Internet

03
Oct

This is big: In a potentially highly damaging day for the US content industries, the New York District Court has ruled that digital music 'cloud' lockers don't need licences from record labels to store recorded music and that the operators of digital locker services are protected by the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, something that will bring cheer to both Amazon and Google who launched their cloud storage services without licences from record labels or music publishers. Read more over at the 1709 Blog.

13
Sep

I'll be presenting "Representing the Web-based Business" at the 4th Annual Information Technology Law Seminar next week on Wednesday, September 21, at the Inn at St. John's, Plymouth. The seminar is geared toward lawyers and law students. More information can be found here. A seminar overview and schedule follow. OVERVIEW Global connections and technology have transformed the world for all businesses. Companies need lawyers who understand online business and technology deals and the legal issues connected with them. Navigate key legal issues and learn drafting strategies from a faculty of security experts, a law professor, plus IP and IT law specialists. Build your knowledge to increase your business development opportunities. Attend and Learn to: Avoid costly mistakes when you draft and negotiate technology license agreements Implement best practices in data security and privacy to help your clients guard customer information Effectively advise your clients on the key issues relating to operating a Web-based business Safeguard your clients' domain names and trademark rights on the Web Take a multimedia exploration into copyright protection for Web sites Understand social media in the workplace and how companies are using it themselves SCHEDULE 9:00am-9:15am Welcome and Introductions 9:15am-10:05am The Keys to Technology Licensing understanding the basics critical mistakes to avoid handling the negotiations Mark G. Malven, Dykema, Bloomfield Hills 10:05am-10:55am Trademarks on the Web selecting and enforcing domain names keyword advertising implications on the Internet Mary Margaret L. O'Donnell, Blue Filament Intellectual Property LLC, Birmingham 11:10am-12:00pm Current Trends in Data Security and Privacy dissecting ...

13
Sep

I've been attending Ann Arbor New Tech events since the group's inception back in February 2009, so it's my great pleasure to announce that Safford & Baker PLLC is now an official sponsor. What is Ann Arbor New Tech? It's a group of people from various industries and backgrounds (e.g., entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, marketers, students, etc.) interested in fostering local technology startups by organizing events, sharing resources, and building a supportive community. Ann Arbor New Tech’s signature event takes place on the third Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m., at Blau Auditorium, UM Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.  The monthly event features three to five companies who are each given five minutes to demo and five minutes to answer questions.  Open announcements and networking follows. This month’s meetup is Tuesday, September 20th.  The presenting companies on tap include: Matt Piccinato, Had That Beer - web/mobile beer checklist app Kevin Krason, Traction - real world lead tracking Trevor Fitzgerald, Ignite Pages - real estate listing webpages Melissa Bugai, Booker - easy online appointment booking Jerry Paffendorf, LOVELAND Technologies - community maps & fundraising in the D - as featured in the New York Times! Hope you can make it.

16
Aug

Ann Arbor New Tech, brought to you by a2geeks, a group of people from various industries and backgrounds (e.g., entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, lawyers, marketers, students, etc.) interested in fostering local technology startups by organizing events, sharing resources, and building a supportive community. Ann Arbor New Tech’s signature event takes place on the third Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m., at Blau Auditorium, UM Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.  The monthly event features three to five companies who are each given five minutes to demo and five minutes to answer questions.  Open announcements and networking follows. This month’s meetup is TODAY, August 16th.  The presenting companies on tap include: Alex Schiff & Chase Lee, FetchNotes - notes you'll actually use Alexander Honkala, AllHandsActive - Ann Arbor's downtown hackerspace Ryan Montgomery, Chext - balance your bank account via text messages Vinay Gupta, Joolze - changing homeowner energy consumption through social games Sam Hogg, GiftZip - recently acquired by gift card giant SVM!

12
Jun

Safford & Baker is a proud sponsor of WWJ Newsradio  950′s business breakfast event "Social Media and Your Business 2.0: Reputation Management" featuring our very own Randy Safford as a panelist. The Details: Thursday, June 23, 2011 Registration, Continental Breakfast & Networking:  7:15 am Discussion / Q&A:  8:15 - 9:30 am VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College 18600 Haggerty Road Livonia, Michigan 48152 Registration is only $10 per person.  Please click here to register. Social Media and Your Business 2.0: Reputation Management Most small and large business owners have identified they plan to spend more on social networking in 2011 but what steps should you take regarding reputation management? Join WWJ Newsradio  950′s Vickie Thomas and a panel of experts discussing the latest ways businesses are managing their image, responding to criticism and turning negatives into golden opportunities. Panelists include: Ivan Frank - Chief Marketing Officer, Fluency Media Randy Safford – Safford & Baker Law Firm Buck Head - Social Media Director 98.7 Amp Radio CBS Detroit / CEO Severely Social – Online Marketing Pre-registration is recommended and is only $10 per person.  Please click here to register. Onsite registration will be based on availability.

28
Mar

Your website is hip, innovative, informative, and interactive and does it all using cutting-edge design. But…is it also inviting legal trouble? Here’s my rundown of a few common website mistakes: You are committing massive copyright infringement. Okay, maybe not you directly but your users are and, under copyright law, that means you are too. If your website allows users to post content, even just comments, then it allows them to commit copyright infringement for which you (perhaps even personally) are responsible. To protect yourself, you need a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice and takedown procedure in place, and you need to do it right. It’s not enough simply to say you take down infringing content. You have to specifically follow the statutory requirements. Even websites that purport to follow and rely on the DMCA are often times not doing it right – and, therefore, cannot get the benefit of its safe harbors. You are liable for your users’ comments. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, websites are immune from liability for statements posted by their users. That is...sometimes. Where websites get in trouble is where they edit or shape user comments. Some websites may be doing this without even intending to. The manner in which you solicit comments from your users may be enough “shaping” to lose Section 230 immunity. Websites should take a hard look at how they are soliciting user comments. You are in violation of securities laws. Lots of startup companies are in need of capital. What better way to solicit interest from ...

06
Oct

FTC Sets Endorsement Rules for Blogs, New Media

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to its website, is “the nation’s consumer protection agency” and “works for the consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace.”  To that end, the FTC publishes a number of resource guides to help businesses comply with federal law and FTC regulations.  One such guide is the Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials which attempts to draw a line between “endorsements” (which must always reflect the honest opinion of the endorser) and pure “advertisements” or other non-endorsements (which do not have to comply with endorsement guidelines).  The Endorsement Guide provides examples of what does and does not constitute “endorsements” by consumers, experts, and organizations, and addresses when and how to disclose any material connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product. The FTC has now updated the Endorsement Guide, which was last updated in 1980, to extend it to viral marketers, bloggers, and personalities on social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  The new rules essentially hold these “new media” outlets to the same standards, and the same liability for false statements, as traditional media outlets.  The new Guide covers such things as paid blog reviews, blog reviews where a product has been provided to the blogger for free (the receipt of which would have to be disclosed), advertisers interacting on message boards (who would have to disclose their relationship to the product manufacturer), and so-called “street teams” (who would also have to disclose their relationship to the ...

26
Jun

CBS Interactive Inc. v. National Football League Players Association is the most recent case permitting the commercial use of professional athlete's names and statistics without permission. CBS Interactive operates the website CBSSports.com.  The NFL Player's Association acts as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for active players in the NFL.  Among other things, the NFLPA has the right to license the use of the individual players' names, signatures, facsimile, voices, pictures, photographs, likenesses, and biographical information in connection with "group licensing programs" involving six or more players (e.g., fantasy sports, video games, etc.).  NFLPA assigned this right to Players, Inc. in exchange for royalties.  Players, Inc. in turn licenses this right to companies like CBS to use in programs such as fantasy sports.  In fact, for several years CBS did just that, running both free and "pay for play" versions of its fantasy league under a license agreement with Player, Inc. However, in 2008, CBS refused to renew its license after the Eighth Circuit in C.B.C Distribution and Marketing Inc v. Major Leage Baseball Advanced Media determined that use of baseball players' names and statistics did not violate any right of publicity, but that even if it did, persons enjoyed a First Amendment right to use the players' names and statistics that prevailed over any right of publicity.  When Players, Inc. threatened to sue, CBS brought an action for declaratory judgment that its use of player information was permissible under the CBC case.  The Minnesota District Court in the CBS case agreed. The NFLPA and Players, ...

15
Jun

On Saturday, June 13, at 12:01 a.m. (EDT), Facebook, the venerable social networking site, started allowing users to create personalized usernames, otherwise known as "vanity URLs".  Facebook has been announcing this feature for the last week or so, stating that it will make it easier for people to find users on the site.  Before, the URL for a user might read "www.facebook.com/id=12345" but now can be personalized to read "www.facebook.com/name."  Twitter and YouTube have been offering this feature for some time. As has been the case over at Twitter and YouTube, vanity URLs can cause problems for trademark owners when users "personalize" their URLs with famous brands (e.g., "facebook.com/[brand name here]").  Some have suggested that this use of a trademark may not be actionable under federal law, since the use is not "in commerce" as required under the Lanham Act. Facebook has, however, created some safeguards for trademark owners.  Prior to June 13, trademark owners could have enrolled their trademarks with Facebook to block users from submitting those trademarks as a personalized URL.  Now that username registration is open, trademark owners may still protect their rights by using Facebook's existing infringement reporting process.  Facebook also reserves the right to reclaim any vanity URL for any reason. If you are a trademark owner and missed your opportunity to block use of your brand as a URL, it may not be too late to register the URL yourself (new users may do so starting on Sunday, June 28).  Otherwise, you can still play defense by using Facebook's IP infringement ...

12
May

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to its website, is "the nation's consumer protection agency" and "works for the consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace."  To that end, the FTC publishes a number of resource guides to help businesses comply with federal law and FTC regulations.  One such guide is the Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials which attempts to draw a line between "endorsements" (which must always reflect the honest opinion of the endorser) and pure "advertisements" or other non-endorsements (which do not have to comply with endorsement guidelines).  The Endorsement Guide provides examples of what does and does not constitute "endorsements" by consumers, experts, and organizations, and addresses when and how to disclose any material connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product. For example, a television ad for Nike golf clubs showing Tiger Woods using the clubs would be an "endorsement" by Tiger, even though he makes no verbal statement in the advertisement.  In order for this to be an honest endorsement, Tiger must be an actual user of the irons at the time the commercial airs.  However, even though Nike's compensation to Tiger is substantial, neither the fact that Tiger is paid nor the amount that he's paid need be revealed - since this is already assumed by consumers who can judge for themselves the credibility of the endorsement without the need for disclosures. Recently, the FTC has sought to update the Endorsement Guide, which was last updated in 1980, and extend it to ...