Dec 162009
 December 16, 2009  Posted by  Featured News, Misc

Josh Verges reports:

A former lawmaker convicted of raping his foster daughters says news media are no longer allowed to use his name without his permission.

Ted Klaudt sent notices to the Argus Leader and several other news outlets claiming he has copyrighted his own name. Reporters were told to ask his permission 20 days before publishing his name and threatened with $2 million penalties for each unauthorized use.

Well, that strikes me as a creative, but futile, approach. Indeed, as Verges reports, Klaudt’s legal strategy has already been dismissed by at least one attorney who knows copyright law and news exemptions:

Laura Malone, associated general counsel for intellectual property at The Associated Press, said names of people, companies and products cannot be protected under copyright law. Names can be protected under trademark law, but only in association with goods or services used in commerce, she said.

“Even if there was a valid trademark, the mere use of the name in a news story is not an infringement of trademark,” Malone said Tuesday, adding, “There is no legal substance to these claims.”

Read more in The Argus Leader. Chet Brokaw of the Associated Press also contributed to this story, and apparently took AP counsel’s advice, as the AP version names Klaudt, too.

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