Posts made in February, 2014

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Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not? 0

Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Copyright

Earlier this month a new coffee shop opened in Los Angeles called Dumb Starbucks.  The outer appearance of the shop is an exact replica of a Starbucks coffee shop except the word “Dumb” appears in front of Starbucks.  Inside, everything is also an exact replica of a Starbucks with the word “dumb” inserted in front.  The cups have the Dumb Starbucks logo and the menu items are dumb as well.  Canadian comic Nathan Felder is the owner of the shop and announced plans to open a second location in New York.  Naturally, Starbucks is not amused and has pledged to protect its trademark. They have stated that they are “evaluating next steps” and have made it clear that “they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Dumb Starbucks has potentially infringed multiple forms of trademark protection.  Starbucks is a protected word mark and using Dumb Starbucks in commerce can confuse consumers or dilute the Starbucks brand.  Similarly, the logo for Starbucks is also protected but Dumb Starbucks copied it and inserted the word “dumb.”  Since Dumb Starbucks also copied the colors of a Starbucks shop it may have infringed upon trade dress protection, the outside appearance of the coffee shops which help consumers identify they are Starbucks....

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Prince Filed a $22 Million Copyright Lawsuit, Then Revoked It

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Copyright

The music artist known as Prince has a prior history of filing lawsuits to protect his music and his name.  His most recent suit concerns videos from his concerts on videos and blog sites.  However, after receiving negative feedback from his fans over the lawsuit, Prince was dropped his lawsuit.  Nonetheless, examining his claims will be a useful exercise in understanding what video content on the Internet can constitute copyright infringement or anti-bootlegging violations. Prince filed this action in the Northern District of California on January 16, 2014.  He named 10 defendants, two by name and twenty John Does who are identified by their online identities.  He also cited to Google Blogger and Facebook pages which contained links to file sharing services where users could download unauthorized copies of Prince’s live performance.  Prince also accuses the defendants of working in concert to distribute the bootleg copies of the live performances. All of Prince’s songs were wisely registered with the United States Copyright Office.  In the complaint, Prince’s attorney methodically listed every defendant, the songs they shared, and the registration number for the copyright in each song.  Since the songs are registered, Prince had a choice of seeking statutory damages (up to $250,000 for each act of infringement) or actual...

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