Ever wonder what sorts of issues you may encounter as a creator or entrepreneur, and when you might want to reach out to a real life lawyer? That’s what our book "Don't Panic: A Legal Guide (in plain english) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals" is all about. This book is designed to help you through the legal issues you may run into as a creator, entrepreneur, or innovator. We focus on issues you may encounter from the inception of your business to the moment (that hopefully doesn’t happen) you get a nasty lawyer letter for the first time. While this book is not a substitute for legal advice, it can serve as a helpful guide to preventing and resolving legal issues.
Executive Director Art Neill & Advisory Board Member Kyle Welch, a technology transfer attorney for San Diego State University (and a former NMR legal intern!) will discuss the basics of Intellectual Property at Fablab Wednesday June 29 at FabLab San Diego. Come join us!
Over two years ago when we submitted comments in the United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration copyright reform proceedings and again in our roundtable testimony, we advised a cautious approach that avoided the collateral damage that can come with hasty reforms. The final report takes a cautious balanced approach and shows support for many of the points we emphasized including:
The importance of developing a flexible criterion to help judges and juries determine the amount of statutory damages awarded. Particularly criteria that: consider whether the defendant use was non-commercial, had reasonable fair use argument and the financial means of the infringer. With flexible standards Copyright Trolls are much less likely to be able to exploit small-scale defendants’ lack of sophistication and resources to extract inappropriate settlements from them. (see pg 75 of the report for some of our thoughts)
The need for more public education on matters of copyright law, including fair use, to promote creativity.
The creation of easy to read fair use best practices developed within specific creative communities by creators, lawyers and other practitioners working in that specific area to help creators make informed decisions about fair use.
Recognizing the importance of having a small claims copyright court to help independent creators resolve disputes that doesn’t sacrifice important copyright safeguards, like fair use, in the process.(see pg 78 of the report for some of our thoughts)
As we've written about before there's a major justice gap when it comes to creators and entrepreneurs having access to critical legal services. While we do our best to provide free and low cost legal services, we’re only one organization. That's why we’ve created a national list of law school legal clinics as a resource to creators, entrepreneurs and even other lawyers to help find other legal clinics fighting to fill the justice gap. The clinics on the list typically provide completely free or low cost services depending on if you qualify and they have the capacity to take on new issues. Check out the complete list here.
“For too many journalists, one lawsuit could bankrupt them or their newsroom.” -Josh Stearns, GR Dodge Foundation
In our 9 year history providing legal services on over 1400 individual matters, we’ve tracked a significant convergence in the legal needs of journalists, creators and entrepreneurs. This convergence is the result of the rise in the importance of nonprofit and independent projects and the common use of the internet as the means of distribution. As a result, a common set of core legal issues has emerged among journalists, creators, and early stage tech entrepreneurs. We share the top 10 areas of convergence below.