Understanding the ASCAP and BMI 100% Licensing Decision

If you’re a songwriter, publisher, composer or just someone playing by the rules of licensing in the music industry, you have probably heard at least some “buzz” that goes something like, “There was some significant decision made by the U.S. Department of Justice that will impact performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI”. If you tried to glance at an article and found yourself scratching your head about what happened, you’re not alone. But this is stuff you’re going to want to understand. This literature will attempt to demystify exactly what’s happening, and explain the outrage shared by many. Continue reading

What’s Wrong with Copyright Law?

We need Copyright laws to protect creativity. Without Copyright laws, we would not only deprive artists, authors, and other creative types of a proper system of redress, but also discourage their creativity. Indeed, the simple notion that inventions and useful arts should be afforded protection has been memorialized in writing by our founders in the U.S. Constitution.

Today, however, due to advancements in technology and this trending motivation to exploit imperfect legislation, we are seeing a different kind of use for Copyright law that surely departs from the intentions of our founders and our legislature. We find ourselves in an era of Copyright trolling.
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Banksy: Should this guy get to Trademark his pseudonym and stay anonymous?

Maybe you have heard of the famous street artist known to the public as Banksy. For those of you who have not heard of Banksy, here’s four facts to catch you up to speed: (1) the name Banksy is the pseudonym for a spectacularly popular British graffiti (or, “street”) artist; (2) Banksy does not want you to know Banksy’s actual identity; (3) so far, Banksy’s efforts have been successful in making sure you do not know Banksy’s identity; and, (4) Banksy has received trademark protection for the pseudonym “Banksy” from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (hereinafter “USPTO”). Continue reading

Should it be considered fair use for artists to take a photographer’s work and transform it for profit?

In Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2nd Cir. 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently looked at this issue and answered, “yes”. Well, at least they reversed the lower court’s judgment in part, vacated that judgment in part, and remanded it in part. I understand this is legalese, so for now let’s just say that the Second Circuit said “yes” even though that’s not entirely accurate.

Today we’re looking at the Cariou-Prince case, which has a lot of people in the art community quite upset. At the end of this article, you get to play lawyer so bare with me until then.

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