New York City Intellectual Property Law Blog

You can defend yourself against a BitTorrent-related lawsuit

Downloading digital content online has changed dramatically over the years. What was once an unregulated space now has to deal with significant oversight and legal protections. People used to share files directly.

BitTorrent arose as an alternative to popular peer-to-peer data sharing sites. Many people believe that BitTorrent protects them from identification, but that is no longer the case.

What should I consider when choosing a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a person you appoint to make health care decisions on your behalf. This might be necessary after a prolonged, life-threatening illness or if you've been involved in a serious accident and can no longer make decisions on your own. Because choosing the right person is crucial to your peace of mind, Very Well Health offers the following advice. 

While the person you select doesn't necessarily need to be a health care professional, picking someone with an understanding of medical terms and concepts can be helpful. Your power of attorney will need to make important health care decisions, some of which may involve complex information. Having an understanding of these concepts allows the person to make informed decisions on your behalf. This is especially important when emergency medical care is being administered, in which case decisions must be made swiftly. 

Elements of a trade secret claim and proving misappropriation

When a person possesses information that meets the legal definition of a protected trade secret, and if someone or some entity misappropriates that information for his or her or its own benefit, the owner of the intellectual property may file a trade secret claim. If successful, New York may fine and/or imprison the offender and award the plaintiff damages. However, the enjoy the remedies of a trade secret claim, the plaintiff must establish the elements of a successful claim and be able to prove misappropriation.

According to Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, there are three essential elements of a trade secret claim. For one, the subject matter in question must qualify for protection under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Two, the owner of the intellectual property must prove that he or she took reasonable measures to protect the property from disclosure or misappropriation. Three, the holder must prove that someone or some entity wrongfully misappropriated or acquired the information.

My co-worker is spreading lies, what can I do?

While you aren't obligated to get along with all your co-workers, lying or spreading rumors about someone at work is a very serious issue. That's why it can be so traumatizing when it happens to you, as your reputation may be tarnished by any untruths spoken about you. This is considered slander, and as the Houston Chronicle explains, there are certain steps you and others can take to deal with the issue. 

A workplace's environment is integral to preventing slander and malicious rumors from spreading. Management should strive to create an inclusive environment free of gossip and rumor-mongering. A manager should never participate in gossip, as this legitimizes it among other workers. Including language about slander in the employee handbook and having meetings to address the issue is also helpful. 

Will New York enforce a no-contest clause?

As you work through the estate planning process in New York, the potential for discord to arise amongst your beneficiaries will no doubt come to mind. The last thing that you want is to see your estate's administration cause a rift between those that you love. Being transparent with your actions and open about your decision as you are preparing your estate planning instruments may help to avoid beneficiary disputes. There is, however, no guarantee that someone will not be completely satisfied with their designated stake in your estate (or the circumstances under which you made its stipulations), and will not then decide to contest your will. 

Is there a way to deter such action? Including language in your will that constitutes a no-contest clause may do the trick. A no-contest clause threatens to lower one's interest in an estate (or disinherit them altogether) if they contest a will. Some states do not view such clauses as being valid; New York, however, will enforce them in certain situations. 

People can and do successfully defend against BitTorrent lawsuits

People download digital content through BitTorrent networks for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have a strong desire to enjoy certain content but can't afford to purchase it. Maybe they have an ethical objection to giving money to certain entertainment corporations or actors. For some people, using BitTorrent to download digital entertainment, including pornography, is simply a matter of convenience.

Regardless of your motives, you should understand that downloading digital content in a manner that violates a company's copyright could have civil and even criminal consequences. While criminal prosecution is rare in cases that don't involve financial gain, an increasingly large number of civil cases have been filed against individuals downloading certain content via BitTorrent.

Who should be your executor?

If you execute a will in New York, your executor will be responsible for distributing your property and wrapping up your estate. This is a big job. There are many factors to consider when choosing a person for this important role.

An article in Forbes illustrates the point that your executor needs to be responsible. Probate entails a lot of paperwork and deadlines. Your executor needs a meticulous eye for detail and proven ability to tie up loose ends. It helps if your executor is finance savvy, or at least has a strong ability to communicate with finance professionals. Probate can last years, so your executor needs to be someone who sees projects to the end.

Inexperience and business formation

Launching a business can be incredibly lucrative and it may be the first step toward a very bright future. However, this can also be a very difficult time in an entrepreneur's life, especially for those who may be unfamiliar with their obligations and the different options they have. For example, some people may be inexperienced in this regard, which could lead to avoidable mistakes and unnecessary challenges. Those who are inexperienced with these matters may be unsure of which type of business will best suit their needs, or they could have other serious questions that need to be carefully reviewed.

The decisions that are made in the early stages of a business can have a major impact on operations down the road. This is an extremely sensitive time and it is pivotal to make sure that all options have been carefully reviewed. If you are unsure of which direction to take, it may be helpful to consult a legal professional with a great deal of experience in this area of law. Moreover, it should also be pointed out that just because someone is inexperienced they are not unable to make smart, appropriate decisions and launch a business that will become very successful.

What would happen if you die without a will?

Having worked so hard throughout your life to accumulate the assets that will comprise your estate, one might assume that you would want to do everything that you can in order to ensure that you decide who receives them. Yet if you have not yet completed a will, then you run the risk of having the authority to determine the dispersal of your estate taken away from you. Imagine if your life in New York City were to unexpectedly end. What would happen if you still had not created a will? 

Your estate would then be subject to a process known as intestate succession ("intestate" is the term applied to estate cases where there is no will). This happens often enough that states have created their own laws detailing how an intestate estate should be handled. According to the New York State Unified Court System, your spouse would inherit your entire intestate estate if you do not have any direct descendants. If you have surviving descendants, then your spouse's share would be reduced to the first $50,000 of your estate, plus half of any remaining amount split between them and your descendants. 

Weighing your options when facing a torrent-related lawsuit

Downloading media through a torrent network, such as BitTorrent, is a relatively common practice, especially among young people. However, many of the people sharing or downloading files online could be in violation of copyright law. Those who download files online often seem to believe that copyright infringement for personal use likely won't result in any legal consequences.

That belief seems to be self-serving, as there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Filmmakers have taken action repeatedly against those who illegally download their works. There are also the Napster lawsuits of the aughts to consider. Individuals who lose intellectual property lawsuits could find themselves ordered to pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to the plaintiff.

  • NYSBA
  • Brooklyn Bar Association 1872 Justice Integrity Honor Courtesy
  • National Italian American Bar Association Representing The Italian American Legal Community
  • Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn
  • Columbian Lawyers Association of Rockland County
  • The Copyright Society of the USA
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