Archive for the ‘Copyright’ Category

How to File a DMCA Take-Down Request to Google

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

GoogleGoogle is now offering a copyright infringement removal of Google search returns from the search index that are allegedly infringing on the copyrights of others. Google’s Infringement Notice is very straight forward to fill out. It asks for such information as contact information, country/region of the individual completing the form, a written description of the copyrighted work including the text excerpted for the URL, the URL where the copyrighted work is located on the web, the URL of the alleged infringing material, sworn statements and a signature. Google may also send the take-down notice to the Chilling Effects project, which publishes the action filed with Google after it redacts any personal information.

However, to complete such a notification report to Google, you should be aware that making such a report could expose you to liability for damages if such representation is false. Some people do not know that there are ‘fair use’ defenses under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which does allow for limited use of copyrighted materials. Google warns in its form that ‘if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.” So, if you are not positively sure whether the online search returns are, in fact, an infringement, the experienced internet attorneys at Traverse Legal can assist you with all the details that are needed in this take-down request, or can also help you with the Counter Notice in response to such a Take-Down Request Notice. Don’t expose yourself to additional legal complications by possibly making false misrepresentations of copyright infringement or not providing the proper information to defeat such a Notice.

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The Question When Filing a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Is Where To File It?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

With copyright infringement lawsuits being filed more often, federal courts are divided in their belief of whether a copyright infringement claim is valid and a lawsuit warranted based on if the claimant’s copyright registration is completed or still in preregistration.

Federal courts, like the Ninth and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, uphold that just the mere filing of the copyright application is sufficient to sustain the copyright infringement claim being made.  However, other federal courts, like Third and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals, maintain that the claimant must have a completed copyright registration in order to sue for copyright infringement.

Until the Supreme Court hands down a decision on whether just a preregistration of a copyright application is sufficient to claim copyright infringement, or whether a completed application is required, it is critically important to correctly decide which federal court is the best to file a lawsuit in based on the stage a copyright registration application is in, and providing that such court has jurisdiction over that case.  The experienced attorneys at Traverse Legal can properly decide which court will be the proper place to file based on case information, facts and jurisdiction for this type of matter.



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You Need to Own the Copyright in Order to Allege Copyright Infringement

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

     One of the most common things that we see as copyright lawyers is a scenario where someone is depicted in a photograph doesn’t want that photograph posted on a website. Sometimes it is a photograph of a person in a provocative situation. Sometimes an ex boyfriend, girlfriend, or lover has accessed a photograph and posts it on a website.

     The first thing a qualified copyright lawyer is going to do is determine who really owns the copyright to that photograph. Typically, the copyright is owned by the person who actually takes the photograph. So if you didn’t actually snap the picture, you may not have credible copyright claims. If however, your employee took the photograph, and they took the photograph as part of their employment, you in fact may have copyright clams. If you have a work for hire agreement in place with the photographer, then again you may have copyright claims.

     If you don’t have appropriate copyright claims to use in order to take down a photograph from a website, you may need to go in a new direction. If the picture is of you, you might be able to claim an infringement of your name and likeness for commercial purposes. Misappropriations of name and likeness claims are not as clean cut as copyright. You will need to speak with an Internet law attorney in order to understand what kind of leverage you might be able to use in order to get a photograph taken down from a website which you don’t want posted there. There are a variety of websites such as the “” which will happily host and upload a naked picture posted by your boyfriend. You need to understand all of the various options before trying to have the photograph removed. These websites are extremely sophisticated and understand when and if they need to do anything to help you out.

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Have You Been Accused of Copyright Infringement: What Precautions Should You Take to Avoid Being Accused

Thursday, October 10th, 2013


Matt: Hi, it’s Matt Plessner, and welcome to another installment of Copyright Law Radio. Today we are going to be talking about something that has kind of been a controversy on and off for quite some time. A while back in the earl 2000′s, sites came up like Napster, Morpheus and Grokster and stuff like that where you could download music for free. And of course, many artists didn’t like this and started pressing charges against even individuals. Now, stuff like this is still going on with certain sites and people are getting persecuted for this. We’re going to be talking about how you could avoid having this happen, and if it does happen to you, how does it happen, first of all, and what can be done about it most importantly. To talk to us about this today, we’re speaking with Attorney At Law Mark Clark from the Traverse Legal office of Traverse City, MI. Mark, thanks again for joining us.

Mark: You’re welcome, Matt, it’s always a pleasure to be here with you.

Continue reading Have You Been Accused of Copyright Infringement: What Precautions Should You Take to Avoid Being Accused »

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Right of Publicity in Michigan

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

What is the right of publicity? The right of publicity is the right to control the commercial use of ones own likeness. The right of publicity is a product of state law which, in Michigan, is defined largely by federal case law. This means that right of publicity claims may be subject to modified interpretation from Michigan courts.
In many instances the issue arises where someones photograph is utilized for commercial purposes. A commercial purpose is necessary in order to have a legitimate claim to the violation of your right of publicity. For instance, if your picture appears in a news story in a newspaper then you have no right of publicity claim because, as an exception under the copyright law, the newspaper is making fair use of your likeness to report a news story. Never the less, if they were to use that same photograph to promote their newspaper subscription or a service of the newspaper for their own private commercial purposes, they would be violating your right of publicity.
Likewise, if your likeness appears on a website without your permission, for the websites own commercial purposes, then you may have a claim against the publisher for violating your right of publicity to keep your likeness private and from being disseminated without your consent.
Do you think your right of publicity has been violated? Contact Traverse Legal to discuss your right of publicity claim with a copyright attorney.

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First Sale Doctrine Applies To Imported Books

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

In March of 2013 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Kirtsaeng v John Wiley and Sons Inc case. The issue in the case was over the geographic scope of the first sale doctrine under copyright law. The first sale doctrine protects the re-sellers of a work after the initial purchase. In other words, it allows purchasers of works after the first sale, to then resell them without violation of the author’s or creator’s copyright.

The Supreme Court held in a 6-3 decision that the physical importing of books purchased cheaply abroad, can be brought into the United States and resold at significant profits. The issue of this case in the first sale doctrine involved a creative student who purchased textbooks in bulk from overseas and then imported and resold them on Ebay to college students.

The case is a victory for those anticipating the protection of the first sale doctrine vs import laws. The court in the case urged an amendment to the copyright law to prevent the situation under the first sale doctrine from recurring on a mass scale where works are available overseas much cheaper than they are in the United States, and the decision is seen as encouraging the importation of cheap works into the United States to the detriment of copyright holders who can exact a better price for the works in the United States.

Do you need assistance with an issue concerning the first sale doctrine? Contact the lawyers at Traverse Legal to discuss your first sale doctrine issues.

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Copyright Trolling

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Wikipedia defines a Copyright Troll as a party that enforces copyrights it owns for the purposes of making money through litigation in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic. The attorneys at Traverse Legal have vast experience in dealing with copyright trolls. Generally, copyright trolling contemplates a federal lawsuit identifying the illegal downloading of copyrighted videos or movies. The plaintiff identifies numerous IP addresses and then issues a subpoena to your cable company or other internet service provider to obtain the registrant of the IP address. Typically, the IP address registrant will receive a notice from their ISP provider that they have been named in a lawsuit.

If you have been named in a copyright infringement lawsuit in the manner just described, contact the attorneys at Traverse Legal for aggressive representation in resolving your copyright infringement matter.

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Cease and Desist Letter Dos and Don’ts: A Copyright Attorney’s Perspective

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

You think someone is infringing your copyright. You see that they’ve posted something that belongs to you on the Internet, either a picture or a photograph or a piece of art or a literary work or a design, and you believe that a cease and desist letter should be sent. Continue reading Cease and Desist Letter Dos and Don’ts: A Copyright Attorney’s Perspective »

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Someone Posted My Picture or Photograph on Their Website

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Copyright lawyers deal with these types of issues all the time. A prospective client calls indicating that their photograph is showing up on someone else’s website. Sometimes, the photograph is one that the client does not want being shown on the internet, such as pornography or a nude photo. Sometimes, the person who is posting your photograph or picture is saying defamatory things about you as part of the post. As an internet lawyer specializing in copyright infringement issues, I get asked all the time what can be done.

The first thing that you need to understand is that the easiest way to have a photograph or picture of you removed from the internet is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). A DMCA takedown notice can be sent by a copyright holder to a website host or even Google or Yahoo to have a picture or photograph removed or de-indexed from the web. In order to allow your attorney to send a DMCA takedown, you must be the copyright owner. This means that you either must have taken the photograph or have rights from the photographer assigned to you so that you, in fact, own the copyright. For more information about who owns a copyright, click this link titled: “Copyright Primer: Exclusive Rights to Reproduce, Distribute, Perform or Display the Copyrighted Work.”

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Bikram Yoga Does Not Own Copyright on Hot Yoga Poses

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Traverse Copyright Law has represented multiple defendants sued by Choudhury Bikram and the Bikram Yoga College alleging copyright infringement. Bikram Yoga has sued other studios over the years for offering Hot Yoga variations of the Bikram Yoga Method. In 2012, the United States Copyright Office issued a letter indicating that the previously issued copyright to Bikram for its yoga pose sequence was issued in error. Once the United States Copyright Office abandoned its allowance of the Bikram copyright, it was only a question of time before courts would soon follow. Continue reading Bikram Yoga Does Not Own Copyright on Hot Yoga Poses »

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