Photographer Wins Copyright Lawsuit

The NY Times Lens blog has this report of a Haitian photographer (Daniel Morel)’s victory in a copyright lawsuit for willful copyright infringement of 8 pictures Mr Morel took during the Haiti earthquake and published over social media. 4 years ago, Morel sued Agence France-Presse and Getty Images for copyright infringement. Mr Morel said he pursued his case “because someone had to fight for photographers.” Mickey Osterreicher, the National Press Photographers Association’s general counsel praised the jury verdict and damage award ($1.22 million) as a victory for “photographers’ rights in the era of social media.” “Like anything of value, people need to ask permission, give credit and pay fair compensation for those images,” he said. “And when they don’t, photographers need to be able to stand up for their rights.” And he added: “far too often we find that photographers don’t have the power to stand up to those that infringe with impunity. I hope that this sends a message, but in reality we need a cultural change so that once again photographs are valued.”

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company protect your photos, art, or other creative work, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Vintage digital photography

The LA Times has this roundup in its Framework section of new vintage-inspired entries in the digital photography market. As an amateur photographer, my main camera is a Canon EOS T3 DSLR. Some years ago, I inherited a Nikon F (circa 1960s) from my grandparents, including a separate electric flash and multiple lenses. It’s interesting how the vintage designs are re-emerging with digital flourishes. What’s your favorite vintage camera? How about digital photography?

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company protect your photos, art, or other creative work, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Judge Posner on Patent and IP Litigation

I’ve always had a fondness for patent and IP law, as my late grandfather, Don Johnson (1921-1992), was a patent attorney and partner for many years with a boutique IP law firm (now Hovey Williams LLP) in Kansas City. (While I read history instead of electrical engineering in college, I enjoyed pursuing my IP passion with numerous IP, copyright, music, and digital IP classes at KU Law.)

Judge Posner (7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago) recently gave this interview on patent and IP litigation, focusing on patent damage and remedy issues. While Judge Posner doesn’t have a technical background (he read English at Yale, graduating Phi Beta Kappa), he often has keen legal insights. Many areas of law have benefited or been clarified from the information tsunami flowing from his prodigious pen. Judge Posner’s interview showcases his formidable intellect, his common sense/pragmatic approach, and his seamless interweaving of real life examples and abstract legal ideas.

About the time my grandfather retired from his law firm, Congress authorized the Federal Circuit (sitting in Washington D.C.), to hear patent law appeals. Patents (and copyrights and trademarks) are governed primarily by federal law, with some state law counterparts for copyrights and trademarks, and international components in our increasingly globalized world. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office handles all trademark registrations and patent applications. When litigation arises, the case goes to federal court. Most federal cases go to a (regional) federal court of appeals – so Kansas cases go to the 10th Circuit (in Denver), while Missouri cases go to the 8th Circuit (in St. Louis) – but patent law often hinges on technical scientific and engineering issues (prior art adds a dimension of complexity to precedents) and is rapidly evolving as the state of the art advances, so Congress set up the Federal Circuit (made up exclusively of patent attorneys) to hear these complex appeals. Every year or two, a Federal Circuit case arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court for the Justices to analyze an IP issue with constitutional implications (e.g. can you patent a human gene?). Posner’s remarks touch on a wide range of questions running the gamut of the patent law process, from the early stages – R&D, what should be patentable, etc – and the later stages – patent appeals, enforcement and exploitation of patent portfolios, varying degrees of vigorousness in prosecuting infringement, etc.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, related litigation, or patent litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

How Lawyers Write

Legal writing is a required course for all 1st year law students. Yet for all the emphasis on tight, logical argumentation, pithy style with comprehensive analysis, and its application in most lawyer’s practice and judges’ work (often on a daily basis), lawyers are notoriously horrible writers. Lawyers invented legalese and are pilloried (rightly so) for using phrases like “such,” “said,” “hereintofore,” etc. No one (including lawyers) wants to read or interpret the small print or endless legalese warnings we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in daily life. Yet lawyers continue to use legalese like it’s going out of style.

Here’s Scott Turow, acclaimed novelist and attorney, on how he writes, courtesy of The Daily Beast. And here’s Louis Auchincloss, the late estate planning attorney and author of many novels about old money New York society, on his writing techniques. Enjoy.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

How Judges Write

The Daily Beast has this interesting interview with Judge Richard A. Posner (7th Circuit, Chicago) about his writing habits. Lawyers and judges are familiar with Judge Posner’s legendarily prolific output (dozens of books and over 2,000 published opinions), covering many legal, economic, and political subjects. Posner is an intellectual polymath, a sort of Isaac Asimov meets lawyer with a day job on the federal court of appeals. He is the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century. He regularly blogs with Nobel Laureate Dr. Gary Becker (Chicago) on various topics. Whatever one thinks of his jurisprudential views and legal philosophy (pragmatic libertarian), Posner’s work has had a dramatic effect on the law, legal writing, and the rise of the “law and” movements (law and economics, law and literature, law and race, etc). Judge Posner co-founded the law and economics or cost-benefit analysis of law movement from the University of Chicago’s Law School, where he has been a faculty member (first a professor, now a senior lecturer) for decades. Posner fans and critics alike agree that when Posner retires from the bench, he will be remembered alongside Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly as one of the most brilliant, prolific, and influential judges of his time.

If you’re a writer, artist, inventor, or otherwise enjoy creative expression and the creative arts, you need to protect your intellectual property. If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Dickens’ London Lives

The Daily Mail brings this fascinating glimpse of a rare collection of Victorian-era photographs from 1877, taken near the dawn of photography, and affords us a vivid and intimate, if stark, look at the London of Charles Dickens, that great city that so many have grown to know and love through Dickens’ masterpieces and other literature. Photography was invented around the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865), and these early pictures give us a window into the gritty real life that Dickens observed strolling down the cobble stone streets around Britain’s capital and so memorably evoked in his classic novels.

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company protect your photography or other creative artistic expression – with copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation – call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

Apple v. Samsung: The Patent Saga Continues

The BBC provides this interesting story about the ongoing patent saga between Apple and Samsung. In August 2012, a jury found Samsung had infringed 6 of Apple’s patents and awarded Apple a whopping $1 billion jury verdict to Apple. It will be interesting to see how this patent saga continues to play out and its longer term effects on patent law and the creative arts. Thoughts? Predictions? Do you agree with the jury’s patent infringement verdict? Was the $1 billion damage award proper?

If my law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, can help you or your company with your IP needs – copyrights, trademarks, or related litigation, call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation. My firm is experienced at helping clients navigate the complex twists and turns of IP law, while adding value to clients’ creative arts and IP, and provides friendly, affordable counsel for your legal needs.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.