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Keep it Legal Blog

Girls Gone Wild, the Material Girl, and “Barbie Girl”

Madonna’s new album, MDNA, is set to be released at the end of March. Along with the attendant publicity, Madonna has also received a cease-and-desist letter from none other than Joe Francis, creator of the adult video franchise Girls Gone Wild. Francis threatened to pursue legal action in court against Madonna for the singer’s use of his trademark, “Girls Gone Wild,” as the title of a song on the upcoming album. Francis sent the letter just before Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show performance, ordering her not to perform the song “Girls Gone Wild.” Madonna did not perform the song (although…

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Pinterest Responds to Copyright Questions

A brief update to my Pinterest posts (Part 1 here, Part 2 here). Pinterest has responded to the copyright questions that have been flying around the Internet. The company’s CEO has reached out to at least one blogger who pulled her images off the site, and they released the following statement: Pinterest is a platform for people to share their interests through collections of images, videos, commentary and links they can share with friends. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides safe harbors for exactly this type of platform. We are committed to efficiently responding to alleged copyright infringements. We…

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Trademark Registration: Scams!

People who apply to register trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office tend to receive a variety of mailings from companies purporting to be some sort of official trademark-related entity. These are otherwise known as “scams.” Don’t fall for these scams, and whatever you do, don’t send these people any money. If you have filed a trademark application with the USPTO, the only point of communication will be with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Any other entity is not the real thing. For example, there is no government agency referred to as the “United States Trademark…

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Pinterest’s Challenging Copyright Issues, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the online image sharing site Pinterest and some of the copyright law questions it raises – click here for the beginning of my discussion of Pinterest copyright issues. Today I wanted to expand on some of those legal issues, and discuss whether individual users should be concerned about liability – can I be sued for copyright infringement just for using Pinterest to share images I find online?

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