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Overcome the fears of legal infringement in viewing streaming apps by using VPN

The popularity of video streaming apps is spreading like wildfire as the audience is seeking more options in viewing television programs and chosen movies and soaps just in the way they want. Viewers are keen to enjoy live events of sports, music and other entertainment on all kinds of devices including mobile phones even when they are on the go and the streaming apps provide the right type of entertainment that makes them happy. However, viewers often face copyright and related legal problems that surround the streaming of videos that many of the streaming companies curate from various websites on the internet.  You can know about several instances when viewers face a penalty for copyright infringement as such incidents are reported in the news and articles that appear on Bestdroidplayer, a blog that has become the face of the streaming industry.

Evading legal hassles

Many streaming services attract viewers by allowing them to view some premium live events free that would have otherwise cost them good money as they had to subscribe to the services. In simple words, some streaming services cut corners and circumvent the law to attract viewers and to take advantage of it viewers must ensure that they avoid all kinds of surveillance when viewing such programs. Therefore, maintaining complete privacy in viewing streaming services becomes a necessity so that viewers can avoid the legal hassles that arise from it. This has led to the growing demand for VPN services, many of which are free.

VPN offers complete privacy in viewing

VPN helps viewers to access the internet without leaving any trace of their online activities which are usually under close monitoring when using Wi-Fi and open networks. By using VPN, you can access any website or view any video streaming service including those that face restrictions in some countries and even access live streaming of major sporting events like NFL for free. No one can ever detect your online presence, and you are at liberty to access the internet in the way you want. In the process, viewers can avoid costly subscriptions, and the money-saving aspect adds to the enjoyment of viewing selected programs without any fear of trespassing the law. However, you may have to sacrifice speed when using VPN as it is not possible to get the best of everything.

VPN for network

For multiple users, you can use VPN across a network by choosing the best free VPN for Routers that create a firewall around the network and in addition to ensuring privacy in viewing it provides an additional layer of security. All incoming traffic passes through the firewall and undergoes scrutiny that protects the network from hacking or malware.  By configuring the router, it becomes easy to monitor the traffic that flows to and from the network.

All devices connected to the network whether wired or wireless that use VPN installed on the router enjoy the protection of VPN.  Since VPN provides an encrypted tunnel of communication, viewers can enjoy complete privacy as they remain invisible to the monitoring systems that track online activities.

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Theft of Intellectual Property: Everything You Need to Know about Defending Your Copyright

In the modern connected world, holding on to your rights as a creator can be like trying to grab onto an electric eel. You have to know what you’re doing, or your rights can slip away faster than you can grab them. You can end up the victim of the theft of intellectual property.

What are you going to do when you have to enforce your own copyright interests in a complex world? Keep reading to find out!

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept that determines who owns and controls intellectual property. It is a right granted to an entity [like a person or a corporation] to have certain control over creative works for a certain period of time.

The most common type of copyright and the easiest to understand is the right of the author to retain control over the writings that they produce. If you write something, generally you own the copyright to that work. Copyrights can be transferred so that writers can be paid for the work they produce.

Copyright law extends to all types of creative content and intellectual property. Without copyrights, movies, TV, books, art and just about everything else you love about the modern world would STINK! The intellectual property theft definition is the reason creative professionals are safe to create.

You don’t have to look for intellectual property theft examples further than a major movie studio. They spend millions of dollars to make a movie and need a way to recoup the cost of creating the product. Copyrights prevent other people from legally copying or distributing the movie without the studio’s permission.

History of the Theft of Intellectual Property

Copyright laws came into effect around the end of the middle ages in Europe. Before that, there wasn’t any kind of concept of a person “owning” the intellectual property contained within a copyright. In fact, copying a book was considered a scholarly act, there were no intellectual property theft cases.

The idea of a “scribe”, or a person who could read and write, often really just meant copying a text. This word would transmute into the word esquire which means “lawyer”.

In the age before the printing press, each manuscript had to be meticulously copied by hand. It might take weeks or months for a monk to produce one manuscript!

With the invention of the printing press, humanity finally had the ability to mass produce written works. The first printing presses were used to print Bibles, but it wasn’t long after that commercial works began to be produced for sale.

Writers and publishers began to steal the popular works of other writers and sell them. In the United Kingdom, the Licensing of the Press Act 1662 was a censorship law that allowed the government to determine if anything was “seditious” or “treasonous”. This was the first step in the process of the government saying what was legal or illegal to produce in the press.

All legal books had to be brought to London and registered with the Stationer’s Company, which was authorized by the Crown to keep a list of all the books published in the country. People began suing for intellectual property theft since their work was then registered with the Crown.

In 1709, the first real copyright law was enacted in England. Known as the “Statue of Anne”, it gave anyone who applied the legal ability to profit from written works and to enforce those rights in common law court. It made it illegal to publish a book in the Kingdom without the permission of the copyright holder.

However, despite this law and similar laws in other countries, copyright laws generally ended at the border of the nation where they were created. This led to a situation where “pirate publishers” would simply produce copies of popular books written by authors in other nations.

If a book was popular in England, it would be published in Germany by rogue publishers who weren’t connected to the actual writers. The reverse happened to Continental authors in the United Kingdom. It soon became apparent that it was in everybody’s interest that international copyright laws would have to come into effect.

The Berne Convention

The Berne Convention was initially signed in Berne, Switzerland in 1887. It has become the de facto international copyright treaty with almost the entire world in agreement. The Soviet Union signed in 1947, but the United States and Great Britain didn’t sign the convention until 1987!

The basic thrust of the Berne convention is that copyright holders don’t need to put an explicit copyright on their works for the weight of copyright law to come into effect. Previously, works would have to be registered in a country’s copyright office in order for rights to be enforceable in court.

That meant that prior to 1987, you could basically steal anything written in the Soviet Union and publish it in America unless someone had walked it down to the United States Copyright Office in Washington D.C. It was considered something of a “power play” by America and Great Briton against the rest of the world.

Since America was the biggest market for copyrighted works, it was important for writers, publishers, and creators everywhere to register their copyrights in America first.

US Law Prior to 2009

The United States stubbornly refused to accept the basic premise of the Berne Convention all the way up until 2009. Until that time, copyright had to be explicitly registered with the US copyright office, or at least explicitly demonstrated on the document being copyrighted.

This was usually done with the (C) symbol being printed on the copyrighted material.

Old Wife’s Tale

If you know any writers, you’ve probably heard of the trick of securing a copyright by mailing it to yourself certified mail. This associates the “postmark” with the writing. If you mail it to yourself prior to the publication date, that would somehow constitute registering the document with the post office.

It should be noted that this technique has NEVER stood up in court on its own! Yes, this has been done in the past to prove a copyright, but in those cases, it was still one person’s word against the other. The postmark itself doesn’t prove anything and has never won a court case, by itself.

If you bring a copyright claim, and the envelope thing is the ONLY evidence you have of a copyright, you’ll lose against the other party. This might be if the author died, or the claimant for some other reason couldn’t provide any other evidence to substantiate their claim.

2009

Since 2009, the United States has accepted the full commitments under the Berne Convention.

Today, even in the United States, a copyright can be implicit and implied. You no longer have to put the (C) symbol on written material to have a valid copyright claim. If you are the creator of the product, you own the copyright without any filing anything.

Enforcing the 99%

In 2018, most examples of intellectual property theft cases are web related. In terms of stealing copyrighted material, it just doesn’t pay to try and publish someone else’s book. But when it comes to digital material, it’s pretty easy to get ripped off.

You’ll need a good attorney familiar with copyright law to file a real case, but the lawyer you already have can use the most effective tool an attorney has in his arsenal, the “Cease and Desist Letter”. A “Cease and Desist”, or a C&D letter, is a formal demand from an attorney to make one party stop what they are doing, or else!

The vast majority of copyright infringements can be solved with a C&D. Most types of infringement fall under that category of “I thought I could get away with it”, and a notice from a lawyer that you’re not getting away with it usually does the trick.

The great thing about a C&D is that it costs nothing to do and it generally works. But if it doesn’t then you’re actually going to have to file a lawsuit, and that can be another giant can of worms indeed!

The first step is to gather all the evidence that you are, in fact, being infringed upon and bring it to a qualified attorney with experience in copyright enforcement like The Law Offices of B. Bush. This could include hard drives, letters, contracts or whatever else you happen to have.

You should explore with both your attorney and your accountant the feasibility of filing a lawsuit. The truth is that most people who steal copyrighted material are lawsuit-proof. You can’t get blood out of a stone.

If some college kid with $25 in his bank account re-posts your novel, you could spend thousands of dollars in litigation costs and foreclose on his 25 bucks. It might be better to chalk it up to good publicity!

Protect Yourself

It’s up to the copyright owner to enforce their own rights and protect themselves against the theft of intellectual property. You need a competent attorney to help you navigate the intricacies of the law. There are dishonest actors out there, lurking on the internet, who are willing to steal your stuff.

Don’t let them! Protect yourself with a skilled lawyer who has the reputation, experience, and ability to get the job done right. Check out our blog for more information on finding the best attorney for your business needs.

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Are VPNs Always Legal? All Questions Answered

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) offers many advantages to its users. It encrypts connection to prevent hackers or your ISP from spying on your activity. A VPN also allows you to bypass geo-restrictions by connecting to servers in different countries around the world. Finally, it is the best way to circumvent government censorship and banned websites.

So, a question may arise whether VPNs are legal. For the most part, the answer is yes. But depending on your location, the laws might get a little more complicated.

Are VPNs legal?

In most countries, VPNs are legal. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed complete privacy and anonymity even in permitted jurisdictions. The US is a great example. Here, VPNs are illegal. However, there are some significant factors to consider.

  •         VPNs are legal, but anything that would be illegal without a VPN is still illegal. The best example is torrenting. Even if you encrypt your connection, your ISP could tell if you’re torrenting due to your bandwidth traffic patterns.
  •         VPNs may violate terms of service agreements. One of the biggest advantages of VPNs is the possibility to access geo-restricted content. However, some platforms, particularly Netflix, consider using a VPN a breach of their service agreement. However, you likely won’t be banned from the site; they’ll just block your connection until you turn the VPN off.
  •         Law Enforcement May Demand Information. If law enforcement suspects that you are up to illegal activity or your computer may contain vital evidence, they can demand information on your browsing history and other internet habits. Do note that many VPN service providers claim to keep “no logs” or records of their users’ history. However, there has been a general precedent when certain VPNs cooperated with authorities when requested. Thus, make sure your VPN provider follows a no-logs policy.

 

Where are VPNs illegal?

It probably comes as no surprise that many countries that enforce the strongest levels of internet censorship also have laws against using a VPN or they may be in some sort of legal grey zone. In countries like China, Russia, Iraq, Turkey, and the UAE among many others, it is illegal to use a VPN. Each country has a different policy. Some may limit a VPN’s local capabilities to connect to a remote server while others may even have legal punishments defined. Before you visit these countries, be sure you check the current legal status of VPNs there.

What about getting caught?

This also varies from country to country. For example, VPN users who torrent in the US will usually receive a warning letter from their ISP. After that, they may throttle down speeds or ban you from their service. Only in very rare cases, people do face legal action.

Currently, in Canada, a landmark case is taking place with Voltage Pictures suing over 50,000 John Does in a reverse-class action suit for copyright infringement. The outcome of this case will determine torrenting prosecution around the world and will represent the “tip of the iceberg” if the prosecution wins. However, it’s important to note that most of the people in the suit were not using VPNs. They were openly torrenting making it easy to trace their IP address and identities.

Overall, even in countries where VPNs are illegal, the chances of actually getting caught and prosecuted are extremely low. It’s simply not a priority for most countries. Furthermore, just by using a VPN, it makes it significantly more difficult to track specific individuals. The bottom line is that if you are using a VPN for legal activities, you have nothing to worry about.

Are VPNs legal for Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, etc.?

It’s easy to notice the significant difference in Netflix content available in each country. For example, in the US, you have access to more than 5,000 titles whereas in Myanmar the number is just around 700. The reason for this is that the countries have to sign copyright agreements so they have access to each other’s copyrighted material. If they don’t, then the number of streaming options you have will be extremely limited.

To work around this, you can use a VPN to access Netflix servers in the US, Europe, or anywhere you might be looking for region-specific content. Once again, it’s not illegal, but it does violate Netflix’s TOS. However, if you use a quality VPN, you won’t run into trouble. A good VPN should feature dedicated Netflix US-based servers so you can stream with ease.

The same goes for all the other streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. It’s not illegal, particularly if you have a paid, active account, but you may be violating the TOS agreement if you use a VPN.

VPNs: the best way to access the internet

VPNs are an essential tool for safe internet access. They protect you from hackers and snooping parties like your ISP or government. Not only that, they allow you to bypass geo-blocks so you can always stream your favorite content. Finally, they give you the most important thing—privacy in the online world. So if you want to browse safely and if you stick to legal activities, then using a VPN is legal.

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How to protect your intellectual property

Your content is most susceptible to theft when you are starting up an investment or putting up a product idea. Having invested a substantial amount of time to see your insights into life, protecting them is only necessary. As such, you should put all methods into consideration to ensure that you protect your intellectual property.

With several options at your disposal, finding the best way to protect your intellectual property may seem impossible. To ensure that you get it right, we established the best methods for you to keep your ideas safe. These methods range from assistance with legal papers online, obtaining patents, trade secrets and, copyrighting of work.

     o Get a provisional license

When it comes to keeping your ideas to yourself and preventing others from exploiting your toil for their glory, a provisional patent should be your first step. Not only does this warn copycats from stealing your ideas but also it gives you room for development before getting your license.

If you make changes to your idea; however, it is wise to file for another provisional patent to keep your ideas covered. When addressing the issue of patents, it is wise to get one that provides for the field where your competition lies.

For instance, getting a patent from your country of residence won’t cover competition from foreign countries. As such, consult top patent service providers to ensure your content is safe from prying eyes.

     o Have your workforce sign a well-written non-disclosure agreement

When bringing a concept to life, outsourcing is inevitable. Not only does it ensure that your project is outstanding but also ensures you meet your deadline. However, this also poses a significant threat to confidentiality and may lead to theft of your ideas.

A vital step in protecting intellectual property is ensuring that your employees do not share work they have delivered. To achieve this, have your employees sign an NDA before sharing any information on your concepts with them. By doing so, you ensure that your work remains original and out of the reach of copycats, therefore, preventing the loss of content.

     o Keep yourself updated on methods of intellectual property protection

With a high rate of technological advancements in the online platform, being informed on the latest techniques for protecting your product is crucial. By doing this, you not only keep yourself safe from content thieves but also identify new developments in your field.

Unlike sharing with people, online platforms give you unbiased opinions on various developments and also covers a broader scope in multiple niches. To be the leader in your field, ensure that you get news frequently, therefore, adopting the best methods of operation.

     o Have appropriate and unique designations

To protect your products from theft, getting a copyright or trademark designation where necessary is crucial. Apart from warning content copycats that you will claim ownership, these also ensure that you claim the originality of your content.

Additionally, you may opt to register copyrighted work to get alerts on copyright infringement.

Given the hard work you put into projects and the time it takes to conceptualize ideas, you cannot afford to go wrong in protecting your intellectual property. Owing to this fact, it is advisable to consult legal dissertation professionals when going about the procedure. The professionals guide you on matters including but not limited to creating Non-disclosure agreements and also to get copyrights for your content.  By following the steps provided above, you get to protect yourself from the theft of intellectual property, therefore, ripping the most benefit from your ideas.

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Legalities of Streaming Digital Music on the Internet

Are you a music lover?  Do you have a passion for streaming or downloading the newest bands and old classics?  Does music steer you through life’s ups and downs? Perhaps music is your soul and lifeline like it is for me?  If so then you should Follow The Music. Either way, if you download or stream digital music, there are some things you should know about what is legal and what is not.

Over the years things in the world of digital music have changed, evolved, and even found different places to call home.  Whether you use Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc. you really should become more educated on what is legal and what is not. Both for your sake and that of the artists you are into.

First, let’s talk about the differences between what is interactive and non-interactive.  In accordance with United States laws Web radio stations and online music streaming services fall into these two categories.  What is the difference you may ask?

Interactive

When a person makes their own playlists to be able to access them anytime.

Non-Interactive

When a service is considered non-interactive then each user has limited control over what songs are able to be played.

Sites like Grooveshark and Spotify offer interactive services.  Whereas sites like turntable fm have what are called “listening rooms” and don’t allow the users control over what is being played.  So they are non-interactive.

When it comes to Grooveshark, they tend to get sued by artists a great deal.  Artists claim copyright infringement because of intellectual property laws. However, Grooveshark says it follows the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The problem that Grooveshark runs into is they don’t have the capability to keep proper tabs on who is doing what and with what files. Although Grooveshark does frequently send out cease-and-desist orders following through on them can be complicated.  

When it comes to non-interactive sites like Turntable fm, they are supposed to adhere to the SoundExchange Statutory Licensing For Non-Interactive Music Sharing Sites rules  SoundExchange is a non-profit entity that allows non-interactive music streaming service providers to pay out royalties if need be. Turntable fm is probably the safest of the music streaming websites since it doesn’t have to worry about royalties to artists.  Turntable only allows its users to choose a genre of music and then songs are played based on that.

The online world and federal laws have not always meshed well.  Although things are getting more clear on all fronts they still aren’t crystal that’s for sure.  It’s always best to err on the side of caution when downloading, streaming, or doing just about anything online.  Do your research and try to arm yourself with the best knowledge you can get on the subject at hand. If all else fails then call a lawyer and ask them.

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Is It Against the Law to Stream Unauthorized Content on a Jailbroken Firestick?

Amazon FireStick is a popular streaming device that allows you to easily convert your TV with HDMI compatibility into a smart TV. FireStick allows you to stream content from an array of online entertainment services like Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix, Hotstar, Hulu, and many TV Networks. Here’s the rub. Owning an Amazon FireStick only grants you access to content offered by Amazon.

Owners have learned, however, how to “jailbreak” their own FireStick to gain access to programming not offered by Amazon.. If you’ve been wondering if it’s illegal to jailbreak an Amazon FireStick, let’s clear that up immediately.  The answer is a resounding NO! It is absolutely legal to “hack” your own FireStick simply because the FireStick is YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY. In fact, when people refer to an Amazon Fire TV Stick as “jailbroken,” it simply means that they have installed media server software (typically KODI) to expand their viewing choices. What makes this question tricky is that you can enjoy your Fire Stick in whatever way you choose–until you infringe on the rights of another or you violate a national statute such as viewing pirated content.

Sometimes, it can be tough to know what’s been pirated, however, when searching for content., and that’s where FireStick users can get themselves into legal trouble.  In order to protect themselves, many users create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent the possibility that they are “spied” upon while viewing. A VPN offers many advantages to its users by encrypting connection to prevent hackers or their ISP from spying on their on-line activity. It is also the best way to circumvent government censorship and banned websites. So, a question may arise whether VPNs are legal. For the most part, the answer is yes. But depending on your location, the laws might get a little more complicated.

VPN helps viewers to access the internet without leaving any trace of their online activities which are usually under close monitoring when using Wi-Fi and open networks. By using a VPN, you can access any website or video streaming service such as major sporting events like the NFL for free. No one can ever detect your online presence, and you are at liberty to access the internet in the way you want. In the process, viewers can avoid subscription costs, and the money-saving aspect adds to the enjoyment of viewing selected programs without any fear of trespassing the law. However, you may have to sacrifice speed when using VPN as it is not possible to get the best of everything.

VPNs are an essential tool for safe internet access. They protect you from hackers and snooping parties like your ISP or government. Not only that, they allow you to bypass geo-blocks so you can always stream your favorite content. Finally, they give you the most important thing—privacy in the online world. So if you want to browse safely and if you stick to legal activities, then using your jailbroken FireStick is guilt free fun!

Stephen A. Kennedy

Kennedy Law, P.C. is a intellectual property and business litigation boutique located in Dallas, Texas. We have experience in a wide range of intellectual property matters including copyright, patent infringement, patent antitrust, trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation, right of publicity, Digital Millennium Copyright Act plus various business litigation matters.

Stephen A. Kennedy

Kennedy Law, P.C. is a intellectual property and business litigation boutique located in Dallas, Texas. We have experience in a wide range of intellectual property matters including copyright, patent infringement, patent antitrust, trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation, right of publicity, Digital Millennium Copyright Act plus various business litigation matters.

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