Oops!… She Moaned Again: Copyright Complaint Filed Against Sony Music, Britney Spears, and Others

Everyone wants a piece of Britney Spears. At least that’s how it appears in a recently filed complaint against the pop star’s record label, Sony Music Entertainment, its subsidiary RCA Records, and the label imprint Zomba Recording. The lawsuit alleges two claims of copyright infringement, one for the 2007 Britney Spears track “Piece of Me” and a second for Travis Porter’s…

Hey! That’s My Image!

Do you use Flickr?  They have recently come under fire for selling canvas prints and wall mounts of user-submitted photographs through their website without passing any of the profits on to the creator. Creative Commons (“CC”) licensing is allowing them to do this 100% legally.

There are a lot of different ways people use the service. I use it to store backups of photos. It also has a very robust “Advanced Search” feature, which comes in handy to find free stock photos.

Kick-off To 4th Annual Entertainment Law Symposium

Today is the first day of the 4th Annual Entertainment Law Symposium in Nashville, TN!  This three-day event is a part of the Americana Music Festival & Conference 2014, which The New York Times has dubbed “The coolest music scene today.”  The American Bar Association’s Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries co-sponsors the symposium with the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville.

I’ve gathered together a few resources below to help you discover all the best opportunities that are available to attendees.  The symposium takes place at the Hutton Hotel & Palmer Plaza and runs through Friday, September 19th, so check back each day for the highlights and coverage from the ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries!

For a complete schedule of events for the Festival & Conference, click here.  The schedule is very interactive and a great networking tool, powered by Sched.org.  I highly recommend connecting your LinkedIn account once you signup and use this as a networking opportunity!

Comic Book Creator Takes Battle to U.S. Supreme Court

Image credit: Susan SkaarAt the end of March, Jack Kirby’s descendants took their legal battle against Marvel Comics to the next level by filing a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Jack “King” Kirby is one of the most well-known figures in the history of comic books, known for creating and co-creating iconic characters such as the X-Men, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. 

Kirby’s estate has been fighting in a battle that began in early 2010 for the termination of an earlier transfer of ownership in copyrights to the characters that Kirby helped create and still maintain large amounts of popularity, as well as profit-generation. 

Termination Rights: The Works Made for Hire Exception

The Copyright Act of 1976 contains a provision known as “termination rights.”  Termination rights have become more and more popular as we have just recently started reaching the thirty-five-year mark for many copyrights registered following the 1976 Act.  In 17 U.S.C. 304(c) and (d), artists are given the ability terminate their transfer rights – effectively allowing them to reclaim ownership of their copyrighted works thirty-five years after transferring them to another party.  Congress intended this to provide original creators and their heirs the ability to recover rights that might have been assigned or licensed based upon the previous provisions of the Copyright Act.

A Lesson In Contract Drafting: eBook Deal Violates Publisher’s Copyright

American Graffiti movie poster.Star Wars taught me the importance of contract drafting.  No, seriously!  I was reading for an Entertainment Law course two years ago when I came across a case from the 1980s involving Lucasfilm, LTD and Platinum Record, Co.  The lawsuit centered around a dispute over a contract which allowed director George Lucas to use four popular songs in his film American Graffiti, first released in 1973The issue in the case didn’t arise until almost a decade later, when MCA Distributing Corp. (an affiliate of Universal) released the film for sale and to rent on videocassette, which Platinum Record argued was in violation of their contract.

By this point, you might be wondering what this has to do with ebooks (or Star Wars, for that matter).  Well, last week U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald held that a 2011 ebook distribution deal signed by author Jean George violated an earlier, 1971 contract.  The 1971 contract granted publisher HarperCollins the right to publish the children’s book Julie of the Wolves in “book form” and “electronic means now known or hereinafter invented.”  This language in the contract is what caught my eye and provides an important lesson in contract drafting: think ahead.

#IPLSpring CLE Preview: From the Inside Looking Out: An In-House Counsel Perspective on US International Trade Commission Investigations

Credit: U.S. International Trade CommissionWait! Don’t leave! One of the capstone CLE events of the 28th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference in Arlington, VA this year covers the topic of Section 337 investigations. The CLE session will take place on Friday, April 5th, from 3:30 PM until 5:00 PM in Salon IV of the Arlington Ballroom. Plus, the program is eligible for ethics credit!

Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 is used most often in the area of intellectual property to prohibit the unfair methods of competition or other unfair acts in the importation of goods into the United States. Claims include allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.

#IPLSpring CLE Preview: Copyright: Copyright Infringement in Patent Prosecution: Might Your Firm Be the Next Litigation Target?

We are less than a week away from the ABA’s 28th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference in Arlington, VA! There will be over 30 Continuing Legal Education credit sessions, some eligible for ethics credit, in addition to multiple networking events. I will be covering one of the sessions on Copyright called “Copyright Infringement in Patent Prosecution: Might Your Firm Be the Next Litigation Target?” at 8:30 AM in the Arlington Salons 5 and 6.

5 Attorneys on 5 Entertainment Contract Essentials

Image Credit: frank3.0 on FlickrIn the world of entertainment contracts it can be next to impossible to comprehend the legalese without a thorough understanding of the law. Yet, there must be some essential points to an entertainment contract that all creative people should know about, right?

In searching for an answer to the “essential points” question, I decided to poll five prominent entertainment attorneys from across the country and ask them! Here’s what I discovered: