September 20th, 2021

Top Songwriters Cash Out: What’s Driving Skyrocketing Demand for Musical Works

Introduction Since 2015, Merck Mercuriadis has been telling investors that music assets were significantly undervalued and that music publishing was ripe for a remodel. The music publishing industry was born over a century ago and profits by acquiring rights in songs and collecting royalties. After nearly 200 pitch meetings, Mercuriadis founded Hipgnosis Songs Fund with […]

November 5th, 2020

Is Fair Use Analysis a Fair Play?

Judge John G. Koeltl of the District Court of the Southern District of New York (“S.D.N.Y”) handed a victory to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (the “Foundation”) when it granted the Foundation’s motion for summary judgment in a copyright infringement lawsuit. See Andy Warhol Found. for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith, […]

November 4th, 2020

Supreme Court Clarifies Edicts Doctrine in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org

In Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., the Supreme Court voted by five-to-four to expand the government edicts doctrine for the first time since 1888. 140 S. Ct. 1498 (2020). The State of Georgia had claimed copyright in the annotations contained in its only official collection of law, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). Id. at […]

November 4th, 2020

Southern District of NY Dismisses Claims of Tattoo Licensees Regarding Copyrighted Tattoos on Athletes’ Bodies in Video Game

Do tattoos on NBA players’ bodies in a videogame infringe on a copyright owned by an exclusive licensee of the tattoos? Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York says no.  Plaintiff, Solid Oak Sketches (“Solid Oak”), is the exclusive licensee of five tattoos copyrighted by tattoo artists. Solid Oak Sketches, LLC […]

October 30th, 2020

Allen v. Cooper: State Sovereign Immunity in Copyright Infringement

In 1718, the infamous pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, lost his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, after running it aground in what is now Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. In 1996, Intersal, Inc., a marine salvage company, discovered the remains of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. North Carolina, the wreck’s legal owners, contracted with Intersal […]

October 30th, 2020

Second Circuit Affirms Maximum Damages Award to Artists of Destroyed “5Pointz” Site

The Second Circuit’s February 2020 holding in Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., 950 F.3d 155 (2d Cir. 2020) provides not only an excellent means for understanding the operation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, 17 U.S.C. § 106A (2012) (“VARA”), but also offers an intriguing fact pattern replete with deceptive and vindictive behavior […]

July 5th, 2017

Prof. Hansen calls Matal v. Tam “Most important free speech case in many years” in SCOTUSblog Post

Professor Hugh C. Hansen authored a blog post on the recent Supreme Court opinion Matal v. Tam for The Court’s judgment on the trademark “Slants” case was announced on June 19th, 2017. Professor Hansen argues that the case is one of the most important First Amendment free speech cases to come along in many years […]

February 24th, 2017

Restore the Meaning of “Secondary Meaning”

Last June, in Converse v. ITC, the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Wal-Mart, Skechers, and New Balance, among others, could copy an athletic shoe design – Converse’s Chuck Taylor – because it lacked “secondary meaning” to consumers, and therefore failed to qualify for trade dress protection under the Lanham Act. In trademark law, secondary […]

September 28th, 2015

In re Simon Shiao Tam Amicus Brief

In June, Prof. Hansen filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court, which had taken an appeal from the Federal Circuit’s decision in In re: Simon Shiao Tam (April 20, 2015). The case presented the issue of whether the TTAB erred in refusing to register the trademark of Mr. Tam’s band, THE SLANTS, on grounds […]

September 28th, 2015

Pushback Against Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International

Recently, courts have invalidated patents for claiming “abstract” ideas or business methods under Section 101 of the patent laws as applied in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014). The Court reasoned that taking a method that is “abstract” — practiced in the prior art “manually,” without a computer – and just performing […]

August 24th, 2015

Why Do Companies Change Their Logos?

  From time to time, a firm will retire its logo and replace it with a newer version. This prompted us to wonder: why would a company, whose logo is instantly recognizable, want to make this change? To answer the question, we might have conducted a little informal research, ferreted out the company’s graphic aspirations, […]

August 19th, 2015

Law Firms Become IP Knowledge Factories in New Effort to Compete

When the legal industry hit a wall during the last recession, its reaction was typical of most businesses: laying off workers, postponing new hires, and devising alternative payment structures. Such quick fixes made no one happy, as legal work continued to move in-house and clients demanded services that went unbilled. The situation (“Is Big Law […]

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