Copyright Infringement Basics and the Internet

Almost 50 percent of Internet users are unsure whether the content they are accessing online is legal, according to a new study from the United Kingdom. Yet, one in six people online believed they have committed copyright infringement by downloading, streaming, or otherwise accessing content illegally over a three-month period this year.

The study was conducted by researchers with Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries. The large-scale consumer survey examined the extent of online copyright infringement among Internet users aged 12 and above.

Below are several additional findings from the survey:

  • Reported levels of infringement varied considerably by content type: 8% of Internet users consumed some music illegally in the three months, but just 2% did so for games and software;
  • The most common reasons cited for accessing content illegally were because it is free (54%), convenient (48%) and quick (44%). Around a quarter (26%) of infringers said it allows them to try before they buy;
  • Infringers said they would be encouraged to stop doing so if cheaper legal services were available (39%), everything they wanted was available from a legal source (32%) or it was more clear what content was legal (26%). One in six said they would stop if they received one notifying letter from their internet service provider (ISP); and
  • Those who consumed a mixture of legal and illegal online content in the form of music, films and TV programs reported spending more on legal content in these categories over the three-month period than those who consumed entirely legal or illegal content.

One of the goals of the study was to assess the need for awareness campaigns to help educate consumers about the impact of copyright infringement. Like the U.S. Six Strikes Program I discussed in an earlier post, the U.K. will soon implement requirements mandating that large ISPs inform customers that their Internet connection has been used to commit copyright infringement, and to explain where they can find legal content online.

How Can I Help?

If you need help to protect an original work with a copyright registration, or you have been accused of copyright infringement, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at 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 +


Picture Day!

It had to happen sometime.  Today was the day that we are taking new photos for the firm’s web site.  I’ll post the new one once the photographer has photshopped me into greatness!  Well, maybe not greatness, just handsome like Tom Cruise, Ashton Kutcher, or Channing Tatum.  Personally, I don’t think there are enough presets in to world to make that happen.  So, to assist my makeover the lovely Renee Garafano from Glendale SalonSpa worked on me for what seemed like hours, but was actually only a couple of minute.  She is really good, so you might want to go to her spa for some special treatment.

And so it begins!

A nose job.

What have I gotten myself into!  Like Picasso preparing to paint, Renee prepares to apply…I don’t actually know what is being applied.

A break in the action while Renee refilled the make case.  I’m sure she didn’t expect to have to cover THIS much real estate.

Finishing touches, then: Lights, Camera, Action!

If you need help determining how best to protect your ideas, or know someone that can use my help (with or without makeup!), please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Listen if You Dare!

You can find my very interesting radio show here at and visit the Podcast – Now Playing section of the website.
Or if you prefer you can listen and download via iTunes at

Be kind, this was our first time.  I don’t think we did too bad considering the subject matter.

Danton Mak, a partner at the firm and I did a one hour show this past week discussing intellectual property in general.  However, if you have an idea that needs protecting, please contact me for your free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Selecting the Proper Format for a Trademark

If you have done any research into filing a trademark application, you know that there are some decisions to make. One of the most important choices is the depiction of your mark.

There are two possible mark formats that you can use to describe your trademark: (1) standard character format; or (2) stylized or design format.

Standard Character Format

The standard character format is used to register words, letters, numbers, or any combination thereof, without claim to any particular font style, size, or color, and absent any design element.  In other words, just words.

In general, you should submit a standard character drawing if:

  • All letters and words in the mark are depicted in Latin characters;
  • All numerals in the mark are depicted in Roman or Arabic numerals;
  • The mark includes only common punctuation or diacritical marks; and
  • The mark does not include a design element.

Registration of a standard character format provides broad rights for the trademark owner including the right to use the words in any manner of presentation.  For instance, you can use the mark in any font style; it can be bold or italicized letters; and can use both uppercase and lowercase letters, all uppercase letters, or all lowercase letters.  Or any other variation.  I highly recommend getting a word mark above everything, if it is possible.

Stylized Format

The stylized or design format, on the other hand, is is used to register a mark with a design element(s) and/or words and/or letters having a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect.

In most cases, companies select the stylized format because they want the mark to include color or a design/logo.

Other Considerations

Finally, it is important to note that the two types of mark formats cannot be mixed in one mark.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that you do not submit a representation of a mark that attempts to combine a standard character format and a stylized or design format, because, once the application is filed, you cannot make a material change to your mark.

How I Can Help

As always, this post provides only a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the two trademark formats. Before you undertake filing for a trademark, you should  consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney.

Please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

How to Copyright Software

Software code can be registered as a literary work with the copyright office. In fact, copyright registration often affords the best legal protection for your software program. That’s because copyright registration not only ensures that no one may copy, distribute, or display the software without your permission, but also allows you to pursue legal action against infringers. In some cases, software copyright registration is a relatively easy process. In fact, if your application is filed online, the source code may be uploaded electronically in PDF format. Otherwise, you will need to print out the code and submit it with your paper application.  I don’t recommend that you file paperwork with the copyright office.  They have made statement to the effect that it will be years before they look at any paper filed copyright applications.  Use electronic filing (its cheaper too).

Here  are a few additional considerations-

1.  Software Programs Without Trade Secrets:

You are required to submit one copy identifying portions of the program (generally the first 25 and
last 25 pages of source code), together with the page containing the copyright notice (you should have a copyright notice placed in the header and footer of ALL your code). For a program less than 50 pages in length, applicants should send the entire source code.

2.  Software Programs With Trade Secrets:

If the software program contains trade secrets, you must include a cover letter stating that the claim contains trade secrets, along with the page containing the copyright notice (see above).  You  must also submit one of the following:

• First 25 and last 25 pages of source code with portions containing trade secrets blocked out,

• First 10 and last 10 pages of source code alone, with no blocked out portions,

• First 25 and last 25 pages of object code plus any 10 or more consecutive pages of source code, with no blocked- out portions, or

• For programs 50 pages or less in length, entire source code with trade secret portions blocked out.

Special Concerns for Web-Based Software:

If the software is available, online, you must submit identifying material for the screen displays in addition to the required source code.  The identifying material for the screen displays should be images or printouts clearly showing the screens. If using online registration, images of the screens may be uploaded electronically to the Copyright Office.

Revised Software Programs (ie. Version 2.0 of your software):

Each separately published version of a software program that contains new, copyrightable authorship must be registered separately, with a new application and fee. Registration of the first version may extend to the entire work if it contains no previously published or registered portions. Registration of any subsequent version covers only the new or revised material added to that version.

In many cases, it is advisable to consult with an experienced copyright attorney before seeking to register your software program to ensure your rights are protected.  Please contact me to schedule your free 30-minute consultation by email at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

I’m a Radio Star!

Well, not quite yet.  I will be on the Adrenaline Radio Show on May 9th between 3:00 and 4:00pm to answer all your pressing intellectual property questions.  If you are not in the local area you can listen on the Internet at  So tell all your friends with questions to listen and call in.

If you have any patent, copyright or trademark questions and would like a free 30 minute consultation,  please contact me to set up an appointment.

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