Month: March 2011

Amazon takes a bite into Apple’s ‘App Store’

Soon after Amazon opened its mobile applications marketplace, Apple sued Amazon, alleging that the online retail giant’s new App Store for Android infringes on the electronic makers’ trademark for it’s own App Store. Jas Purwal of the Gamer/Law blog notes that Apple’s lawsuit seeks to protect the perceived brand value of Apple’s App Store. This brand value has been built up over the years especially with the popularity of Apple’s products. It will be noteworthy to see how trademark law applies to the mobile app market. Purwal also notes that one of the difficulties that Apple faces is that it has not completed its own trademark registration of the term ‘App Store.’ Microsoft is seeking to block the registration and this may “turn into a three-way battle between Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon.” Purwal says  Amazon likely will argue there is no chance of the app stores being mistaken for one another because the two are run on different devices and operating systems. From: Gamer/Law...

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iPad app channels new fury for Time Warner

With all the technological innovations affecting the entertainment industry, two things, it seems, inevitably occur: (1) new means for presentation of media crop up and (2) litigation, fueled by a desire to cash in and derive profits from the new innovations, is spearheaded by angry interests whose stake in the status quo has changed, usually to their detriment. And so the latest situation plays out: When Time Warner Cable, without securing permission or initiating discussion over contract modification, released an iPad app as the first of its kind to stream channels that cable-service provider carry on traditional TV, the television industry bristled in fury.  The owners of MTV, Discovery Channel,  Food Network and the like slammed the nation’s second largest cable company for its recently launched app, gripping that they’re owed compensation for the 32 Time Warner channels streamed to viewers on the iPad. Media companies like Viacom and Scripps Networks screamed contract breach and threats of legal action from several studios followed. According to the Wall Street Journal, the major point of contention is the contrasting interpretations of provisions within the tightly negotiated— and loooong—agreements between media companies and cable operators. Several TV executives say their contracts specifically delineate rights for “cable television.” Nat Worden, of Dow Jones Newswire pointed out that Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. asserted it “had not granted iPad video streaming rights to any distributor...

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A dissection of varied views in copyright debate

Peter Yu, a law professor at Drake University, has offered the entertainment industry “more convincing proposals for digital copyright reform” in his article, Digital Copyright and Confuzzling Rhetoric. Over the years, intellectuals “have advanced many different arguments for or against stronger copyright protection and enforcement.” To help the readers better understand the debate, Part I of Yu’s article examines four arguments he finds unpersuasive to support “reforms that strengthen copyright protection and enforcement in the digital environment.” Part II scrutinizes four arguments he finds equally unpersuasive to back “retention of the status quo or the weakening of the existing copyright system.” Calling industry arguments unconvincing to drive digital copyright reforms, Yu gives five strategies in Part III to make the industry’s reform proposals more persuasive. Finally, in Part IV, Yu “concludes with two short stories to illustrate the tremendous difficulty for the public to appreciate the complexities in copyright law.” Let’s look more at each part, skipping Part IV, which employs anecdotes that don’t easily summarize to make points: Part I Yu says one of the most common unconvincing arguments for stronger digital copyright protection is the “sky is falling” argument. Copyright owners initially complain often about “the adverse impact of new technologies,” but then “find these …  later opening up new markets for their products and services” Jack Valenti, the movies’ longtime lobbyist,  for example, called then-new VCRs a...

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A new argument on economics of file-sharing

Two academics at the London School of Economics have published a notable work “Creative Destruction and Copyright Protection: Regulatory Responses to File-sharing.” Bart Cammaerts and Bingchun Meng, both lecturers, scrutinize the economics of file-sharing and music and argue that file-sharing is not the cause of the industry’s financial doldrums. Instead, they say the decline can be attributed to an overall decrease in consumer consumption of entertainment products, leisure activities and the way people consume their music. They offer ideas on how to stimulate music  industry growth. Their paper criticizes the Digital Economy Act (DEA) as cost ineffective and troublesome with many people believing it crosses the line in privacy terms, especially as it allows for tracking individuals’ IP addresses: The DEA gets the balance between copyright enforcement and innovation wrong. The use of peer-to-peer technology should be encouraged to promote innovative applications. Focusing on efforts to suppress the use of technological advances and to protect out-of-date business models will stifle innovation in this industry. Although statistics show a decade of dramatic declines of recorded music sales, the authors say there is no conclusive evidence file-sharing is the sole or even a central cause for this slide. These statistics also fail to note, they say, that, although recorded music sales are down, sums earned from live performances are increasing and finally surpassed revenue earned by recorded music: In 2009 revenues from...

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Has Zediva found legal streaming loophole?

Update: According to Mashable – the MPAA has filed a complaint against Zediva. Startup Zediva uses an interesting twist to differentiate itself from other online streaming companies. These other companies such as Netflix have made deals with studios to hold off on streaming movies online until a certain time after the DVD is released. In contrast, Zediva rents their customers the DVD and a DVD player at Zediva’s data center. This allows the customer to stream the movie online sooner than Zediva’s competitors. Think of a giant center with multiple juke box players, all hooked up and accessible online. Problems? Tonya Gisselberg, author of the Seattle Copyright Watch blog takes a look at the arguments made by James Grimmelman of the Laboratorium blog. Grimmelman argues that the first sale doctrine that Zedvia is relying on does not apply to performances. He provides summaries of case law that distinguish between public and private performances and concludes that Zedvia’s service will constitute a public performance. Gisselberg observes that Zediva’s services may be distinguishable because the copy of the DVD that one customer rents is unavailable to another customer until the rental period ends. Gisselberg also notes that Zediva may not have done enough to prevent unlawful public performances of the movies. Lastly, in an update to Grimmelman’s blog post, he notes that although Zediva has “top notch copyright counsel,” Grimmelman is...

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The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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