November 8, 2023
Evaluating Art After Warhol: Will Contemporary Art Be Chilled by the Supreme Court?Doomsayers and dissenters have breathlessly warned that the Supreme Court’s decision in Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith would needlessly chill artistic endeavors, particularly for appropriation artists. But is that really so? And what do contemporary artists, gallerists, and curators have to say about it? Xiyin Tang, Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, asked art insiders this very question, and we are pleased to get an early look and discussion about her forthcoming article in the UCLA Law Review called, appropriately, “Art After Warhol.” Her article outlines how contemporary artists have developed an ethics of appropriation almost entirely independent from the legal frameworks long presumed to incentivize or chill artistic expression—but one that is more consonant with copyright law than the traditional arguments have assumed.
Professor Tang is an Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She has previously served as a lead counsel for Facebook and an associate at Mayer Brown LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, where she worked on a variety of transactional and litigation matters in the technology, media, and entertainment sectors. Tang’s research focuses on the roles that technological evolution and new modes of dissemination play in the law of intellectual property. Her publications have appeared in top law journals including the Yale, Columbia, and Michigan law reviews. Tang received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing summa cum laude from Columbia University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.
October 11, 2023
Anatomy of a Copyright Trial: Stories and Lessons from the Moonbug v. Babybus Copyright Litigation
Copyright cases do not make it to a jury very often. Recently, however, Moonbug Entertainment – owner of the wildly popular kids’ animated show CoComelon – succeeded in presenting its claims to a jury for willful infringement and misrepresentation under Section 512(f) of the DMCA against Chinese rival Babybus Network Technology Co., in the Northern District of California, Case No. 3:21-cv-06536-EMC (Chen, J). At the conclusion of the four-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in Moonbug’s favor, finding that Babybus had willfully infringed 39 of Moonbug’s registered copyrights and awarding Moonbug $23.4 million.
This case touched on many of the key issues a copyright litigator should know, including preemption and anti-SLAPP pitfalls, the importance of carefully investigating the factual and legal bases for statements made in DMCA takedown requests and counternotices, the scope of copyright protection for animated characters, the ability to obtain (or defeat) motions for summary judgment on copyright claims in the Ninth Circuit, and much more.
Come join us for a lively and frank discussion with the attorneys who represented Moonbug in this matter, who will share their experience in litigating this case, including lessons learned.
Ryan Tyz is a trial lawyer and the founder of Tyz Law Group. He litigates high-stakes intellectual property and business disputes for technology companies and entrepreneurs. Ryan represents clients in the digital entertainment, software, cybersecurity and cloud computing industries with a focus on copyright, patent, trade secret, trademark, consumer class action, business and antitrust litigation. Ryan consistently is ranked as one of the Top Intellectual Property Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal (2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023), and was named an Elite Boutique Trailblazer by the National Law Journal (2020).
Clients turn to Ryan for his tenacious advocacy, strong ability to grasp the facts and law, and strategic vision for achieving their objectives. Among Ryan’s recent successes, he was the lead trial lawyer that helped firm client Moonbug Entertainment secure a multi-million dollar jury verdict of willful copyright infringement and violation of Section 512(f) of the DMCA based on the making of knowingly false statements to YouTube in a DMCA counter-notification against Chinese rival Babybus over its knockoff of Moonbug’s wildly successful kids’ television show CoComelon.
Jennifer Kelly has over 25 years of experience representing clients in the technology and entertainment sectors, with a particular focus on helping content creators protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Since joining Tyz Law, Jennifer has concentrated her practice on providing strategic advice to her clients on matters within her substantive and industry expertise – with a keen focus on mitigating risk. In addition to her role as Strategist, as of 2023 Jennifer has stepped into the role of Tyz Law’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Jennifer’s substantive expertise includes intellectual property (particularly in the area of copyright), right of publicity, advertising, unfair competition and defense of consumer class actions. Her industry expertise is centered around the games industry, in which she has been recognized by The Recorder as the “go-to lawyer in ‘game cloning’ cases.” Jennifer has received many accolades for her work, having been named by The Daily Journal as one of the "Top Intellectual Property Attorneys" in California in back-to-back years as well as one of California’s “Top Entertainment Lawyers.” The Legal 500 has recognized Jennifer as a leading copyright attorney, and she has made the San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women in the Bay Area list three times.
Deborah Hedley is Co-Chair of Tyz Law Group’s Disputes Practice, and has over a decade of experience trying cases in state and federal courts. Deborah has extensive experience litigating complex intellectual property, trade secret, and other commercial disputes for entertainment and tech companies and other businesses. Most recently, Deborah was a key part of the team that led firm client Moonbug Entertainment to victory in its recent copyright litigation against Babybus, playing a key role in helping Moonbug tell the story of CocoMelon and its success, including shaping and presenting Moonbug’s case for damages.
September 14, 2023
Defending the First Amendment: The Latest Chapters in Book Censorship
Copyright is the engine of free expression. But what if free expression is threatened? Fueled by new state laws and nationally organized censorship efforts, the number of books challenged in U.S. schools and public libraries hit an all-time high in 2022. Over 2500 titles – overwhelmingly by or about LGBTQIA+ individuals and people of color – were targeted. Authors, publishers and their allies have been fighting the rising tide of censorship in court actions, with notable successes, but the story is far from over. A panel of those on the front lines will speak to the latest legal developments, including legislative enactments and recent cases in Arkansas and Texas, as well as the impact of book banning efforts on writers of targeted works.
Cheryl L. Davis is General Counsel of the Authors Guild, where she oversees the organization’s legal affairs, including its in-house corporate affairs and management of literary estates. She is also active in the areas of book banning and diversity in publishing and writes about and participates in panels and webinars on these topics. She received her A.B. from Princeton University and her J.D. from Columbia University. She holds leadership positions in the following legal organizations: ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (Literary Works Committee Chair), ABA Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Forum (Arts and Museums Vice Chair), New York State Bar Association, Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section (Diversity Committee Co-Chair), Dramatists Guild Legal Defense Fund (Board member).
David Horowitz has served as executive director of Media Coalition, Inc. since 1998. Media Coalition is a trade association founded in 1973 to defend the First Amendment right to produce and distribute books, movies, magazines, recordings, home video and video games, and protect the American public’s First Amendment right to have access to the broadest possible range of information, opinion and entertainment. He is responsible for protecting the First Amendment rights of Media Coalition’s members’ in Congress and all 50 state legislatures. David also oversees Media Coalition’s legal docket. David oversaw the publication of Only a Game: Why Censoring New Media Won’t Stop Gun Violence and Shooting the Messenger: Why Censorship Won’t Stop Violence.
Maria A. Pallante is President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Based in Washington, DC, she leads policy strategy, litigation, and programmatic priorities for the modern publishing industry, with a particular focus on copyright, freedom of expression, and digital markets. Before joining AAP, Maria served as Register of Copyrights for nearly six years, directing the U.S. Copyright Office during a particularly active period of statutory and regulatory modernization. She worked closely with Congress to close gaps in the law, including launching public studies and recommendations on small copyright claims, music licensing, enforcement tools, streaming protections, and Internet policy. She previously held counsel and leadership positions in New York with the worldwide Guggenheim Museums, Authors Guild, and National Writers Union. Maria serves on several expert committees and has delivered a number of prominent legal lectures, including “The Next Great Copyright Act” in 2013 (Manges Lecture, Columbia Law School) and “The Art and Innovation of Exclusive Rights” in 2022 (Brace Lecture, Copyright Society). She earned her law degree at George Washington University Law School.
Recognized nationally and internationally as a fearless freedom of expression advocate, Laura Lee Prather was awarded The American Lawyer’s inaugural Tony Mauro Media Lawyer Award for her tireless and successful efforts advocating for legislation to strengthen First Amendment rights, including zealous advocacy for free speech rights both at the statehouse and the courthouse. Board certified in Civil Appellate Law, Laura represents a broad array of clients at the trial and appellate court level in First Amendment, Anti-SLAPP, and intellectual property disputes. She represents content providers including online and traditional publications, cable and terrestrial broadcasters, streaming media platforms, podcasts, production companies, and music and sports entities. Her clients value her dedication and work ethic as demonstrated by her recognition as a BTI Client Service All-Star (BTI Consulting Group). In addition to her private practice, Laura is heavily involved in community and trade organizations.
June 14, 2023
Where Will the Streaming Wars Lead Us?
Even before COVID disrupted our lives and viewing habits in 2020, Netflix had been busy disrupting the film and TV business. It offered its customers nearly unlimited premium television and film content for a low monthly price, the ability to binge entire series immediately, Oscar-level direct-to-streaming films, no advertising, and the option to cancel at any time. Netflix had created a product so compelling that it forced other major distributors to follow suit, which in turn accelerated the decline of more reliable ways to make money from content, including pay TV, digital sales and rentals, and windowing. Now, in 2023, it's clear that the streaming ecosystem is in trouble, or at least ripe for more upheaval. As content behemoths like Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, NBCUniversal and Sony struggle to formulate their plans to attempt streaming profitability, the resulting changes will affect everyone in the audiovisual creative industries. Could the old strategies -- advertising? bundling? contingent compensation? consolidation? -- ultimately save the industry? And where will newer players like Amazon and Apple fit in?
Join us for a provocative conversation about our collective film and television future with Pank Patel, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at North Road. Reporting into North Road's CEO Peter Chernin, Pank works with North Road's leadership to set the company's strategic direction and leads all global investment and M&A activity. Before joining North Road, Pank was EVP, Strategy & Business Development at NBCUniversal where he spent over a decade supporting C-level executives in developing and executing strategic initiatives including M&A. Pank has held leadership positions at Universal Pictures (Film), Universal Studio Group (TV) and NBCUniversal International, based in LA and London. In addition, he spent a year in Mumbai supporting Comcast's development of its entry strategy for India. Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Pank worked in the M&A team at Goldman Sachs in London. Pank holds a BA in Economics from Girton College, Cambridge University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Ian Slotin, SVP, Intellectual Property at NBCUniversal, leads the Innovation, Technology and Policy team in the company’s Intellectual Property Legal Group. His team supports the company’s emerging technology initiatives, handles the IP aspects of M&A transactions and oversees the company’s patent strategy. Ian is also the lead IP attorney for the company’s global policy and legislative strategies on copyright, rights of publicity and other IP-related disciplines. He also advises business leaders on the legal and policy ramifications of disruptive technologies, and chairs a cross-functional working group that develops policies and guidance on new technologies. Before joining NBCUniversal, Ian was an associate at Irell & Manella, LLP and TroyGould LLP, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable A. Howard Matz in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School.
May 10, 2023
In the Wake of Raging Bull: A Growing Circuit Split Since Petrella v. MGM
In the 2014 Petrella v. MGM case, the Supreme Court decided that laches did not bar a copyright claim brought within three years of infringement. In so doing, the Court noted that under the Copyright Act’s “separate accrual” rule, a plaintiff can recover damages only for infringements that occurred within three years of suing. In the wake of Petrella, the Courts of Appeals are divided about whether the three-year damages bar also applies to infringement claims that accrue under the discovery rule. In 2020, the Second Circuit, in Sohm v. Scholastic, Inc, ruled that it does; but last year the Ninth Circuit, in Starz Entertainment, LLC v. MGM Domestic Television Distribution LLC, came to the contrary conclusion. And in February of this year, the Eleventh Circuit, in Nealy v. Warner Chappell Music, Inc., joined the Ninth Circuit on its side of the circuit split.
Please join us for a panel that will discuss the legal and practical impacts of this deepening circuit split that may make its way to the Supreme Court.
Jay Srinivasan is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The Daily Journal named him to its 2022 “Top Antitrust Lawyers” list for California. He represents a wide range of clients, primarily in the entertainment and tech industries in high-stakes litigation matters, and also provides antitrust advice in the context of mergers/joint collaborations, government investigations, and business practices. Mr. Srinivasan represented MGM in the Starz v. MGM case.
Tyler Ochoa is a professor at the High Tech Law Institute of Santa Clara University School of Law. He is a recognized expert in copyright law and is the author of annual updates to the treatise The Law of Copyright (originally by the late Howard Abrams). He has also published three articles on statutes of limitations. Before joining the faculty at Santa Clara, he served as a professor and co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law at Whittier Law School. He was also a clerk for the Honorable Cecil F. Poole of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and an associate with the law firm of Brown & Bain in Palo Alto, California. In the Starz v. MGM case, Professor Ochoa submitted an amicus brief in support of Starz.
The panel will be moderated by Kenneth M. Trujillo-Jamison, a partner at Willenken LLP. He has extensive experience litigating entertainment matters, including defending a major studio against copyright infringement claims involving animated films and a prominent portrait photographer in a right-of-publicity case brought by the rapper Jay-Z. Kenneth wrote a recently published article in the Daily Journal about this panel’s topic.
April 11, 2023
What's in a Name? Overlapping Trademark, Publicity and Copyright Laws Involving a Person's Identity
A well-known fashion designer sells the business that bears his name — including the associated trademark rights — for a lucrative sum. How, if at all, may he later use his name or appear in public to publicize his involvement with a new venture? A young designer’s employer requires her to transfer trademark rights in her name as a condition of employment. Post-separation, can her employer force her to remove social media posts promoting her work and turn over social media handles under her name? If a musical artist forms a company to hold and license out trademark rights in her identity, can control of the company — and the ability to authorize others to use her identity for commercial purposes — be transferred through a bankruptcy or divorce settlement, and if so, what are the implications for her next album? And what is the role of publicity rights in the analysis, particularly the elements rooted in a person’s control and dignity rights, and are those rights even cognizable if they aren't held by the individual?
Join Professor Jennifer Rothman, America’s preeminent publicity rights scholar and a leading expert in trademark and copyright law, in sorting out the fragmentary and overlapping IP-related rights in a person’s identity, and the real-life implications for artists, artisans and influencers. Professor Rothman posits that trademark law's ancient personality-based roots can help lead us through this "identify thicket” in ways that are both surprising and illuminating.