Brett Trout was guest on our radio show recently. You can listen here. Brett is head of an AV-rated* Midwest law firm, which offers its clients the global perspective on Intellectual Property and Information Technology issues.
Brett is also the author of Cyber Law: A Legal Arsenal for Online Business. And, he's been an avid user of social media tools since, well, back in the day when blogs were the only tools around. In other words, Brett walks his talk.
During our show, I asked him:
What are the three biggest IP and IT issues effecting online businesses today?
And he Brett answered:
2 of them that most companies are at least somewhat familiar are: the copyright issue and the trademark issue.
Online, some companies feel that they have the right to use copyrighted images or copyrighted material or download music or movies...
Now, I won’t get into the ethics of whether that’s right or wrong that is different from most people. But, right now, the way the law is positioned is that if you are taking other people’s materials and putting it on your website, whether it’s a photograph or text from a blog, that’s going be to an intellectual property infringement and you can get sued for that.
The other thing is that using a trademark or logo that is associated with your company and not properly vetting that. So, 2 or 3 years down the line you find someone else has properly vetted theirs and protected it and then they’re suing you for trademark infringement and not only is it very time-consuming to get out, but it’s costly and, then, you have to come up with a new way to invent yourself and all that goodwill you have gained in the past 2-3 years or so is lost.
The last one and the most important and the one people know the least about is net neutrality. Basically what that means is you should be able to visit any site that you want and your internet service provider should not be able to dictate what you can and cannot visit and they should not be able to reduce the connection speed that you would have to certain websites.
So, if net neutrality is not protected what the internet could end up being is like cable TV where you have a package of 40 websites or channels you can visit. If you want to visit additional website like ESPN or Google or Amazon you have to pay an additional fee.
So, without net neutrality it is going to be a very bad situation for everyone involved in the internet.
* For those of us (ok, me) who did not appreciate the significance of AV-rated...it means pre-eminent, best of the best, as judged by his peers in the legal industry. I can't speak to their criteria. But, by mine, Brett's....pre-eminent in his clarity and focus.