Intellectual Property

Copyright and Trademark

Copyrights and trademark are both types of intellectual property (IP). Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

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Quotes

In Michigan, A Highway Sign Is at Center of an Unusual Trademark Dispute

"But there's at least a question, as far as I can tell, as to whether a road sign of this type would be deemed an official insignia of a state. I think that might be a little bit hard for the state to prove here." — Mark Janis, Professor of Law, Indiana University


Mark Janis
Source: National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition
November 1, 2016

Instagram’s Snapchat Ripoff Is Brazen and Totally Fine

"The idea of featured ‘Stories’ is not new, so any patents would likely be quite specific to implementation details. And because the implementation/interfaces are slightly different, copyright doesn’t provide any protection. This is an area where IP laws don’t prevent the copying of another’s features or innovations." — R. Polk Wagner, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania


R. Polk Wagner
Source: Wired
August 2, 2016

Who Can't Tweet About #Rio2016?

"I think that trying to tell companies that they can't use the hashtag #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA in their tweets, most of the time they're going far afield of what the law permits and when companies use the ambiguities of trademark law to try and squelch socially beneficial conversation, I call that bullying." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: BBC News
July 31, 2016

Google’s Fair Use Victory Is Good for Open Source

"Developers of software need some simple norms to live by. One such norm is that independent reimplementation of an API in one's own original code does not infringe copyright. That's the law as well as good public policy." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: Ars Technica
June 2, 2016

DoJ Argues Against Google's Java Appeal

"Contrary to what the brief says, interfaces are meaningfully different from implementations; this is first-semester computer science. The [Solicitor General's] office didn't have to mush them together to make its argument that this case should be dealt with through fair use rather than through copyrightability. That it did so raises the concern that the DOJ is giving advice on a technology it doesn't understand. And given how important software is to the economy, that's truly frightening." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: Information Week
May 27, 2015

New Authors Alliance Wants to Ease Some Copyright Rules

"Copyright law is so strict, stretching up to 95 years from publication in some cases, that without the right to digitize it we are in jeopardy of losing our long-term cultural and intellectual history." — Pamela Samuelson, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley


Pamela Samuelson
Source: SFGate
May 31, 2014

Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright

“What seemed insanely ambitious and this huge effort that seemed very dangerous in 2004 now seems ordinary. Technology and media have moved on so much that it’s just not a big deal.” — James Grimmelmann, Law professor, University of Maryland


James Grimmelmann
Source: The New York Times
November 14, 2013

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

"What we've got is this computerized system threatening people about content that's on the Web, much of it legally on the Web." — Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Harvard University


Lawrence Lessig
Source: National Public Radio’s All Tech Considered
September 27, 2013

Microsoft to Drop ‘SkyDrive’ in Trademark Settlement

“The idea that consumers would be confused into thinking that SkyDrive and British Sky Broadcasting were the same thing is ludicrous. ... I think Microsoft simply decided that keeping the name wasn’t worth the additional time and uncertainty of an appeal.” — Mark Lemley, Professor, Stanford Law School


Mark Lemley
Source: The Seattle Times
August 1, 2013

Digital Books Are Under the Control of Distributors Rather than Readers

In his article for Wired magazine, Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain examines issues of censorship, content altering, and access restrictions that are unique to books in electronic formats.


Jonathan Zittrain
Source: Wired
July 7, 2013
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TAP Blog

TAP Scholars Work on Intellectual Property Issues

In honor of World IP Day, TAP highlights a few of the articles and scholars that examine intellectual property technology-policy issues.

TAP Staff Blogger

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Fact Sheets

Piracy and IP Enforcement

In the context of technology, “piracy” is a colloquial term for the illegal copying of copyrighted works. The related problem of counterfeiting is the illegal reproduction of patented or trademarked products.

Featured Article

How Does the Use of Trademarks by Third-Party Sellers Affect Online Search?

This paper examines the effects of trademark use in advertisements by third-party resellers.

By: Lesley Chiou, Catherine Tucker