An Uphill Battle Protecting Fashion Designs In Nigeria and Abroad

7 03 2018

Growing frustration in the fashion community regarding weak or non-existent intellectual property laws has finally caught the attention of some nations. Nigeria is one nation that currently is trying to alleviate this frustration by reforming its intellectual property laws. This reform is driven, in part, because, Lagos, Nigeria has quickly risen as a fashion hub, and has been compared with such fashion centers as London, Paris, Milan, and New York. Nigerian designers have recently experienced great global success and visibility. For example, Amaka Osakwe has been pushing the limits of Nigerian fashion and has gained the attention of fashionistas in the United States and abroad. In 2014, she was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama, an admirer of her work, and her “Maki Oh” designs have been worn by Lupita Nyongo and other A-list celebrities. Last year, Ms. Osakwe was named a LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Finalist, placing her among the most notable young fashion designers in the world today. Other talented Nigerian designers include Duro Olowu, Deola Sagoe, Lisa Folawiyo, and Lanre DeSilva-Ajayi. As these designers continue to gain worldwide recognition, they must protect their designs from infringement both within Nigeria and globally.

The first hurdle — protecting their fashion designs in Nigeria — is not a simple task. Copyright protection is typically sought to protect the two-dimensional aspects of clothing design, while design law may protect the three-dimensional design and shape of the piece. However, under both Nigeria’s copyright and design laws, designers have encountered significant difficulty protecting their works.

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The European Union Anti-Geoblocking Regulation Isn’t the End of the Anti-Geoblocking Battle (Guest Blog Post)

7 03 2018

by guest blogger Marketa Trimble

The EU Anti-Geoblocking Regulation has finally been published. After the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Anti-Geoblocking Regulation on February 27, 2018 (the European Parliament had adopted it earlier in the month), the Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on March 2, 2018, as “Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 February 2018 on addressing unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on consumers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market” (and amending some existing EU legislation) (the “Regulation”). The adoption of the Regulation is not the end of the EU geoblocking battle, which endures, with the focal point shifting to another piece of EU legislation that is discussed below.

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2018/03/the-european-union-anti-geoblocking-regulation-isnt-the-end-of-the-anti-geoblocking-battle-guest-blog-post.htm

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Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)

27 02 2018

For the past year, I’ve been covering Congress’ efforts to create a sex trafficking exception to Section 230’s immunity. From the beginning, it was clear that the proponents did not understand Section 230’s powerful but counter-intuitive doctrinal mechanisms, yet their initiative to gut Section 230 had momentum. Two bills were introduced: SESTA in the Senate and FOSTA in the House. Both bills as introduced were terrible.

After a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, SESTA was amended to fix some of its roughest edges, but the amendments didn’t resolve SESTA’s structural flaw (I’ll discuss that below). As part of a House Judiciary Committee hearing, FOSTA as introduced was replaced by substitute FOSTA, which still had problems but represented a more productive approach to address sex trafficking. Amended SESTA and substitute FOSTA passed the Senate Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee, respectively, queuing both up for passage by their respective chambers. However, amended SESTA has been slowed by Sen. Wyden’s hold; and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, the House Judiciary Committee didn’t report substitute FOSTA until last week. Ten days ago, the House Energy & Commerce Committee waived jurisdiction over FOSTA to help get the bill on the House floor.

Ever since substitute FOSTA emerged, one of the key questions has been how Senate and House might reconcile the different policy approaches in SESTA and FOSTA if both advanced. No one I spoke to, not even the inside-Congress experts, were confident in their predictions. Last week, a backroom deal was announced that apparently answers that question, but in substantively and procedurally deficient ways. This is BAD NEWS.

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EU Publishers Acknowledge Snippet Tax Concerns, But Say: ‘It’s OK, You Can Trust Us’

22 02 2018

Techdirt has been following the ridiculous proposal to extend EU copyright even further to include tiny snippets from articles for years now. The idea has already been tried twice in the European Union, and failed dismally on both occasions. In Spain, a study showed the move there caused serious economic damage, especially to smaller companies; German publishers tacitly admitted the law was pointless when they granted Google a free license to use snippets from their titles. More recently, the European Commission’s own research confirmed that far from harming publishers, news aggregators have a positive impact on the industry’s advertising revenue. Despite the clear indications that a snippet tax is a terrible idea, some want to go even further, and make it apply to hyperlinks too. Writing in the French newspaper Le Monde back in December, large news agencies including Germany’s DPA and France’s AFP complained that sites:

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Copyright Owner Can Serve DMCA Counter-Notifier by Email–Epic Games v. Mendes

3 02 2018

DMCA counter-notifications are rare, and litigation over them is even more rare. So my curiosity is piqued that this is the second 512(g) case I’m blogging in a week (the other: DMCA Counternotification Doesn’t Create Personal Jurisdiction in Copyright Owner’s Home Court–Real v. Matteo). Must be something in the water.

Epic Games makes videogames, including Fortnite. Rak, a Russian, made a Fortnite cheat and posted a YouTube video advertising the cheat. “Epic Games alleges that Mr. Rak’s cheat and video violates Epic Games’s copyrights and trademarks and intentionally induces other players to modify the game and thereby induces those players to violate Epic Games’ copyrights and trademarks as well.” Epic got some press for the quoted legal position when it sued a minor and mom publicly scolded them. In this case, Epic sent a DMCA takedown notice for Rak’s video to YouTube, which complied. Rak submitted a counter-notice to YouTube.

The counter-notification statute requires the counter-notifier to include their “name, address, and telephone number, and a statement…that [they] will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.” Rak’s notice said he lived in Russia, listed his Gmail address, and said he would accept service. Epic located Rak’s email address used for his Fortnite account in its database and sent emails to both the Gmail and second email accounts including a cover letter, a copy of the summons and complaint, and a service waiver request (all in English). Rak did not reply.

 

Case citation: Epic Games, Inc. v. Mendes, 2018 WL 582411 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 29, 2018). The complaint.

 

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DMCA Counternotification Doesn’t Create Personal Jurisdiction in Copyright Owner’s Home Court–Real v. Matteo

26 01 2018

This case combines one of my favorite Internet Law topics, 17 USC 512, with one of my least favorite, personal jurisdiction. TL;DR: if a foreign national submits a 512(g) counternotification, it doesn’t ensure the copyright owner can sue in its home court.

The copyright at issue involves “Towergirls,” a video game. One putative copyright owner, based in Australia, had an agreement with Matteo, based in Italy, to extend the Towergirls universe. A Louisiana entity also claims partial ownership of the copyright, but wasn’t part of that agreement. Matteo crowd-sourced his effort on Patreon. The relationship soured when Matteo allegedly added nonconsensual sex to his effort and publicly undermined the putative owners’ ownership. The putative owners sent a takedown notice to Patreon. Matteo counternoticed on fair use grounds. The putative owners sued Matteo in Louisiana. Matteo moved to dismiss.

Case citationReal v. Matteo, 2018 WL 493596 (W.D. La. Jan. 3, 2018). This is a magistrate ruling. The plaintiffs did not object, and the district court judge approved it on Jan. 19, 2018.

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Can the name of a fictional, intergalactic game evolve into a trademark protectable in the world of mere groundlings?

24 01 2018

In its latest action in a multi-jurisdictional conflict with a mobile gaming producer, Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC and Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. LLC filed a complaint for trademark infringement in the Northern District of California on December 21, 2017. The complaint alleges, among other things, trademark infringement against a London-based game developer Ren Ventures Ltd. for using the word SABACC as the name of their iOS and Android mobile game. Other causes of action include copyright infringement, cancellation of the defendant’s trademark, unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, and California unfair competition.

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The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/01/23/fictional-game-evolve-trademark/id=92398/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Canadian Court Asserts Jurisdiction over Craigslist Based on Cloud-Based Virtual Presence in Canada

24 01 2018

A Canadian appellate court ruled that a lower court had jurisdictional authority to issue a production order to craigslist based upon its virtual (but not physical) presence in British Columbia. The production order requested that Craigslist produce to Canadian officials documents relating to a user post in connection with a criminal investigation. (British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Brecknell, 2018 BCCA 5 (Jan. 9, 2018)).

This decision highlights another situation where a court blurred the distinction between a physical and virtual presence of a corporation that engages in global e-commerce.  Indeed, we had written about an important Canadian decision last year that involved an American company objecting to an order to delist certain search results globally.  With U.S. companies already concerned about the territorial scope of the EU’s GDPR, they also have to address legal risks associated with jurisdiction by a virtual presence north of the border (and possibly other jurisdictions).

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Embrace IP That Works: Importance of Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) in the European Union

11 01 2018

The European Union suffers from an investment deficit relative to other industrialized nations. A recent report by the European Commission emphasizes this impact, “the EU needs to put in place better incentives and conditions for businesses to innovate” in important areas such as market regulations, intellectual property rights protection, barriers to entrepreneurship, and ease of doing business. Given this, encouraging investment is essential to future growth. Weakening the IP incentives embedded in SPCs would be a step in the wrong direction.

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The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/01/09/supplementary-protection-certificates-spcs-european-union/id=91731/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



JPO Decides WHITNEY HOUSTON Trademark is Descriptive When Used on Music Recordings

3 01 2018

At an initial examination proceeding, JPO examiner refused the trademark with respect to all goods in class 9 on the grounds that consumers can easily perceive or conceive the late Whitney Houston, an American famous singer from the applied mark “WHITNEY HOUSTON” written in a common font design. Besides, in a business to deal with music recordings, the title of a song or an album as well as name of performer or player are routinely indicated on goods or packages to show contents of it. Therefore, relevant consumers and traders at a sight of the applied mark used on designated goods in class 9 are just likely to conceive the goods contains music or performance by the late Whitney Houston. If so, IR no. 1204044 is subject to refusal based on Article 3(1)(iii) of the Trademark Law. Furthermore, when the applied mark is used on music recordings unrelated to Whitney Houston, consumers will surely be in trouble since they expect the goods contains song or performance of the late Whitney Houston. If so, it should be refused for registration based on Article 4(1)(xvi) due to misconception of quality of goods.

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The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2017/07/21/jpo-decides-whitney-houston-trademark-descriptive/id=85829/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.