Sunday, October 26, 2008

Copyright Controversy on YouTube Creates Unlikely 'Guitar Heroes'

A legal dispute between two major record labels and an upstart guitar duo has helped redefine how music is now taught around the world.

It began two years ago when laid-back surfer Tim Gilberg and San Diego garage band rocker David Taub caught the ire of two major record labels after teaching viewers how to play popular songs on the video website YouTube.

Teaching favorite songs in a fun, easy-to-learn style that attracted a large worldwide audience, the pair was forced to remove more than 100 videos from their YouTube channel because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a United States copyright law.

Not to be deterred, Gilberg and Taub, who had grown their collaboration from a garage studio lark to the creation of Next Level Guitar Inc., decided to form partnerships with the publishers rather than do battle in the sometimes gray area of copyright law. Gilberg procured licensing rights to reproduce many of the hit songs found in the popular Guitar Hero(R) & RockBand(R) games in DVD format.

"Even though we felt teaching popular songs for free on YouTube would benefit the original artists, a few labels felt otherwise," said Gilberg. "Moving forward in the last year, though, we have produced over 200 additional free guitar lessons for our YouTube fans, all copyright-free."

The guitar lesson DVDs include some of the most popular songs requested by guitar students. They include: "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Black Magic Woman," "La Grange" by ZZ Top, "Barracuda," "Detroit Rock City" by KISS, "Smoke on The Water," "Dust in the Wind," by Kansas, "You Really Got Me," "More Than a Feeling" by Boston, "American Pie," and "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" (a No. 1 smash by Aerosmith).

Taub and Gilberg's innovative approach to teaching popular guitar songs is a perfect fit for the growing number of visually orientated video gamers.

No music theory is needed to play Billboard Top 40 guitar hits. By using multiple camera angles, along with simple, step-by-step guidance from the instructors, even beginning guitar students quickly gain the ability to strum their favorite tunes.

When Guitar Hero(R) & RockBand(R) game fanatics decide to make the jump to real instruments, they now have a less expensive, more effective path than traditional instruction., is the ultimate online destination for guitar lessons and guitar lesson DVDs. allows students to choose from a broad spectrum of guitar styles, including rock, blues, jazz, metal, fingerstyle and reggae.

Website: Next Level Guitar (

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cambridge University Press to Deliver Copyright Permissions Online

Cambridge Journals, a division of Cambridge University Press, has selected Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink®, the most widely used online content licensing service, to provide its readers a fast and easy way to obtain copyright permissions to share and distribute published materials directly from content pages online.

Cambridge University Press, founded in 1534, is one of the world's largest and most respected academic publishers. Cambridge publishes more than 230 journals and 2,500 new books each year.

Rightslink will help Cambridge's Rights and Permissions team better manage the growing quantity and complexity of permissions requests. By automating many of the standard processes and identifying those requests that need personal attention, Rightslink helps improve customer service and satisfaction. Cambridge customers can access Rightslink and order permissions directly from "Cambridge Journals Online", the company's publishing and delivery platform. Most licenses will be processed and granted immediately.

"Rightslink will play a significant role in our customer service strategy in this area," said Simon Ross, Director, Cambridge Journals. "It allows customers to get permissions faster and relieves our staff from processing and managing the high-volume of standard requests we receive. This will allow them to focus on expediting the higher-revenue requests. Of course we are anticipating increased permissions revenues, and we expect to see the benefit from Rightslink immediately."

Cambridge joins a growing list of the world's leading publishers that have selected Rightslink for online permissions and reprint ordering. These include the University of Chicago Press, Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Nature Publishing Group, Springer and Taylor & Francis.

"Publishers have found that Rightslink helps them to grow revenue, improve customer service and increase operational efficiencies," said Bob Weiner, Senior Vice President of Licensing at CCC. "Content users also are very drawn to the service as it dramatically simplifies the permission and reprint process. In short, making the process faster and easier for the customer increases revenue."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yoko Ono Withdraws Suit Against EXPELLED

In the most recent court action involving the controversial movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed featuring Ben Stein, Yoko Ono and EMI Records have both withdrawn all claims filed against the filmmakers, Premise Media.

Days after the film opened in April, two lawsuits were filed to have the movie pulled from theaters because it uses and critiques 15 seconds of the John Lennon song Imagine. The filmmakers argued that the use of the song was protected by the fair use doctrine.

"This legal action was about more than our film Expelled," noted producer John Sullivan. "What was really at stake was our basic right as Americans to free speech. While this was personally challenging, it was a fight worth going to the mat on because of the gravity of the issue."

In June, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan denied the preliminary injunction claim from John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono which alleged that the use of the song clip violated federal copyright and trademark law.

Then on August 13, 2008, the New York State Court in Manhattan similarly denied EMI Records' and Capitol Records' attempt to enjoin the distribution of EXPELLED based on the claim that the film violated their sound recording rights. As with the Federal opinion, the State court also concluded that Premise Media was likely to prevail in court based on the Fair Use Doctrine.

After the Federal and State courts denied the preliminary injunction attempts against the film, the plaintiffs filed for dismissal.

Premise Media was defended by The Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project and Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell. "We're very pleased that all plaintiffs withdrew their claims," said Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project and lead counsel on the case. He added: "We think it was clear from the beginning that Premise had every right to use the ‘Imagine' clip, and we're happy we've vindicated that. The right to use copyrighted material to criticize it is essential to free speech and public debate, and that's what was at stake here."

"I'm gratified the attempts to silence our film were unsuccessful, and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to defend our integrity and preserve the free speech rights of filmmakers," said Logan Craft, chairman and executive producer of Premise Media.

For the filmmakers the news comes just in time as Expelled will be released on DVD by Vivendi Entertainment October 21, 2008. It will be available on DVD and Blue-Ray where ever DVDs are sold.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Knowing and Understanding Copyrights

Copyright infringement and patent infringement are not quite the same thing, although they are based on the same principle, don't steal what isn't yours. Copyright infringement refers to not stealing someone else artistic or intellectual property, such as writings or music while patent infringement refers to refraining from stealing an actual product that doesn't belong to you.

The U.S. Copyright Office is responsible for holding onto the records of everything that has been copyrighted to help ensure that an individual's artistic or intellectual property remains their own. However, it is not legally necessary to register a copyrighted material with the office.

It is sufficient to place the copyright icon in front of a copyright statement and is adequate protection for copyright laws. However, it is still more secure to register copyrighted material with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright infringement is the theft of written, artistic, or intellectually produced material. Copyright infringement differs from patent infringement only in the actual material, which can make determining copyright infringement and patent infringement easier to detect.

In business, it is not so unheard of for advertisement media to be copied, thus becoming a copyright infringement. However, there is a difference between stealing the advertising media which creates the copyright infringement and stealing the icon or symbol used to create consumer recognition which is then a trademark violation.

Patented material, such as the product, is the only avenue which a patent infringement can occur. Why is this important? Because from conception to marketing, to advertising, all the way down to the jingle used in the television or radio campaign, stealing any part of the product, the advertising, the logo, the writing, the product enhancement, or any other related idea as it applies to any particular patented or copyrighted material can mean the end of a company.

These various rules can become confusing and even a little hard to wade through when there are numerous people working on any given project. Thus, enlisting the help of a Copyright attorney may be the only way to make sure all of the potential bases are covered.

A copyright attorney can be influential in preventing copyright infringement via advertisement or other written avenue, such as products that are written materials.

Bearing in mind that all printed materials are typically copyrighted, even if they have failed to register with the copyright office, a copyright attorney can still effectively guide a copy writer from accidentally becoming guilty of copyright infringement.

In most cases, any large company or media of copyrighted materials that are likely to be used beyond basic small press use will be registered with the copyright office, as registering with the U.S.

Copyright Office is a failsafe against copyright infringement. Thus, if a small time writer claims against a big company an explicit use of copyrighted material, but the large company registered with the Office, the small time writer can hold no claim even if they copyrighted their own material, simply because the large company registered with the Office.

While a copyright attorney is likely required to determine the exact definition of the laws as they apply to any given case, the likelihood of being held accountable for a copyright infringement that was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and they granted a copyright, there really is no case, regardless of how talented the copyright attorney may be.

The bottom line is still pretty basic, despite the variation in copyright infringement and patent infringement. Hiring a patent or otherwise known as copyright attorney from the beginning of any substantial project is the best protection against being accused of any type of copyright infringement.

Registering a copyright with the copyright office protects the copyrighted material against theft. All of these simple and basic steps should be taken by any company who intends to market a product, whether they anticipate being a small company of local distribution or a large company with global potential.

By registering copyrighted material with them and by hiring a copyright attorney to oversee the basic laws are covered, any company with a marketing plan will know they are protected under copyright infringement laws as well as patent infringement laws.

Without the assistance of a copyright attorney or patent attorney, a business is playing with the potential of an accidental copyright infringement or patent infringement. It is much safer to cover all the bases and protect the company and the brainchild behind the fabulous ideas that can launch a company into the land of happy returns.

About the Author:

Nick Johnson represents individuals or companies with cases involving patent infringement. Find more information at or . Call 1-888-311-5522 to receive a free case evaluation

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Learn About Copyright Law for Free

Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) is calling on those in the creative community to spread the word about protecting the rights of image creators through copyright education. In support of this effort PACA developed the Jane Kinne Copyright Education Program, which can be streamed online or ordered on DVD. The free one-hour presentation provides a thorough review of copyright law in the United States and how it applies to the use of imagery in advertising, the news media and fine art.

Copyright law is a pivotal topic in our Nation's Capitol today and one that affects everyone in the creative process from agency owners and buyers to photographers and art departments. However, it has been a somewhat overlooked point of emphasis in the training of employees throughout the industry. This oversight cannot continue to persist in light of new technologies and laws that challenge the long-standing interpretations

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse when using an image without proper consent," said Nancy Wolff, PACA's legal counsel and an expert on copyright law. "Understanding copyright law is essential for anyone working in the field of photography. This program provides the creative community with invaluable information in regards to what is protected by copyright and understanding often misused terms such as the ‘fair use' doctrine."

Moreover what may be appropriate for use in some instances might be completely illegal under different circumstances. In today's world everyone from business owners and executives to department managers and entry level staff must understand basic copyright regulations to avoid liability for themselves.

The PACA Copyright Education video includes real-world cases with images and detailed explanations of how the parties viewed the claimed infringements and how the courts assessed them. It is an outstanding tool for training staff members and, when appropriate, clients as well. Wolff created the presentation using laymen's language that can be clearly presented during internal staff trainings and executive meetings.

Wolff examines what copyright law protects and for how long, what is fair use, what is and what is not infringement, and explains how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be used to ask ISP's to remove infringing works from the Internet. PACA encourages creative professionals and all organizations involved with the use or creation of images to watch this lecture about copyright law.

Visit PACA's website for more information on Jane Kinne Copyright Education Program. You can stream the copyright presentation or quickly download the PowerPoint presentation from this page. Either way this lecture will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to any curriculum.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fake Popup Warnings Fool Internet Users

A new study by researchers at North Carolina State University shows that most Internet users are unable to distinguish genuine popup warnings messages from false ones – even after repeated mistakes. The fake ones were designed to trick users into downloading harmful software.

"This study demonstrates how easy it is to fool people on the Web," says study co-author Dr. Michael S. Wogalter, professor of psychology at NC State. The study examined the responses of undergraduate students to real and fake warning messages while they did a series of search tasks on a personal computer connected to the Internet. The real warning messages simulated local Windows operating system warnings, whereas fake messages were popup messages emanating from an exterior source via the Internet.

The physical differences between the real and the fake messages were subtle, and most participants did not discern them. Participants were fooled by the fake messages 63 percent of the time, hitting the "OK" button in the message box when it appeared on the screen despite being told that some of what they would be seeing would be false.

The ways people responded could potentially open them up to malevolent software, such as spyware or a computer virus, Wogalter says. Safer options, such as simply closing the message box, were infrequently chosen. The study was led by psychology graduate student David Sharek and co-authored by undergraduate Cameron Swofford.

Wogalter notes that companies and other credible entities may want to incorporate additional unique features into the real messages to allow people to differentiate between genuine warning messages and fake popups. However, he says, "I don't know if you could develop a legitimate message that could not be duplicated and used illegitimately."

Wogalter says the results of the study highlight the need to educate Internet users to be cautious. "Be suspicious when things pop up," Wogalter says. "Don't click OK – close the box instead."

The study was published Sept. 22 in Proceedings of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Plagiarism Checkers Fights Growing Plagiarism Problem On College Campuses

The Internet has made cheating and plagiarism easier than ever before. College students from around the country can share files with little effort or cost -- all under the school's radar. With millions of research papers and academic journals available to be copied, college professors can't possibly check everything. A plagiarism detector has become a necessity in colleges and universities across the country.

"Our one-of-a-kind plagiarism checking software is a must for any college or university. Papers are sent to us and then automatically scanned against published works, blogs, message boards and our own database of academic, legal, medical and institutional texts. Our unique and patented 'Synonym & Sentence Structure check' means we're able to check for intentional and unintentional similarities. With this software, students won't be able to change just a few words and submit the work as their own," said Jennie Williams, CEO of Plagiarism-Checkers, Inc. (

Surveys show that academic cheating begins in high school and continues into college. Most students are never caught and don't consider cheating to be a big deal. Eight out of ten college students have admitted to cheating at least once during their college career, according to a Gallup poll. Those students go on to the workforce and plagiarism then becomes a problem that affects corporate America, as well as universities.

"We know that the best plagiarism checker doesn't do schools or companies any good if it is not affordable. Our program stands above our competition because it's affordable and available to corporations and individuals instead of just schools. We offer scanning software in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian so even foreign language classes are covered with the Check For Plagiarism program making our program fully customizable. We're not out to punish students, instead we're trying to encourage them to think for themselves and excel," said Williams.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

AIPA Supports Copyright Amentdment Bill

The Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA) fully supports Minister Judith Tizard's Copyright Amendment Bill which seeks to repeal Section 21(3) of the New Zealand Copyright Act (also known as the Commissioning Rule).

The removal of this outdated and unnecessary piece of legislation will be of significant benefit to the entire creative sector. It will bring the New Zealand copyright act further in line with international convention and the copyright laws of our major trading partners.

At present the Commissioning Rule causes confusion and uncertainty for copyright commissioners and creators alike, as it selectively penalises certain types of copyright authors (such as photographers and other visual artists) for no logical reason. This amendment will therefore help clarify and simplify the current copyright law.

As has been shown in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia (where similar legislation has been repealed in 1976, 1988, and 1998 respectively) the amendment will result in a far more balanced and fair commissioning environment. This in turn will encourage more of our top photographers to stay in New Zealand, rather than head overseas to live and work in countries where their intellectual property rights are respected.

Furthermore, the repeal of the Commissioning Rule will result in more intellectual property being kept in New Zealand, under the ownership of New Zealanders, and for the financial and cultural benefit of our nation as a whole.

For many years New Zealand professional photographers have been calling for equality. Regardless of whether an individual is a writer or an illustrator, a musician or a designer, an architect or a photographer, all creators deserve to be treated equally under law. We believe this is a basic human right. Finally, with the repeal of the Commissioning Rule, the Government will make this basic right a reality in New Zealand.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Careerbuilder Target of New Work-at-Home Email Scam

The UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Spam Data Mine reports that, a reputable job search and employment company, has joined the list of brands targeted by a criminal who is stealing login credentials to their site by claiming to have a new Digital Certificate said to protect customers. UAB’s Spam Data Mine collects millions of e-mail messages used to provide investigators with spam intelligence and determine new attack methods.

Researchers at the UAB Spam Data Mine have received more than 400 copies of the spam in the past 24 hours. The malware was especially interesting, said Gary Warner, Director of Research in Computer Forensics.

"We've seen a long list of banks abused by this malware promising better security with Digital Certificates, but this is the first employment company targeted for this criminal’s scam," Warner said. "By stealing CareerBuilder credentials the criminals will be able to make more believable job offers, and will be able to know who is actively seeking a job. They already have login credentials for banking sites, but they need to recruit more ‘Money Mules,’ which is what investigators call the victims who are tricked into sending the money out of the country.

Warner’s investigations, which he describes in his blog, CyberCrime & Doing Time,, have revealed that the same criminals stealing these CareerBuilder accounts are attempting to convince desperate job seekers to work as financial assistants. In fact, these financial assistants receive a commission for receiving stolen funds into their personal bank accounts and then transferring the funds to the criminals via Western Union or Money Gram.

Warner calls that "a sign that money laundering may be part of their new job."

Warner and his team of researchers have been tracking this malware family since May. The current campaign also links to work-at-home scams being hosted on the same IP addresses as the CareerBuilder malware.