Blog Posts: Intellectual Property
The U.S. Attorney General recently announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is distributing more than $2.4 million in new grants to prevent and fight intellectual property theft. Over the past three years, DOJ has distributed more than $10 million in grants. “Preventing and combating intellectual property crimes constitutes a top priority for our nation’s Department of Justice,” a DOJ spokesperson said.
For the first time ever, federal law-enforcement officials seized three website domain names from sites that were allegedly involved in illegally distributing copyrighted cellphone apps. The seizures were part of an operation that worked with international law-enforcement agencies, including officials from the Netherlands and France.
The giant corporations of the technology world are clashing over so-called “patent trolls” — companies that buy up patents that they didn't create and that they don't plan to use themselves — in order to receive licensing fees and royalties. Google recently complained to regulators in the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, accusing Microsoft and Nokia of colluding with patent trolls in order to discourage device makers from using Android, the operating system that Google uses in its mobile devices. Microsoft and Nokia both use Windows as the operating system on their phones.
Companies with valuable intellectual property have to protect their assets, in part by keeping up with the changing domestic and international laws that regulate copyrights, trademarks and patents. In a recent lawsuit ,TF1, a popular French television station, sued Google in a French court. The lawsuit hinged on the question of who was responsible for copyright-infringing material posted on the Internet. TF1 claimed that Google should be liable for copyright infringement for copies of its television shows that users had posted on YouTube, which Google owns. The court, however, found in Google’s favor and dismissed the television company’s claims. TF1 is considering an appeal, calling the decision “surprising in several respects.”
To help pay for school, a mathematics graduate student from Thailand studying in the U.S. asked friends and relatives who lived abroad to buy cheap foreign editions of textbooks and send them to him so he could resell them on eBay.
As traffic on the virtual bulletin-board site Pinterest has soared, questions about possible copyright infringement issues have generated a fierce debate, as we recently noted on this blog. Now Pinterest has announced that it is updating its terms of service to clarify several of its policies, including its copyright policies.