Copyright Infringement Basics and the Internet

Almost 50 percent of Internet users are unsure whether the content they are accessing online is legal, according to a new study from the United Kingdom. Yet, one in six people online believed they have committed copyright infringement by downloading, streaming, or otherwise accessing content illegally over a three-month period this year.

The study was conducted by researchers with Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries. The large-scale consumer survey examined the extent of online copyright infringement among Internet users aged 12 and above.

Below are several additional findings from the survey:

  • Reported levels of infringement varied considerably by content type: 8% of Internet users consumed some music illegally in the three months, but just 2% did so for games and software;
  • The most common reasons cited for accessing content illegally were because it is free (54%), convenient (48%) and quick (44%). Around a quarter (26%) of infringers said it allows them to try before they buy;
  • Infringers said they would be encouraged to stop doing so if cheaper legal services were available (39%), everything they wanted was available from a legal source (32%) or it was more clear what content was legal (26%). One in six said they would stop if they received one notifying letter from their internet service provider (ISP); and
  • Those who consumed a mixture of legal and illegal online content in the form of music, films and TV programs reported spending more on legal content in these categories over the three-month period than those who consumed entirely legal or illegal content.

One of the goals of the study was to assess the need for awareness campaigns to help educate consumers about the impact of copyright infringement. Like the U.S. Six Strikes Program I discussed in an earlier post, the U.K. will soon implement requirements mandating that large ISPs inform customers that their Internet connection has been used to commit copyright infringement, and to explain where they can find legal content online.

How Can I Help?

If you need help to protect an original work with a copyright registration, or you have been accused of copyright infringement, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


What Constitutes Trademark Infringement?

One of the greatest advantages to owning the rights to a particular trademark is that you can file a lawsuit for trademark infringement. All trademark infringement lawsuits ask one central question—what is the likelihood that consumers of the relevant goods will be confused?

More specifically, the use of a trademark in connection with the sale of a good amounts to infringement if it is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods or as to the sponsorship or approval of such goods.

In deciding if consumers are likely to be confused, courts will typically examine a number of factors, including (but not limited to):

  • The strength of the mark
  • The proximity of the goods
  • The similarity of the marks
  • Evidence of actual confusion
  • The similarity of marketing channels used
  • The degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser
  • The defendant’s intent

Of course, the weight of each of these factors will vary according to the circumstances of the case. In most cases, the primary consideration is the perception of the consumer.

How I Can Help

Of course, this is only a broad overview of trademark infringement, the legal intricacies of trademark infringement vary from case to case. However,if you believe your trademark has been infringed, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.  Connect with me on Google +.

– Ex astris, scientia –

Can I Copyright a Recipe?

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be wondering if grandma’s famous apple pie recipe can be protected. Here’s the scoop when it comes to recipes and copyrights.

Under U.S. copyright law, a mere listing of ingredients is not protected.

“The identification of ingredients necessary for the preparation of each dish is a statement of facts. There is no expressive element in each listing; in other words, the author who wrote down the ingredients for ‘Curried Turkey and Peanut Salad’ was not giving literary expression to his individual creative labors. Instead, he was writing down an idea, namely, the ingredients necessary to the preparation of a particular dish.” (Publications Intl. v. Meredith, 88 F.3d 473 (7th Cir. 1996))

However, all is not lost.  You can get copyright protection for a recipe or formula that is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook.

Before running off to copyright that apple pie recipe, its important to note that if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should not submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records.


If you have a recipe of your own that needs copyright protection, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

Space Medals

As the games in London wind down, I thought that it would be nice to showcase some of the scientific and space gold medals to also follow in the tradition of  ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius,’ which is  Latin for ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’.  I won’t be using any of the “official” names or symbols associated with the games held in London due to the fact that they very strictly enforce all  trademarks for those games, and I do not want to be on the receiving end of a “nastygram.”  Therefore, without further ado, I present my list of gold medalist in the manned spaceflight events.

1st man in space – Yuri Gagarin.

First woman in space – Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is a retired Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.

Apollo 11 – First lunar landing.

Manned endurance – Soyuz 9 Andrian Nikolayev, Vitali Sevastyanov, this flight marked the beginning of working in space under weightless conditions; endurance record for solo craft remains.


First Space Station – Salyut 1 occupied by Soyuz 11 crew for 23 days.

First car on another planet and a giant leap for mankind – Apollo 15m fourth Moon landing; first lunar rover use; first deep spacewalk.


First icebreaker – Soyuz 19, first U.S./USSR joint flight; docked with Apollo 18 for 2 days; conducted experiments, shared meals, and held a joint news conference.

First re-entry vehicle – STS-1, Columbia, first space shuttle flight; orbital test flight; some thermal tiles lost (a portent of things to come).


First free flight in space – 41-B, Challenger, first untethered EVA & testing of MMU jetpack; first Kennedy Space Center landing.


Longest catch – 41-C, Challenger, first in-orbit satellite retrieval/repair.


First space tourist – Soyuz TM-32, Dennis Tito first space “tourist” having paid $20 million for trip.  If I had the money, I’d go up too.

First commercial spaceflight – SpaceShipOne (yes, it is spelled correctly), Flight 15, first privately funded, non-government manned space flight; suborbital reaching 328,491 feet (100,124 m) altitude.

These are my gold medalist.  So what do think?  Did I miss any of your favorite contenders?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you haven’t always used royalty free images in your blogs and find yourself needing some advice after receiving a nastygram, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –



Today is the Day.

At 10:31PDT today, the Mars Curiosity rover will hopefully land safely and begin its mission.  Good luck to everyone at NASA and JPL.  The last commands from mission control were sent today.  “We sent a command to the spacecraft to start its onboard program to execute the final approach, entry, descent and landing,” Vasavada told the Los Angeles Times in an interview late Friday. “We literally could do nothing more, and the spacecraft will land itself.”

An official shot of the Curiosity rover at JPL.

My photo taken during the annual JPL open house.

You can find out more about the mission here.  For some spectacular space viewing check out NASA’s eyes web site where you can view everything NASA and the world are doing in space, or visit our closest star.  It is a really phenomenal site.

If you have a photograph, recording, video or art work and need help to protect your idea, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

Back again after a short delay.

Ahhhh, the end of the month when a lawyer’s fancy turns to thoughts of BILLING!! OMG!! I hate the last week of the month.  For some reason, many clients prefer to ignore sending me stuff until the last week.  This makes the last week very difficult and challenging.  Especially when you have many obligations that, for some unknown reason, also fall near the end of the month.  As you know I am a proud member of the Armed Services Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  That meeting is near the end of the month.  I also have my own attorney’s marketing group, Tuesday’s Tips, which meets the first Tuesday of each month.  Luckily this month I caught a break.  And then there is the marketing efforts to bring in new business and help inform people on what exactly I can help them with.  Today I spoke at the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, where I am a member.  I love the local flavor of all the business, the people and the helpful attitude at each Chamber meeting.

So here I am regaling everyone with exciting stories of lions and tigers and copyrights…oh my!

The give-away table.  I brought chocolate (far left of the picture).  Seems like it was a big hit.  But I needed to bring more dark chocolate.  I got complaints that all the dark chocolate was gone.  Next time, I will be sure to bring more.

I also brought a goodie bag to give away filled with gift cards and various other items.  The recipient really liked it.

I always appreciate being able to speak in front of people and let them know how I can help them, it is one of the pleasures of being an attorney.

Thanks to Laura Lloyd who came with me and took these photos.

If you have an idea and need help to protect it, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –