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[PLEASE READ] Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by CEPI, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. CEPI

    CEPI Power Member

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    The reason I finally decided to write this is because I have started seeing more and more requests for opinions on Copyright infringement, Trademark violation, and Patents (not as much as the previous two but I'll add it anyway) So let's take a journey through the world of Intellectual Property so the threads that ask "is this copyright infringement" can be limited.

    The Copyright: It is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. These rights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned. Copyright lasts for a certain time period after which the work is said to enter the public domain. Copyright applies to a wide range of works that are substantive and fixed in a medium. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

    1 literary works (yes eBooks too)
    2 musical works, including any accompanying words
    3 dramatic works, including any accompanying music
    4 pantomimes and choreographic works
    5 pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
    6 motion pictures and other audiovisual works
    7 sound recordings
    8 architectural works

    Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:

    • Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)

    • Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents

    • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration (Will cover this later in Patents)

    • Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)

    Basically if you have taken an ebook and rewritten it you are not in violation of Copyright law, but you may in violation of a Patent law if the concept is a patented procedure. Also if you are blatantly copying a well-known concept and the original writer of the subject matter has a law firm willing to spend the time and money to get you into court it will still cost you a lot of money.

    One thing I would like to note it that VERY rarely are ebook writers willing to spend the money to have their work sent off and approved by The US Copyright office yet they put the little (C) symbol on their works anyway as a scare tactic to dissuade readers from copying the material.

    You can check if for a Copyright by visiting the Search Catalog at the Copyright Office website:

    Code:
    http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First


    The Trademark
    : A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.

    A trademark is designated by the following symbols:

    (TM): Used for an UNREGISTERED Trademark to promote a brand or good.
    (SM): Used for an UNREGISTERED Service Mark to promote a service.
    (R): Used for a REGISTERED Trademark.

    A trademark is a type of intellectual property, and typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. (eg. Nike, Just Do It, Pepsi, So Easy Even A Caveman Can Do it) <--- yes that's registered, LOL.

    The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark. However, registration is not required. Registering your Trademark provides additional legal protection in that NOBODY may replicate your name within the jurisdiction that it is registered. It is EXPENSIVE and time consuming to attain a Registered Trademark and is usually done by a reputable intellectual property law firm.

    Knowing this, violating a Registered Trademark is as good as writing your own legal death certificate. You know they have big money, big reputation, and big attorney's so don't even walk down that road.

    Again, many people fake that they are a (TM) or (R) and you can search for them by using the USPTO web search found here:

    Code:
    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=4003:lbpup1.1.1
    The Patent: A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

    This right was established over 200 years ago in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution: "to promote the science and useful arts by securing for a limited time to the inventors the exclusive right to their respective rights and discoveries."

    This is where your procedures, computer programs, proprietary methods, research, etc would fall under. Very rarely will you find yourself infringing on this law unless you are a developer of software, or machines related to computer hardware or maybe copying an exact word for word method of SEO or blatant copying of a well-known method.

    Not very many people will fake a patent but if you'd like to search for official patents to make sure your invention isn't already available you can go to the USPTO Patent Search by going here:

    Code:
    http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/search/index.jsp
    Good Practice: All in all, you should also use your best judgment. If you have a thread on here asking, "if i used xxxxxxx name in my domain name will this be a violation of the law?" The answer may be NO, and it may be YES. Intellectual property law is complex within a single country, but then when you get into crossing borders via the internet and World Wide Web you run into even larger infringement issues and complexities.

    Maybe you are violating in one country but not another because of the lack of name recognition in that country, but then xx% of your traffic must derive from the unregistered country to prevent prosecution. You can imagine how fun and complex that can get.

    Use good judgment and business practice. If you know that you have rewritten something and will promote it better than who you copied from you can be subject to violation on grounds of affecting the marketability and profitability of the previous product.

    There are several things that you CAN get in trouble for that you may not be versed on with regard to intellectual property and several things you will NEVER get in trouble for that could be a direct violation. It is up to the diligence of the Intellectual Property originator to find and prosecute those who are infringing.

    It is also our job as professionals to maintain some sense of good business practice and follow our gut feeling of right and wrong.

    Disclaimer: Please note this is not legal advice and you should always consult the opinion of a legal professional that is well versed in the laws regarding the region you reside.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  2. mockba

    mockba Junior Member

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    i am in a trademark opposition case right now. local big gun decided to trademark my name behind my back. i learned 2 things in the process:

    1. keep good documentation of your use of name, including transactions and advertising expenses
    2. get the best lawyer around and be prepared to spend some coin, if you believe it will pay off
     
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  3. secretboy08

    secretboy08 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    i am building a bot for one of facebook games.they are popular for suing ebook creators recently.
    i do not use the game name in the domain,but the game name is mentioned plenty of times on my site including header.
    can i get into legal trouble for this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  4. turbopugsleylx

    turbopugsleylx Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Id like to know this as well!
     
  5. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    software, scripts, webpages, and pretty much any type of computer code also falls into the same category as literary works.
     
  6. CEPI

    CEPI Power Member

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    GreyWolf is correct in what he has said.

    However, like I had stated in the original post, it is up to the original owner to find the people who infringe on the copyright and take legal action so if you have something that is a competitor of complementary program and not the actual game you are mentioning the answer is.... MAYBE.

    It is all up to what exactly you are doing and how deep into another persons product you are going. If they are big, a major corp, then you are better off steering clear. If you'd like to take a shot there is a possibility that you receive a Cease and Desist letter, or threats.

    Use the search links I provided in the OP and make sure in fact that the game you are mentioning is in fact in the Copyright database, Trademark data base etc... then I recommend getting legal counsel if this is a large money intensive project.
     
  7. turbopugsleylx

    turbopugsleylx Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    But in that case wouldnt it be illegal to write a gaming guide for a PS3 game? I wouldnt think so...
     
  8. secretboy08

    secretboy08 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    pl. check pm.some details sent.thanks
     
  9. Madeezy

    Madeezy Registered Member

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    One key point regards Trademarks is that the trademark is in relation to something.

    ie long time ago I had Dell after me, it was because I had registered delldigital.com

    In my mail I received all the paperwork, what they were suing me for and the court date and hearing details, plus of course potential damages if I did not desist and hand over the domain, and Yep I am in Australia and the court hearing was in the US lol

    As for me and why I registered the domain, my Bloody surname is Dell and I was consulting in many country's including US with Valvoline and other top companies as my clients.

    Well in this case I spoke with my corporate lawyer at the time and he said yes we can fight it but the cost WILL be high.
    So in the end I gave it to them.

    Some time later I again saw delldigital.com had been registered!
    How did that happen I thought?

    Here is the important bit...Dell with the unique layout was registered by Dell corporation for...use in and in relationship to Hardware items computers and peripherals etc etc. IT WAS NOT in relationship to 'Digital'
    Digital Goods or Digital anything. The Guy sorted them out and showed that Digital had nothing to do with Computer Hardware or peripherals for that matter, but was a generic phrase etc.

    Result he got the name and kept it.

    So yes take care with breaching a trademark but also keep an eye out for just what that trademark is registered for and in relationship to before you give in without a fight.

    I of course now have a few Dell domains :) an I ain't telling what they are or how I use them...suffice to say, I love Dell Corporation and its marketing! :D
     
  10. arbydee2

    arbydee2 Regular Member

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    Great all i need now is someone who has "microsoft" for a last name and we can sue Gates for all his assets j/k.

    But true enough, don't give up the fight unless you have thoroughly researched your case.
     
  11. mockba

    mockba Junior Member

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    well, if you remember not so long ago Micro*soft sued Mike Rowe for using, i think, mikerowesoft*com or something like that. and they won. i don't know whether it was because he had no money to fight for it, or simply it was not worth it (it did look like a ghetto site).

    before you decide to fight or not, weigh the pros and cons as it will get expensive. my trademark lawyer is charging $500 an hour. i used to think that one email here or there with a simple question is nothing..then i got an invoice and boy was I shocked :)
    taught me to be brief and up to the point!
     
  12. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    @Madeezy - The Apple trademark is another good example regarding trademarks and how the relationship is important, even though Apple Records had an existing trademark, that didn't stop Apple Computers from choosing it also. Apple Computers was unrelated to the music industry and so there was no branding confusion created by both companies having similar trademarks. That is especially true when you choose a common term as your trademark such as an Apple.

    It is a little harder for the same situation to arise with a trademark name like Microsoft because it isn't a common word to start. The example about Dell falls somewhere in between so it is a little harder to determine how things will go in that case. You probably made the right choice based on the info you had, even though it turned out someone else made out ok with the same Dell related name.
     
  13. xandor

    xandor Newbie

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    I want to promote something like this (example): Nike
    What am i allowed to do?
    Use Nike+another word in url? nikeclothes*com or anything like that.
    Show their products and links to sites that sell them with affilate to amazon and other sites that got their products?
    Write Nike many times all over the pages?
    Add chat or forum for users to talk about Nike?

    Nike was just a example but its same thing i want to do with another trademark. Would i get in trouble?
     
  14. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    In that particular example you would probably run into problems.
     
  15. xandor

    xandor Newbie

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    Thats not good :\

    Since its almost same thing that what i want to do. I see some websites that do similar to what i want but no major sites. Think its just blogs with advertisements and then probably bussiness partners of the trademark.

    Any way to get around it?
    Should i send a email to them asking if they can allow me to setup a website doing that? Would i still get in trouble?
    Saw a email address its possible to send email to for requesting to be their partners.
    "I'm interested in owning and operating a boutique."
    "I'm interested in carrying a product in a store or stores I currently operate."
    Those two the email is for, doesnt say anyhing about a website but might be worth trying. Cant access their europe website now though.

    Should i try it or give up and try something smaller? Seems easy to rank and they get alot of traffic, but not sure someone like me would be allowed to have a website with their products.
     
  16. Megalomaniac Midget

    Megalomaniac Midget Power Member Premium Member

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    I think your post is disingenuous considering there are many lawful exploits in this area of law, I believe there should be MORE questions been asked.

    Blackhat is about lawful exploits, yet your "journey" thru copyright law missed one of the major innovations in the last 50-70yrs of copyright law, OCILLA or "safe harbor", WTF? Youtube success was large because of "safe harbor".

    My mind boggles at the arrogance of claiming your post will limit the need for questions when your "journey" doesn't include the huge lawful loop-hole of "Fair Use". Fair Use is at the very foundation of the what the "internet" is, as the Internet itself depends on the ability to use content in a limited and nonlicensed manner. For example; using the contexts of either commentary, criticism, news reporting or satire/parody anyone can lawfully use copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders under the doctrine of "Fair Use".

    There have been numerous fortunes made thru exploiting "fair use" in copyright law. Sergey Brin & larry page can afford to do joy flights in their own 747 & park it in NASA hangers because they exploited the doctrine of "fair use" when scrapping everyone else's copyright material & plastering ads beside it.

    Fair Use exceptions to US copyright laws were responsible for more than $4,500 Billion dollars in annual revenue for the United States economy

    Why is there no mention of "public domain" in your definite journey thru copyright law? walt disneys & ted turners billion dollar empires where build upon public domain. For example, all federal government works enjoy no copyright protection. virtually all pre 1927 works can be exploited, like the 100k books at gutenberg.org, etc, etc, etc.

    Here's a few good starting point in discovering how you can exploit the "fair use" loop-hole. This is BHW, not WF ;)

    http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/copypol2.html

    http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/copypol2.htm

    http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/resources/publications/fair_use_in_online_video/
     
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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  17. Fwiffo

    Fwiffo Power Member

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    Great thread so far, looking for feedback on the following trademark situation:

    I developed and produced a software product, let's just call it "NONAME"

    I put it out for sale, a few weeks later I get a letter from a lawyer on behalf of a company called NONAME Inc. claiming that:
    - I'm using their trademark name (registered)
    - My product is similar to theirs (site note: they don't even do software)
    - They are asking for revenues from the product, as well as the product itself

    So I remove my product from sale (frankly I don't really care about the title, can be re-branded fairly easily) do a little research, and find out that "NONAME" is actually a trademark (but not registered) of a fairly large US organization 50+ years before the registered trademark was registered with NONAME Inc..

    In this situation:
    - does NONAME Inc. still have any realistic chance of a claim, due to the fact that they have the registered TM and the larger organization does not (even though the larger organization has had it for longer)?
    - or is it likely that their registered TM is now irrelevant as another organization was using it first?
     
  18. jdeeze

    jdeeze Newbie

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    I am glad I found this thread. I had created a squidoo lens on trademarked term and they sent the papers to say it needs to be taken down, that and the youtube video. They said trademark infringement.

    I want to know, the internet is all about writing on anything, so is it trademark infringement if i talk about my use of the product? How does Amazon have up all those products and not considered to be a trademark wrong?
     
  19. pbrouse

    pbrouse Junior Member

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    I know someone else that had some lego domains and they received an email saying to give up the domains or else. I dont think he even had a site up for the domains.