Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Last year, one of the big stories the day after the Super Bowl® was about the “Left Shark.” Left Shark was a dancer in Katie Perry’s halftime show that was (intentionally?) off beat. Who was Left Shark? Was their performance on purpose?

And then the IP issues arose… who owns the rights to the Left Shark name? And copyright (and/or trademark) rights in the costume design?

Within a week after the Super Bowl, Perry’s company (Killer Queen, LLC) applied to register both LEFT SHARK and RIGHT SHARK trademarks with the USPTO covering variety of goods and services, including live musical performances. Currently, both applications have been approved by the USPTO and published in the public record (the ‘Official Gazette’).

Perry’s company also filed to register the design of the shark (below), but that application was abandoned shortly thereafter.

Mark Image

However, a few days later, Perry’s company filed two new applications for shark designs using drawings, instead of a photo of the costume [click images for USPTO records]:

Mark Image
Mark Image

[Perry has also filed an application for DRUNK SHARK!]

The LEFT SHARK craze has continued, as you can actually wager whether LEFT SHARK will make an appearance at this year’s halftime show! Remarkably, I don’t recall seeing any Left Shark costumes last Halloween….

TIP: when working with independent contractors, employees, and others (such as the dancers, and costume designs for Katie Perry’s performance) make sure that written agreements are in place and that they clearly spell out who owns what intellectual property rights from the venture.


Related stories from around the web:

Where to find worry-free images to post on your blog or website

Posted by ipelton on: December 22nd, 2014

When posting images on your website or blog, you must be careful not to step on the copyright rights of others. Violating a copyright can be costly. Getty Images and others use software to persistently scour the internet looking for violations of their images, and contacting the sites who posted them.

Of course, “fair use” often allows for posting images owned by others. But there is never a definite answer to a fair use calculation – unless there is a lawsuit and court involved. When using an image under the belief that fair use permits it, it is always safest to note the source of the photo when posting it, and to link to the source as well.

The safest use of images or pictures on your blog or website is to only use those which have been cleared for use. The sites below offer free images where the usage provisions expressly allow other to generally post and use them. (Of course, you should read the terms of use on the sites for details.)

Wikimedia Commons


buffersocial article: 54+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts



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: