Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Taylor Swift trademarks "This Sick Beat"

Taylor Swift has added to the controversy over trademarking an individual phrase, “This Sick Beat”, for a line of merchandise.  Vox Media, in a piece by Kelsey McKinney, explains here the idea that "consumers should pay artists for their music (no more "it’s free’) but artists are forced to use trademark law more to brand merchandise that they want to sell.  They may stretch it a bit.  What happens if someone sets up a domain called "This Sick Beat"? 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

No, trademark law doesn't stop a newspaper from printing someone's name without permission

A Republican Frederick County MD county council member threatened to sue the local newspaper the Frederick News-Post for printing his name without authorization. 
I can’t imagine any justification for this under trademark law.  The Frederick paper has a long editorial debunking the threat here and refers to law professor Eugene Volokh.  Would the same reasoning protect amateur bloggers?   EFF says so, but some of the arguments against “gratuitous publication” by “amateurs” under the sights of search engines has never really been tested in court – although rulings in 2000 about hyperlinks might provide some guidance.  CNN has an extended story here