Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Implementing Intellectual Asset Management Program for the Enterprise

Intellectual asset management is a structured and disciplined approach for turning ideas and knowledge into intellectual property and revenues.

Implementing an intellectual asset management program requires a process driven approach. A process is "a sequence of activities that take an input and produce an output. In business, a process is supposed to add value to the input before producing the output.” Each step of an intellectual asset management process informs and directs the other, leading to greater efficiency with existing efforts.

Intellectual asset management program provides productive synchronicity between innovation management, patent management, intellectual property licensing and IP enforcement, thereby attaining efficiencies in many inter-connected business processes.

Leading companies in almost every industry have acknowledged the need for an effective intellectual asset management program. Companies such as IBM, Texas Instruments, Du Pont, Dow Chemical, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Eastman Chemical, Rockwell, Mark and Cadbury Schwepps, among others, have achieved significant profit increases from their intellectual asset management program. Billions of dollars in revenues have been generated from intellectual assets that are identified, managed and licensed through corporate IAM programs. In this paper, we briefly analyze how your organization can gain the same benefits than several leading companies have achieved.

Implementing successful intellectual asset management (IAM) processes requires five fundamental pieces within an organization: an intellectual asset management strategy, a dedicated team, well defined processes, infrastructure and systems, and metrics for continuous improvement.

Intellectual Asset Management Strategy

Developing an intellectual asset management strategy starts with alignment with corporate strategy. It includes evaluating R&D and engineering practices to accelerate time to market and enhance the effectiveness of intellectual asset investment decisions. You should consider assessing and implementing organization structures and work processes that support intellectual asset management strategy. Successful intellectual asset management strategy is much more than a process for patenting and licensing inventions. It takes into account all types of intellectual assets.

These assets include valuable information and trade secrets as well as patentable inventions. For most companies, patents are just the tip of the iceberg. The bulk of intellectual assets are proprietary information, ideas and trade secrets. Your strategy should also include developing and i�plementing intellectual asset portfolio monitoring and enforcement programs to better protect current products and future development efforts.

A Dedicated Team

To successfully implement the intellectual asset management strategy, you need the support of a dedicated team. With the role of IP legal changing from support to strategic, the team should be comprised of members with complementary skill sets, including engineering, R&D, IP legal and outside law firms. Acceptance from inventor community is critical for the program to work. Clear communication, simplicity and adaptability to their culture goes a long way into setting the right course for long term success.

Well Defined Processes

Effective intellectual asset management is a process and not an event. Process optimization has the biggest short and long term impact on your business. Both you and your extended team achieve significant efficiency improvements. You should work towards mapping each step in your process and automate each administrative task. This approach will reduce cost and significantly decrease the time dedicated to patent management. You should start with setting structure to the innovation management process. By streamlining invention disclosure submission, review and approval process, you can maximize the use of technology skills available throughout the organization and hence improve the

effectiveness of your team in processing new ideas faster. Next, If patents are significant part of your IP portfolio, you should focus on automating patent management process. Whether you use law firms to do most of your patent prosecution or you use a hybrid model, you should map out each task in the process and analyze how it can be delivered with least resources and maximum impact. Similar to patents, you can structure processes for managing trademarks, assertions and enforcement programs, budget and invoicing management.

Infrastructure and Systems

Historically not the first corporate function to receive limited and expensive IT resources, corporate legal departments have operated with a hodge-podge of limited IT automation, piecemeal point solution applications to address a limited set of legal department functions. Such applications were typically created for external law firms, expert at optimizing for billable hours, rather than enabling the corporate legal, and geographically distributed service providers, employee contributors and stakeholders to operate as one for competitive advantage. More recently, while corporations intranet and document management systems have improved the legal departments’ document access, no where – until

Lecorpio – has there been a completely automated, modern and integrated suite of applications designed to optimize not only each legal function’s processes but also enable an extended enterprise, end-to-end collaboration and visibility of intellectual assets and legal processes.

Unlike all current legal application “point solutions” that limit their clients’ operations to how the vendor defines how to run their business with rigidly defined business application logic programmed directly into the product, Lecorpio uniquely provides both the benefits of standalone, turnkey applications for each corporate legal function, but also empowers corporate legal departments to select and choose how they choose to do business and also easily extend their application logic and workflows and do so without expensive, rare and labor intensive traditional computer programming skills. It is designed to work the way you do, work the way your business does, and work the way technology should.

Metrics for continuous improvement

A picture is worth a thousand words. You should make use of an advanced set of visualization tools that provides an easily understood visual essence of every import metric for your legal department. Spot trends, find anomalies, identify strengths and weaknesses by leveraging your legal assets data. The metrics should be designed to help your team understand what’s happening from both 50,000 feet and 5 feet level. By conducting historical and comparative trend analyses to gain insight into emerging opportunities and critical issues, you gain a competitive advantage over your competition.

Transform Operations and Maximize effectiveness with Lecorpio

Lecorpio, the leading provider of Legal Resource Management (LRM) solutions, empowers the world's leading corporate legal departments, internal corporate constituents and law firms to do more with less with an integrated and collaborative suite of software solutions to automate, manage and optimize all legal functions and processes, individually or "end to end" across the extended enterprise.

Lecorpio Legal Resource Management includes applications for innovation management, patent management, trademark management, IP assertions and enforcement management, licensing compliance management, spend management, contract management, open source management and entity management.

* Lecorpio innovation management provides form, discipline and structure to the invention disclosure process. Innovation Management enables inventors to be actively involved in a dialogue with the legal department and gain insight into how their submissions are moving through the process. This provides organizations gain broader access to ideas and process them for better results. Innovation management provides right information in the right people's hands at the right time. Each participant in the process is notified when they are needed to perform a task, and alarms are triggered if delays occur. The “top-down” view of the entire process improves strategic planning of solicitations and development of new technology and intellectual property.

* Lecorpio patent management provides for the implementation of measures to ensure that a patent department identifies the right law firm/resources, adequately protects, and controls intellectual property portfolio and budgets. Patent case information is organized into electronic tri-folders analogous to the current paper file folders. All participants in the process, including inventors, in-house counsels, law firm attorneys, administrators, docketing clerks, annuity payment service providers and others, are linked to this database and given

selective access to information relevant to their role in the process. Access privileges are controlled so that each participant sees only what is necessary to carry out their responsibilities. Docketing management is fully integrated with case files, docketing is automatically associated with cases, and the user can instantly link from docket to the case file, or from case file to docket.

* Lecorpio trademark management helps your team collaborate with corporate marketing, product development team members and others throughout the company regarding trademark issues and respond promptly to new trademark search requests. You can manage outside counsels more

efficiently and keep track of budgets, estimates and invoices for each search, filing and registration activity performed by outside counsels.

With Lecorpio trademark management, you can create, manage and analyze your portfolios and cluster them by technology areas, product groups and other business factors. Also, using trademark enforcement management, you can track disputes.

* Lecorpio IP assertion and enforcement management is a robust monitoring system for implementing an effective enforcement program. You can track disputes; create third party profiles, manage incoming/outgoing engagements, manage budget, assess risks and keep track of critical tasks and activities.

* Lecorpio licensing management streamlines the process of creating, managing, implementing, and tracking licensing agreements to optimize revenue, mitigate risk, and improve compliance. With Lecorpio licensing management, you can systematically track and manage your licensing and business agreements, diligently fulfill your contractual responsibilities and track the obligations of your business partners. You can manage various types of agreements such as patent, other IP or software license agreements (both inbound and outbound) and graphically analyze on terms, commitments, and obligations articulated in various agreements.

For more information about Lecorpio and the Lecorpio Legal Resource Management suite of applications, please visit http://www.lecorpio.com or call at 1-408-850-7260

About the Author:
Chris Jones, Sr. Product Manager, Lecorpio Inc.,
ONE system to manage all corporate legal processes, end to end.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

You Can Trademark a Lot More Than You Think

by Richard A. Chapo

Discussing a trademark in general is often difficult. Why? It has to do with the fact that you can trademark many things that are unique and entirely different.

When a person thinks of a trademark, most picture a logo of some sort. The swooping Coca Cola brand name is the classic example. Another example is the big red "O" you see in the television commercials for Overstock.com. Such examples of trademarks are fairly standard and most people can understand them without much effort.

The thing that surprises many people is you can trademark many things other than a logo. The key to making the determination is to understand the definition. A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, device or combination thereof. The thing to be trademarked must be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods or services of the applying party from those of others.

This rather broad definition can lead to some interesting trademarks. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you could never trademark an apple if you grew and sold them. The word is simply too common and does not distinguish your apples from anyone else. If you built a computer, however, and called it Apple, you can get a trademark. Why? The commonly used word is being applied to an area of commerce where it is not commonly used. Further, it clearly distinguishes a particular type of computer from others in the business field.

A unique phrase can also be trademarked in appropriate situations if it distinguishes the product or service line clearly to the consumer world. "Just do it" is a phrase that is not unique or abstract in and of itself. When applied to Nike advertising and media, however, it is distinct and tells the consumer the product being supplied is from Nike. As a result, the phrase can be trademarked.

Perhaps the most unique trademark is one for sound. Certain sounds are associated with products or services and thus can be trademarked. A classic example is the bonging noise used on the Law and Order television show. When a person hears the noise, they immediately associate it with the show.

Obviously, the issue of whether something can be trademarked is a complex issue. You cannot just walk around trademarking various sounds and such. The Patent and Trademark Office wants to see some practical application in commerce that is known by people. That being said, do not assume that you can't trademark something just because it is not a logo.

About the Author
Richard A. Chapo is with SanDiegoBusinessLawFirm.com - providing trademark registration services.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement Template

Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement Template
By Sangeeta Tomar


THIS NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT (this “Agreement”) is made and entered into as of [date] between [Your Company name] having its place of business at [ address] (“Company”) and [company 2], having its place of business at [Address]

Purpose:Company and [company 2] wish to explore a business opportunity of mutual interest and in connection with this opportunity wishes to execute this Non Disclosure Agreement (“Agreement”).

1. Confidential Information: Confidential information means any information disclosed to by one party to the other, either directly or indirectly in writing, orally or by inspection of tangible or intangible objects, including without limitation documents, business plans, source code, software, documentation, financial analysis, marketing plans, customer names, customer list, customer data. Confidential Information may also include information disclosed to a party by third parties at the direction of a Disclosing Party. Confidential Information shall not, however, include any information which the Receiving party can establish (i) was publicly known and made generally available in the public domain prior to the time of disclosure; (ii) becomes publicly known and made generally available after disclosure through no action or inaction of Receiving Party; or (iii) is in the possession of Receiving Party, without confidentiality restrictions, at the time of disclosure by the Disclosing Party as shown by Receiving Party’s files and records immediately prior to the time of disclosure. The party disclosing the Confidential Information shall be referred to as “Disclosing Party” in the Agreement and the party receiving the Confidential Information shall be referred to as “Receiving Party” in the Agreement.

2. Non-use and Non-disclosure: The Receiving Party agrees not to use any Confidential Information for any purpose except to evaluate and engage in discussions concerning a potential business relationship between the parties hereto. Receiving Party agrees not to disclose any Confidential Information to third parties or to its employees, except to those employees who are required to have the information in order to evaluate or engage in discussions concerning the contemplated business relationship. The Receiving Party shall not reverse engineer, disassemble or decompile any prototypes, software or other tangible objects which embody the Disclosing Party's Confidential Information and which are provided to the Receiving Party hereunder.

3. Maintenance of Confidentiality Information: The Receiving Party agrees that it shall take all reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure and unauthorized use of the Confidential Information. Without limiting the foregoing, Receiving Party shall take at least those measures that Receiving Party takes to protect its own most highly confidential information and shall have its employees, if any, who have access to Confidential Information sign a non-use and non-disclosure agreement in content substantially similar to the provisions hereof, prior to any disclosure of Confide�tial Information to such employees. The Receiving Party shall not make any copies of Confidential Information unless the same are previously approved in writing by the Disclosing Party. The Receiving Party shall reproduce the Disclosing Party’s proprietary rights notices on any such approved copies, in the same manner in which such notices were set forth in or on the original. The Receiving Party shall immediately notify the Disclosing Party in the event of any unauthorized use or disclosure of the Confidential Information.

4. No Obligation: Nothing herein shall obligate either party to proceed with any transaction between them, and each party reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the discussions contemplated by this Agreement concerning the business opportunity.


6. Return of Materials: All documents and other tangible objects containing or representing Confidential Information and all copies thereof which are in the possession of Receiving Party shall be and remain the property of the Disclosing Party and shall be promptly returned to the Disclosing Party upon the Disclosing Party’s request.

7. No License: Nothing in this Agreement is intended to grant any rights to either party under any patent, mask work right or copyright of Company, nor shall this Agreement grant Receiving Party any rights in or to Confidential Information except as expressly set forth herein.

8. Term: This Agreement shall survive for a period of 3 years from the date of disclosure of the Confidential Information.

9. Remedies: The Receiving Party agrees that any violation or threatened violation of this Agreement will cause irreparable injury to the Disclosing Party, entitling the Disclosing Party to obtain injunctive relief in addition to all legal remedies.

10. Miscellaneous:This Agreement shall bind and inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their successors and assigns. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of [name of your state, country], without reference to conflict of laws principles. This document contains the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof. Any failure to enforce any provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver thereof or of any other provision hereof. This Agreement may not be amended, nor any obligation waived, except by a writing signed by both parties hereto. Any and all disputes arising under or related to this Agreement shall be adjudicated exclusively in [name of your state, country]. The parties have executed this Nondisclosure Agreement as of the date first above written.

Your Company Name. [Compnay 2] By: ___________________ By: Name: ________________ Name: Title: _________________ Title: Date: _________________ Date:

Online legal and business guides for small businesses

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sangeeta_Tomar

Monday, January 15, 2007

Intellectual Property at All Stages of a Company's Life

by David J. Dawsey, PE, Esq

Many businesses believe that intellectual property (IP) law only applies to the large corporate giants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Business owners who take the time to educate themselves on the basics of IP will be able to avoid common pitfalls and take full advantage of IP opportunities throughout the life of the business. After all, there are many points in the life of a business firm when the firm and its employees should consider IP matters.

Starting Up: The Company's Name

You should start thinking of IP issues as soon as you begin thinking about starting a company. While few people think of their firm name as IP that warrants protection, everyone desires a distinctive name that customers easily associate with a particular organization. If a business plans on conducting interstate business then a comprehensive trademark/service mark search is warranted. Obviously, one should always error on the conservative side. You don't want to find out you cannot use a particular name outside the initial state after you have developed a booming business and achieved name recognition.

An informed business owner must understand the simple distinctions between trademarks and service marks, as well as distinctions between state and federal registration. First, a trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

One common misconception about marks is that if a mark is not federally registered then it is not protected. Actually, common law rights arise in a mark from its actual use in commerce even if it is not registered federally or with a state. Common law rights offer less extensive protection than afforded by state trademark registration, which offers less extensive protection than afforded by federal trademark registration.

Federal registration has several advantages including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration. Therefore, when forming a company one should file for state mark registration at a minimum, and preferably seek federal registration.

Employee Policies and IP Law

During the formation stages of a business, one must consider establishing a non-compete policy. Most company's go through tremendous efforts to protect their physical property while paying little attention to protecting their intellectual property, which is often worth far more than a company's physical assets. A company should do everything possible to ensure valuable information such as marketing data, client lists, and other proprietary information does not fall into a competitor's hands.

Such information generally falls into �he hands of a competitor when they hire away an employee that had access to this confidential information. Non-compete agreements can minimize this threat. A non-compete agreement is a contract between the employee and employer that explicitly identifies what the employee may and may not do when that employee leaves the company. The laws governing these agreements vary from state to state, however, virtually all states require reasonableness in the scope and type of information protected.

Non-compete agreements are essential for the owners of a company and should be addressed in the articles of incorporation/organization or the partnership agreement. Similarly, key employees that have access to confidential information should be required to sign a non-compete agreement.

Ideally, employment should be conditioned upon the signing of a non-compete agreement. However, when key employees and owners are developed from within the company, a plan must be in place identifying when an "up and comer" must sign such an agreement. Some states consider continued employment with the company sufficient consideration to support the enforceability of a non-compete agreement, however, one should always have their attorney draft such agreements and identify procedures that are in accordance with state law. Often it is convenient to require that a non-compete agreement be signed prior to promotion to management or other high-level positions.

Generally, low level staff should not be required to sign non-compete agreements unless they have access to information the company needs to protect. Lower level staff members generally do not have access to this information and are not hired away for this knowledge. Additionally, employees expected to sign non-compete agreements often require additional compensation, therefore the fewer employees that really need to sign, the less expense to the employer.

In addition to non-compete agreements, management should be required to sign confidentiality agreements. Everyone is familiar with the old adage that "loose lips sink ships." While the confidential information shared among the executives of a business is not likely to sink a ship, it undoubtedly has the potential to cause friction between employees and management and result in tremendous reductions in productivity. It is simple human nature that when one must sign an agreement to keep certain information confidential they will be less likely to disclose the information.

Copyright Issues Occur in Daily Practice

Once the company has been formed, its name and products protected with service marks and trademarks, and appropriate non-compete and confidentiality agreements signed, the focus must turn to IP issues encountered during operation of the business.

Business owners often make mistakes regarding copyright law. Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, including architectural works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Copyright protection may be appropriate for the company's web site, marketing material, published articles, installation instructions, user's manuals, and software developed in-house.

Patent Law and the Business Owner

A patent on an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions.

The right conferred by the patent grant is "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or "importing" the invention into the United States. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matter, or any new useful improvement thereof. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plants.

Business owners must avoid the mindset that they are just applying tried and true principles in carrying out their business.

Trade Secrets

Business owners should also be aware of the potential for trade secret protection. Consider that fact that a recent study estimates that Fortune 100 companies lost more then $45 billion in 1999 from the theft of proprietary information.

Generally, a "trade secret" can include all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information. This includes patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing. Protection is available if the owner has taken reasonable measures to keep the information secret; and the information has independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known. Trade secrets are afforded protection both under state and federal law.

A protectable trade secret may not be "within the realm of general skills and knowledge" in one's field of business and is something not "readily duplicated without involving considerable time, effort or expense." Therefore, business owners should discuss trade secret matters both with their attorney and clients.

Business Owners as Software Pirates?

The one IP issue that may get the most small businesses into trouble is software piracy, both intentional and inadvertent. Unlicensed copying of software by businesses and individuals, known as end-user copying, is the most common type of software piracy found within new businesses. This includes installing software on more company computers than you have licenses for and disk swapping among friends and associates. These activities are illegal and put not only the individual performing the copying at risk, but also the company.

Software piracy does not only hurt the software companies. A recent survey estimates that software piracy resulted in the loss of 118,000 jobs in the U.S. and approximately $5.6 billion in wages! Every business should have a written policy against unauthorized software duplication. Additionally, software and licenses should be meticulously cataloged and stored in a locked enclosure.

You will get caught! All it takes is one disgruntled employee to tip off a software company. Just consider that a recent tip offered to Autodesk through their website resulted in a settlement of close to $208,000 with a consulting engineering firm.

Final Issues: IP Concerns in Winding Up a Business

Every business must plan for the eventual retirement or discharge of the owners. Virtually every ownership agreement will include the necessary provisions as to how the company will be valued and the method of distributing the leaving owners share in the business. However, owners of businesses having intellectual property should be particularly concerned as to how it will be valued. While intellectual property valuation is a complicated subject beyond the scope of this article, it's not a subject to consider for the first time when dissolving a firm. It should be discussed with your attorney at the outset to avoid litigation when an owner leaves the firm.


We hope you understand that we cannot possibly give accurate legal advice to all inventors in a brief article on intellectual property issues that should be considered when starting a business. Accordingly, nothing in the above is intended as specific legal advice to any person. Such legal advice can only be given by a qualified practitioner after a careful review of all the individual facts. We urge you to consult us, or another licensed professional, before you proceed.
About the Author

David Dawsey is an experienced intellectual property attorney specializing in the prosecution and litigation of domestic and foreign patents, trademarks, and copyright. David is one of the few patent attorneys that is also a registered Professional Engineer. In addition to his legal and engineering education, David has also earned an MBA degree. You may reach David via the firm website www.Invention-Protection.com.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Protecting your Website's Images from Stealing: Is it Really Possible?

Protecting your Website's Images from Stealing: Is it Really Possible?
By Mary Markell

It is simply not possible to prevent someone from copying your website images. If someone is skilled and determined there's no way to stop them from abusing your website and your content. But there's still light in the end of the tunnel. You can use some semi-sophisticated techniques to limit the amount of people that can copy your website's images. Keep reading.

The first method I recommend is called digital image watermarking. A watermark can be visible or can be invisibly embedded into the pixels of an image. There are companies offering digital watermarking services and providing a digital identity for any media object, thus protecting it from stealing. But these systems are not fool proof, they have weaknesses and they are costly.

Another method would be to hide your original image behind a transparent GIF using CSS style sheets. If someone right clicks the image and selects to save it, it will only save the transparent GIF, not the original image. Similarly, you can insert the image as a table background. But in both cases a visitor can always make use of the -PrtScrn- button to copy anything from your website.

Embedding the images in Flash files is another popular method. Now, this is a neat method to use, it will make it difficult for a thief to steal your work. You cannot right click and copy the image if it's embedded in a flash file. But the flash file is already on your hard drive (cache). You can use any flash de-compiler software to easily grab any contents from a flash executable file. And of course you can simply use the -PrtScn- button to take snapshots.

You see, there's nothing you can do to prevent a thief from stealing your content. Fortunately there are services like Copyscape that monitor your website's activity and detect potential thieves. You can also have a look at this copyright protection guide written by a former federal prosecutor and learn about the same legal techniques that the top internet attorneys and big law firms use.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mary_Markell

Friday, January 12, 2007

Google, YouTube and Copyright

Google, YouTube and Copyright
02nd December 2006
Author: Gerard Simington

In a rather stunning move, Google recently purchased the popular video site YouTube The question many are asking is how Google will deal with the potential copyright violations on the site?

To show you how much the Internet has changed in a relatively short amount of time, it is important to look back at the last big public medium that had copyright issues. In this case, we are talking about Napster. As you know, Napster was a system where music could be traded by people for free. This, of course, drove the record labels and artists crazy. If people were trading the music for free, royalties and revenues were not being produced. To quell the uprising, the music industry went after Napster and even individual users, claiming that the copyright for the musical pieces was being violated. As you also know, the record companies won the fight.

Now consider YouTube. From just about any angle, YouTube appears to be the Napster of the online video industry. The obvious difference is that many people will simply upload their own videos and creations to the site. In such circumstances, it's obvious that nobody can complain that there is a copyright violation because people have voluntarily put it up on the site. The problem that arises, however, is when people go ahead and upload videos and other matter from television, DVDs, and so on. Based on the various legal precedents set in the Napster case, it would appear that copyright claims can be made against YouTube.

So, why would Google risk purchasing YouTube? Does it really want to risk being sued to high heaven? Google assures everyone that the copyright problems are no big deal, but its rumored action tell a different story. Depending upon the media you are reading, Google has supposedly set aside between $200 and $500 million dollars to deal with copyright claims. That is an absolute ton of money and represents a certain lack of faith by Google on the copyright issues. So, will Google actually end up paying out most of this money? The chances seem slim. To understand why, we need to find an answer to the question of what makes YouTube different from Napster?

Ironically, the law really has not changed in any noticeable way. The primary thing that is different is us as a society. It goes without saying that the record industry took a beating on the public relations front when it started suing kids in relation to the Napster litigation. The backlash from that process led to a situation where companies began reassessing such heavy handed tactics. In concert with this, online music sites where you could buy individual songs proved a huge success. Throw in the Ipod and the future became clear. For mainstream entertainment groups, the internet was no longer a nasty word.

Instead of trying to beat down companies like YouTube with copyright claims, entertainment groups will seek out mutually profitable solutions. In fact, Google has already announced such deals and you can expect a lot more in the future. Will there still be copyright disputes? Sure, but they should be fairly nominal. The real question is what will happen to the concept of copyright as it is applied to the net. Although hardly a psychic, I think I am hardly out of line in predicting it will change dramatically over the next five to 10 years. In fact, I tend to think the legal concept of copyright may be applied by a more specific set of rules applicable just to the net. For many online sites, this would prove to be a positive move.

Gerard Simington is with FindAnAttorneyForMe.com - an online intellectual property law information and attorney directory.
This article is free for republishing
Source: http://www.articlealley.com
Gerard Simington is with FindAnAttorneyForMe.com - find an attorney online with our free directory.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Understanding Copyright

Understanding Copyright
by: John V. W. Howe

When you create original content, it is automatically copyrighted, but you should know about copyrights and how to specifically mark your work. Also, establishing the date of creation is very important.

The basis for copyright law in the USA is found in the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 as follows:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The first copyright law was the Copyright Act of 1790. We are currently operating under the Copyright of 1976 as amended.

Copyrights have a term of the life of the author plus 70 years. We Boomers can thank Sonny Bono (Sonny and Cher) for this. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998--alternatively known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act set the current term of copyrights.

When you write original content, it is copyrighted even if you do not specify "Copyright" or use the "circle C" © copyright symbol.

However, it is best to declare your works are copyrighted. The proper way to do this is "Copyright © (Date of first Creation) ( Name of author).

The best way to approach using any information that you have not created yourself is to consider that it is copyrighted.

To copyright an item, you must establish a dated record of some type when you first created the item so you can prove the date of the copyright if someone challenges you. The earliest date will get the copyright. Before computers, a technique was to write the piece and have it notarized or witnessed. Another technique was to enclose the item in an envelope and mail it to yourself. The postmark established the date.

Now we have computers that record the date of file creation for anything we record on them. This date becomes the date of the copyright.

All you have to do to copyright something is to create it and follow the previously specified procedure by specifying "Copyright © (Date of first Creation) ( Name of author)" Use of the copyright symbol is not required.

The following procedure is for MS Word: To insert the copyright symbol, click Insert on the tool bar, Click Symbol on the dropdown and you will be presented a table of all kinds of symbols. Highlight the "circle C" and click the Insert button and the © will appear where your cursor is located. You will have to click on the Close button to close the Symbol box.

There, that was easy. Now start creating content on which you can proudly hang that "circle C".

Copyright 2006 John Howe, Inc.

About The Author

John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years. He founded http://www.boomer-ezine.com and http://www.retirement-jobs-online.com to help Boomers (baby boomers) become entrepreneurs when they retire.