding new federal securities regulations that went into effect in September that conditionally allow start-ups and small businesses to use Internet advertising and other mass marketing means to raise investment capital for businesses. The new rules were promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as a part of the implementation of “Title II” of theJumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”).
While Title II of the Jobs Act lifts an eighty year ban on public advertisement of private stock sales, it did nothing, unfortunately, to change the equally long standing federal law that prohibits offers to sell stock or other securities except to qualifying high net worth individuals and companies defined as “accredited investors”. The law that will finally allow the actual sale of non-publicly traded stock and other securities to non-accredited investors over the Internet is Title III of the JOBS Act. And as I opined in my last article, Title II of the JOBS Act may well be groundbreaking in its own right, but it is Title III of the JOBS Act that has the greatest potential to ignite a true investment capital revolution by legalizing equity- based crowdfunding in the United States.