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

App Development: The Three “Big Legal Aspects”

There are fortunes to be made in mobile app development–a fact that not only you most assuredly understand, but as do your friends, family, and all of Silicon Valley. The chilly truth of this and any other competitive market is that “good” ideas may not be enough, you need great ones. And, when you have a great idea, you’ll want to already be armed with an understanding of the three “big legal aspects”, which can be summed up roughly as: (1) your intellectual property; (2) your contracts; and, (3) your overall business strategy.

With a firm grasp on how these things impact your legal landscape, you’ll be well on your way to safeguard yourself from intellectual property theft, infringement, or lawsuits.
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.
Continue reading

The Internet and The Law

I recently came across a status update posted by a good friend of mine. He posted, “the internet is built on hazy intellectual property laws”. My immediate thought was, “Well, no that’s not true”. Sometime between then and now came a realization that my friend’s status update had inspired me to sit down and blog a bit about how the internet and the law coexist. Continue reading

Violent Video Games: Can/Should We Regulate Them?

San Angelo man, Mark Williams, who is the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for Tom Green County, Texas, recently warned us of the influence violent video games have on our fragile youth. Williams opines that if you are a young person playing Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or the Postal series, essentially you are more likely to end up in a juvenile detention facility than young people who are not. Today’s discussion involves violence in video games, the constitutional and practical aspects of regulating such content from a legal standpoint, and the moral obligations of parents. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading