Intellectual Property

Copyright and Trademark

Copyrights and trademark are both types of intellectual property (IP). Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

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Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright

“What seemed insanely ambitious and this huge effort that seemed very dangerous in 2004 now seems ordinary. Technology and media have moved on so much that it’s just not a big deal.” — James Grimmelmann, Law professor, University of Maryland

James Grimmelmann
Source: The New York Times
November 14, 2013

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

"What we've got is this computerized system threatening people about content that's on the Web, much of it legally on the Web." — Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard University

Lawrence Lessig
Source: National Public Radio’s All Tech Considered
September 27, 2013

Microsoft to Drop ‘SkyDrive’ in Trademark Settlement

“The idea that consumers would be confused into thinking that SkyDrive and British Sky Broadcasting were the same thing is ludicrous. ... I think Microsoft simply decided that keeping the name wasn’t worth the additional time and uncertainty of an appeal.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School

Mark Lemley
Source: The Seattle Times
August 1, 2013

Digital Books Are Under the Control of Distributors Rather than Readers

In his article for Wired magazine, Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain examines issues of censorship, content altering, and access restrictions that are unique to books in electronic formats.

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: Wired
July 7, 2013

Disney Withdraws Attempt to Trademark the Name of a Holiday

… Disney would probably have had to prove that the phrase “Día de los Muertos” had a specific Pixar-only meaning in order to be successful in applying for a trademark. “We don’t want to give terms too wide a protection if they don’t have any sort of significance for the consumer.” — Marshall Leaffer, Intellectual property law expert, Maurer School of Law

Marshall Leaffer
Source: Time
May 8, 2013

As Pirates Run Rampant, TV Studios Dial Up Pursuit

"It has taken the arrival of high-speed broadband to make that [pirating TV shows] attractive." — James Grimmelmann, Professor, New York University

James Grimmelmann
Source: Wall Street Journal
March 2, 2013

Six strikes, then what? A look into the new Copyright Alert System

The Copyright Alert System is a collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows. Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, explains aspects of the system.

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: NPR’s Marketplace
February 28, 2013

Piracy Alert System Raises Concerns About Fair Use, Misidentification

This story discusses the new Copyright Alert System; it's a collaborative effort to curb online piracy and promote the lawful use of digital music, movies and TV shows. Professor James Grimmelmann, New York University, explains aspects of the system.

James Grimmelmann
Source: NPR’s All Things Considered
February 26, 2013

Aaron Swartz: Opening Access to Knowledge

"There was a time when access to knowledge was promoted through grants of copyrights to authors who typically transferred them to publishers. Now copyright has become the single most serious impediment to access to knowledge. Academic authors, among others, should use the Internet as a medium through which access to knowledge can be greatly expanded." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor, University of California Berkeley

Pamela Samuelson
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
January 24, 2013

Google Scanning Is Fair Use Says Judge

"That's a big win for everyone looking to digitize books and do unexpected things with them." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, New York University

James Grimmelmann
Source: Publishers Weekly
October 10, 2012
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TAP Blog

Pamela Samuelson Pushes Back on Stricter Copyright ISP Liability Rules

Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson’s recent article examines proposed reforms of the DMCA’s safe harbor rules that limit the liability of ISPs hosting user-generated content. Professor Samuelson urges Congress to “take a balanced approach” and “consider the interests of a wide range of stakeholders”.

TAP Staff Blogger

Fact Sheets

Piracy and IP Enforcement

In the context of technology, “piracy” is a colloquial term for the illegal copying of copyrighted works. The related problem of counterfeiting is the illegal reproduction of patented or trademarked products.

Featured Article

Trademark Search, Artificial Intelligence and the Role of the Private Sector

Worldwide, trademark offices and private firms use artificial intelligence-based systems (AI) to identify distinct trademarks. AI will transform trademark business and legal processes.

By: Sonia Katyal, Aniket Kesari