Author Archives: John William Nelson

I am a Georgia lawyer who studies the issues surrounding law and technology. My law firm is The Nelson Law Chambers LLC. You can learn more about me at You can read my legal publications here:

Why deleting your Pinterest boards over copyright concerns is an overreaction

Kirsten Kowalski of DDK Portraits wrote a blog post about why she  “tearfully” took down her Pinterest boards. The reason she gave was her concern over copyright infringement and the liability she felt she had opened up. Her blog post went viral, including an article on the ABA Journal about it, in part (I believe) […]

The iBooks Author EULA does not create an exclusive license, and doesn’t steal your copyright

This is a follow up to my previous post on the iBooks Author End User License Agreement (EULA) and what it actually means. Rather than posting an update to that post, I decided to follow it up with a simple breakdown of why all of the people who believe the EULA takes away (or tries […]

The iBooks Author EULA: What does it really mean?

Apple has announced iBooks Author—a new program that makes it easy for anyone to create stunning and compelling eBooks. The End User License, however, restricts anything made with iBooks Author to distribution on Apple’s channels unless you give the book away for free. NOTE: You can read a follow-up to this post outlining in more […]

Miles Davis Properties vs. Miles’ Cafe and the anatomy of a trademark lawsuit

When is a trumpeter named Miles not allowed to go by Miles? Or open a cafe using his name? Or pose for a black-silhouetted profile of himself playing said trumpet? The heirs of Miles Davis filed a lawsuit against Miles’ Cafe, a jazz cafe started by a jazz fan who plays trumpet and goes by […]

Photography Copyright, Rihanna, and why we need a bright-line rule

David LaChappelle, a photographer, sued Rihanna over a music video Mr. LaChappelle claims violates his copyrights in a series of photos featuring bondage and sado masochism. Techdirt has discussed the case, both when it was first filed and after a motion to dismiss was denied, and has pointed out that LaChappelle’s claims should run afoul […]

Copyright & Trademark: A primer on their differences

There is a lively discussion on the differences between copyright and trademark law in the comments to a Techdirt article. Copyright and trademark law are often confused, and this is by both lawyers and non-lawyers. (We lawyers call them ‘lay-people.’) I’ve even see a lawyer confuse the DMCA takedown process and issue a takedown letter […]

Bitcoins, trademarks, and a roadmap for the Bitcoin community

A lawyer from New York filed a trademark application for the mark ‘bitcoin’ on behalf of a client. This has caused an uproar in the Bitcoin community. The uproar has led to statements by the lawyer that he will be withdrawing the application in the U.S. and seek registration of the mark abroad. According to […]

Why Apple’s new iTunes Match service cannot be used to chase down music pirates

Ars Technica has an article about whether iTunes’ new iCloud features will be used to chase down music pirates. Some lawyers and academics writing about this might hedge their comments with conditions and exceptions. I won’t. No, iTunes’ new iCloud match features cannot and will not be used to chase down music pirates. (And Ars […]

Why Bitcoin isn’t a security under federal securities law

There are questions as to whether Bitcoin falls under the regulations of federal securities law. Federal securities law is a complex area of law that grants courts and the SEC great leeway in classifying investment products as securities. Nevertheless, a Bitcoin in-and-of-itself is not a security that can be regulated under federal securities la. NOTE: […]

Extending real-world laws to virtual worlds is a terrible idea

Governments shouldn’t interfere with the internal regulations of virtual worlds. The value of a virtual world is the fact that it exists, in an imaginary sense, outside the bounds of the real world. We visit virtual worlds to escape the real world.1 Dr. Richard Bartle wrote about this intrusion of the real world into the […]