New Resource! Advertising Law: A Plain Language Guide for Businesses and Nonprofits

We're proud to announce a new legal guide! Advertising Law: A Plain Language Guide for Businesses and Nonprofits discusses key advertising laws and regulations as they apply to a wide range of industries. Created with businesses looking to comply with federal and state advertising regulations in mind, we hope this guide can help jumpstart conversations on how a business runs ads or how a business can modify ads to better comply with advertising regulations. READ MORE

Copyright & The Classroom: Using Copyrighted Material In Classrooms and Distance Learning

There are many situations, particularly in a classroom environment, where you might want to use copyright-protected material but you can’t obtain permission from the copyright holder. A common example would be a teacher who wants to read a poem from a book or show an educational cartoon to her class. Thankfully, copyright law addresses these particular types of uses directly, in 17 U.S.C. § 110. Section 110 provides important exemptions for certain performances and displays of copyrighted works in the classroom (and certain limited online learning situations) that would otherwise be considered infringement.

Best Practices: How businesses can communicate with individual consumers without violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Every business wants to share product or service updates with their customers to maintain relationships,build brand loyalty, and to attract new customers. But when does friendly solicitation cross the line into illegal behavior?


Content Types: 

How do I find the copyright holder?

CC0- Unsplash

At New Media Rights we get quite a few questions about how to find out who owns a copyrighted work. In this new guide we’ll talk about:

  • Whether or not you need to get permission to use the work.
  • How to get permission if the creator is still alive.
  • How to get permission of the author is dead.
  • Orphan works and what happens when you can’t find the author.

Top 5 mistakes startups make with their privacy policies

Privacy policies are a critical pre-launch step for many web based companies. But not all privacy policies are created equal. Here are the top five common mistakes we see startups make in their privacy policies.

5.    The company doesn't have a privacy policy.
Collecting information from your users without a privacy policy is remarkably risky. In some states it may even be illegal depending on the type of website you operate. For example in California, commercial websites that collect personally identifiable user information which includes information that is commonly collected by commercial websites like names, emails and addresses are required to have a privacy policy.  Even if you’re not in a state that requires your website to have a privacy policy, privacy policies are still helpful for setting consumer expectations regarding your use of their data.

3D printing patent basics

Patent 101

What is a patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property that protects leaps of invention that are 1) new, 2) useful, and 3) non-obvious. Leaps of invention that have been protected by patent law have included everything from over the counter medications like acetaminophen, to certain types of software and even Edison’s light bulb.  The creator of the invention is often the patent holder, but not always because patent protection is not automatic(as we explain below). The creator can transfer the patent to another person.

What does patent law protect?

Patent law allows the patent holder to control the creation, use, and sale of the invention.

How long does a patent last?

Once the patent has been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the patent will last for 20 years. However, extensions are possible and foreign patents might have different patent terms.

How do you get patent protection?

In order to qualify for patent protection, the creator(or someone they've given their patent rights to) must register the patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office.  For more information about how to register a patent, visit

Can New Media Rights help with my patent application ?

At this time New Media Rights does not have a patent attorney on staff, so we cannot help with indvidual patent applications. The USPTO has a variety of law school clinics and pro bono programs that may be able to help.

Ways to legally use another's patented work

The only time you may legally use another’s active patent is if you have a license. Permission from the patent holder is a ‘license’ to use their patent.  For example, the patent holder might give you permission to use a 3D-printable file of their patented object to print that object. Otherwise you have to wait until the patent has expired to freely use it. Because patent terms vary it's always a good idea to make sure the patent you'd like to use has actually expired.

That said patent law does make some exceptions for repairs and research among other things. Many of these patent exceptions are remarkably fact specific so we highly recommend reaching out to a patent attorney if you have questions.