Katie’s U.K. Adventure

Our own Katie Van Schooneveld took some time out of the office in April, to travel in the United Kingdom, visiting many notable filming locations across Scotland and England. Below are a few photos highlighting her visit.


Katie visited Inverness, which of course is well known in the Outlander series (books and tv show), Katie was able to see the wedding dress of the Isabella MacTavish when she was married to Malcolm Fraser and listen to a Jamie Fraser look-a-like play the bag pipes in the town square.

Glencoe, Scotland is arguably one of the most famous filming locations in Europe. You may recognize the location of the photos above, but if not, that is where Hagrid’s hut was in Harry Potter! Also filled in this famous valley are scenes from Outlander, Game of Thrones, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Highlander.

If you are a Monty Python and the Holy Grail fan, you may recognize Castle Stalker above as the final siege scene in the movie.

Lastly Stonehenge, needs no introduction and is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world.

-Katie Van Schooneveld

Pam Gavin Interviewed by CBS 6

Thanks to SonaBank P.O.W.E.R, on Wedesday April 10, 2019 our very own Pam Gavin was interviewed by CBS 6’s Jessica Noll. Tune in to the video here, to learn more about Gavin Law Offices, Pam’s journey to where she is today and to talk about the importance of having a great team.


Pam Gavin began her legal career at two “mega” firms before building her own firm Gavin Law Offices, PLC – we’re sitting down for a second cup with Pam to learn more about her firm, what drives her and how the Sonabank POWER program helped her to achieve it. Jessica Noll – WTVR CBS 6 #vtmsecondcup #vtmsecondcupwithjess #sonabank #sonabankpowerprogram

Posted by WTVR CBS 6 News on Wednesday, April 10, 2019


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U.S. Supreme Court decision may impact your copyright registration strategy


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that copyright owners may now only file suit only after a copyright registration issues for the work in question. This ruling reverses the view previously held in certain federal circuits, including the 4th Circuit, which includes Virginia.

Because the copyright registration process can prove lengthy, we recommend that copyright owners file to register valuable works as soon as possible after creation in order to take legal action expeditiously when the need arises.

For further information regarding registration of your copyright-able works and/or the benefits of registration, please feel free to contact us.

Data Privacy

Data Privacy

For businesses, data privacy and protection has become an important aspect of everyday operations.  Data breaches, such as those seen in the news at large companies including Target and Equifax, can result in costly regulatory compliance requirements and damage to a brand’s reputation.  Businesses that wish to adopt data protection “best practices” need to be aware of the software their company uses and how that software could contribute to a disaster such as a data breach.  A lack of proper policies and procedures governing the use and maintenance of software products can lead to serious consequences down the line.

First, what is Open Source Software?

Open Source Software is the byproduct of a movement in the software development community that wants software development to be an open and collaborative process.  Anyone can access and edit the source code for open source software—source code is the text used by software developers to create and edit a program.  Most commercial software products (or “proprietary software”) do not allow users to access or edit the software’s source code.  Consumers that purchase a proprietary software product are usually required to sign or electronically “accept” a license stating that they will not copy, edit, or perform any other restricted actions to the software.  For example, think of purchasing Microsoft Office (a proprietary software product), and the long list of restrictions in the license a user must accept in order to use the program.  In contrast, open source software products usually have less restrictive licenses, and many open source software programs are free to use.

Open source software is usually free? That sounds great!

Open source software does have many benefits: it is often free to download, users can modify the software to fit their particular needs, and an extensive community of developers work on open source software programs.  Many people use open source software without even knowing it, including popular programs such as WordPress and Mozilla Firefox.  The open source community works to monitor for any hackers and attempts to quickly fix and update open source software programs, but even this is not enough to mitigate all threats. 

So, there are risks associated with using Open Source Software? 

Yes.  A misconception exists that since open source software is usually free, that there are no strings attached to using such software.  In reality, open source software requires quite a bit of maintenance. 

  • Users need to monitor for announcements about security-related issues or updates to their open source software products.  Open source software users who do not understand this responsibility, or who ignore notices and updates, make themselves vulnerable to hackers. 
  • Because of the open and collaborative nature of open source software, the source code is available to the public.  This means that hackers can access the code and make malicious changes, or a well meaning developer can make a mistake for a hacker to exploit. 
  • Users need to understand the open source software’s licenses and comply with any requirements.  Failing to comply with an open source license can result in a lawsuit.  
  • Open source software typically does not offer warranties or indemnification, any legal risk associated with using the open source software product traces back to the user himself.

Are there any examples of open source software leading to a data privacy or security issue? 

Yes.  A hacker can wreak havoc regardless of the type of software.  The significant difference is that a company using open source software is responsible for vigilantly checking for any issues with the software and making fixes themselves. A company using proprietary software company, however, has accept to customer support and security updates.  Equifax’s historic 2017 data breach was traced back to a vulnerability in open source software they used.  Equifax saw the notice about the software’s vulnerability and information about how to fix it, but left the problem unresolved for too long.   Hackers noticed the open source software had not been updated and took advantage of this vulnerability to access the personal information (including social security numbers and addresses) of over 150 million U.S. citizens. 

What can be done to mitigate the risks of using open source software?

Open source software can be a great resource for businesses, but it needs to be used properly.  Hiring employees who understand all the requirements and risks associated with using open source software can be expensive, but a lawsuit or security issue like a data breach could be even more costly.  Businesses who use open source software should have policies and procedures that require all open source software usage to be tracked, all notices and updates to be monitored, any relevant changes or updates to be made correctly and quickly, and for all license requirements to be complied with.  At Gavin Law, our attorneys can help users understand licenses and license requirements as well as draft these crucial policies and procedures for employees.


Public Domain Day 2019

Happy New Year, Gavin Law followers!

Some people think the most wonderful time of the year is Christmas, but starting 2019, we are going to receive gifts every January 1st.  Why is that, you ask?

Previously copyrighted works are starting to enter the public domain again!  No copyrighted works have entered the public domain since January 1st, 1998, so this is a truly momentous occasion.  

What does it mean for a work to enter the public domain?  

To start, copyrights give a certain amount of protection to their owners, but do eventually expire.  When a work reaches the end of its term (either by expiration, abandonment, or lack of protection), it enters the public domain. The public domain is full of beautiful creative works of originality that can be used by ANYONE, without fear of infringing copyrights in these works.  Some examples of works famously in the public domain are works of Shakespeare.  This is why we have so many Shakespeare-based derivative films, such as Romeo and Juliet, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Because Jane Austen’s works are in the public domain, we have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!  Works that enter into the public domain often feed the creativity of new artists.

How long do copyrights last, anyways?

The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.

Why did works stop entering the public domain 20 years ago?

In 1998, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which effectively added twenty-one years of protection to works that were under the protection of copyright law.  This Act was incredibly controversial, and many believed that Disney lobbyists were the driving motivator behind the Act, as a copyright on Mickey Mouse was due to expire.  Works created in 1923 or later were therefore set to enter the public domain, not in 1998, but in 2019.     

What works enter the public domain this year?

A variety of works enter the public domain, including the below that are particularly exciting.  However, Duke has published the full list, which you should feel free to peruse here: https://law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2019/.

  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost
  • Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes
  • The Ego and the Id, by Sigmund Freud
  • The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
  • Tulips & Chimneys, by e.e. cummings