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Stock Photo Sites

Recently had to deal with an issue with a business client. He has a website for his business, providing services, for which he was adding content. He needed a photo graph to illustrate a concept on the topic discussed.

He used a search engine to search for images, found one that illustrated the concept to illustrate the article, and downloaded it to his website.

No problem, eh?

Well, yes. Because the photo he found was a photograph off of a stock photo website. Whether he found it there or found it already downloaded by someone else did not matter. The stock photo company sent him a letter threatening to sue if he did not pay them for the use. And the fee was many times greater than the normal stock photo license fee.

This is why you should not download photos from the internet and put them on your own website. Stock photo agencies deliberately allow photos to be seen by the public. They have programs that search the internet looking for images with their codes embedded in them. They then send demand letters – to which the Copyright Act entitles them.

If you need illustrations for your website, either use photographs or images you have created, or purchase a photo or image from the many low cost providers of such.

Make sure you read the license for the image and that your use is consistent with that license.

Posted in Intellectual Property.

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Estate Issues for Writers

Kathryn Rusch writes here about the estate issues that are unique to writers – that of the question of the ongoing administration of a literary estate.

Posted in Estate Planning, Intellectual Property.

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DMCA notice abuse

From Ars Technica, a story about how DMCA notices are abused to cause WordPress to pull articles that embarrassed some researchers. That the site claiming ownership in the DMCA notice is foreign, and has apparently fraudulent WHOIS info certainly leads to the obvious conclusion that someone is fronting an operation to pull embarrassing articles.

Posted in Uncategorized.

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First Sale Doctrine in Copyright

There is an interesting case currently being heard regarding the First Sale doctrine in Copyright and its implications with respect to foreign sales. The First Sale doctrine states that when a copyright holder makes a sale of a copy of a work, that sale cuts off all of the copyright holders’ rights to that copy. This is why a library can lend out a book it owns, because the copyright holder has no rights in the copy. Likewise, sale of used books.

This article illustrates some of the ways that copyright holders are trying to evade the First Sale doctrine.

Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons case at the Supreme Court is about the interaction of the copyright holders’ right to control importation of a copyright work and the First Sale doctrine.

Posted in Intellectual Property.

Games Workshop and “Space Marine”

A blog piece by an author who has encountered Games Workshop’s aggressive attempts to monopolize the term “Space Marine” as part of its Warhammer 40K gaming and book product line.

It illustrates an increasing issue among authors as certain media giants use their large marketing power and large lawfirm budgets to attempt to use trademark law to do with copyright law will not allow them – to monopolize terms.

Posted in Intellectual Property.

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Colorado Springs Visiting Nurse Association suddenly closes.

A bit of a surprise, for those of our readers and clients in the Colorado Springs area who use their services, we thought we’d point out this news item.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Petition Preparers

I had a very frustrating day recently.  I spoke to someone who had just been through their Meeting of Creditors in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy and had a bad experience.

One issue was whether or not a Chapter 13 was appropriate for them, but that’s another post.  The person who met with me had decided that in order to save their house from foreclosure, they would file a Chapter 13 petition with the help of a  bankruptcy petition preparer.  Such preparers are not attorneys, and certainly are not licensed to practice law before the bankruptcy court.  They can’t give legal advice, they can only help you fill out the forms according to your direction …supposedly.

And they charge ridiculous amounts of money for doing a mediocre job at best.  In the case in front of me, even worse.  The person had been charged $500 for this “help” and it was very badly done.  Schedules blank that should have been filled in,  secured debts listed in the priority debts schedules, values typed where descriptions of assets should go, blanks where values should be.  And the Chapter 13 plan was so incoherent that the debtor got a three page objection from the standing CH 13 Trustee’s office.

I’m confident that the standing CH 13 trustee’s office will go after that preparer but even if that one is dealt with, the bankruptcy petition preparer business is simply full of ripoff artists.

I’m sure you think I’m saying that just to get business diverted to me instead of them.  But it isn’t true. It really is a shady, corrupt and incompetent business.  And the reality is that Chapter 13 are simply not something that “pro se” debtors are successful at.  They are complex petitions to prepare, the process of confirming Chapter 13 Plans is a complex negotiation and the standing CH 13 trustee offices are too busy and too cynical to really assist “pro se” debtors.

So another Chapter 13 debtor wasted a lot of money and a lot of time on a forlorn hope and will only get a failed Chapter 13 filing on their record when its inevitably dismissed.  And if that person I saw actually managed to get a Chapter 13 plan confirmed, the errors in the petition will cost them about three times the amount of money that paying a competent consumer bankruptcy attorney would have cost.

Posted in Bankruptcy.

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Estate Planning in Today’s Political Environment

Today’s political environment makes estate planning difficult for those people whose total assets are close the range of possible taxable estates.  Because of the charged political environment, we literally do not know what tax rates will be in January of 2013. Here, Paul Caron blogs about a poll of tax professors regarding their opinion of what tax rates will be just over a month from when I write this. Of interest to us:

8. The Estate & Gift Tax:
Will be eliminated: 1.7%
Will apply to estates over $1,000,000: 5.2%
Will apply to estates over $3,500,000: 47.4%
Will apply to estates over $5,120,000 [2012 law]: 47.4%
Will apply to estates over some amount greater than $5,120,000: 0%

The polled tax professors evenly split between $3.5 million and $5.125 millions – the latter current law – for where the estate tax would begin to bite next year. They don’t know and neither do we. So its important to review your estate planning more often in these chaotic political times.

Posted in Elder Law.

Student Loan “Hardship” Discharge

It is very difficult under current Bankruptcy law to obtain a discharge of one’s student loans.  The standards of “hardship” are very high and essentially require one to demonstrate circumstances such as a disability that result in one having no ability to repay the loans.

Here is a reference to a case where a bankruptcy court recently found a case of hardship and granted a discharge.

If you would like to discuss your situation, feel free to contact Robin at 720 684 4378.

Posted in Bankruptcy.

Lisa Danny-Roberts speaking on October 25th

Just a short note to let you know that Lisa will be speaking at The Stratford At FlatIrons Retirement Community. It is a free seminar designed to inform seniors about Key Life Decisions.    Lisa will be one of a panel, and will present a short discussion on “Why a will is important”.  Other speakers include Monica Lindbloom from Edward Jones, Karen Johnson from H & R Block and Debra Rupp from Horan and McConaty.

Lisa has just toured the Stratford and it is a gorgeous facility.  The seminar will be held on two occasions;
Tuesday, October 25 at 1:30
400 Summit Boulevard
Broomfield, Colorado 80021
Thursday October 27th at 6:00 pm.
Same Venue
Refreshments will be served, and there will a separate space for questions to be asked in private. Please feel free to attend and bring any guest who might be interested.
RSVP below to Lisa Danny-Roberts
Roberts & Roberts Law Firm, LLC
3570 East 12th Avenue, Suite 200
Denver, CO 8006
(P) 720 684 4378

Posted in Administration, Elder Law.