Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

First tip of 2013: update your website’s copyright notice

Posted by ipelton on: January 2nd, 2013

Now that the first days of 2013 are upon us, remember to update your website coyright notices to reflect the current year!

© 2013 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

The ABA has put my paper, Guarding the Keys to Trademarks and Copyrights Online, online. I presented the paper in 2011. It covers many tips for business owners for identifying and protecting trademark and copyright assets online, developing social media and app intellectual property issues, and more.

Let me know what you think of it!

I have submitted a proposal for a panel at SXSW Interactive 2013 conference. Your vote would be most appreciated!  See below for the full description of this panel which would (tentatively) be with Anne Gundelfinger of Law Office of Anne Gundelfinger and former President of INTA, and Professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University School of Law.

To vote, go to:

Have expanding IP rights reached the tipping point?


Last year saw SOPA and PIPA go down in flames – much to the chagrin of lawmakers and the copyright content industries. Meanwhile, tech companies continue to blast one another with overlapping patent lawsuits featuring claims for billions of dollars in damages. Aggressive enforcement and expansion of intellectual property rights appear to have hit a tipping point. As big business continues to push for more civil and criminal enforcement of trademarks, copyrights, and patents, has the intended purpose of IP laws been co-opted? How has social media and the “Streisand effect” changed the way big companies view intellectual property disputes? And how are rights holders preparing to respond to or cope with the inevitable backlash against the growing grab for intellectual property rights? The panel will explore these and other issues regarding the future of intellectual property laws.

Questions Answered

  1. Is intellectual property law reaching a tipping point?
  2. What comes after SOPA and PIPA?
  3. What will the future of patent, trademark, and copyright law look like?
  4. Is the original intent of IP law served in today’s system?
  5. How are rights holders preparing to cope with the inevitable backlash against the IP system?


To vote, go to:


Google announced an update to its search algorithm last week that is sure to please copyright holders: the search rankings will now factor in a site’s copyright removal notices. A site that has received a high volume of copyright complaints will be ranked lower, meaning legitimate sites will rank higher.

According to Google, it is “now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.

Google’s data on copyright takedown requests it receives is enormous. See the graphic below, captured from

This is big news, of course, because Google handles a significant percentage of internet search queries and traffic.

Google blog post (08/10/2012): An update to our search algorithms

NY Times blog post: Under Copyright Pressure, Google to Alter Search Results

In a rather long and wordy “Statement of Policy” in the Federal Register a few weeks ago, the Copyright Office recently noted publicly that series of exercises or yoga routines is not a protectable expression under copyright law.  I disagree – read on – and think that while most such routines should not be protected I think it is possible that some are and I would not shut the door on them entirely.

It is not entirely clear to me – despite the publication’s efforts – how a compilation or routine for excercise or yoga is different from a protectable series of ballet or dance moves. The dance moves themselves are presumably public domain. In noting that a dance routine can be protected, the Copyright Office says that “Choreographic authorship is considered, for copyright purposes, to be the composition and arrangement of a related series of dance movements and patterns organized into an integrated, coherent, and expressive whole.” 

The directive creates more questions than answers for me. If a series of dance moves could be protected, why can’t a series of exercise maneuvers? Where is the line drawn. Is a series of aerobics maneuvers dance or exercise? What about Zubma®?  The video recording of a yoga routine protectable as a video, but the protection would not extend to the movements. Isn’t some music at its core a series of notes? The individual notes themselves are not protectable, I presume, but at some point a compilation of them becomes a protectable expression. I think the same is possible – though not common – for exercise or yoga routines.  

Further complicating the issue is the Copyright Office’s admission that it has issued several registrations that it now says are invalid and unenforceable. 

In sum, I disagree with the Copyright Office’s ruling – I would at least leave the door open to the possibility that an exercise or yoga routine was so creative, original, and expressive that it could be registered and protected.

[I also wish the Copyright Office could communicate in a manner that was more clear and to the point. Some of the responses to application  I have received recently from the Copyright Office are very difficult to understand and read like they were written by robots.]

One group who agrees with the rule is – a site devoted to “open source” yoga.

image from