[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Further thoughts on this week's LTAR
It occurs to me that at this point, Howard Stern is enough of a big shot
that he, or some corporate entity owned by him, may well own the rights
himself to his current work and, most likely, to any trade mark in his
name. In that case, the only way CBS would have the right to enforce
trade mark rights would be if he (or his corporation) delegated that right
to them. Which he may have done.
Or, perhaps CBS has no right whatsoever to send a cease and desist letter.
But (a) if they send one, it may scare someone into complying; or (b) they
may even bring a lawsuit, and be completely in the wrong, but it would
cost a lot of money for the owner of the Website to win.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, CBS's lawyers could be
sanctioned by the Federal Court and even ordered to pay costs for bringing
a frivolous lawsuit. But it would probably take a certain amount of
investigation and litigation costs on the part of the Website owner in
order to prove that it was frivolous. So perhaps it's just a matter of
Or perhaps someone at CBS simply believes they have the right to do this
and doesn't know that they don't. There's often more stupidity than
malice or greed behind institutional decisions.
This reminds me of a situation several years ago when Massachusetts
Lawyers Weekly got upset that people were making and distributing reprints
of articles which had been published in their newspaper. They felt they
had the right to sell reprints of Lawyers Weekly articles. At one point,
they even appealed, in their paper, for advice from their readers on what
they should do about these illicit reprints.
This moved me to send them a letter. First, I told them that I thought it
rather inconsistent of them to object to the free circulation of article
reprints while at the same time asking for free legal advice from their
readers. I suggested that I would be happy to give them legal advice if
they would like to make an appointment and pay my usual rates.
That said, I told them, as author of a couple of articles which appeared
in Lawyers Weekly, that under federal copyright law, I, not they, owned
the rights to my articles, in the absence of any contract to the contrary.
And I, not they, had the right to charge for reprints of my articles.
Since they hadn't even paid for my articles, I thought they had some nerve
thinking they could sell reprints of my work.
I don't know whether I was the only one who wrote them, but I do know that
they never mentioned the matter again. And I have continued to distribute
copies of my articles, bearing a copyright notice in my name.
A. Joseph Ross, J.D. 617.367.0468
15 Court Square firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston, MA 02108-2503 http://world.std.com/~lawyer/