What’s In A Name? The Protectable Expression Of An Idea vs. The Idea Itself

  A recent Stephen Colbert copyright infringement case brings to light the distinction between ideas and the expression of an idea, and whether either is subject to trademark, copyright, or the fair use doctrine. According to Bloomberg BNA, on a July 18 episode of the Late Show, the “real” Stephen Colbert brought back to life a previous version of a character in Stephen Colbert’s repertoire that is, according to Viacom’s attorneys, the protected intellectual property of the network. Problematically, that character is also named “Stephen Colbert.” In what may have been an effort to inject a bit of humor into the situation—and perhaps poke some fun at one of the more complex distinctions of IP law—Stephen Colbert agreed to never play “Stephen Colbert” again. However, his twin cousin of the same name appeared shortly thereafter to take the lead in a skit entitled “The Word,” strategically renamed “The Werd” in

Criminal Liability of a Pregnant Woman For Acts Committed Against a Fetus

The Court of Appeals recently examined the Criminal Liability of a pregnant woman for acts committed against a fetus that is later born, and subsequently dies, as a result of injuries suffered before death. A Long Island women should not have been convicted of Second Manslaughter for the death of her 6 day old baby from in utero injuries sustained in a car accident she caused, the Court of Appeals Ruled. Jennifer Jorgenson was driving one night when her car crossed the center line of a busy road and smashed heads-on into an oncoming vehicle. The occupants of the other vehicle also died. The Police said Jorgenson was incapacitated by alcohol and/or prescription drugs. She was 34 weeks pregnant at the time. Her baby, who was still a fetus at the time, was injured when she struck the steering column in the crash. They did an emergency cesarean section and