Saturday, September 15, 2018

Very Fine Print - Just Because It Says It's A "Reminder" Doesn't Mean It's Not a Pitch


Unfortunately, the American 1st Amendment allows anyone to make the misleading claim that their written communication is "Important", and to demand (using the imperative mood) that the recipient of the missive is hasty in reviewing the material.

If you review this hastily, you might not notice that this "Reminder" comes from somewhere called "Bureau", rather than from the USPTO ... which is an Office. You might also not notice that this "reminder" gives your ten-year anniversary date as a whole year (or more) earlier than the renewal is actually due.

Signing and returning this document will not actually renew your trademark, it will empower the helpful Bureau to renew your trademark on your behalf. The large block of fine print most professionally and politely discloses to the target reader that the "Bureau" is a private business, and also that they are not endorsed by the US government.

Government websites are usually .gov

Like this one:

The USPTO warns about a great many purveyors of perhaps premature and unnecessary reminder services
and their list should be a go-to for authors and trademark owners.

Fascinatingly, the sample envelope that the USPTO displays purports to come from New York, but was postmarked from Santa Clara. It is also always interesting when a business sends mail from a seemingly prestigious (Park Avenue?) address, but encourages respondents to mail to a PO Box in a different zip code.

Rent at 230 Park Avenue appears to be as low as $33.80 per day.  That is, per individual, and for a multi-month lease.

That reminds this author of the interesting details of the work experience of an author-client-funded publisher's London-office-based representative, by Henry Coburn

Other helpful sites for aspiring authors:

The above are also jolly reading for those who enjoy the occasional, regrettable bout of schadenfreude.

Please respect the copyrights of helpful (and of unhelpful) sites. That may go doubly so for our European readers, given the passage of  Article 11 and Article 13, despite the efforts of the highly alarmed folks at EFF and others.... much to the glee of musicians in particular, who may now look forward to being paid when their work is monetized by others without their permission or fairly negotiated compensation.

Article 11 is described as a "link tax", which may mean that content creators' publishers may demand payment when major platforms quote and link to copyrighted works such as stories. There are exceptions for small and micro platforms. With luck, individual bloggers are considered small, and perhaps "fair use" rules will continue to apply, although what is "fair" may in time be more narrowly interpreted (as reportage, parody, review, scholarship.)

Article 13 holds platforms responsible if the platforms permit or turn a blind eye when users upload and share unlicensed, copyrighted work, which might mean music, music videos, photographs.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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