Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama Poster: Redux

Dude seriously? I'm not sure George Lopez would be a top pick for me, but whatever.

All Trademarks and Copyrighted Material Are Owned by Their Respective Owners
All Credit for Sources is Given As Best As Possible

This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author (which is usually given if asked). (C) 2009 Squishy Mind Property

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not Quite Dead Yet

Yes dear readers (Hi Mom), we've been a bit busy lately, but that doesn't mean the intellectual property world has been resting. For your reading enjoyment, a couple of quick thoughts in the intellectual property world since we went on hiatus from mid-February until now.

1. "Octomom" Trademark

First of all, this woman (who in case you haven't heard, please see the article on Nadya Suleman1) bothers me. But irrespective of that, a recent story I ran across indicated that Ms. Suleman was seeking a trademark for the term "Octomom."2 Seriously? I mean I get the "use in commerce,"3 but I'm having an issue with this. First, you're making cash off a pejorative nickname (which I guess is a bit of "turnabout is fair play"), but still. Depending on how the mark is designed (picture of her or the kids), there could be cancellation ramifications4 or an issue of descriptiveness or generic-ness.5 The whole thing is a bit ridiculous to me. In a descriptive sense, she is the "mother of octuplets," so....Octomom? I could attempt to trademark the phrase "Jagoff McGee," but that probably wouldn't survive registration.

2. France's 3-Strikes Rule Is OUT!

In an interesting bit of news on the copyright law front of things, the French decided against a "3-Strikes" rule where if you are caught illegally downloading three times, you are cut off from all internet access.6 This policy is interesting to me, the parallel United States' attempt at using a similar system for criminal enforcement has worked seemingly very well....? It's questionable these systems have the deterrent effect that advocates of such a system (ahem...RIAA?) portend they do.7 But I digress. The interesting question really becomes, does a permanent denial to the internet for downloading copyrighted music violate basic human rights?8 Food for thought, where, in an digital world and with so much of the economy digitized on the internet, does a deprivation of that access and the free flow of ideas and information ultimately make you a pariah so much so that you can't even function? Would that violate your basic human rights to be a part of the human collective? Will such a threat if it were to actually stand be a deterrent? You're damn right it would be, hence why the RIAA and it's fellows are VERY excited to push the U.S. government in that direction.9 Scary.

3. Swedish Swashbuckling

I like pirates. Of the Caribbean. Trademark pirates I am less excited about for a couple reasons. Mostly because me personally, I am a trademark guy. However, I have to give Pirate Bay credit for being a creative adversary in the battle of copyright protection v. internet providers.10 However it seems they may have fired the last salvo in that fight for the time being. Just a couple days ago, a Swedish court put the founders of the ignominious website in prison11 (at least it's not Sing-Sing12). While this certainly should make copyright holders feel warm and fuzzy-ish, the defendants were only sentenced to a year (weak they serve IKEA(TM) meatballs in Swedish prison?), the fine was a hefty $4.5 million dollars.13 The catch with this judgment is, if you stamp out Pirate Bay today, there's going to be another tomorrow. The problem truly is, the music and movie industry missed the boat on the digital age and they are still playing catch up. When Napster first came out, there was almost no response from the RIAA or anyone else. Now they've moved to "scorched earth" tactics to litigate end-users, middlemen, frontmen, backmen, and any other kind of person they can think of. What they SHOULD have done was embrace the digital age early and taken advantage of it. I don't really feel that bad for the record companies. I feel bad for the individual artists who lose royalties, but I don't for the conglomerates who used to charge me $18.99 for a CD that cost them approximately $1.64 to make. I call bullshit.

1: Nadya Suleman,
2:, Octomom Seeks to Trademark her Nickname, (April 17, 2009)
3: 15 U.S.C. § 1051(a)(3)(C) (2006).
4: See 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) (providing that a mark that resembles a living person or that is scandalous or immoral may be refused registration or by inference cancelled).
5: 15 U.S.C. § 1052(e).
6: David Kravets, French Reject "Three-Strikes" Piracy Measure,, Apr. 9, 2009,
7: See Jenny Murphy, Are Three-Strikes Laws Fair and Effective?,, June 12, 2000,
8: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217A, at 71, U.N. GAOR, 3d Sess., 1st plen. mtg., U.N. Doc. A/810 (Dec. 12, 1948) (providing that human beings are entitled to not be subjected to "exile," granted "freedom of opinion and expression," a right of "equal access," "education," and the right to participate in culture).
9: Kravets, supra note 6.
10: See The Pirate Bay,
11: BBC News, Court Jails Pirate Bay Founders, Apr. 17, 2009,
12: Sing Sing,
13: See BBC News, supra note 11.

All Trademarks and Copyrighted Material Are Owned by Their Respective Owners
All Credit for Sources is Given As Best As Possible

This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author (which is usually given if asked). (C) 2009 Squishy Mind Property