Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers – Q&A

I'm a Teacher, so copyright laws don't apply - Right?? Answer "Face to Face" exception Well - sometimes.  While it is true that there are exceptions to the rules regarding use of copyright protected works by teachers , they are limited. When setting up the copyright laws, Congress created the "Face to Face" exception which allowed use of protected works for "Performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction." (17 U.S. Code § 110, Emphasis Added).  Notably, this exception is loaded with qualifying language that requires the exception to be interpreted pretty narrowly. Fair Use Guidelines However, teachers have another option.  Like the general public, the rules governing Fair Use  can be applied to teaching activities - in fact teaching is specifically called out by the statute as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright owners.  17 U.S. Code § 107 .   The challenge, of course,...
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Contract Consideration – FAQ

What does it mean for a contract to be not enforceable because of a lack of consideration? Answer: In order for a contract to be enforceable, the mutual promises of the parties must be supported by "consideration." Considerations means each party gives something of value to the other.  The reason that the courts and legislatures generally require some form of consideration is to insure that the promises being made are not merely a casual statement, and accident, or gratuitous – in short – to make sure the people making the agreement really mean it. Consideration looks at whether the parties have assumed an obligation on the condition of an act or forbearance of another. Except in cases of employment matters, Minnesota courts generally do not look at the adequacy of the consideration being offered – only whether some consideration has been exchanged. For written agreements, the court presumes valid consideration. While adequacy of consideration is not usually analyzed, vague or indefinite terms...
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Benefits of a Federal Trademark Registration – FAQ

What are the benefits of a federal trademark registration? Answer: There are many benefits of a federal trademark registration, both direct and indirect.  Direct benefits are numerous and include: National protection of the mark; Ability to obtain injunctions stopping infringers; Ability to use the registration to apply for foreign trademark registrations; Greater access to the  federal court system; Assistance from the United States Custom in stopping counterfeit and infringing goods from importation; and Attorneys fees when proper notice has been attached to the goods or services. I In addition to these considerations, trademark registration provides indirect benefits in the form of being able to point to it when protecting marks used for social media accounts, protect against improper use in search engines, ability to obtain new domains in sunrise periods, and providing great leverage in UDRP and URS disputes against cyber-squatters. Why Provide these Benefits Providing these benefits serve two primary functions.  By granting these rights to trademark owners the government helps to incentivise business owners by...
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Common Law Trademarks – FAQ

Am I protected with a common law trademark - without federal registration? Q: I recently started professionally my photographs in the US.  I registered the copyright for photos and have decided on new name for my company.   I think the name is pretty distinctive and I am not aware of anyone else selling a similar product by the same name.   Do I have to register my company name as a trademark to prevent others from using it or can I rely on the laws concerning common law trademarks? A: Kenneth’s answer:  Since your mark is not registered you are limited to the common law trademark rights. Common Law Trademarks are generally limited in scope to the geographic area where the mark is known (think of a restaurant where everyone has heard of it in one town, but is unknown in another). Common law trademarks can be enforced (but not as well and as easily as registered marks) in both state and federal courts. In...
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Does the Twitter ToS dedicate everything you post to public domain?? – NO!

I use to say that it was a myth that if it was on the Internet it was free to use. While still a myth, photojournalist Daniel Morela may have reason to question whether this in fact still true. Morla was recently sued by Agence France Presse (AFP) for “antagonistic assertion of rights” for accusing AFP of violating his copyright in several photos taken following the January earthquake - Morela has counter sued for copyright infringement. AFP has asked for summary judgment that it did not infringe on Morela's copyrights (complaint). AFP's claims are interesting because, in part, they note that since Morela used Twitter to distribute the photos (which he did not - he used Twitpic), the Twitter Terms of Service (ToS) granting Twitter the right to distribute the photos should be extended to AFP as well. Besides the fact that AFP appears to have little understanding of the facts of their own case, this reading of the Twitter ToS...
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