Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Edition of Classic Trademark Law Treatise

Practising Law Institute (PLI) has released the new Fifth Edition of Kane on Trademark Law: A Practitioner's Guide, a revised and expanded edition of the earlier Trademark Law: A Practitioner's Guide by Siegrun D. Kane.

Kane on Trademark Law provides vital new coverage of new TTAB rules governing inter partes proceedings, which, effective November 1, require prediscovery conferences, initial disclosures, and pretrial disclosures and deal with standard protective orders.

Kane on Trademark Law offers a completely rewritten chapter on dilution - with the emphasis on the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 and the pertinence of prior case law in light of the TDRA - as well as an expanded appendix with new forms and color photos of marks from leading cases. Other new developments examined in Kane on Trademark Law include various Internet-related issues; the increasing use of fraud as a defense in PTO and court actions; the relevance of surveys to the genericness issue; trademark damages; attorney-client privilege; the famous mark doctrine, and PTO filing procedures.

Kane on Trademark Law retains the essential focus of the earlier editions of Trademark Law, by providing comprehensive coverage of trademark law fundamentals, including practical guidance on how to select, search, use, reinforce, renew, defend, and expand trademarks.

Kane on Trademark Law: A Practitioner's Guide, Fifth Edition is written by Siegrun D. Kane (Morgan and Finnegan LLP, New York City). Kane on Trademark Law is $270 and is available for a 30-day free examination.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Are Government Documents Copyrighted?

Works produced by the U.S. government don't receive copyright protection. If you want to use government documents as web content, you can do so without fearing any claims of infringement.

There is, however, a caveat to that rule. Some government documents may contain a copyright notice that indicates certain portions of specific documents cannot be used in this manner.

For instance, you might find a report from the Department of Labor that would work well with your job search site but you'd be unable to use it "as is" if it indicated a copyright was claimed by a specific author for portions (or all) of the report.

Government documents can be a great source of content (and information) but care must be taken to ascertain with certainty that no rights are reserved.

Additionally, potential users of government documents for web content should consider the fact that most government publications are not written in a manner that makes them a particularly enjoyable or interesting read.

They tend to be long on information and short on readability! Reliance upon government documents for web content can create more yawning visitors than happy ones.

There is a time and a place for everything, though. Sometimes, a great government report or a special document will be just what you need to make your website complete. In those cases, make sure there aren’t any specifically delineated reserved rights and feel free to use the government document.

You can find government documents online by using any of the major search engines. Google makes it remarkably easy. They have a special federal government search function. You can also go into advanced search options on the main Google search page and adjust the results to showing only those documents that originate from a “.gov” domain.

Beware, however, of using “.gov” materials that don’t come from the federal government. The law requires the federal government to relinquish copyrights in most cases, but state laws don’t always follow suit.

If that article you just found came from a “.gov” site for the State of Kansas, for instance, you might not be able to use it without infringing upon copyright. Not all government documents are available for use without clearance.

Bob Hadley is the author of "Online Copyright Manual For Everyone!" His is also a contributor to

Industry Click Fraud Rate Hits 16.2 Percent

Click Forensics™, Inc. released industry pay-per-click (PPC) fraud figures for the third quarter 2007 from the search advertising industry’s leading independent click fraud reporting service – the Click Fraud Index™ (

Now in its second year, the Click Fraud Index monitors and reports on data gathered from the Click Fraud Network™, which more than 4,000 online advertisers and agencies have joined. The Click Fraud Network provides statistically significant industry PPC data collected from online advertising campaigns for both large and small companies across all the leading search engines. Key findings from data reported for Q3 2007 include:

The overall industry average click fraud rate was 16.2 percent for Q3 2007. This is an increase from 13.8 percent for the same quarter in 2006 and from 15.8 percent for Q2 2007.

The average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.1 percent in Q3 2007. That’s up from 25.6 percent for Q2 2007, 21.9 percent for Q1 2007 and 19.2 percent for Q4 of 2006.

Over 60 percent of traffic from parked domains and made for ad sites was click fraud

In Q3 2007, the greatest percentage of click fraud originating from countries outside North America came from France (4.2 percent) China (4.1 percent) and Germany (3.7 percent).
Publishers and advertisers have recently felt the impact click fraud is having in the content networks. Increasingly, publishers are seeing a performance drop in the content network traffic quality. Advertisers are seeing their conversion rates drop significantly on content networks because of bad traffic coming from parked domains and other low quality sources.

Spammers Now Using Audio Files to Deliver Their Message, Inc. has detected a rise in new spam techniques within the past three (3) days, including the use of audio files. Spammers are sending email messages that contain an attached MP3 audio file that usually has a name like, 'llcoolj.mp3' indicating it is a song or an artist. When you click on the file it plays a message that this is an 'Investor Alert', and then promotes a company and stock symbol -- a classic 'pump and dump' scam. The use of audio demonstrates yet another method that spammers have deployed over the past 12 months, including the use of Microsoft Excel files, PDF files, and other image files, to deliver their message while avoiding many spam filters.

In reference to the technique of using MP3 audio files, Ben Westbrook, CTO of Mail-Filters, stated, "While the current distribution of spam that is attaching MP3 files accounts for less than 3% of the total spam distribution, this new technique signals yet another volley by spammers to get their message through. This attack is significant, not only because of the new technique, but because the size of the MP3 file is 10 times larger than your average spam message, it can clog email servers and a company's bandwidth very quickly. The Mail-Filters technology combats this new technique in two different ways: through identification of the bot networks sending the spam messages, and by creating Bullet Signatures to catch the messages outright. While many competitive anti-spam products failed to catch the new threat, the Mail-Filters technology withstood the attack without any additional effort."


Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Ruling on Willful Infringement Will Help Innovation but Hurt Patent Owners

Patent infringement lawyer Nick Johnson of Johnson Law Group (, with principal offices in Houston, Texas, believes that the new appeals court ruling redefining willful infringement has both advantages and disadvantages.
"The ruling has made it substantially more difficult to prove willful infringement and will therefore cut down on lawsuits," says Nick Johnson. "On one hand it promotes innovation but on the other hand it hurts the patent owners."

In August 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit made it more difficult to prove intentional patent infringement. The accuser must show "clear and convincing evidence that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent." This move upped the ante for patent owners that want to earn higher damages. They can be as much as tripled if they can prove that the defendants knew they were infringing a patent and did so anyway.

The Federal Circuit ruling on a suit against hard-drive vendor Seagate Technology automatically changed the standard in all federal courts. The ruling could change other pending cases as well.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How To Stop Online Copyright Infringement With A DMCA Complaint

In 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act became a U.S. law. This controversial legislation was designed to bring copyright law in line with developing technologies and to afford protection to rights in the Internet environment.

Though vast in scope, one particular area of DMCA is of special interest to those who are suffering from an online copyright infringement. It stems from the "Safe Harbor Provisions" in Section 512 of the law.

In basic terms, the DMCA provides hosts of websites with a form of immunity from lawsuits stemming from copyright infringements that occur on "their" sites.

A host actually stores the data that comprises a website. Most people do not host their own sites and rely upon a host company to do the job. You can think of it in terms of an apartment owner.

The owner of the building (the host) rents out apartments (server space for websites) to tenants (webmasters).

The DMCA allows the landlord to avoid being held responsible for what tenants are doing in their individual apartments so long as they take appropriate action when notified of wrongdoing.

The Safe Harbor Provisions of the DMCA allow individuals to provide that notice to the host.

Thus, if you are being victimized by someone who is infringing upon your copyrights, you can advise the host of the problem and the host is then obligated to take down the offending content.

However, you can't just pick up the phone, call a host and demand that material be removed. Well, you can, but the host is under no obligation to listen to you.

The host will only be obligated to take action if you supply them with an appropriately structured DMCA “take down” complaint.

The law provides exactly what must be included in such a complaint. We’ve supplied a sample DMCA complaint in the Appendices of this text for additional guidance.

At a minimum, a valid DMCA complaint must contain the following:

* Detailed description of the copyrighted work that was allegedly infringed upon, in the form of the original URL of the image, text, or page or other information that can specify the copyrighted work.

* Detailed identification of the material, with enough information to locate the material. This includes what actions were taken in finding the material to the direct link to the infringing web page.

* Information to allow the Xanga Abuse team to contact you directly (Email address is preferred.)

* A statement that you in good faith believe that use of the copyrighted material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

* A sworn statement, made under penalty of perjury, that the information given is accurate and that you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder or owner of an exclusive right.

* An electronic signature (your full legal name) of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder or owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Once you have created an appropriate DMCA complaint, it must be sent to the host.

Finding the host is usually not a difficult process. Although WhoIs data is unlikely to reveal the host (instead providing information about the registrar of the site), other tools like SamSpade can help.

If you can’t determine the host, or are unable to get a satisfactory resolution from them, you may have some success by contacting the company through which the site was registered.

Bob Hadley is a freelance journalist who covers copyright law for Download his free e-book, "Copyright Basics" at

Capital One Provides Tips to Help Small Businesses Safeguard Against Cyber Crime

Capital One Small Business and NCSA Tips for Cyber Security

1. Conduct a risk assessment

In order to protect customer information, small business owners need to conduct an initial risk assessment of their online and operating systems. This includes determining if any sensitive information (anything that is critical to your bottom line, e.g., customer database) is attached to the Internet.

There are several components of a comprehensive risk assessment. Most importantly, small business owners should install updated anti-virus programs, anti-spyware programs and firewall on all computers. Make sure to keep these programs, along with the operating system and software up-to-date with the most current patches. In addition, ensure that all employees use effective, complex passwords. Passwords should be changed every 60 to 70 days.

2. Educate employees

It is essential that managers and employees have a basic understanding of cyber security, including company-specific procedures and overall best practices. Small business owners need to integrate a cyber security rollout plan within the yearly business plan. This plan should also include steps for measuring success.

3. Back-Up critical information

Make regular (weekly) back-up copies of all important data and information. Creating back-ups on a regular basis ensures that critical data is not lost in the event of a cyber attack or natural disaster.

Store all back-up copies away from the office, such as on an external hard drive, and use encryption to protect any sensitive information about your company and customers from thieves and hackers. Encryption programs encode data, making it unreadable until the user enters a password or encryption key to unlock it.

4. Create a contingency plan

Small business owners should have a contingency plan in place in case the business suffers a cyber security attack. The contingency plan should include steps on how to continue business operations at an alternate location when necessary. This plan should be tested annually.

5. Sign a security agreement

Have all employees sign a security agreement in order to demonstrate that they are taking cyber security seriously and are active participants in helping to maintain a secure online environment. This agreement should also require employees to report any suspicious online activity or known Internet crime to the proper authorities.

If fraud or criminal intent is suspected, it should be reported to the local law enforcement agencies, the local Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, or State Attorney General’s offices. Moreover, some states require business owners to notify their customers if hackers or thieves could have had access to customers’ unencrypted personal information. One way to prevent Internet crime is by erasing all data on a hard drive before recycling or throwing away a computer.

The Capital One Small Business Resource Center web site ( contains additional resources, information and tips for small business owners. Resources include free online business seminars, insights on creating a business plan and tips to help small business owners operate more effectively and efficiently.

Shred, You Said? Protecting Your Identity May Depend On It

Do you shred? You sure should, according to PEMCO Insurance. It's one of the simplest ways to protect yourself against a rising tsunami of criminal activity in identity fraud that touches more than a quarter of a million victims each year in Washington state.

The statistics are staggering and growing worse by the year. Identity fraud crimes account for losses more than triple that of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft combined, and suck well over $1 billion a year from our state's economy.

To help policyholders protect their identities, PEMCO has introduced a service at no additional cost called PEMCO ID Smart(TM). Teaming with Identity Theft 911(R), the nation's leader in identity management and fraud education, PEMCO's service, which began October 1, offers the following:

-- ID Resolution. Whether you've lost a wallet or suffered full-blown identity theft, PEMCO ID Smart identity fraud services provides peace of mind. You get full access to a fraud specialist from Identity Theft 911 who will resolve the problem and guide you step-by-step in cleaning up the mess.

-- Disaster Resolution. If you lose critical documents in an earthquake, flood, home fire or other disaster, PEMCO ID Smart provides expert help to quickly recapture the critical documentation needed to rebuild your life, and to help defend against identity theft and related fraud.

-- Travel Resolution. This helps PEMCO customers in replacing their identification, credit cards, checks or other important personal and financial documents that are misplaced, lost or stolen while traveling.

Ironically, one of the best defenses against getting your identity ripped off is a relatively inexpensive document shredder, available at any office supply store.

According to Federal Trade Commission statistics, identity fraud is exploding, and Washington is one of the worst-hit states. Identity fraud in Washington nearly doubled between 2002 and 2005, with a direct economic cost of more than $1.75 billion. Statewide identity fraud losses are 3.3 times greater than the combined losses from burglary, larceny and auto theft.

"We strongly encourage people to take the obvious steps to protect themselves, like buying and using a home shredder," Osterberg said. "But when ID theft does happen, our policyholders can use the PEMCO ID Smart service to reduce their losses and prevent enormous headaches."

How do your shredding habits compare? Go to the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How to Collect Millions of Dollars for Reporting Fraud

The most successful whistleblowers receive $100 million in government rewards—but 80 percent of others receive nothing at all. Why is that?

"I want whistleblowers to get their fair share of these rewards," says Joel Hesch, author of the definitive insider's book, Whistleblowing: A Guide to Government Reward Programs (How to collect millions of dollars for reporting fraud). Hesch, an expert on government reward programs, spent 15 years with the Department of Justice Fraud Section, helping oversee the payout of $2 billion in rewards.

If you strictly follow the guidelines and procedures, says Hesch, a large reward is likely. "The government will gladly pay up to 25 percent of what it recovers to the person reporting the fraud. Why settle for little or nothing? It's just like following a recipe. My book has the recipe."

Rewards are available for reporting fraud against any government program, such as Medicare, the military, the post office, and cheating on income tax returns. It is estimated that ten percent of $500 billion in government spending at 20 government agencies and programs is lost to fraud. Another $50 billion is lost to corporate tax evasion. That is why the government is offering huge rewards for reporting it. Because the government buys everything from office supplies and toilet paper to clothing and computers, you or someone you know may be eligible.

Some statistics:

1 out of 5 whistleblowers received a reward.
1 out of 25 received a million dollars.
The average reward is $1.75 million.
The largest rewards exceed $100 million.
Over $2 billion in rewards have been paid.
Whistleblowing walks you step-by-step through the entire process so your application is not rejected simply because you did not know how to properly navigate the system.

The author's website,, also offers free information for reporting other kinds of fraud, ranging from identity theft, Internet scams, stock market fraud, and mail fraud.

Hesch currently teaches at Liberty University School of Law. He also has a private practice representing whistleblowers.

World Book Video Contest Helps Students Identify Trustworthy Information Online

With students in many classrooms now tackling their first research projects of the new school year, it's more important than ever that they understand what makes a Web site a reliable source of information. World Book invites students who know how to tell fact from fiction online to enter the World Book Fact or Fiction? Student Video Contest for the chance to win cool electronics for themselves and their school.

The contest is open to students in elementary school, high school, and college. Students are asked to submit a video of two minutes or less that creatively communicates how to tell if a site is reliable, following the ABCs of evaluating Web sites:

Are the authors of the information Accountable and Authoritative?
Do the authors lack Bias?
Is the content Current?

World Book Fact or Fiction? Student Video Contest submissions are being accepted through the end of November at Students then get to vote for their favorite video through January 7th. Winners will be announced in January. The creator of the top vote-getting video will win a MacBook and his or her school will receive a digital video recorder. Creators of the second and third top vote-getting videos in each of three categories (kindergarten through eighth grade, ninth through 12th grades, and post-secondary) will win video iPods.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Puppy Scams Lead to Heartbreak

"Purebred Puppy - FREE To Good Home." It's easy to see why ads like this pull on the heartstrings of dog lovers who jump at the chance to adopt an adorable, soon-to-be-homeless puppy -- especially when the puppy is a sought-after, expensive breed.

Dr. Audri G. Lanford, Co-Director of, cautions would-be puppy parents that puppy scams are growing at an astounding rate. is a public service website that has been helping people protect themselves from Internet scams since 1994.

"Dog lovers have become frequent victims of a very old-fashioned scam: selling something that doesn't exist," says Dr. Lanford. In the case of puppy scams, con artists advertise puppies in a classified ad or online.

Some scammers claim to be seeking a home for a puppy they can no longer keep, and then ask you to wire them hundreds of dollars to ship the new, non-existent puppy to you. Other scammers, posing as breeders, have puppies listed for sale -- often asking ridiculously low prices for purebred puppies that may otherwise cost $1,000 or more. urges consumers to use due diligence when purchasing or adopting a puppy, especially online or via classified ads. Here are a three questions to ask:

1. Is the advertiser insisting that you pay via Western Union or another wire service? "That's a tell-tale sign of a scam," says Dr. Lanford. "It's almost impossible for a consumer to recover money from a wire service if they've been scammed. It's far better to use a credit card."

2. Does the alleged breeder seem to care more about payment than about the welfare of the puppies? "That's a big red flag. Reputable breeders will be far more concerned with the suitability of your home than the contents of your bank account," says Dr. Lanford.

3. Can you see the puppy, its littermates and at least one of its parents in person? (Probably not if it's a scam -- because there are no puppies.)

If you have your heart set on adding a new purebred puppy to your family, suggests that you personally visit established breeders in your own area. Better yet, says Lanford, "save a life and rescue a dog from your local animal shelter."

You can find additional tips on avoiding puppy scams by visiting

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Top 10 Disaster Tips for a Digital World

AxcessPoints' Top 10 Disaster Tips outlines how the Internet, laptops, cell phones, social networking and other breakthroughs can vastly improve disaster preparedness, while expediting the recovery process.

Top 10 Disaster Tips For A Digital World

1. Use the Internet to understand and evaluate the types of natural disasters that are most likely to affect you. Post Hurricane Katrina, 44% of Americans report that they have not done more to prepare for a disaster because they do not know what to do.

2. Store personal, financial, and medical information online with a reputable third-party repository. The ability to retrieve bank and brokerage account numbers, insurance policy information, and medical histories is one of the surest ways to expedite the recovery process.

3. Register for services that provide real-time weather and Homeland Security information and send periodic reminders to update emergency kits. Tune in to NOAA, a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office.

4. Prevent financial fraud by signing up for an identity theft protection service. After a disaster, people are most vulnerable to identity theft. Identity theft protection services guard against unauthorized financial transactions, and monitor credit reports.

5. Make a video of all personal possessions and then store a copy on a computer, an external hard drive or an online back-up company. In case of loss, a video of personal possessions, including cars, pets and all household belongings, will enable insurance companies act quickly on your behalf.

6. Update your cell phone address book. Having the numbers of children, friends and extended family in your digital phone book is critical in case your home phone book is destroyed or inaccessible.

7. Make sure you have the home and cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses of your supervisors, and vice versa. The passage of Sarbanes-Oxley requires larger employers to develop and execute contingency plans when a disaster strikes. Knowing how to reach employees is a key part of that plan.

8. Protect your computer and electronic devices with surge protectors. Power surges and drops can damage electronic equipment that can prevent your ability to retrieve information. Surge protectors are inexpensive insurance.

9. Micro chip your pets. Each year, thousands of pets are orphaned after a disaster. If each pet is micro chipped, the humane society or veterinarians can quickly reunite them with their owners.

10. Back up computer data regularly, either through a third-party service provider or on an external hard drive. Information on your computer is likely to be extremely valuable for one purpose or another.


Why You Should Respect Copyright Notices

If you steal materials from someone else and use it at your website, you might get away with it. It’s possible that no one will notice.

Even if someone does notice, you will probably just receive an email asking for its removal. If you comply with that request, nothing else will happen to you.

Even if you ignore that letter, you will probably just have to suffer a temporary take down of the offending page until you make requisite adjustments.

You probably won't be sued.

So, considering just how unlikely it is to run into life-threatening trouble from infringing upon someone else's rights, why should you care?

Let’s outline a few reasons why no one should intentionally act in a manner that infringes someone else's intellectual property rights.

Moral reasons. Most of us would agree that stealing is wrong. Regardless of our faiths and backgrounds, most of us accept the notion that stealing is immoral and is something we probably ought not to be doing. Infringing upon copyrights is a form of stealing.

It represents the theft of personal property in the form of an idea, writing or image. It represents stealing potential profit from the creator of the item in question by diluting its uniqueness and reifying a structure that allows for theft. If you infringe upon a copyright, you are stealing.

Social reasons. The idea that we should “do unto others” isn’t merely a moral consideration. It has real-world justifications.

So long as we respect the rights of one another, we can continue to function in a relatively well-organized and pleasant society. When property rights cease to matter, that certainly isn’t the case. Respect for personal rights is the glue that holds society together.

Risk exists. Although the risk associated with the use of stolen materials may seem slight, it is present. Its consequences can be high, in relative terms, too.

Stealing someone else’s copyrighted material may not land you in prison, but it can force you do deal with take down notices and other inefficiencies.

Additionally, if a lawsuit should be filed against you or other legal action taken, the consequences will undoubtedly outstrip the value of your misappropriation.

Basic risk analysis dictates avoiding copyright infringement. Even if the likelihood of a negative consequence seems slight, the potential impact is simply too great to risk.

There is also the very real risk that your identification as a copyright infringer could have horrible repercussions on your business and ability to socially engage others online.

It may not be a scarlet “A” across your chest, but getting the scarlet “circled C” on the chest of your avatar can be almost as bad.

In the end, we should recognize and respect the rights of others because it is the right thing to do. That should be enough of a justification.

Bill Hadley is the author of the Online Copyright Manual for Everyone!, available at

Yahoo!, eBay and PayPal Join Forces to Protect Consumers Against E-mail Fraud and Phishing Scams

Yahoo!, eBay and PayPal today announced a collaborative effort to better protect consumers against fraudulent e-mails and the dangerous scams known as phishing attacks. Starting today, eBay and PayPal customers worldwide using Yahoo! Mail will have a safer e-mail experience – they will begin receiving fewer fake e-mails claiming to be sent by eBay and PayPal. Yahoo! Mail is the first Web mail service to block these types of malicious messages for eBay and PayPal through the use of DomainKeys e-mail authentication technology.

The technology upgrade will be rolled out globally over the next several weeks to all users of Yahoo! Mail.