The Official Kunvay Blog

Learn how to navigate copyright and intellectual property ownership smartly so you own your work, and own your future.

4 Things Every Indie Game Developer Needs to Know About Copyright & IP

Photo Credit: Super Hypercube by IndieCade used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo Credit: Super Hypercube by IndieCade used under CC BY-NC 2.0

If you’re an indie gamer and have yet to encounter copyright issues, don’t worry, they’re on their way.

Copyright is everywhere and the indie gaming world is no exception.

Though its rapid development has given it a bit of a pass in the area of copyright insurgence, the gaming industry is no stranger to copyright issues.

Take for example the case of Galoob Toys v. Nintendo in 1992, a.k.a the “Game Genie” case.

In this case, courts ruled that altering a game’s content in a certain ways did not violate copyright laws. It resulted in gaming giant Nintendo paying 15 million in losses to the little guy, Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc.

This case has a set a precedent in the gaming industry that basically means that all gamers, Continue reading

Copying and the Internet: A Never-Ending Saga of Infringement

Photo Credit: Paste Copy Paste Copy by Chris Christian used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Paste Copy Paste Copy by Chris Christian used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Guest post by J. Michael Allen. an intellectual property attorney and Co-founder of Copypedia.

It’s 2014 and the internet continues to evolve and amaze – today we routinely use tablets and touchscreens, and utter phrases like “Google it” or “there’s an app for that”.

Luckily just like the thankful death of black and white TV, gone are the days of dial up modem connections (and irritating disconnections) and clunky laptops.

Today you can be riding in a car, and with a simple ‘click’ on a mobile device, send (or post, share, Tweet, Like, etc.) information to another person on the other side of the planet in the blink of an eye.

A Culture of Copyists

Unfortunately just as easy and fast as it is to send information in the digital age, it is just as easy to copy someone else’s content, and with the sheer magnitude of people (some say 2 billion-ish) using the internet, let alone robots or other automatic programming, there is zero chance to stop it.

After all, “right-click, copy, paste” is something we all do over and over again on a daily basis, and these actions ultimately continue into the online environment. Continue reading

What Every Creative & Ad Agency Outsourcing Work to Freelancers Needs to Know About Copyright

Photo Credit: Mojave wins Creative Agency Awards 09 by Mojave Interactive used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Mojave wins Creative Agency Awards 09 by Mojave Interactive used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Creative agencies are increasingly shrinking the number of in-house or staff creatives and opting to rely on freelancers to perform a multitude of tasks from pitching ideas to sustaining an advertising campaign.

The sluggish economy has stressed many agencies causing those employers to suffer difficulties in covering the cost of maintaining staff employees.

It costs a lot these days to maintain a regular employee on staff (payroll taxes, healthcare, insurance, etc.).

Outsourcing of Freelance Work on the Rise

Some employers hoping to pinch a few nickels have turned to hiring freelancers and specifically designating them workers under agreement or “independent contractors” to function as part-time, intermittent and offsite workers that in truth provide the majority of the agency’s day to day creative needs.

Unfortunately, these employers wrongly conclude that simply claiming an employee is an independent contractor even if he is supplying regular, ongoing and predictable company tasks will relieve an employer of his responsibilities to State and federal taxation authorities.

It will not, and worse, this action could be considered intentional tax fraud.

If they could only see and hear the state and federal agency tax-collecting accountants slowly pursing their lemon-sucking lips into a shape that only slightly resembles a smile. “Penny wise and pound foolish,” they’d sneer in response, “Do these people think we were born yesterday on what? Audit that company.”

Copyright Ownership & Transfer, Employees and Independent Contractors

And if navigating the many potholes and ditches of payroll doesn’t provide enough points of interest for unwary management there is always the very dicey issue of copyright Continue reading

Do You Make These 5 Common Copyright Mistakes on Your Blog?

Photo Credit: Blogging Research Wordle by Kristina B. used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Blogging Research Wordle by Kristina B. used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Blogs are well-known for routinely violating common copyright laws.

Not only is it, well, illegal, but it also presents some major branding and reputation issues, as well.

Savvy readers, for one, can identify when a blog is using copyrighted information without permission.

And it doesn’t bode well for your reputation! If you want to be recognized as a true professional in your field, then you need to give credit where credit is due.  Let’s not forget about the ethical factor too, here. Freelancing is a community and we’re all in this together. Do your comrades a favor and give them credit for their hard work. I’m sure you would want them to do the same for you.

That being said, whether blogging is your business, or just a small piece of the bigger puzzle, it’s important that you do it right. Copyright infringement is no joke, so you don’t want to take any chances. You don’t have to be an attorney to understand copyright law and your blog, but it is essential that you do your homework to appreciate the basics. This will keep you out of hot water with the law and protect your quality reputation.

For starters, make sure you’re not making any of these 5 common copyright mistakes in your blog. And if you are, now’s the time to fix them!

Mistake #1 – You ignore the law in the first place!

First of all, most bloggers completely ignore the law altogether. Continue reading

Copyright Theft vs Fair Use: How to Determine if Your Work Has Been Stolen or Adopted for Fair Use with a 4-Part Test

One of the misunderstood characters in the world of copyright and intellectual property is the concept of fair use.

For some, it’s used as a proverbial get out of jail free card – for others, it’s an important part of effective teaching, reporting and expression.

But what exactly is “fair use”, who decides what’s fair and why does it matter to you as a photographer, writer or designer looking to sell your wares in the ever-expanding online marketplace?

Comment, Criticism and Parody

Fair use is what keeps the wheels of praise, criticism and review freely spinning. Without the ability to quote a portion of a play, reproduce an element of a gallery display or passage from a novel, artists would be in an awkward position.

On the one hand, able to stave off harsh or uninvited criticism; but on the other, those good reviews that encourage people to visit unheard of attractions and commentary included in local color segments on the evening news would likely be close to nonexistent.

The other key component to the concept of fair use is parody.

While it is often said that mockery is the highest form of flattery, it can be hard for a creative to swallow seeing their photograph, painting or song aped in any media.

Again, we’re faced with the difference between generating buzz for our product and tolerating someone else making a living off of our own hard graft.

Unfortunately, the notion of fair use isn’t determined by dollar signs – if it was, the creative world would be a very different place.

The Four Factors

So what’s a photographer, writer, singer, artist or other creative supposed to do when they find their work has been effectively hijacked by someone else? First, you’ll want to Continue reading

How Copyrights Ruined the Olympics and What You Can Learn From It

The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world, with London 2012 on course to achieving record-breaking viewing figures across the globe.

The Olympic brand is widely recognized and is, therefore, a significant and highly valuable asset of the Olympic Movement.

The London 2012 Olympics will be remembered for its particularly aggressive stance on brand protection with new laws being passed – the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995 (OSPA) and the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.

These laws stand alongside existing copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws and create a new ‘Unauthorized Association’ Law for the protection of the Olympic brand.

Olympics Sets New High for Brand Protection

Collectively, the brand encompasses a variety of names, phrases, logos and designs, known as the ‘Games’ Marks’.

The legal protection is necessary to preserve the commercial value of the brand and to bestow upon authorized sponsors and licensees of the Games exclusive rights to use the Olympic brands.

At first glance, Continue reading