Saturday, February 08, 2014

Identity Theft and the Legal Rights Battle between Twitter, an Anonymous Twitter User at @JamesDean, and Celebrity James Dean IP Rightsholders

The Hollywood Reporter in Twitter in Legal War Over @JamesDean presents an "exclusive" story on the intellectual property law case of an anonymous Twitter user who has registered @JamesDean at Twitter and has already amassed about 8000 followers.

The plaintiff in the legal dispute is CMG Worldwide, which manages and licenses rights relating to the late James Dean estate and many other deceased celebrities.

Various violations of law have been claimed and it will be interesting to see how the matter is resolved in the courts. We hope there is no settlement but a clear court judgment that sets appropriate standards.

The whole idea of "trademarks" is to avoid unnecessary confusion about the identity of people and companies.

We oppose trademarks for generic names like apple, windows, retina, paper. You should have to ADD something to a generic term to make a trademark name unique to the owner and we would for example have nothing against MicrosoftRetina as a trademark at the same time as the e.g. trademark WOZJOIRetina, but we definitely opposed trademark monopolies on generic terms like retina, which should be free to use by anyone. It is a word of our language that no one should be able to claim.

That is why we title our blog LawPundit and not "Law Pundit". The term "LawPundit" written together is our newly formed compound word. The terms law and pundit are as free for use as they always were, and should be.

We have a particular interest in this case because some anonymous user appropriated our "lawpundit" name at Twitter quite some time after our LawPundit trademark was published online, where it could easily have been found by an honest user.

We informed Twitter about this pilfering, but they did nothing, and that user still remains anonymous, at least to us.

That is why we had little choice but to use @law_pundit at Twitter as our name, as a kind of an identity check, although it is clear that some anonymous user "took" our trademarked name to profit from the goodwill attached to our name, thus wilfully creating the impression that we may have something to do with that Twitter account, which we do not. We have no idea who it is.

It is time that this kind of identity theft at Twitter be stopped. There is no rational purpose of society that is served by allowing that kind of thing, which amounts to enjoying the right of anonymity at other people's cost.

Obviously, the James Dean estate should be the only entity entitled to the celebrity @JamesDean address at Twitter, unless it is a user who in fact also has that legal name and expressly distances himself from the celebrity identity by an appropriate notice at his website presence.


The Sochi Winter Olympics Begin Amid a Maelstrom of Often Bad and Biased Reporting by Mainstream Media

The Wall Street Journal wrote to its great credit as one of the more neutral mainstream reporters: 2014 Sochi Olympics: A Dazzling Opening Ceremony.

David M. Herszenhorn at the New York Times in Olympics Opening Ceremony Offers Fanfare for a Reinvented Russia showed why that newspaper is still number one in the world, writing (correctly) to begin a marvelous article:
"[A] swaggering, resurgent Russia turned its Winter Olympic aspirations into reality on Friday night.

After seven years of building to this moment — the opening of what is believed to be the most expensive Olympic Games in history — the message of the over-the-top ceremony was simply this: In a big way, Russia is back.

As if there were any doubt.

(Where Russia may be headed — amid an economic slowdown, continuing rights abuses and suppression of political dissent that have drawn sharp criticism, especially in the West — was a question for another day.)" [emphasis added by LawPundit]
The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have begun in a festive atmosphere, for the love of competitive sports and for the better understanding of nations among each other. Peace and understanding do not happen suddenly. You have to work to achieve them, and nothing is perfect, not even Olympic games.

We say that as a writer with a Baltic background who has no particular reason to write favorable things about Russia or Russians and who knows personally people who suffered under Russian occupation in the Baltic "in the old days". Surely there are abuses today as well, but we have read there may be about twice as many people in prison in the USA than in the Russian Federation.

We found the opening gala ceremony to be outstanding and its themes to be representative for Russia. The Russian Federation has clearly gone to a lot of trouble and expense to present these games as well as possible and that is to be applauded and approved.

But that optimistic message is difficult to find in the many skewed and biased reports on the opening ceremony published by mainstream media and elsewhere, many of which concentrate on some selected political or other axe to grind having nothing to do with these Winter Olympic games.

Here are samples:
  • The Verge: "Sochi has been fraught with problems in the days leading up to the Olympics, but no one issue has been quite so telling of Russia's hosting struggles as a malfunction at its opening ceremony that led to an incomplete set of Olympic rings going up on display."

    Our comment: C'mon Verge. How about telling them that the opening ceremony's artistic director was American George Tsypin, who is cited at Sports Illustrated as saying that the ring malfunction was caused by a bad command from a stage manager. WHY is that the news that people choose to feature??!! Political bias, obviously, and the hope that things will go wrong. How sad.

    One might also tell that to the apparently uninformed nerds at Mashable.

    Why do people find it necessary to put the onus on Russia? -- because that negative view is what they wanted all along. Others emphasize the beauty of the production show, which in fact had a lot of Hollywood influence. Why not emphasize that!? It shows a welcome convergence.

  •  NBC Coverage of the Winter Olympics: Nothing like flying in unbiased and diplomatic reporters like Meredith Vieira: see Feelings' About Covering Sochi Winter Olympics (VIDEO) where she is quoted as follows

    "I really hope that people demonstrate there," Vieira said. "I think Putin would be crazy to do anything during the time that people are there...but then I think he is a little off the wall."

    Our comment: Did someone say something about "ugly Americans"? Surely we have better ambassadors in journalism than that. Shameful.
  • BBC News: "The 22nd Winter Olympics are officially underway after an opening ceremony in the Russian resort of Sochi which combined spectacular effects with the usual questionable team outfits."

    Our comment: Why not just enjoy the "fashion" rather than imposing a judgmental and foolish preset expectation on what athletes should wear?

  • The Guardian, Heidi Moore: "Why I'm not watching the Sochi Olympics" with a long list of complaints about all that is wrong with the world, and how she, as a consumer, is casting her "nay" vote in this manner.

    Our comment: Part of becoming an adult is to deal with the world as it is, not as wishful thinking wants it to be. There are many special forums to deal with the solution of political problems. Sports and athletics are not political negotiating tables. Besides, the world is a very unfair place, no matter what one does.  Using Moore's reasoning, why do anything?

    The Guardian itself is in a political State owned and controlled by a tiny minority of landed gentry going back a thousand years. We think that is abominable, but it is not OUR problem and the Brits should solve it. Should we all refuse to have anything to do with Britain for that reason?

    By not watching these Olympics one is negating a golden opportunity to obtain necessary information to better understand the people of the Russian Federation and hence, the world.

    To our way of thinking, sticking one's head in the sand is hardly the right solution. And, by the way, in writing in a commercial newspaper about the games, one is in fact "profiting" from them, is one not, regardless of what one writes?

    Hence, an outward exertion of "moral superiority", one of the great weaknesses of the West in general, is here in the wrong place.

    We think the West would be better off to clean its own houses first, before casting stones, and there is a lot of cleaning to be done.


Earth and Our Moon Seen by Curiosity from Mars: It Always Pays to Keep One's Perspective About Life and "the World"

Photographs can be viewed at the pages of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology at:

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Sees 'Evening Star' Earth

and

Catalog Page for PIA17935.

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