In the same week that it started rolling out its Timeline feature to New Zealand users, Facebook also filed a countersuit against Timelines.com, a company accusing the social network of infringing on its name.
Timelines.com sued Facebook in late September, arguing that Facebook's Timeline is "confusingly similar" to Timelines.com.
Facebook Timeline, unveiled at September's f8 conference, serves as a digital "this is your life." Once available, users can chart their entire Facebook history via Timeline, from their first friend to the most recent status update.
Timelines.com says its website "gives users the ability to create customized web pages featuring user-defined information about historical, current and upcoming events." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the company a trademark for Timelines in September 2009.
In its response to the Timelines.com suit, Facebook acknowledges as much, and said it was aware of the trademark. But Facebook "determined that ...the term 'timelines' is merely descriptive of, or generic for, the services offered by [Timelines.com] and thus [Timlines.com's] trademark registrations are unenforceable and subject to cancellation." However, this is a dangerous game for Facebook, a company...
If the vitality of film banking reflects the health of the independent production sector, then there are plenty of encouraging signs despite the ongoing turmoil in the global financial system.
After the shake-out following the credit crunch in 2008, the stalwart lenders who stuck with indie film through thick and thin, such as Union Bank of California, Comerica and City National Bank, are reaping the reward with expansion in their business.
A number of new entrants are also emerging, including National Bank of Canada, East West Bank and OneWest Bank.
At the same time, Wall Street's capital markets are waking up again to the opportunities offered in the more risky but also more rewarding areas of gap and mezzanine finance.
"It's an optimistic time now, and will become more optimistic in the next year," says Myles Nestel, the former banker who recently launched a sales and financing venture called the Solution Entertainment Group in partnership with veteran sales agent Lisa Wilson.
Union Bank, the market leader in single-picture financing, is expanding its entertainment team under senior VP Bryan LaCour after a record year in 2011, when it doubled its deal volume to $800 million from its previous average of $350 million-$400...
Your work is copyrighted from the moment you create it. You cannot choose to have something copyrighted.
The issue is whether you will want to pursue a breach of that copyright. If someone copies your work... you can either ignore it or you can try to take action. In that case we are talking about registration of your copyright. Copyright infringement lawsuits without registration often prove to be cost prohibitive. However, with registration comes access to statutory damages of as much as $150,000 per violation, plus an award of costs and attorney fees.
As to the question of why you would want to copyright your work... there are various reasons. The most important two are:
1. Financial - If the work makes money, you may be entitled some of it (including preventing others from unauthorized duplication of your work).
2. Creative - You will want to be properly acknowledged for your work. It could help your reputation and/or your success for future work in the industry.
As with all legal issues touched upon in this blog, this information should be used as a guide only. You should always talk to a qualified entertainment lawyer regarding any legal issue.
Generally speaking, you can refer to trademarks by name without permission. The only exception would be using someone else's trademark in what amounts to a competitive product. For example, you couldn't have a superhero named "Spiderman" or a spaceship named "Enterprise" (both trademarks), although you could, for example, have a character look around a high-tech building and say, "What the hell is this, the Starship Enterprise?" or sarcastically say to someone hanging from the side of a building, "Who do you think you are, Spiderman?"
With regards to having a character sing a few lines from a copyrighted song, you will need obtain clearance to perform the said piece from your country's music clearance organisation (ASCAP, BMI, SEASAC, etc). Depending on the profile of the music, this may or may not attract a fee. Generally if you are not using an original recording (i.e. having the character sing the lines instead of the original artist) clearance is a lot cheaper. Again, contact a lawyer, like me.
Insurance in this day and age is a necessary evil in many industries, film included. Insurance is there to cover you against unexpected costs which may be incurred in the process of making a film. Costs can range from simple things such as accidental damage to equipment or to a location, through to damages claims where someone is injured on set, or even provision of the necessary funds to complete the film if it goes significantly over budget.
The types of insurance which are available (and suitable) for a film production will largely be dependent upon the budget and, to some degree, the experience of the key personnel involved. The following types of insurance are the most common found in the film industry:
Public Liability Insurance
Covers the production against claims made if a member of the public is injured on your set or filming location. It also provides cover for damage to property incurred in the course of production. This type of insurance is highly recommended for all film productions, regardless of budget.
Employers Liability Insurance
In many countries, employers liability insurance is a legal requirement, certainly when the productions hires more than a certain number of people. It covers the production for...
If you are looking for legal advice, the best place to start is with your lawyer. If you dont have a lawyer, then you should not be attempting to make commercial films of any kind. Simple as that. There are now a few resources online (like this blog) to help you get started through this quagmire, however remember that most are only introductory and cannot replace the advice of a qualified expert in the media law field. What's more with the free consultation offer by our firm you have no reason not to contact us.
On November 30, 2011, I posted an article describing the plight of two Swedish reporters (one of whom is a childhood friend of a friend of mine) who were charged with supporting terrorism because of their reporting activities in Ethiopia. Since then, a court in Ethiopia has sentenced the two Swedish journalists to 11 years in prison on charges of supporting terrorism after the two illegally entered the country with an ethnic Somali rebel group in a case that has been criticized by media rights groups.
Judge Shemsu Sirgaga ruled Tuesday that the two freelance journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye will serve "rigorous imprisonment" following their convictions last week.
Ethiopian troops had captured Persson and Schibbye six months ago during a clash with rebels in eastern Ethiopia's restive Somali region, a no-go area for reporters. Ethiopia considers the rebel group a terrorist organization, and it is very difficult for journalists to gain access to the region. Rights groups say that is so abuses there are not exposed.
The judge has accused the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) of organizing the Swedes' journey starting in London. Outlawed groups in many countries frequently facilitate the travels of reporters in...