Gehrke & Associates, SC is pleased to announce the launch of Creative Protection, an informational blog that covers copyright and trademark law. The blog also covers news and events of interest to authors, artists, publishers, programmers, musicians and others who may benefit from copyright or trademark protection.

Gehrke & Associates, SC also maintains a general IP law blog featuring selected downloadable resources at .

Internet Archive's value, legality debated in copyright suit

Internet Archive's value, legality debated in copyright suit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An ongoing lawsuit between a company and a popular archive of Web pages raises questions about whether the archive unavoidably violates copyright laws while providing a valuable service, according to attorneys and an independent law expert.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Internet Archive was created in 1996 to preserve Web pages that will eventually be deleted or changed. More than 55 billion pages are stored there.

A health care company claims the archive didn't do enough to protect copyrighted information that helped a competing firm win a trademark suit.

The archive ``is just like a big vacuum cleaner, sucking up information and making it available'' to anyone with a Web browser, said Scott S. Christie, an attorney representing Healthcare Advocates Inc.

``That has some social value, but in doing so they are grabbing information that they're not entitled to,'' he said. ``More importantly, they are telling people that they will take it off the shelf if you do a certain thing a certain way -- but that didn't happen in this case.''

Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Michael Shamos, an expert in Internet law, said archiving like that done by the Internet Archive is ``the biggest copyright infringement in the world,'' but said it is done in a way ``that almost nobody cares about.''

Full story.

File-sharing services vulnerable

File-sharing services vulnerable
00:00 am 6/28/05
Ted Bridis AP technology writer

WASHINGTON - Hollywood and the music industry can file piracy lawsuits against technology companies caught encouraging customers to steal music and movies over the Internet, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices, aiming to curtail what they called a "staggering" volume of piracy online, largely set aside concerns that new lawsuits would inhibit technology companies from developing the next iPod or other high-tech gadgets or services.

The unanimous ruling is expected to have little immediate impact on consumers, though critics said it could lead companies to include digital locks to discourage illegal behavior.

The justices left in place legal protections for companies that merely learn customers might be using products for illegal purposes.

The justices said copying digital files such as movies, music or software programs "threatens copyright holders as never before" because it's so easy and popular, especially among young people. Entertainment companies maintain that online thieves trade 2.6 billion songs, movies and other digital files each month.

Full story.

Activists want to copyright intangible cultural treasures, like the hula dance

Activists want to copyright intangible cultural treasures, like the hula dance

By YASUKAZU AKADA, The Asahi Shimbun

What's the harm in belting out a few bars of traditional tunes like "El Condor Pasa" or staging an impromptu Hawaiian hula dance? Plenty, say copyright activists.They take issue with the notion that such things are in the public domain for anyone to sing or dance.

Now, these activists from developing countries say these and other intangible cultural treasures should be covered by copyright laws--not just for the original anonymous authors, but also for the cultures associated with the works.

They believe the homelands of such cultural treasures should decide who can and cannot profit from them. They want to hold the rights for reproductions or adaptations.

But industrialized nations are bitterly opposed on grounds that traditional works don't fit the existing copyright mold.

Full story.

Feds Shut Web Site in Piracy Crackdown

Feds Shut Web Site in Piracy Crackdown

The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 25, 2005; 8:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- Federal raiders. Internet pirates. Intergalactic screen adventures. The government announced a crackdown Wednesday on the theft of movies and other copyright materials that has the elements of a film plot.

Federal agents shut down a Web site that they said allowed people to download the new Stars War movie even before it was shown in theaters.

The Elite Torrents site was engaging in high-tech piracy by letting people download copies of movies and other copyright material for free, authorities said.

The action was the first criminal enforcement against individuals who are using cutting-edge BitTorrent software to obtain pirated content online, Justice and Homeland Security Department officials said.

Full story.

Protecting intellectual property often hard

Protecting intellectual property often hard
For small businesses: Many don't know the value of their ideas or how much is lost to unfair copying
By Glen Warchol
The Salt Lake Tribune

Most small-business owners probably figure they have enough on their plates growing a business without worrying about something as esoteric as intellectual property theft.

Let global giants such as Nike and Microsoft stew over international piracy, right?

U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Jon Dudas begs to differ. About half the patents issued in Utah - 683 last year alone - went to small-business owners. And those ideas - the foundations of dozens of businesses - are at risk of theft.

"We've found that small businesses don't understand intellectual property," said Dudas. "One tremendously bad case of intellectual property theft and they could lose their business."

Intellectual property includes everything a sharp entrepreneur could dream up - from software programs, which can be copied on a massive scale and transmitted in seconds over the Internet, to knock-off motor boat gauges or a hot-selling brand of glue churned out of a Far East factory.

Because trademark and patent theft has become a $600 billion problem - pirates siphon off about 5 percent to 10 percent of the value of U.S.-trademarked products - Dudas has kicked off a nationwide series of seminars for small businesses. The first started Monday in Salt Lake City and will continue today at Little America Hotel.

Full story.

Sponsor: Gehrke & Associates, SC -- Intellectual Property and Technology Law

Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Strip DVDs

Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Strip DVDs

Wed Apr 27,11:21 AM ET Movies - AP

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs.

The bill gives legal protections to the fledgling filtering technology that helps parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movie DVDs. Bush signed it privately and without comment, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVD players. The movies' creators had argued that changing the content — even when it is considered offensive — would violate their copyrights.

The legislation, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, creates an exemption in copyright laws to make sure companies selling filtering technology won't get sued out of existence.

Full story.

Sponsor: Gehrke & Associates, SC -- Intellectual Property and Technology Law

'Cleaning' of movies may be made legal

Copyright: The House today debates whether to legitimize technology that censors movies on DVD
By Vince Horiuchi
The Salt Lake Tribune 

For Mark Kastleman, "Titanic" was not only a disaster epic, but a disaster as a movie-going experience.

   "I had my teenage sons with me . . . and everything's going great, and then all of a sudden you have this scene where this woman was topless," said the Cottonwood Heights father of six. "My sons were embarrassed and I was really shocked."

   Kastleman and his family have since become fans of edited movies, a controversial subject that will play out in Congress today when the House votes on the Family Movie Act, which would legalize technology that edits DVDs as they are being watched. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has already passed the Senate.

   "This is not about directors or producers," Smith said. "It's about families and parents and the rights of parents to raise their children the way they see fit."

   The technology that would be legalized by passage of the Family Movie Act is just one side of a simmering controversy over who has the right to edit copyright material.

   The flip side involves companies that purchase movies on DVD or videotape, remove certain scenes and then sell or rent the newly edited movies.

   Those companies, many of them based in Utah, are embroiled in litigation over copyright infringement and trademark violation.

   Some people say that if the Family Movie Act becomes law, it will bolster the arguments of video editing services or set a precedent for changing other forms of artistic work that can be stored in the digital realm, including books and paintings.

   The issue is examined in a new documentary, "Bleep, Censoring Hollywood," which looks at the controversy behind video-editing services.

Full story.

Sponsor: Need Assistance with Intellectual Property and Technology Law?

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Internet File Sharing

Supreme Court Weighs in on File-Sharing

Mar 29, 12:21 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.

During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players - all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually "some really excellent uses" that are legal.

Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if "I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away."

While seeming leery of allowing lawsuits, the court also appeared deeply troubled by efforts of the companies that manufacture so-called file-sharing software to encourage Internet piracy and profit from it.

Full story.

Sponsor: Gehrke & Associates, SC -- Personal, friendly, and responsive IP legal service.

Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit

Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit
By John Pallatto, eWEEK

It's hard to imagine that yoga, the 5,000-year-old discipline of exercise, diet and meditation, would have anything in common with the modern software industry.

But a group of loosely affiliated yoga instructors based in California have embraced the philosophy of the open-source software movement in fighting a campaign by a richly successful yoga master to use copyright law to bar competitors from practicing any part of his exercise routines without authorization.

Full story.