Copyright Treaty to Provide Greater Access to Visually Impaired

International negotiators recently agreed to a landmark treaty that will increase access to books for the visually impaired. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled requires signatories to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright holders.

The treaty, negotiated through the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), involved 600 negotiators from 186 member states. The final treaty was approved after more than a week of heated debate at a meeting in Monaco, including initial resistance by the Motion Picture Association of America.

“This treaty is a victory for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled, but also for the multilateral system. With this treaty, the international community has demonstrated the capacity to tackle specific problems, and to agree a consensus solution. This is a balanced treaty, and represents a very good arbitration of the diverse interests of the various stakeholders,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

Currently, national governments determine what limitations and exceptions are permitted. In the United States, accessible format works, including braille, audio, or digital text, can be produced and distributed without permission from the copyright holder, so long as it is for the exclusive use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

However, the U.S. copyright law is not the standard, particularly in less developed countries. A WIPO survey in 2006 found that fewer than only 60 countries have limitations and exceptions clauses in their copyright laws that make special provision for visually impaired persons.

In addition to making it easier to convert books into formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books, the treaty also provides for the exchange of these accessible format works across borders by organizations that serve the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. According to WIPO, the goal is to harmonize limitations and exceptions so that these organizations can operate across borders, while also providing assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Ghost Rider Copyright Suit.

Just like its title character, a copyright lawsuit involving the rights to the Ghost Rider comic garnered new life when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that comic book writer Gary Friedrich can move forward with his copyright lawsuit against Marvel Comics.

Friedrich’s lawsuit alleged that Marvel Comics’ copyright lapsed and reverted back to him, as the author of the work. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics maintains that the character was the product of a collaborative process within the comic book company.

Ultimately, the copyright dispute centers on the terms of a 1978 work-for-hire agreement. In 2011, the district court found that Friedrich had surrendered his rights in the Ghost Rider comic under the contract. However, the appeals court concluded that there are issues of fact to consider at trial and reversed the summary judgment order.

“The agreement is ambiguous on its face,” the three-judge panel concluded. “The contract contains no explicit reference to renewal rights.”

The Second Circuit further agreed that Friedrich might be able to show that the parties did not contemplate that the 1978 copyright agreement would cover the Ghost Rider comic, which was first published in 1972. “It is doubtful the parties intended to convey rights in the valuable Ghost Rider copyright without explicitly referencing it,” Judge Denny Chin wrote. “It is more likely that the agreement only covered ongoing or future work. Hence, there is a genuine dispute regarding the parties’ intent for this form contract to cover Ghost Rider.”

As the date for trial came closer Marvel Comics and Friedrich reached a settlement thereby insuring Marvel’s parent company Disney, that there would not be a trial that could place its interest in the “Ghost Rider” franchise at risk.

As this case highlights, the terms of a work-for-hire agreement must be clear and unambiguous. If not, the court may end up deciding who owns the rights to a lucrative motion picture, song, or other work.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

A “Happy Birthday” Copyright Lawsuit

You don’t have to pay a licensing fee to sing “Happy Birthday” at your child’s birthday party. However, playing the song in a television show or film will cost you, unless a new class-action copyright suit is successful in arguing that the song belongs in the public domain.

The argument makes sense considering that the Guinness Book of World Records has called “Happy Birthday” the most recognized song in the English language. However, the copyright analysis is far more complicated, relying on the publication date of the work.


Warner/Chappell Music required the plaintiff, Good Morning to You Productions, to pay a $1,500 licensing fee to use the “Happy Birthday” song in its documentary film about the history of the song. However, according to Good morning to You Productions, the copyright term expired many years ago. The complaint states:

“Irrefutable documentary evidence, some dating back to 1893, shows that the copyright to ‘Happy Birthday to You,’ if there ever was a valid copyright to any part of the song, expired no later than 1921 and that if defendant Warner/Chappell owns any rights to ‘Happy Birthday to You,’ those rights are limited to the extremely narrow right to reproduce and distribute specific piano arrangements for the song published in 1935. Significantly, no court has ever adjudicated the validity or scope of the defendant’s claimed interest in ‘Happy Birthday to You,’ nor in the song’s melody or lyrics, which are themselves independent works.”

As evidence of its claims, the plaintiff alleges, “Even though the lyrics to ‘Happy Birthday to You’ and the song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ had not been fixed in a tangible medium of expression, the public began singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ no later than the early 1900s…. For example, in the January 1901 edition of ‘Inland Educator’ and ‘Indiana School Journal,’ the article entitled ‘First Grade Opening Exercises’ described children singing the words ‘happy birthday to you,’ but did not print the song’s lyrics or melody.”  The complaint further states: “Upon information and belief, the lyrics to ‘Happy Birthday to You’ (without the sheet music for the melody) were first published in 1911 by the Board of Sunday Schools of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”

The complaint goes on to explain the long, and often convoluted, history of the song, as evidence that the copyright does not expire in 2030, as Warner/Chappell Music argues. It concludes by seeking a declaration that “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain as well as monetary damages and restitution of all the unlawful licensing fees that defendant Warner/Chappell improperly collected.

As this case highlights, calculating the proper copyright term can be a complicated task, particularly for older works. To determine whether a song has entered into the public domain, it is advisable to consult with an experienced copyright attorney.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

New Free Online Tool Available to Detect Copyright Infringement

If you use photos or graphics on your website, you should be interested in policing the unauthorized use of your works by your competitors. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous vendors to pilfer and use the photos and artwork of others to sell their own goods.  A free and simple to use online tool is now available to catch such copyright infringements.

As reported by CorpCounsel.com, photographer Jason Wilder has created the Copyright Infringement Finder (CIF), a free add-on for the Firefox browser. The CIF add-on uses Google’s image-searching technology and allows owners of images to right-click on an image in the Firefox browser window to find other sites that are using that same image. As long as you know what sites should be using your images, you can quickly scan the CIF results for potential infringement.

Wilder first released the tool in the summer of 2011, and it has now been downloaded nearly 2,000 times. According to Wilder, many users have contacted him to express their gratitude. As he explains:

“A lot of people are misled and go by, ‘If it’s on the Internet it’s fair game to use for whatever,’ and sadly it will be like that for a long time. But the more photographers go after copyright theft and seek for damages, the more people and corporations get educated from the mistakes they made when they have to pay out thousands instead of, say, paying a $50 fee for a one-time use.”

The CIF add-on is available free for Firefox.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

BMI Takes Gossip Website to Task Over Music Copyright Story

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has asked celebrity gossip website TMZ.com to issue a retraction after it published a story about the music licensing company’s efforts to file copyright infringement lawsuits against twelve bars and restaurants located across the country.

The story, entitled “BMI Music Company Suit – Triggers 19 Nervous Breakdowns,” stated:

Here’s the deal.  BMI — the famous music licensing company — has filed lawsuits against 12 bars and restaurants around the country, claiming the establishments have been playing their songs without paying a licensing fee.  And it gets a lot worse.  For every BMI song that gets played on a bar jukebox or by a DJ without the proper fee being paid, BMI is entitled to $150,000 in damages.  So “Love Child” could literally put a bar out of biz.

BMI has now fired back, claiming that the TMZ story “misrepresents” its values and mission while including a “number of inaccuracies.”  As a BMI spokesperson explained to Billboard Magazine, “BMI did not request $150,000 for an infringed work in any of these cases. The $150,000 penalty referred to by TMZ is actually the maximum statutory amount that the copyright owner can recover per infringement as permitted within the U.S. Copyright Act.”

This is an accurate assessment. In reality, most copyright infringement lawsuits brought by BMI or its competitor ASCAP result in a settlement that is much closer to the cost of licensing the music.

BMI also argues that the article “misrepresents what BMI stands for along with the collaboration between performers and songwriters.” As it further notes, “Not all performers are songwriters and many songwriters that BMI represents make their living from their BMI royalties.”

This is also true given how the copyright system protects music and the many different rights holders that may be involved. For instance, the composer or songwriter holds a copyright to the musical composition, which includes the exclusive right to perform or play a song in public. When the song is converted into a sound recording, another set of rights is created on behalf of the performer. BMI’s role is to license the music on behalf of the copyright holders it represents.

The system is complicated, but BMI is well within its rights. Given the steady stream of revenue that music licensing provides, the company is motivated to aggressively police businesses playing copyrighted music without permission.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The Copyright Office Wants to Hear from You on Copyright Policies in the Digital Economy.

The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) last week issued a green paper on copyright, and Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter commented on the highlight of the paper’s core content and goals.

The paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper), represents the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995. Along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the USPTO has played a key role in its production, from gathering public comments to the drafting and releasing the paper .

The Green Paper calls for new public input on critical policy issues that are central to the  nation’s economic growth, cultural development and job creation. It is intended to serve as a reference for stakeholders, a blueprint for further action, and a contribution to global copyright debates.  The Copyright Office will be reaching out to the public for views on a variety of topics.

Shira states that: “In recent years, the debates over copyright have become increasingly contentious. Too often copyright and technology policies are seen as pitted against each other, as if a meaningful copyright system is antithetical to the innovative power of the Internet, or an open Internet will result in the end of copyright. We do not believe such a dichotomy is necessary or appropriate.

The goals espoused in the paper— ensuring a meaningful and effective copyright system that continues to provide the necessary incentives for creative expression, preserving the technological innovation and free flow of information made possible by the Internet, and delivering creative content in the broadest possible fashion to consumers—are ones that we think can, and must, be accomplished in tandem.

By intention, the Green Paper does not set out substantive policy recommendations, except where the administration is already on record with a stated position. Rather, it seeks to provide a thorough and objective review of the lay of the land—describing changes that have already occurred, identifying areas where more work should be done, and setting out paths to move that work forward. The paper expresses support for efforts underway to address some of the open issues in other forums—notably Congressional attention to music licensing, the Copyright Office’s work on orphan works and mass digitization, and the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s facilitation of cooperative efforts by stakeholders to curb online enforcement.”

In  the coming weeks, the Copyright Office  will begin to move forward on the specific items outlined in the paper for IPTF action:

  • Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  • Soliciting public comment and convening roundtables on:
    • The legal framework for the creation of remixes—user-generated content that uses portions of copyrighted works in creative ways.
    • The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital age.
    • The appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the context of (1) individual file sharers and (2) secondary liability for large-scale infringement.
    • Whether and how the government can facilitate the further development of a robust online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information.

If you are a copyright stakeholder you need to  continue to engage energetically and productively to develop the best possible copyright policy for the Internet.  In order to do this the Copyright Office needs to hear from all affected interests, including those who create works, those who distribute them, and those who enjoy them.

You can add your comments here.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

50 Cent for a Copyright Battle

Music mogul 50 Cent is more accustomed to rap battles as opposed to legal battles.  Still, he  came out on top in a recent copyright infringement lawsuit.

Shadrach Winstead, author of the book The Preacher’s Son – But the Streets Turned Me into a Gangster, filed the lawsuit against 50 Cent, whose legal name is Curtis Jackson, and his record label. Shadrach alleged that Jackson’s Before I Self-Destruct album and film of the same name derived their contents from, and infringed the copyright of, his book.

Winstead’s claimed his book included these short phrases: “Get the dope, cut this dope,” “let’s keep it popping,” and “I said the strong takes from the weak, but the smart takes from everybody.” In a scene from Jackson’s film, a song playing in the background includes these lyrics: “Get the dope, cut the dope, get the dope. Let’s get it popping. The strong sit down, but the weak work for me.”

Despite the similarities, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately concluded that 50 Cent had not infringed Winstead’s book. As the court explained, “Not all copying is copyright infringement.” Rather, the court must determine whether the allegedly infringing work is similar because it appropriates the unique expressions of the original work, “or merely because it contains elements that would be expected when two works express the same idea or explore the same theme.”

In this case, the court concluded that the words and phrases did not sustain a claim of copyright infringement. “They are either common in general or common with respect to hip hop culture, and do not enjoy copyright protection. The average person reading or listening to these phrases in the context of an overall story or song would not regard them as unique and protectable,” the opinion states. It further added that words and short phrases do not enjoy copyright protection.

With respect to the works overall, the court concluded that they differed as to character, plot, mood, and sequence of events. “Winstead’s protagonist embarks on a life of crime at a very young age, but is redeemed by the death of his beloved father. Jackson’s protagonist turns to crime when he is much older and only after his mother is murdered. He winds up dead at a young age, unredeemed,” the court noted.

 

How Can I Help?

Copyright infringement lawsuits are both fact and law specific.  If you, or someone you know need help with a copyright issue, or need more information about how to best protect your rights, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Are Small Claims Court for Patents on the Horizon?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seeking feedback on whether it should create a small claims proceeding for patent enforcement.

As detailed in a notice in the Federal Register, the USPTO wants to assess whether there is a need and desire for this type of proceeding and, if so, what types of features it should possess. More specifically, the USPTO is looking for information information about core characteristics of a patent small claims proceeding, including subject matter jurisdiction, venue, case management, appellate review, available remedies, and conformity with the U.S. constitutional framework.

The idea of a small claims court for patent claims first surfaced more than twenty years ago. After failing to gain traction, it has now resurfaced in recent discussions about how to resolve “small” intellectual property disputes.

The U.S. Copyright Office is considering a similar idea.

The USPTO is hoping to answer some specific questions regarding patent disputes this time around:

·         Your understanding of the need or lack of a need for a patent small claims court or other streamlined proceedings. If you believe there is a need, please provide a description of which types of patent cases would benefit from such proceedings. If you believe that there is not a need for such a court or proceedings, please share why you hold such a view.

·         Your views, along with any corresponding analysis and empirical data, as to what a preferred patent small claims proceeding should look like.

Please share any concerns you may have regarding any unintended negative consequences of a patent small claims proceeding along with any proposed safeguards that would reduce or eliminate the risk of any potential negative unintended consequences, to the extent any such concerns exist.

There are varying degrees of people that are interested in the concept of a patent small claims court.  Since the idea first surface 20 years ago, the patent landscape has changed dramatically and this idea may no longer be a good fit for today.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

U.K. Copyright law update.

The United Kingdom has relaxed many of its copyright laws, that have been criticized as “archaic.”  The changes will impact a number of mediums, including computer games, paintings, photographs, films, books, and music.

Under pressure from various sources, including a report entitled “Modernising Copyright,” that was prepared in response to the Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published in May 2011.  In the report, Professor Ian Hargreaves concluded that “The UK’s current system is falling behind what is needed, especially in the area of copyright.” He recommended that the UK needed “an approach to exceptions to copyright which encourages successful new digital technology businesses both within and beyond the creative industries.”

After consulting with a number of stakeholders in the intellectual property community, the U.K. government agreed stating that: “Bringing the law into line with ordinary people’s reasonable expectations will boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely, making the intellectual property framework fit for the 21st century is not only common sense but good business sense.”

Below is a brief summary of the changes under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, signed into law on April 25th:

  • Private copying – to permit people to copy digital content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, but strictly for their own personal use such as transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, phone or to a private cloud;
  • Education – to simplify copyright licensing for the education sector and make it easier for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards and similar technology in classrooms and provide access to copyright works over secure networks to support the growing demand for distance learning handouts for students;
  • Quotation and news reporting – to create a more general permission for quotation of copyright works for any purpose, as long as the use of a particular quotation is “fair dealing” and its source is acknowledged;
  • Parody, caricature and pastiche – to allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody; and
  • Research and private study – to allow sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be copied for non-commercial research and private study purposes without permission from the copyright holder. This includes both user copying and library copying;
  • Data analytics for non-commercial research – to allow non-commercial researchers to use computers to study published research results and other data without copyright law interfering;
  • Access for people with disabilities – to allow people with disabilities the right to obtain copyright works in accessible formats where a suitable one is not already on the market;
  • Archiving and preservation – to allow museums, galleries, libraries and archives to preserve any type of copyright work that is in their permanent collection which cannot readily be replaced; and
  • Public administration – to widen existing exceptions to enable more public bodies to share proactively third party information online, which would reflect the existing position in relation to the use of paper copies.

Not all the changes have been met with approval,however, there are some questions to the availability of “orphaned works,” under the act.

I will discuss how this can affect your copyright in Great Britain tomorrow.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

This is going to be one of those legendary fakes that never die.

If you belong to the Facebook, you likely saw the fake copyright notice that has been circulating on the social media network. The notice purports to restrict the use of user content, including pictures and posts, under U.S. copyright laws. It encourages others to post the notice on their own Facebook pages in order to protect their information.

Below is a brief portion of one the notices:

 In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos, and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berne Convention). For any and all commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

While the notice is full of legal inaccuracies that a copyright attorney would quickly spot, many Facebook users were duped. Facebook even posted a statement in the “Fact Check” section of its website confirming that the copyright notice is simply a hoax. It explained that Facebook had not changed its policies, stating: “There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false.”

The bottom-line is that the post has no legal effect. Rather, Facebook and its users are bound by the company’s Terms of Service and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which clearly state that users own all of the content and information posted to the social media network.

As detailed in those documents, “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

The Facebook hoax provides further credence to the old adage, “Don’t trust everything you read online.” For accurate and detailed legal advice about protected your copyrighted content online, I encourage you to contact

How Can I Help?

The Facebook hoax provides further credence to the old adage, “Don’t trust everything you read online.” For accurate and detailed legal advice about protected your copyrighted content online, I encourage you to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman