January 11, 2023
So, What’s Up With Copyright Lately? A 2022 Year in Review
Join Los Angeles Copyright Society Past President (2019-2020) Aaron Moss as he discusses the most important decisions in copyright law from 2022.
Aaron Moss is the chair of the litigation department at Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles. He has extensive experience in copyright, trademark, media and entertainment litigation matters. Aaron has been repeatedly named to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 100 Power Lawyers” list, is ranked by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in media and entertainment litigation and was recently named “Lawyer of the Year” by “Best Lawyers” for his work in First Amendment and media law. Aaron has served as a past president of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, is a frequent speaker on copyright, trademark and media law issues, and writes the blog “Copyright Lately,” which you can visit at copyrightlately.com.
December 14, 2022
Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith: Will Fair Use Be Transformed in the Entertainment Industry?
On October 12, 2022, the Supreme Court heard argument in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc v. Lynn Goldsmith. Nearly 30 years after announcing the now familiar “transformative use” test for evaluating the first fair use factor, the Supreme Court is poised to finally clarify what that test means and how it is to be applied to artistic works.
Join us for a panel that will discuss the case and its potential impact on the entertainment industry. Does AWF’s position pose a threat to copyright owners’ exclusive right to prepare derivative works? Does the Second Circuit’s test pose a risk of making fair use off-limits to documentary filmmakers and others who use preexisting works for purposes other than to comment on the works themselves? How might the Supreme Court address these concerns, and what do the comments made by the Justices during the oral argument signal about the possible outcome?
Kirby Dick is a two-time Emmy award-winning and Academy award-nominated filmmaker behind some of the most groundbreaking documentaries today. Many of his films have directly impacted American politics and culture, resulting in real-world change. Dick’s latest project, NOT SO PRETTY (2022), is a four-part investigation-driven exploration of toxic chemicAals in everyday cosmetic productions. His previous series, ALLEN v. FARROW (2021), is a seven-time Emmy nominated series about one of Hollywood’s most notorious scandal: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving his then seven-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow. Earlier films include ON THE RECORD (2020), THE BLEEDING EDGE (2018), THE HUNTING GROUND (2015), and THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012).
Dale Nelson is a partner in the Beverly Hills boutique, Donaldson Callif Perez. Prior to joining the firm, Dale served as Vice President and Senior Intellectual Property counsel at Warner Bros. for over 25 years. Dale specializes in issues related to copyrights, trademarks, personal rights and clearance, championing the free speech rights of clients in the filmmaking and creative industries.
Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. is a partner with Munger, Tolles & Olson, and the founder of its Washington, D.C. office. He served as Solicitor General of the United States from June 2011 to June 2016 and has argued more than 50 cases before the Supreme Court, including landmark decisions relating to copyright. Before his time in government, Mr. Verrilli argued numerous important cases before the Supreme Court, including MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, the landmark case establishing that file sharing services were subject to the copyright laws. Mr. Verrilli is also a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches classes on the First Amendment and the Supreme Court.
November 16, 2022Docudramas & Defamation:
How to Weigh Risk and Creative Freedom Where Fact Meets Fiction
The “docudrama”—a dramatized film or television program inspired by real people and events—has seen a renaissance in recent years. So has litigation over the portrayal of individuals who claim to be falsely depicted in these expressive works. For example, in just the past decade, litigation has been brought over streaming shows such as The Queen’s Gambit, Inventing Anna, Feud: Bette and Joan, and Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, and threatened over shows like HBO’s Winning Time. Three media attorneys with a wealth of experience will explain how they advise filmmakers, networks, and streamers about risks relating to docudramas, bearing in mind defamation standards like “actual malice,” and whether and to what extent disclaimers can help insulate producers and distributors from potential claims.
Stephanie Abrutyn, SVP, Legal and Business Affairs and General Counsel of Grid, has over 25 years of experience at a number of leading media companies. Immediately prior to joining Grid, Stephanie served as SVP and Chief Counsel, Litigation and Public Policy at WarnerMedia, where she led the team responsible for overseeing and managing litigation for all of WarnerMedia’s businesses and brands including HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros., and oversaw the WarnerMedia domestic public policy group. Stephanie also teaches media law and is a frequent speaker and author on First Amendment and media law issues.
Matt Schafer is Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Litigation for Paramount Global. He handles content litigation across Paramount subsidiaries like CBS News, Showtime, and Simon & Schuster, with a focus on defamation, copyright, and invasion of privacy claims and subpoenas for newsgathering material. Matt also regularly publishes scholarship on the history of freedom of speech and of the press in the United States. His articles have been published by or are forthcoming in Penn State University Law Review, Buffalo Law Review, Louisiana Law Review, the Federal Communications Law Journal, and Georgetown’s Journal of National Security Law & Policy. Previously, he was newsroom counsel at BuzzFeed News.
Rachel Strom is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where she concentrates her practice on media law. She represents media companies in high-stakes defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright matters. Rachel also provides counseling and pre-publication advice to television shows, documentaries, podcasts, online publications, newspapers, and magazines.
October 12, 2022Rogers Revisited:
Balancing Brand Owner Interests and Content Creators’ First Amendment Rights Under the Lanham Act
Content creators use brands, both real and fictional, to help tell stories. They might include real-world trademarks to make a story feel more authentic. Or they may employ iconic marks to establish a location, recreate a bygone era, or delineate a character’s extravagant or pedestrian tastes. The Devil, after all, does wear Prada. In an influential 1989 decision, Rogers v. Grimaldi, the Second Circuit held that where a trademark is used in the title of an expressive work like a film or television show, the First Amendment requires that courts strike a more speech-protective balance than that afforded under the standard likelihood-of-confusion multifactor test. The ensuing three decades have seen Rogers adopted in various forms in at least five circuits, including the Ninth Circuit, and applied in situations where a trademark is used in the body (and not necessarily the title) of an expressive work, including in cases involving videogames, greeting cards, and novelty products like pet toys.
Two experienced IP litigators—Karin Pagnanelli of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp and Susan Kohlmann of Jenner & Block—join us to chart the twists and turns of the Rogers test with reference to some recent decisions involving, among other things, military videogames and an oyster bar and tavern perched on the Florida-Alabama line. We hope you can join us.
Karin G. Pagnanelli is the National Chair of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Entertainment & IP Litigation Practice Group, Co-Chair of the Video Game Practice Group, and a member of the firm's management. She specializes in copyright and trademark actions, and in particular, focuses on issues of first impression relevant to the entertainment industry. Recently she successfully defended Activision Blizzard in trademark infringement actions based on the depiction of the HUMVEE military vehicle in the videogame Call of Duty, as well as the use of the term “Warzone” in the title of the videogame Call of Duty: Warzone. Earlier, Karin helped win a major victory for Take-Two Interactive Software and Rock Star Videos in E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc., one of the leading cases in the Ninth Circuit to address the Rogers test. A graduate of California State University, Long Beach, and of Southwestern Law School, Karin has been recognized as a “Top Trademark Star” and “Top Copyright Star” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, as a “Most Influential Intellectual Property Attorney by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and as a “Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigator in California” by the Daily Journal.
September 14, 2022
Translating Music Into Law:
A Presentation by Dr. Lawrence Ferrara
Renowned musicologist Dr. Lawrence Ferrara has rendered expert advice and testified on behalf of clients ranging from Paul McCartney to Lady Gaga to The Weeknd (to name just a few), as well as the entities that publish and distribute their works. But what exactly do musicologists do, and how do they do it? Dr. Ferrara will walk us through his work on a paradigmatic case involving Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” reprising his testimony at trial (complete with piano accompaniment). He will also address the recent “Stairway to Heaven” case where, working alongside LACS member Peter Anderson, he served as an expert on behalf of prevailing party Led Zeppelin. For those who love music and copyright, this is not to be missed.
Dr. Lawrence Ferrara, Director Emeritus of all studies in Music and the Performing Arts at NYU's Steinhardt School, is a Full Professor of Music and on the music theory and music history faculty. He has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in music theory and analysis, music history, research methods in music, keyboard harmony and improvisation, and music copyright. He is the author and co-author of books and articles, including the critically acclaimed book Philosophy and the Analysis of Music: Bridges to Musical Sound, Form and Reference, and he is a member of the editorial boards of two scholarly journals in music respectively published by Indiana University Press and University of Illionois Press. In addition to his academic and scholarly pursuits, Dr. Ferrara serves as a music copyright consultant for record, music publishing, motion picture companies, and individuals, both in the United States and abroad.
May 25, 2022
When States Infringe:
The Curious Case of Copyright vs. Sovereign Immunity
In 1718, the infamous pirate Blackbeard sunk his renamed Queen Anne’s Revenge off the coast of what is now North Carolina. The wreckage was finally discovered in 1996 by a marine salvage company. Rick Allen’s Nautilus Productions spent nearly two decades filming the salvage and recovery efforts. North Carolina posted some of Nautilus’s videos online, used one of its still photographs in a print newsletter without permission and even passed ”Blackbeard’s Law” which purports to convert works like Nautilus’ Queen Anne’s Revenge footage into the public domain.
What was Rick’s recourse? None, said the United States Supreme Court, because Congress did not have the constitutional authority to abrogate state sovereign immunity in the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act.
In 2005, Jim Olive, a professional photographer, shot a number of aerial photographs of the City of Houston and posted them on his website for purchase. One of those shots was known as “The Cityscape.” The University of Houston, a public Texas research university, took a copy of The Cityscape and posted it on several websites for its business school without permission.
What was Jim’s recourse? None, said the Texas Supreme Court, because the University of Houston’s use of his photograph was not a constitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment. (The US Supreme Court, for its part, denied certiorari.)
Rick Allen and Jim Olive’s attorney, Owen McGovern, will discuss their cases – and the policy considerations underlying them – in a program moderated by our very own John Ulin.
Rick Allen is a broadcast video producer and cinematographer from North Carolina who has been producing documentaries and shooting video since 1983. His work has appeared on ABC, A&E, BBC, CBS, Discovery, TLC, National Geographic, 48 Hours, ESPN, Lifetime, Turner and more. Rick has followed SWAT teams on drug busts, traveled from Cuba to Kazakhstan with the 82nd Airborne, weathered live broadcasts during hurricanes and gone nose to nose with 14-foot Great White sharks during underwater expeditions. For nearly two decades, Rick was the official project videographer on Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project. Rick’s Nautilus Productions has produced documentaries for National Geographic International, the Canadian History Channel, North Carolina Public Television, Texas A&M, the Louisiana State Museum and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (US Dept. of the Interior).
Owen McGovern is an associate at Beck Redden LLP, a Houston, Texas litigation boutique. A graduate of Notre Dame University and the Northwestern University School of Law, Owen clerked for the Honorable Gerald E. Rosen, Chief District Judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Honorable Edith Brown Clement of the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals. Owen’s practice focuses on appellate litigation, in which he has served as lead counsel on numerous appeals.
John Ulin is a longtime member of the LA Copyright Society, and a member of its Board of Trustees. John is a member of TroyGould PC in Los Angeles, California, where he has a general business litigation practice with an emphasis on intellectual property litigation with extensive trial experience. The Daily Journal has recognized John as one of California’s “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers,” and California Lawyer previously awarded him its “Attorney of the Year” award. A graduate of Brown University, the University of California School of Law (J.D.) and Harvard Law School (LL.M.), John clerked for the Honorable William Matthew Byrne, Jr. of the US District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Ferdinand F. Fernandez, of the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals.
April 13, 2022
AI and Creativity:
Should Copyright Make Room for Robot Authors?
On February 14th, the Review Board of the U.S. Copyright Office issued its final decision refusing to register A Recent Entrance to Paradise, an image generated entirely by an AI algorithm. The claimant, Dr. Stephen Thaler, asserted that he is the copyright owner by virtue of his ownership of the machine that created it. The Copyright Office asserted that the image is not “a work of authorship” within the meaning of the Copyright Act because “a century of copyright jurisprudence” requires human authorship for copyright protection in the United States.
A Recent Entrance to Paradise by The Creativity Machine
The issue of copyright protection for machine-authored works raises fascinating legal and policy questions. Would allowing copyright to subsist be consistent with the Constitutional basis for copyright? Can a human and machine be joint authors? If a machine can be an author, how should we identify the person that should be the copyright owner? What are the impacts on people who create art, music, books or films the old-fashioned way? What are the effects on incentives to invest in AI technologies in the creative industries, and to build businesses distributing and protecting machine-generated works? Who should be liable if a machine-generated work is defamatory or infringes another’s rights? And what do approaches in other countries have to teach us about all of the above?
Join us for a provocative discussion about these issues with Professor Ryan Abbott, who currently represents Dr. Thaler in seeking copyright protection for A Recent Entrance to Paradise. Professor Abbott, MD, JD, MTOM, PhD, is partner at Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan, LLP, a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS, Inc., Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey School of Law, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is the author of The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. He has published widely on issues associated with life sciences and intellectual property in leading legal, medical, and scientific books and journals, and his research has been featured prominently in the popular press including in The Times, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and other media outlets involving time. Professor Abbott has worked as an expert for, among others, the United Kingdom Parliament, the European Commission, the World Health Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. He is a licensed physician and patent attorney in the United States, and a solicitor advocate in England and Wales. Managing Intellectual Property magazine named him as one of the fifty most influential people in intellectual property in 2019 and again in 2021.Reading Materials
March 9, 2022
The Latest from the Copyright Office:
A Visit with Copyright Register Shira Perlmutter & General Counsel Suzanne Wilson
The Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Copyright Society is thrilled to announce that Shira Perlmutter and Suzanne Wilson will join us for our March meeting.
Shira and Suzy will present on recent developments and current priorities at the Copyright Office, including its implementation of the CASE Act.
Following their presentation, Society Trustee and former Copyright Office General Counsel Jacqueline Charlesworth will moderate a “fireside chat” Q&A session with them.
Shira Perlmutter is currently the Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. Prior to her appointment in October 2020, Shira served as the Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Before that, she served as Executive Vice President for Global Legal Policy at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and head of the intellectual property department at Time Warner. Shira also served as a copyright and e-commerce consultant to the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, taught as a law professor at The Catholic University of America, and worked in private practice specializing in intellectual property counseling and litigation.
Ms. Wilson is well known to many of our members. Currently the General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office and Associate Register of Copyrights, Suzy previously served as Deputy General Counsel at The Walt Disney Company, where she oversaw the company’s intellectual property teams and various business legal teams at different times. Before joining Disney, Suzy was a partner in the Los Angeles office of the law firm now known as Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, where she specialized in intellectual property matters.
February 9, 2022
Exploring the Metaverse:
A Legal Primer
In August of 2020, Epic Games, developer of Fortnite, sued Apple and Google in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, accusing the tech giants of anti-competitive behavior. Epic’s attack focused on the platforms’ app distribution practices -- in particular, their payment terms.
During the Epic v. Apple bench trial, Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney testified about his vision for the metaverse and how he believed Apple’s requirement that developers exclusively use its in-app purchasing system – including paying Apple a 30% cut of every purchase – stood in the way.
In her 185-page ruling, District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez found that “Mr. Sweeney's personal beliefs about the future of the metaverse are sincerely held” and offered her own factual observations about the metaverse. (The case is currently on appeal.)
While Judge Gonzalez may have been the first federal district court judge to explicitly use the term “metaverse” in a judicial opinion, legal scholars have used this term since the 1990s. In this presentation – the second in our “Exploring the Metaverse” series – we will cover:
To help guide us through these topics, we will hear from Dan Nabel, Senior Director and Associate General Counsel at Riot Games. Mr. Nabel currently serves as the Treasurer of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, teaches Video Game Law at USC Gould, and co-authored Video Game Law in a Nutshell (West Academic, 2018).
Dan began his practice as a litigator at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger and served for a year as the director for USC Gould’s Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic before moving in-house.
January 12, 2022
Copyright Year in Review
Join Professor Xiyin Tang as she discusses the most important decisions in copyright law from 2021.
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 or are forthcoming in the Fordham Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Southern California Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others.
Tang received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing summa cum laude from Columbia University. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she received the Neale M. Albert Prize for Best Paper on Art Law and twice received the Nathan Burkan Memorial Prize for Best Paper on Copyright Law. During law school, Tang served as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology.
December 8, 2021
The Censor's Dilemma:
What do today’s debates about “cancel culture” have in common with Victorian-era patriarchs?
Robert Corn-Revere, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, First Amendment expert, and author of The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder – The First Amendment and the Censor’s Dilemma, will explore that question and more in a follow-up to his 2012 presentation to the Society, “From Seven Dirty Words to Fleeting Expletives and Wardrobe Malfunctions – Where Are We Now?”
Beginning in the nineteenth century with Anthony Comstock, America's “censor in chief,” Bob will explore how censors operate and why they wore out their welcome in society at large – explaining how the same tactics were tried and eventually failed in the twentieth century, with efforts to censor music, comic books, television, and other forms of popular entertainment. The historic examples illustrate not just the mindset and tactics of censors, but why they are the ultimate counterculture warriors and why, in free societies, censors never occupy the moral high ground.
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Bob has long been a leader in advising clients in the areas of media, communications, and information technology law. He is a tireless advocate for his clients’ First Amendment rights, with particular experience applying these protections to new communications technologies. As a former Federal Communications Commission official, he has helped clients navigate complex regulations and administrative proceedings, and as a former journalist, he assists media organizations in their ability to gather and disseminate information.
Bob has advocated for his clients in courts across the country, including all of the federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court. He has won landmark First Amendment victories that extend full constitutional protections into novel areas. His practice runs the gamut from assisting major corporations with issues ranging from content regulation, newsgathering issues, and commercial speech regulation, to helping individuals cope with speech restrictions.
November 10, 2021
Exploring the Metaverse:
Music and Concerts in Virtual Game Worlds
If someone told you that the “Internet” was (or would soon be) made up of “persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe,” you’d probably think they’d been reading too many science-fiction novels. Likewise, if someone told you that an eccentric billionaire running one of the world’s biggest social media companies changed the company’s name from “Facebook” to “Meta” and announced billions of dollars of spending on an online virtual “metaverse,” you still might think the same thing.
Yet here we are, collectively scratching our heads at all this “metaverse” talk.
In “Exploring the Metaverse,” the first in our new series of occasional programs delving deep into the legal issues underlying our digital futures, we’ll explore the metaverse with one of the most accessible mediums of artistic expression: music. We’ll hear from experts about:
To help us answer these (and many more) exciting questions, we will hear from two in-house music experts at top game publishers: Melissa Bortnick (Epic Games) and Mike Spinelli (Take-Two Interactive), in a discussion moderated by Harrison Reynolds (Reynolds & Associates).
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prior experience includes video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., electronic music festival roll-up company SFX Entertainment, Inc., White & Case LLP, the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of General Counsel. She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Certificate of Study from the Wharton School of Business. She also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. She is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey.
Mike Spinelli is Director and Counsel of Music Business Affairs at Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., a leading developer, publisher, and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. He advises on music-related matters across the company, including those in connection with Take-Two’s videogames and marketing materials published and distributed through Rockstar Games, 2K, Private Division, and T2 Mobile Games. Prior to joining Take-Two, Mike worked at Sony Music in the Global Digital Business and Business Affairs Administration departments, where he enforced Sony’s intellectual property rights and drafted and negotiated catalog licenses with digital platforms as well as artist-related agreements on behalf of RCA, Columbia, and Epic.
As an entertainment lawyer in private practice, Harrison Reynolds has negotiated and drafted deals for television and film writers, directors, actors and producers, YouTube stars, recording artists, music producers, record labels, and AAA video game companies. His clients have included everything from A-list celebrities and Grammy-award winning artists to young talent just getting their start.
September 29, 2021
A SPECIAL TALK WITH CONGRESSMAN HAKEEM JEFFRIES
Discussing the CASE Act and other copyright issues
The LA Copyright Society is thrilled to announce that Congressman Hakeem Jeffries will be speaking to us on Wednesday, September 29th.
Congressman Jeffries is the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Judiciary and Budget Committees.
Among his many legislative achievements, Congressman Jeffries was the primary sponsor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, known as the CASE Act, enacted by Congress in 2020.
The CASE Act creates a revolutionary small-claims copyright tribunal: the Copyright Claims Board. The process, which is optional for both claimant and respondent, promises a quicker and less costly resolution process to bring equity to lower-stakes copyright litigation.
Speaking in a “fireside chat” format moderated by Jacqueline Charlesworth, LA Copyright Society Trustee and former General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office and Associate Register of Copyrights, Congressman Jeffries will discuss the CASE Act’s path to passage, and why he championed it. He will also provide his perspective on other copyright-related issues on the legislative horizon.
Following Congressman Jeffries’ presentation, Terrica Carrington, Vice President for Legal Policy and Copyright Counsel at the Copyright Alliance, will offer additional insight into the CASE Act, explaining the Copyright Alliance’s efforts to secure its passage, the current state of Copyright Office efforts to implement the legislation, and how the small claims process will operate in practice.
September 8, 2021
HEY, WHO SAID YOU COULD POST THAT THERE?
The state of the server test and other novel legal issues
in social media embedded content litigation.
Everyone who’s anyone has an Insta account. And how do you discuss an Insta-post without showing the clip? Embedded content has been the subject of litigation for years. But are the goalposts moving?
On July 30th, SDNY District Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the Ninth Circuit’s server test in Nicklen v. Sinclair Broadcast Group, ruling in embedded content litigation against Sinclair and its affiliates that the test is inconsistent with the Copyright Act’s prohibition of merely “displaying” a copyrighted work without authorization. Judge Rakoff aligned with former SDNY District Judge Katherine Forrest, who had rejected the server test 3 years earlier in Goldman v. Breitbart News Network. (You may recall Judge Forrest, now a litigation partner at Cravath, Swain & Moore, from her presentation to the Society last November, “When AI’s Teacher is Big Tech: The Intersection of AI, Antitrust and Copyright”).
Did Judge Rakoff and Judge Forrest give the Second Circuit the ammunition it needs to fire a deadly (or wounding) appellate shot?
Separately, in Huntley v. Instagram, currently pending before Judge Breyer in the NDCA, the social media platform moved to dismiss a putative class action for contributory copyright infringement on the ground that those who merely utilize an embedded link to a photographer’s social media post have not made an infringing “copy”, have therefore not engaged in direct infringement, and hence Instagram cannot be secondarily liable. Plaintiffs have the server test directly in their sights, opposing the motion not only on the narrow ground that the server test does not apply in the context of embedding (only search engines such as Google), but more broadly that the rule is inconsistent with the Copyright Act as technology-neutral and the Supreme Court’s practical approach embodied in the Aereo decision.
Will Judge Breyer set the stage for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider or narrow the scope of its server test? Have plaintiffs have created the initial ripples of what could be waves that finally lead to Supreme Court precedent? Instagram’s motion to dismiss is set for oral argument on October 14th.
Finally, defendants see a third line of defense in the fair use doctrine. In Boesen v. United Sports Publications, the EDNY district court held that a sports news publisher’s embedding of an Instagram post by professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki containing a copyrighted photo of Wozniacki taken by plaintiff, in an article about the player’s retirement, was fair use.
Rose Leda Ehler, a partner at Los Angeles’ Munger, Tolles & Olson, will moderate a spirited panel of copyright litigators on the cutting edge of embedded content litigation. Ehler is a rising star in the copyright bar who skyrocketed to the top of her field with her successful representations of multiple major Hollywood studios -- including securing a $62.4 million copyright infringement and circumvention judgment against VidAngel and a preliminary injunction against Redbox on copyright infringement grounds.
James Bartolomei, of counsel at the Duncan Firm, has spent more than a decade representing artists and photographers (among others), including Paul Nicklen, Stephanie Sinclair, Cristina Mittermeier, Ami Vitale, Robert Caplin, Marcus Bleadsdale, Andrea Bruce, and Scott Brauer. Bartolomei has been involved in some recent copyright cases of interest involving social media and embedding, including Sinclair v. Mashable and Nicklen v. Sinclair Broadcasting Group. He is also co-lead counsel in Hunley et al v. Instagram.
James Rosenfeld is a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine’s New York office. He litigates for and counsels digital and traditional media clients on risks and claims relating to their content. Rosenfeld has particular expertise in digital media law, advising clients on issues unique to content providers on the internet, including the DMCA and CDA legal immunities for user-generated content; liability arising from linking, sharing, distributing, embedding, moderating, and aggregating content; and issues relating to online advertising, social media, artificial intelligence, and piracy. Rosenfeld represented Mashable and Ziff Davis in the Sinclair v. Ziff Davis case and has defended other publishers from the Associated Press, the Washington Post and iHeartMedia to Gawker and the Huffington Post against copyright claims.
May 12, 2021
Social Justice and Intellectual Property: Creating Systems to Empower Creators of Color
Join us for a virtual fireside chat with Kim Tignor, Founder of Take Creative Control (TCC) and Executive Director of the Institute of Intellectual Property & Social Justice (IIPSJ), as she discusses the links between social justice, intellectual property law and content creators.
We don’t always connect the dots between social justice and IP law. Like most social justice issues in America, IP law is ingrained in our system, and can silently tip the scales against equality and opportunity. Think of an up-and-coming graphic artist who discovers a big brand stole her work. Or an entrepreneur who has great ideas but no army of attorneys to defend his rights. Or a breakout music artist trying to navigate inner-workings of fair use legal jargon. Without millions of dollars in lawyers or lobbyists, IP law seems like an immovable object that too often ends up protecting those at the top – sometimes at the expense of creators of color.
This injustice served as the catalyst for TCC. Founded in 2018, Tignor started by hosting local creative clinics that mixed music, art, and conversation with free legal advice. Her first goal is to make sure that creators know their rights and what they need to do to protect themselves. Tignor has built a growing community of artists, entrepreneurs, social justice activists, and top IP legal minds that collectively push for creative rights for creators.
Tignor has been featured on the WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller, C-SPAN, and The Mike Muse Show. She has served as expert speaker at the 21 Ninety Summit, Artomatic, and the U.S. Copyright Office.
Before IIPSJ, she directed policy at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and worked to diversify the federal bench with the VENG Group. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Tignor received her JD from Georgetown University and her undergraduate degree in Economics and Information Technology from the College of William and Mary.
The discussion will be moderated by the current President of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, Catherine Bridge, who is the Assistant General Counsel – Intellectual Property at The Walt Disney Company.
This event will qualify for California MCLE Elimination of Bias credit.
A Zoom link will be sent to registrants the evening before the event.
April 14, 2021
Zooming in on the Boom in Photography Litigation
The past decade has been tough for photographers. Many have seen their incomes plummet, as the easy availability of a “right-click license” replaced an untold number of real, paid licenses. This boom in infringement has inevitably led to a boom in demand letters and actual lawsuits by photographers seeking redress for unauthorized uses of their works online, largely filed in the Southern District of New York by small firms that range from “aggressive” to “ethically challenged.”
For April’s event we are excited to be joined by two New York-based litigators who have been in the center of some of the most high-profile copyright battles over photographs in recent years: Nancy Wolff of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, who has represented many prominent photographers as well as photo-licensing agencies including Getty Images, and Lance Koonce of Davis Wright Tremaine, who has defended media companies accused of infringing photographers’ copyrights.
Nancy and Lance will address several of the hot topics raised by the recent proliferation of photography litigation, including:
The panel discussion will be moderated by AJ Thomas of Jenner & Block, who is an experienced media and entertainment litigator focusing on copyright and trademark matters, First Amendment cases, and complex business litigation.
|Nancy E. Wolff||Lance Koonce|
March 10, 2021
The Curious Case of the Restatement of Copyright Law
For nearly a century, the American Law Institute’s (ALI) Restatements of the Law have played an important role as sources of law in the American legal system. And in all of this time, they refrained from restating areas of law dominated by a uniform statute despite the proliferation and growing importance of such statutes, especially at the federal level. This omission was deliberate and in recognition of the fundamentally different nature of the judicial role and of lawmaking in areas governed by detailed statutes. Then in 2015, without much deliberation, the ALI embarked on the task of restating U.S. copyright law, an area dominated by a detailed federal statute. In so doing, the ALI ignored not just calls to revisit the form and method of its traditional Restatements but also the extensive history of the deep mismatch between the Restatements and statutory domains that has informed the working of the enterprise over the course of the last century.
Professor Balganesh will discuss his co-authored article, Restatements of Statutory Law: The Curious Case of the Restatement of Copyright, exploring the analytical and historical foundations of that mismatch and why perfunctory extension of the common law Restatement model to copyright law produces incoherent, misleading, and seemingly biased results that risks undermining the legitimacy of the eventual product. Professor Balganesh will also discuss how the mismatch is capable of being remedied by a series of modest—yet significant—changes, which could allow the project to serve as a template for future statutory Restatements.
Professor Balganesh writes and teaches in the areas of copyright law, intellectual property, and legal theory. He has written extensively on understanding how intellectual property and innovation policy can benefit from the use of ideas, concepts, and structures from different areas of the common law, especially private law. His recent work explores the interaction between copyright law and key institutional features of the American legal system. He is also working on a series of articles advancing an account of “legal internalism” that explains the shape and trajectory of legal thinking. Balganesh’s work has appeared in leading law journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. He is also a co-author of sections of the leading copyright law treatise Nimmer on Copyright.
Before joining the Columbia Law School faculty, Balganesh was a professor of law and co-director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Prior to that, he was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an articles and essays editor of the Yale Law Journal and a student fellow at the Information Society Project. Prior to that, he spent two years as a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, where he received a B.C.L. and M.Phil in 2017, he was elected a member of the American Law Institute, and since 2015 has served as an adviser to the Restatement of the Law, Copyright. Balganesh also has been recognized for his teaching: In 2017, he received the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching and, in 2015, the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course, both at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
February 10, 2021
Another Look at Fair Use: A Great Balancing Act
Aptly borrowing from Dr. Seuss, in the recently decided Ninth Circuit case Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. ComicMix, Judge McKeown wrote that “[f]air use analysis … is ‘a Great Balancing Act.’” Drawing on that theme, Judge Leval – whose 1990 Harvard Law Review article “Toward a Fair Use Standard” transformed fair use analysis – will speak to the importance of keeping the fair use balancing act in balance.
Pierre N. Leval is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is a graduate of Harvard College (‘58), and Harvard Law School (‘63), where he served as Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review. After clerking for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1963-64, Judge Leval served for four years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he was Chief of Appeals. During 1969-74, Judge Leval practiced, first as an associate, then a partner, at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, primarily in international finance and litigation. He then joined the District Attorney of New York County, serving as First Assistant and Chief Assistant. In 1977 he was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, where he served until his appointment to the Circuit in 1993.
January 13, 2021
Beyond Stairway to Heaven: Effects of the Ninth Circuit’s
En Banc Decision in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin
After six years of litigation and a jury trial, the Ninth Circuit’s en banc decision in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin confirmed that Led Zeppelin’s classic Stairway to Heaven is not infringing. But in reaching that result the en banc decision also ruled on multiple important copyright issues with broad potential application, and the decision immediately began affecting court decisions in this circuit and elsewhere. At our next meeting, Peter Anderson – the lead counsel representing Led Zeppelin – will discuss the decision and its ramifications, including the application of the decision’s selection-and-arrangement holding in non-music cases and the implications of its 1909 Act deposit copy ruling for 1976 Act works.
Peter Anderson is a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine’s Los Angeles office and has four decades of experience in copyright and entertainment litigation. Initially, his practice focused on representing plaintiffs in copyright infringement cases in the movie industry and, for example, represented the plaintiff in the Rear Window case, Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990), and in Woods v. Universal City Studios, 920 F. Supp. 62 (S.D.N.Y 1996), in which he obtained a preliminary injunction against the distribution of the motion picture, 12 Monkeys. Since then, he also has represented record companies, music publishers and recording artists. In addition to being lead counsel in the Stairway to Heaven litigation, Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, 952 F.3d 1051 (9th Cir. 2020), he successfully defended Green Day in Seltzer v. Green Day, 725 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir. 2013), and he has obtained summary judgments for multiple artists, record companies, and music publishers, including Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and others in Morrill v. Stefani, 338 F. Supp. 3d 1051 (C.D. Cal. 2018). He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and has been named a Top Music Lawyer by Billboard magazine, a “Trailblazer” in Intellectual Property by the National Law Journal, “MVP of the Year” in Media & Entertainment by Law 360, and one of the top IP lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.
December 6, 2020
Copyright Year in Review
We are pleased to have Professor Rebecca Tushnet join us to discuss the most important decisions in copyright law from 2020. Rebecca Tushnet is a professor of law at Harvard Law School. After clerking for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit and Associate Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court, she practiced intellectual property law at Debevoise & Plimpton before beginning teaching. Her publications include “Worth a Thousand Words: The Images of Copyright Law” (Harvard L. Rev. 2012); “Gone in 60 Milliseconds: Trademark Law and Cognitive Science” (Texas L. Rev. 2008); and “Copy This Essay: How Fair Use Doctrine Harms Free Speech and How Copying Serves It” (Yale L.J. 2004). Her work currently focuses on copyright, trademark and false advertising law. Her blog, at tushnet.blogspot.com, has been on the ABA’s Blawg 100 list of top legal blogs for the past three years. Professor Tushnet helped found the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and promoting fanworks, and currently volunteers on its legal committee. She is also an expert on the law of engagement rings.
November 10, 2020
When AI’s Teacher is Big Tech: The Intersection of AI, Antitrust and Copyright
On October 6, 2020, the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee released 400+ pages of findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, focusing especially on the business practices of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Two weeks later, the DOJ filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google. The House Committee report discusses "artificial intelligence" numerous times and explains how big tech firms collect and use data to power AI tools like smart home devices (e.g., Alexa), autonomous vehicles, and even less familiar but equally important tools in agriculture and health care.
Large data sets are essential for AI. Big tech has and can acquire comprehensive rights in essential data sets, potentially controlling certain AI tools. This talk examines the competition and copyright law issues surrounding big tech’s acquisition, use and licensing of data sets needed for AI tools.
Katherine B. Forrest is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, former U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. During her tenure on the bench, Ms. Forrest presided over several thousand cases, including over 100 trials. She authored more than 1,000 opinions and she sat by designation on the Second Circuit for dozens of appeals. Over the course of her 28-year career, she has been regarded as a leader in legal issues relating to technology, including the digital environment, high‑speed trading and content distribution (from both the content provider and distributor sides).
October 14, 2020
Substantial Confusion: The Ninth’s Circuit’s Approach to Early Dismissal of Literary Works Cases
With beaches, movie theaters and amusement parks closed for business, the Ninth Circuit spent its summer vacation deciding four substantial similarity cases involving “The Shape of Water,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Inside Out” and “Empire.” In unpublished opinions, the Court affirmed early dismissals in two of the cases, but reversed in the other two, leaving copyright lawyers and district court judges trying to make sense of it all.
On October 14, the Los Angeles Copyright Society will host a panel of experts who will explore the Ninth Circuit’s approach to substantial similarity, tackling such issues as when lawsuits can be dismissed prior to discovery, the role of expert witnesses, and the process district court judges may use to decide these cases going forward.
We’ll be joined by Elaine Kim, partner at Mitchell Silberberg who’s represented defendants in many substantial similarity matters, as well as Peter Afrasiabi, partner at One LLP who’s handled these cases on the plaintiffs’ side. Moderating the panel will be LACS immediate past president Aaron Moss, who chairs the litigation department at Greenberg Glusker and has covered these cases for his blog Copyright Lately.
September 9, 2020
Red, White and Blues: Music and Political Campaigns
It’s election season, so there’s no shortage of headlines about musicians complaining about the use of their music by politicians. A public complaint by a well-known artist is sometimes enough to resolve the matter, but in other cases it’s not and a lawsuit is filed. Why does this issue come up over and over again? Can campaigns get licenses? How does the DMCA factor in? And what about fair use?
Please join us for a lively discussion featuring Lawrence Iser, an attorney who has represented artists in these matters; Stuart Rosen of the performing rights organization BMI; and Ben Sheffner, a former adviser to a national campaign and blogger on this topic. The panel will be moderated by Jacqueline Charlesworth, who successfully litigated a precedential case in this area for a well-known musician.
March 11, 2020
Gorgeous photograph, limited copyright
Speaker: Justin Hughes
Copyright protection of photographs is shaped by the dual nature of photography as both creative expression and a system of recording reality. Starting with the Supreme Court’s 1884 Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony opinion, American courts have generally recognized sources of copyrightable expression in a photograph into three categories: [a] creative choices in constructing the scene; [b] creative choices in initial image capture, and [c] creative choices in manipulating the image. We will discuss what this legal framework means for modern practices, including how many photographic and audiovisual records may not merit copyright protection, how photojournalists will often have only “thin” copyright protection over their work, and why most selfies do get at least some copyright protection. We will also discuss how the “transformative use” analysis in fair use has threatened copyright in photography and how appellate courts have responded. Justin Hughes is the Hon. William Matthew Byrne Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he teaches intellectual property and international trade courses. Professor Hughes is the author of The Photographer’s Copyright – Photograph as Art, Photograph as Database (Harv. J. L. & Tech., 2012), cited by the Ninth Circuit in its recent Rentmeester v. Nike decision, as well as a forthcoming chapter on copyright in photography in THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO COPYRIGHT AND CREATIVITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY (forthcoming, 2020).
February 12, 2020
Not Trigonometry: Substantial Similarity and the Uncertain Future of the Inverse Ratio Rule
Courts are often asked to determine as a matter of law whether two works have so little in common that claims for copyright infringement can be dismissed at an early stage of the proceedings. Determinations about the proper role of facts, expert opinions, and the functions of judges and juries all come into play in such cases.
Some of the most high profile copyright cases before the Ninth Circuit in recent years that touch on these issues have also involved the so-called “inverse ratio rule.” The Ninth Circuit has struggled to answer whether and to what extent proof of access should lessen the degree of similarity necessary to make out a case of infringement.
This program will focus on recent decisions addressing the inverse ratio rule, substantive and procedural uncertainties the doctrine has created, prospects for clarification, and the reasons you should not ask your high school math teacher for copyright advice.
Laura W. Brill is a founding partner of Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP. A former law clerk to Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she is obsessed with copyright law and high school voter registration and generally prefers positive correlations to inverse ratios.
January 13, 2020
Year in Review
Join U.C. Davis Professor Betsy Rosenblatt as she discusses the most important decisions in copyright and media law from 2019. This is one of our most popular events of the year, so make sure to sign up early!
Betsy Rosenblatt is Visiting Professor of Law at U.C. Davis School of Law. At Davis, she teaches intellectual property courses including Copyright Law, Trademark Law, and Video Game Law, as well as Civil Procedure. She has also taught at Whittier Law School, USC Gould School of Law, UCLA Law School, and Loyola Law School (Los Angeles).After graduating from Harvard Law School, Professor Rosenblatt practiced intellectual property litigation with Irell & Manella in Los Angeles, where she specialized in the areas of entertainment, copyright, trademark, and patent law, and counseled and litigated on behalf of clients including MTV, Paramount, Mark Burnett, and others. She joined the Whittier Law faculty in 2009 and the U.C. Davis faculty in 2018. She also volunteers as the Chair of the Legal Committee of the Organization for Transformative Works (www.transformativeworks.org).
Professor Rosenblatt is a frequent speaker at scholarly conferences as well as more popular venues like San Diego Comic Con. Her scholarship focuses on intellectual property theory and intersections between intellectual property law and social justice. Her work has been published in the U.C. Irvine Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review, Florida Law Review, the Florida State Law Review, the DePaul Law Review, the Colorado Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, and the University of Ottawa Press, among others.
December 9, 2019
Making Sparks Fly: Creativity and Copyrightability in the Modern Era – A View from Inside the Copyright Office
Speaker: Catherine Zaller Rowland
Catherine Zaller Rowland, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Public Information and Education at the United States Copyright Office, will discuss what copyrightability means (what is a “spark”?) and how it applies to certain unique scenarios such as possible new classes of “works,” human authorship issues, and what is a sufficient level of originality for derivative works. Additionally, she will provide a window into the Copyright Office’s processes for registering works, including a discussion of the role of examiners, their training, what examiners do, the process of appeal, and other inner-workings of the Copyright Office that would be of interest to practitioners.Ms. Rowland oversees the Copyright Office’s Public Information and Education (“PIE”) as it provides authoritative information about the copyright law to the public and establishes educational programs. PIE publishes the copyright law and other provisions of Title 17; maintains a robust and accurate public website; creates and distributes a variety of circulars, information sheets, and newsletters, including NewsNet; responds to public inquiries regarding provisions of the law, explains registration policies, procedures, and other copyright-related topics upon request; plans and executes a variety of educational activities; and engages in outreach with various copyright community stakeholders.
Rowland joined the Office in 2010 as attorney-advisor for the Office of the General Counsel. From 2012 to 2015, she served as senior counsel for policy and international affairs. In February 2015, Rowland was appointed senior advisor to the United States Register of Copyrights. In that position, she assisted the Register on a full range of policy, legal, and governance issues relating to the United States Copyright Office and its agency responsibilities. Her duties have included a wide range of statutory and regulatory functions, including assisting with policy studies and rulemakings, representing the United States as a member of intergovernmental delegations at trade negotiations, and co-chairing public hearings.
Before joining the Office, she spent several years in private law practice in Washington, DC, where she represented a variety of companies in intellectual property matters. Rowland began her legal career as a law clerk for the Hon. N. Carlton Tilley Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Rowland earned her JD from William and Mary Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. She earned her BA in political science from American University.
November 11, 2019
The Future of Audio Content: Navigating the Business and Legal Landscape
Speaker: Jon Kurland
Over the last decade, podcasts and other audio content have catapulted from a relatively niche position into the American mainstream, with over one-third of Americans listening to spoken-word audio content on a monthly basis and a quarter listening on a weekly basis. Consumers are spending a lot of time listening to audio, with the average podcast listener spending more than 6+ hours immersed in the medium, according to Edison Research. As this trend continues to grow, it has led to the proliferation of original podcast and spoken-word content in addition to significant market activity and investment from emerging and established media companies. With the growth of this burgeoning industry has come the evolution of legal and business standards in real time to suit the needs of creators and media companies alike. With that in mind, this meeting will aim to unpack emerging standards in the audio space by analyzing common deal structures, monetization strategies, rights negotiation tactics, production standards, and potential areas for legal risk. Discussion will also focus on the opportunities presented by audio content production as a means for the entertainment industry to develop derivative IP in innovative ways. Jon Kurland, Corporate Counsel for Original Content at Amazon/Audible Jon Kurland works in original content at Amazon, where he structures and negotiates a wide variety of deals for Audible and its associated content partners. In that capacity, he works on all aspects of content creation, production, and distribution, including in connection with original audio projects from such creators as Billy Crystal, Reese Witherspoon, T Bone Burnett, John Lithgow, Patti Smith, and others. He previously worked in entertainment law private practice, where he regularly advised clients in the film, television and new media industries, and served as outside counsel on such productions as Suburbicon (Paramount, 2017), Get Me Roger Stone (Netflix, 2017), Hold the Dark (Netflix, 2018), and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (Netflix, 2018). Jon has also represented award-winning musical performing artists including Kanye West, Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Nick Jonas, and Demi Lovato in connection with their transactional legal and business affairs. Jon also serves on the board of directors for No Longer Empty, an arts organization dedicated to reinvigorating urban spaces through contemporary art, as well as PCI Media, which serves as agency of record for UNICEF and works to embed socially responsibly messaging in global forms of media. He also served on the Digital Art Committee for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Jon graduated summa cum laude as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar from the University of Pennsylvania, and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
October 14, 2019
Substantial Similarity and Junk Science: Reconstructing the Test of Copyright Infringement
Speaker: Robert F. Helfing
Are you frustrated by the uncertainty of the test of copyright infringement and the frequency of controversial results in copyright disputes? In explaining the shortcomings of “substantial similarity” as the standard of infringement, the speaker challenges some of the fundamental assumptions of copyright law and describes a new test of infringement, designed to directly identify copied content and predictably evaluate it for infringement. Robert F. Helfing is currently an adjunct associate professor of copyright law at Southwestern Law School. Formerly, he was a senior partner and chairperson of the IP litigation practice of Sedgwick LLP. Mr. Helfing wrote and argued the appeals in the frequently cited Ninth Circuit cases on substantial similarity in motion picture infringement cases, Metcalf v. Bochco, 294 F.3d 1069 (9 th Cir. 2002) and Funky Films, Inc. v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., 462 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. 2006). He has also written amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit regarding the copyright infringement test. His article, Substantial Similarity in Literary Infringement Cases: A Chart for Turbid Waters, was published in the UCLA Entertainment Law Review. His article on the topic of this presentation will shortly be published by the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.
Download Documents: Reading Materials
September 11, 2019
Beyond the Headlines: What’s Really Going on in the WGA/Talent Agency Dispute
Speaker: Jonathan Handel
Almost a year and a half ago, the WGA sent a termination letter that started a 12 month clock and launched the entire entertainment industry into uncharted waters. Writers without agents seemed as unlikely as, well, writers without laptops or agents without LaCroix. But the issues actually stretch back decades and, so, here we are; and here they are, lobbing antitrust allegations at each other in federal court. This presentation will go behind the scenes and look at what’s really at stake — it’s more than just the marquee issues of packaging fees and affiliate production — and try to divine how it will all end up, and when. We can’t promise answers, but enlightenment is on the agenda. Jonathan Handel is an entertainment and technology attorney at TroyGould and a contributing editor at The Hollywood Reporter, where he has written about 1,200 articles in the last nine years on entertainment labor, legal issues, workplace matters, and other business topics. He teaches courses on the guilds and other entertainment subjects as an adjunct at USC and Southwestern law schools and has written four books on entertainment labor. His writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Business Journal, Daily Journal and Forbes.com and he has appeared in the media as an expert commentator over 1,100 times. Handel is a graduate of Harvard College (magna cum laude in applied math and computer science) and Harvard Law School (cum laude).
June 12, 2019
The Second Annual Jamie Lichtman Members’ Soirée
Speaker: Bob Gale in Conversation with past LACS president David Aronoff
JBob is an Oscar-nominated Screenwriter-Producer-Director, best known as co-creator, co-writer and co-producer of Back to the Future and its sequels. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Bob graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Cinema from the University of Southern California where he met and began his association with his long-time collaborator, Robert Zemeckis. Bob has written or co-written over 30 screenplays and his other film credits include 1941, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Used Cars, Trespass and Interstate 60, the latter which he directed. In addition to his film and television work, and being the “Gatekeeper” for the BTTF Franchise, Bob has written comic books including Spider-Man, Batman and IDW’s Back to the Future title, thus proving to his father that he did not waste hours and hours reading comics in his youth. (Bob’s father was the prominent St. Louis attorney Mark Gale of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale). Bob has also served as an expert witness in over 25 plagiarism lawsuits, even though this has occasionally required him to wear a suit and tie. The upcoming Back to the Future The Musical is his first foray into writing for the stage.
May 08, 2019
50-Year Retrospective of the Los Angeles Copyright Society
Speaker: David Nimmer
he year was 1969. Bell bottoms were in. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid dominated the box office, but Midnight Cowboy won Best Picture. The Copyright Act of 1909 remained in effect, although the process of legislative revision was then in its fourteenth year. And the Los Angeles Copyright Society held its inaugural meeting. A lot has happened in fifty years. Happily, David Nimmer is prepared to condense it all into one hour! His talk will present a history of the five decades of LACS, with parallel coverage of major copyright events. It may even include snippets from past LACS presidents to supply a framework on which Prof. Nimmer can hang his exegesis. Rumor even has it that he himself began work on this project way back in 1969, just to assure the most comprehensive coverage possible. David Nimmer serves as Of Counsel to the Los Angeles law firm of Irell & Manella LLP, where he has represented clients in the entertainment, publishing and high technology fields—examples being his advocacy of Amazon.com before Judge Denny Chin in successfully opposing the Google Books Settlement, and twice as co-counsel before the U.S. Supreme Court (each resulting in a unanimous opinion on behalf of his clients). His other hat is as Professor from Practice at the UCLA School of Law and as a guest professor teaching copyright seminars at various universities around the United States and abroad. He delivered a talk at TEDxRoma in 2017 and has given congressional testimony three times, as well as parliamentary testimony in Sydney, Australia. He has authored over thirty law review articles; since 1985, he has authored and comprehensively updated Nimmer on Copyright, the standard reference treatise in the field, first published in 1963 by his late father, Professor Melville B. Nimmer. Cases within the United States have relied on Nimmer on Copyright as authority in over 3,500 judicial opinions.
April 10, 2019
Secondary Liability: Lessons Learned From BMG v. Cox
Speaker: Michael J. Allan
Join us on April 10, 2019 for when we will hear about the current state of secondary liability law in the copyright context from Michael Allan, partner at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. Michael, who heads the firm’s copyright practice, was the lead counsel in BMG v Cox—the first case in which content holders filed suit to hold an ISP liable for direct infringement committed by its subscribers. Michael also represented BMG in similar cases against ISPs Windstream and RCN.
Michael will discuss the current state of contributory and vicarious infringement, application of these claims in the BMG v Cox case, and other key cases since the Supreme Court issued its opinions in the Sony / Betamax case 35 years ago. The discussion will address key concepts such as “material contribution”, “inducement” and the role of “willful blindness”, and to what extent those key legal concepts have evolved over time. The discussion will also touch on the future of secondary liability and lessons learned from BMG v. Cox and other recent cases.
March 13, 2019
Video Game Law – The Biggest Game in Town
Speaker: Dan Nabel
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce observed that video games now generate more revenue than movies, music and books – combined. In the past few years, Candy Crush surpassed 400 million active monthly users; Supercell generated more than $5 million per day from free-to-play games; and Grand Theft Auto 5 outsold the entire global music industry, by itself, in September 2013, earning $1 billion in its first three days of sales. Even watching video games has changed dramatically. More people now watch the League of Legends finals than the NBA finals. Few, if any entertainment industries, have brighter futures.
On March 13, 2019, we will hear about cutting edge copyright issues from recent and ongoing video game cases from Dan Nabel, Principal Counsel at Riot Games. Professor Nabel teaches Video Game Law at USC Gould and co-authored Video Game Law in a Nutshell (West Academic, 2018). He began his practice as a litigator at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger and served for a year as the director for USC Gould’s Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic before moving in-house.
February 13, 2019
HOW TO KEEP CONTENT SAFE WHEN IT TRAVELS TO THE EUROPEAN UNION (AND IN PARTICULAR FRANCE)
Axel aus der Mühlen Memorial Lecture on International Law
Speaker: Eléonore Gaspar
Please join our conversation with Eléonore Gaspar where she will cover critical IP issues US lawyers need to be aware of when their clients make or distribute content, or products, in Europe. Eléonore will touch on copyright, trademark, title and moral rights issues, how to protect your clients from claims, and how to spot key IP issues that US lawyers may not be aware of in France and in the European Union generally. For example, did you know that France has specific provisions to protect titles, either by copyright if they are original or in any case against the use of a work of the same genre if it creates confusion? Be cautious also about close-ups on architectural works which can be protected by copyright while freedom of panorama exception has not been implemented in all European countries. Moral rights can always be an issue as they are considered to be international public policy, and French courts will consider they have jurisdiction to rule on a potential breach of moral rights if the movie is distributed in France. You may however be reassured to know that European courts now tend to strike a fair balance between IP rights and fundamental rights and especially freedom of expression and creation. Eléonore will also discuss what US lawyers need to think about when their clients acquire rights from French authors because the standard US-work made for hire agreement with a moral rights waiver may not cut it.
Eléonore Gaspar is a partner at the Parisian law firm Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés (DTMV) and regularly represents motion picture studios and distributors for clearance, contracts and litigation on copyright and trademark matters. She represents her clients before French courts, trademark offices and before the Court of Justice of the EU. Eléonore is the president of the French Group of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and the chair of AIPPI’s Standing Committee on Trademarks. She is a frequent lecturer on copyright and trademark topics. She was voted Best Lawyer in Media for France by Best Lawyers in 2017.
January 09, 2019
The Year in Copyright: 2018
Speaker: Jack Lerner
Join UC Irvine law professor and two-time LACS Trustee Jack Lerner for a tour through significant developments in copyright law during 2018. From the controversial decision in Gaye v. Williams, to the passage of the Music Modernization Act, to numerous lower court decisions on fair use, 2018 changed the copyright landscape, leaving us much to discuss. In this wide-ranging talk, Professor Lerner will review these important developments and many more with an eye to their long- and short-term ramifications
Professor Lerner is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law and Director of the UCI Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic. Professor Lerner works to find solutions to problems at the intersection of law and technology, particularly how technology law and policy affect creative expression and innovation. He has written and spoken widely on copyright, privacy and other areas of technology law. In 2016, Professor Lerner was named “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” for his work obtaining exemptions to copyright law in ways that affect filmmakers and authors nationwide.
Before joining UC Irvine School of Law in 2014, Professor Lerner was Clinical Professor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law and Director of the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, and he was a Clinic Fellow at the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.
Since 2008, Professor Lerner has been Executive Editor of the award-winning treatise Internet Law and Practice in California (CEB). Among Professor Lerner’s recent publications are “Secondary Copyright Infringement and User-Generated Content” in The Oxford Handbook of Intermediary Liability Online (G. Frosio, Ed.) (Oxford University Press) (forthcoming 2019), “Law Enforcement Investigations Involving Journalists,” in National Security Leaks, Whistleblowers, and the Media(Rosenzweig, McNulty & Shearer, Eds.) (ABA 2014) (with Bar-Nissim) and “The Duty of Confidentiality in the Surveillance Age,” 17 J. Internet L. 1 (2014) (with Frank, Lee, Wade). See more of Professor Lerner’s publications at his UC Irvine profile.
He practiced IP law with the Palo Alto, Calif., firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.
December 12, 2018
ART IN THE HOOD: GRAFFITI, ARCHITECTURE, STREET ART, COPYRIGHT AND DMCA
Speakers: Lou Petrich, Alexandra Darraby
Join LA Copyright Society in a discussion with Lou Petrich and Alexandra Darraby exploring boundaries of “saving” street graffiti vs. rights of property owners to control their domains and investments. Start the holidays with an “all points” conversation about copyright and art from the “hoods”—and that means everyone’s neighborhood—as street art turns up in movies, television, on social media and web sites as programming, corporate advertising and merchandising, viewed globally by millions. Lou and Alexandra will discuss 2018 cases as well as the latest thinking on unlicensed use of art and increasing reliance by plaintiffs on DMCA Section 1202.
Whether tattoos, graffiti, murals, buildings or sculptures are involved, the stakes are high. In Cohen v. G&M Realty, LLC (the 5 Pointz case named for location) a New York federal district court awarded $6.75 million to a group of graffiti artists after the developer demolished “curated” street art on his building, which had become a tourist attraction over the years.
Lou Petrich is a member of the Los Angeles law firm of Leopold, Petrich & Smith, P.C., and regularly represents motion picture studios, and television producers in reviewing scripts for copyright, trademark, defamation, privacy and right of publicity risks. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Trial Lawyers and has argued copyright infringement cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits and defended copyright infringement cases in numerous federal district courts throughout the country.
Alexandra Darraby is a founder and principal of The Art Law Firm, counsel to creative sectors in the arts, architecture, new media, internet, theatre, performance, technology, entertainment, fashion, publishing, and nonprofits. As advisor to pioneering clients, and as a former gallerist and director of contemporary art in the international market, Ms. Darraby has expertise in innovative strategies on intellectual property, copyright, technology, publishing, realty, tax, development, production, distribution and licensing for start-ups, traditional and internet clients in multidisciplinary fields. A specialist for the U.S. Department of State, she was assigned to Russia to meet with major museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Ms. Darraby Co-Chaired the Intellectual Property Legal Frameworks in the Innovation Working Group for the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. She held two terms as Chair of International Intellectual Property Committee and chaired the New Media Committee. A keynote speaker in many countries, Ms. Darraby has had comments published in The New York Times, LA Times, NPR, Smithsonian, World Report and MSNBC.com, among others. Her book, published by Thomson Reuters West, is the seminal, comprehensive legal treatise ART, AARTIFACT, ARCHITECTURE & MUSEUM LAW, VOLUMES 1 & 2, now in its 20th edition in print and online.
November 14, 2018
Fox News Network, LLC v. TV Eyes, Inc.
Speaker: Dale Cendali, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Please join us for a fascinating discussion about the future of fair use with Kirkland & Ellis partner Dale Cendali. Dale recently won a sweeping victory for her client Fox News in Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., when the Second Circuit held on appeal on February 27, 2018 that TVEyes’ use of Fox News’ video clips was not a fair use.
Dale Cendali is a nationally recognized leader in the field of intellectual property litigation, having successfully litigated and tried numerous high-profile cases, and having argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Her practice encompasses copyright, trademark, false advertising, patent, Internet, and trade secrets law, as well as defamation, the right of publicity, privacy, and complex contract disputes. Dale heads the Copyright, Trademark, Internet and Advertising practice group at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
The National Law Journal selected her as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” Law360 named Dale one of the 25 “Icons of IP,” who have “made an indelible mark in the IP area,” as well as a “Media and Entertainment MVP.” She was also named on the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Lawyers 2018: Hollywood’s Top 100 Attorneys.” Dale has repeatedly been ranked as a “top tier” lawyer by Chambers Global and Chambers USA, which describes her as “one of the best lawyers in the country” in her field. In 2018, Dale was recognized as “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer, for winning two copyright cases on the same day in both the Ninth and Second Circuits. The World Trademark Review named Dale a “revered branding expert” who “remains keenly engaged in the development of the law;” “at the top of anybody’s list of the best trademark lawyers in the country.” Euromoney Legal Media Group has also named Dale as both “Best in Copyright” and “Best in Trademark” in the Americas at its Women in Business Law Awards, and she was named an Outstanding Litigator in New York, as well as one of the Top 10 Women in IP by Managing Intellectual Property. She also has repeatedly been named by Super Lawyers among “The Top 100 New York Lawyers” and “The Top 50 Female New York Lawyers,” and was profiled in the feature story “Truth, Justice and the Cendali Way” in the 2007 New York Metro edition of Super Lawyers Magazine.
She is also a prolific writer and editor, and has long been active in the bar. She co-edited the ABA’s Copyright Litigation Strategies Handbook and was contributing editor of Chambers Global’s Guide to Trade Marks. For over 15 years, she has co-authored the Copyright chapter of West’s volume Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel. In 2010, INTA elected Dale to serve as Counsel, the highest-ranking position in the organization for an outside counsel. She has also INTA’s Dilution, Enforcement, and Copyright Committees and is the current chair of INTA’s copyright policy group. Dale has held numerous other leadership positions in the bar, including serving as Vice Chair of the Copyright Division and chair of the IP Special Issues Division for the IP Section of the ABA, as well as on Council for the ABA IP Section. Among other positions, Dale is head of the IP Council of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and is the former Chair of the New York City Bar’s Trademarks and Unfair Competition Committee. In 2015 Dale was selected as an Adviser for The American Law Institute’s project, Restatement of the Law, Copyright.
Dale also has long been an adjunct professor at Harvard Law School, teaching a full-semester class each fall about copyright and trademark litigation.
October 10, 2018
Filtering Films: What Consumers Would Cut if Only They Could
Speaker: Professor Doug Lichtman, UCLA School of Law
In 2016, the technology startup VidAngel offered a movie streaming service that empowered users to mute potentially offensive audio and cut potentially offensive video from Hollywood films. Copyright litigation forced VidAngel’s service offline in December of that year. But, in the preceding eleven-and-a-half months, VidAngel managed to transmit roughly four million filtered streams and, for each of them, to record not only which filters were applied, but also how many minutes of the resulting film each user then watched. In this talk, Professor Lichtman will use the VidAngel data to examine the market for filtered motion picture content. Are filters used primarily to filter intimacy or violence? Are users more likely filter the word “f*ck” or the word “Christ”? And how do filters impact a viewer’s overall experience, for example as measured by how much of the movie they in the end choose to watch?
Doug Lichtman is a tenured professor of law at UCLA. He joined the faculty in 2007, having previously spent ten years teaching and writing at the University of Chicago. His areas of specialty are patent law and copyright law. Lichtman’s academic work has been featured in journals including the Journal of Law & Economics, the Yale Law Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. He also writes for mainstream publications like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Lichtman maintains an active consulting practice, advising Fortune 100 clients and major institutional investors on patent, copyright and antitrust strategy. He also manages a private litigation finance fund. Professor Lichtman has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, and a JD from Yale Law School. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
September 05, 2018
Movie Censorship: Then and Now – How Hollywood fought state censors to win broader First Amendment rights for all.
Speaker: Jeremy Geltzer
Please join us for an evening of risqué business as we focus on the history and current state of film censorship with Jeremy Geltzer. While many industry attorneys are immersed in the mechanics of production and distribution, few appreciate how Hollywood played a vital role in expanding civil liberties and the legal interpretation of First Amendment rights.
From the earliest days of movie making, kissing couples, scantily clad boxers, and liberated female-flappers aggravated moral authorities. Today’s censorship impacts unfavorable political speech (i.e., Citizens United v. FEC), Ag Gag (i.e., Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert (9th Cir., 2017)), tax credits (Machete Prods. v. Page (5th Cir., 2016)), and more. On the international stage, content regulations in China, India, and the EU even more directly impact filmmaking at major studios.
Jeremy, a long time member of the Copyright Society, has worked in house at Paramount Pictures, and on extended contracts at ABC, Amazon Studios, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Prior to his legal career he wrote and produced interstitial documentaries at Turner Classic Movies, interviewing classic stars such as Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Charleton Heston, and Ann Miller. Jeremy is the author of several books, including “Dirty Words & Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment,” “Film Censorship in America: a State-By-State History,” “Latino Hollywood,” and “Race Films: Independent African American Filmmaking.”
A life long lover of movies, Jeremy promises to deliver passion for film, edgy and controversial discussion, and thought provoking legal context to First Amendment issues affecting the business of filmmaking.
June 11, 2018
The First Annual Jamie Lichtman Members’ Soirée
Speaker: Bill Patry, in Conversation with Jim Gladstone
Please join us for an informal conversation with Bill Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, author of the treatise “Patry on Copyright” (among other books), and former Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights and copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary. Bill will talk about how he came to copyright law (after obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees in music composition), the invaluable assistance he received from the past greats of the copyright bar, including Herman Finkelstein (then General Counsel of ASCAP), Alan Latman, Mel Nimmer, and Barbara Ringer, and how Jack Valenti was the inspiration for his book “Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars.”
A Northern Californian from Tiburon, Bill began his career as a copyright lawyer in Washington DC with the firm of Paskus, Gordon & Hyman, working for Jon Baumgarten, a former General Counsel of the Copyright Office. The firm represented the MPAA, the Association of American Publishers, the National Music Publishers, and other trade associations representing the content industry. With the closing of Paskus’ DC office, Bill became a Policy Planning Advisor to the Register of Copyrights, where he worked on U.S. joining the Berne Convention, NAFTA, and cases before the Supreme Court such as Feist and Stewart v. Abend. After his work with the Copyright Office, Bill became copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary. After the huge 1994 shake-up in the House, Bill moved to Manhattan, where he was a full-time law professor at the Cardozo School of Law from 1995-2000, and then in private practice. He joined Google in October 2006..
Bill is the author of many books, including the seven-volume “Patry on Copyright,” “Patry on Fair Use” (in print since 1985), “Latman’s The Copyright Law,” numerous law review articles, and two general audience books, “How to Fix Copyright” (Oxford University Press 2011), and “Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars” (Oxford University Press 2009), both of which he regrets writing. His works have been cited in 11 different Supreme Court cases and approximately 400 lower court opinions, but he would rather be riding a bike up Mt. Tam than reading copyright cases.
May 14, 2018
Copyright Misuse or Doctrine Abuse – Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC
Speaker: Robert Rotstein
Historically, the courts have shown great reluctance to apply the oft-raised but rarely successful copyright-misuse defense. Please join us for an interactive presentation about the misuse defense and its application (and non-application), including a discussion of the recent district court opinion in Disney Enterprises, Inc., v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC. Through a series of hypothetical scenarios, Bob Rotstein will trace the history of the misuse defense and address whether the Redbox opinion is an outlier or rather signals a new judicial willingness to apply the defense.
Robert Rotstein is an entertainment attorney with over thirty five years of experience in the industry. He is a co-chair of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Entertainment & IP Litigation Practice Group. Mr. Rotstein specializes in litigation with a focus on intellectual property and technology, copyright, and entertainment matters. He has represented all of the major motion picture studios and many well-known writers, producers, directors, and musicians. Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Rotstein has represented clients such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, John Sayles, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and James Cameron (e.g. obtaining summary judgment for Cameron and his company in a lawsuit involving Cameron’s blockbuster motion picture Avatar).
Mr. Rotstein received his J.D. from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, graduating Order of the Coif and served as an editor on the UCLA Law Review. Upon graduation from law school, Robert served as a judicial law clerk to now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, then Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Rotstein also authored a law review article in the Chicago Kent Law Review entitled “Beyond Mataphor: Copyright Infringement and the Fiction of the Work,” 68 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 725 (1992) that explores the relationship between literary theory and copyright law, and has also taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in teaching Copyright Law.
Robert Rotstein, with James Patterson, is the author of The Family Lawyer, the title story of the New York Times bestselling collection. Mr. Rotstein has written Corrupt Practices, Reckless Disregard, and The Bomb Maker’s Son. His forthcoming novel We, the Jury, a psychological drama, is scheduled to be released by Blackstone Publishing in early 2019.
April 09, 2018
The Black Hole of the First Amendment and the Right of Publicity
Speaker: Professor Jennifer Rothman
Please join us for an insightful presentation about the increasingly frequent clash between the right of publicity and the First Amendment. Professor Rothman will discuss recent litigation of particular relevance to the film, television, and video game industries, including a discussion of the recently-decided California Court of Appeal case Olivia de Havilland v. FX Networks. Rothman filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of Intellectual Property and Constitutional Law Professors, and participated in oral arguments. She will discuss insights from her forthcoming book, The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World (Harvard University Press 2018), for resolving these conflicts, particularly in the context of expressive works.
Rothman is a Professor of Law and the Joseph Scott Fellow at Loyola Law School, in Los Angeles. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute, and an affiliated fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. She is nationally recognized for her scholarship on intellectual property and constitutional law. Her website, Rothman’s Roadmap to the Right of Publicity, www.rightofpublicityroadmap.com, is the go-to place for information on the right of publicity. Her forthcoming book The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for the Public World, published by Harvard University Press, challenges the conventional story of the right’s development, and considers how a better understanding of how it developed can solve a host of today’s challenges. Before embarking on her legal career, Rothman received an M.F.A. from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and worked in the film industry.
Rothman received her J.D. from UCLA, where she graduated first in her class and won the Jerry Pacht Memorial Constitutional Law Award for her scholarship in that field. Rothman served as law clerk to the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco and then practiced as an entertainment and intellectual property litigator in Los Angeles at Irell & Manella.
March 12, 2018
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CHINESE COPYRIGHT AND ENTERTAINMENT LAW: ARE U.S. AND CHINESE LAW AND PRACTICE CONVERGING? Axel aus der Mühlen Memorial Lecture on International Law
Speaker: Dr. Seagull Haiyan Song
The entertainment industry in China has undergone rapid growth in recent years. Please join us for a fascinating discussion of the trends that are emerging in Chinese entertainment law, including the substantial similarity test in copyright infringement analysis, protection of movie titles and story characters through trademark and anti-unfair competition law, protection of rights to privacy and reputation, and the treatment of freedom of speech and the public’s right to information. Chinese courts’ decisions and reasoning are showing signs that Chinese and U.S. law may be converging, which will have far-reaching implications in China’s entertainment industry for years to come.
Dr. Seagull Haiyan Song is a law professor, practicing attorney and published author. She is the leading authority in the field of US-China entertainment law and intellectual property law. Dr. Song currently serves as Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells LLP, and Founding Director at Asia-America Law Institute at Loyola Law School LA. She also teaches entertainment law at Peking University School of Law, China Renmin University School of Law and Beijing Film Academy.
Dr. Song has practiced law in mainland China, Hong Kong and the United States for over twenty years. Before joining the academic world in 2012, Dr. Song was Senior Counsel with Disney, overseeing the company’s intellectual property division in the Asia Pacific region, a consultant with Arnold & Porter LLP, and a partner with King and Wood Mallesons, heading the intellectual property practice of the firm’s Shanghai Office. Dr. Song has been acclaimed as an “Asia Law Leading Lawyer” in the field of intellectual property law for five years since 2006. Dr. Song was honored by the Asia Society as a rising Asian leader through its Asia21 Fellows program and later was invited to be a Board Director and Executive Committee member of the Asia Society Southern California Center and also Co-Chair of the US-China Film Summit Committee.
Dr. Song has published numerous books and articles in the field of US-China intellectual property law and entertainment law. Her recent books include: Entertainment Law (The Commercial Press, 2nd ed., 2018), the first leading treatise on the subject of entertainment law in China; Transnational Intellectual Property Law (Edward Elgar, 2018, co-authoring with Prof. Robert Merges); Selected Chinese Patent Cases, co-authoring with Chinese Supreme People’s Court (Wolters Kluwer, 2014); New Challenges of Chinese Copyright Law (Kluwer Law International, 2011) etc. Dr. Song is also one of the five participating U.S. experts in the 2013 US-China IP Dialogue White Paper, co-released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and China Renmin University. Dr. Song is a frequent speaker around the world on U.S.-China intellectual property and entertainment law issues and recent developments.
Dr. Song received her first LL.M degree from Hong Kong University and her second LL.M and J.S.D (Doctorate of the Science of Law) from University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is admitted to the Bar of People’s Republic of China and the California Bar of the United States.
February 12, 2018
COPYRIGHT & MEDIA DEVELOPMENTS 2017: THE BIG PICTURE
Speaker: Jay Dougherty, Professor of Law and Director, Entertainment & Media Law Institute, Loyola Law School
Join Loyola Law School Professor and former Society President Jay Dougherty for a tour through important decisions in copyright and media law in the last year. From cross-border authorship and transmission cases to fair use, idea protection, trademark and docudrama issues, 2017 has left us with much to discuss and some cases to watch in 2018 as well.
Jay is currently a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he teaches Copyright Law, Entertainment Law and related courses and is Director of its Entertainment & Media Law Institute and Concentration Program. He also is Senior Counsel to Hogan Lovells US LLC. Prof. Dougherty has worked in the Entertainment Department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, the Motion Picture/Television/Music Departments of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles, the legal departments at United Artists Pictures and MGM Pictures and the business affairs department of Morgan Creek Productions. Professor Dougherty moved to the legal department of Twentieth Century Fox, where he became Senior Vice-President, Motion Picture Production and Worldwide Acquisition Legal Affairs. Prior to Loyola, he was Assistant General Counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, responsible for Turner Pictures. Professor Dougherty joined full-time academia at Loyola in 1997, receiving tenure in 2003. He is a professional rock guitarist.
Prof. Dougherty received his B.A. from Yale (magna cum laude), and his J.D. with honors from Columbia University School of Law. He was President of the Los Angeles Copyright Society in 1996-97 and was Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Country Bar Association’s Entertainment Law & Intellectual Property Section in 2012-13, and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the L.A. Branch of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. His articles on authorship of motion pictures and the conflict between freedom of speech and the right of publicity have been published in major law reviews. He became Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. in 2008, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief. He has received awards from the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel. His recent writings include “The Misapplication of ‘Mastermind’: A Mutant Species of Work for Hire and the Mystery of Disappearing Copyrights” and “Now You Own It, Now You Don’t—Or Do You?: Copyright and Related Rights in Magic Productions and Performances.”
January 08, 2018
Authorship in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Speakers: Kelly Klaus and Anjan Choudhury
Section 102(a) tells us: “Copyright protection subsists … in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” But what does authorship mean in a world where non-humans – computers, robots, even crested macaques – can and do play significant roles in creating expressive works? Kelly Klaus and Anjan Choudhury will ring in the new year with a discussion of developments in technology, the Copyright Office, and copyright litigation – including, of course, the celebrated “Monkey Selfie” case.
Kelly and Anjan are litigators at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where they specialize in copyright, media, and entertainment matters.
Kelly, a Trustee of LACS, regularly represents and counsels the major motion picture studios and recorded music companies, as well as a variety of other copyright owners. Kelly currently represents, among others, the plaintiff studios in infringement and DMCA litigation against the VidAngel streaming service; the members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment in infringement litigation against the TickBox TV service; Warner Bros. and TMZ in copyright litigation filed by Jared Leto; and Universal Music in an antitrust action challenging the pricing of digital downloads. Within the last few years, Kelly has tried cases for SoundExchange (the digital performance rights organization) before the Copyright Royalty Board in the statutory webcasting rate-setting proceeding; and the NCAA in the O’Bannon antitrust litigation. Kelly has been recognized by numerous publications, including The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Journal, and Law 360 as one of the leading practitioners in the copyright and entertainment area. Kelly received his B.A. from UCLA and his J.D. from Stanford. He joined Munger, Tolles in 1996, after clerking for Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
Anjan’s recent experience includes representing Fox’s studio and network entities in contingent compensation disputes brought by executives and talent on the television series Bones; SoundExchange in the webcasting rate proceeding; and Warner Bros. in a contingent compensation dispute with Sylvester Stallone’s loan-out company. Anjan regularly counsels record companies and studios on legal issues arising from evolving models of digital distribution. He regularly speaks at industry conferences and webinars on these subjects, including presentations at South By Southwest, Digital Hollywood, the Harvard Law School Association, and Stafford CLE Webinars. Anjan was named an “Up Next” rising star in entertainment litigation in Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report; and one of 2016’s “Best Under 40” lawyers in the country by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Anjan received his B.A. from George Washington University and his J.D. from Harvard. After graduation, Anjan clerked for Judge Berzon on the Ninth Circuit.
December 11, 2017
Music Licensing: A Medley of Chart-Topping Issues
Speaker: Jacqueline C. Charlesworth
Jacqueline Charlesworth will present hot topics in music licensing. Come and tune in to hear the latest in the ongoing debate over the DOJ’s 100% licensing mandate for ASCAP and BMI, an update on recent developments in litigation over pre-72 sound recordings, and efforts to modernize the mechanical compulsory license.
Jacqueline C. Charlesworth, an attorney at the law firm Covington & Burling, practices intellectual property law, with an emphasis on copyright issues. Before joining Covington’s New York office, she served for three years as General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.
While at the Copyright Office, Ms. Charlesworth had primary responsibility for interpretation of the U.S. Copyright Act. As General Counsel she oversaw a wide range of litigation, legislative, regulatory, and policy matters, including the Office’s participation in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, rulemaking proceedings under the DMCA and other provisions, legal review of Copyright Royalty Board decisions, the administration of statutory cable, satellite, and music licenses, and copyright registration and termination issues. She also advised Congress on copyright-related legislation and policy concerns.
Before joining the Copyright Office, Ms. Charlesworth was in private practice, where she handled IP-related litigation and transactional matters. Prior to that, she served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Music Publishers’ Association and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Harry Fox Agency.
Ms. Charlesworth received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was an Executive Committee Editor of The Yale Law Journal and a founding member of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
November 13, 2017
Beyond Registration: The U.S. Copyright Office’s Role in Copyright Law and Policy
Speaker: Sarang (Sy) Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights for the U.S. Copyright Office
In recent years, with increased attention to copyright issues in Congress, the courts, and the public at large, the U.S. Copyright Office has played a critical role in ensuring that sound legal and policy principles are kept at the fore. Through its policy and advisory work for Congress, its participation in international trade and treaty negotiations, its creation of educational programs and resources, its promulgation of rulemaking and regulatory guidance, and its involvement in copyright litigation, the Copyright Office is at the center of every major copyright issue today.
Sarang (Sy) Damle, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights for the U.S. Copyright Office, will discuss the Office’s responsibilities, focusing in particular on its recent policy and litigation work. As general counsel, Mr. Damle provides legal guidance to the various divisions and programs of the Office, and he is frequently called upon by congressional offices, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other federal agencies for advice and assistance on copyright and other intellectual property laws.
Previously, Mr. Damle was an appellate litigator at the Department of Justice, where he served as lead counsel in over 40 appeals and participated in a number of high-profile Supreme Court matters, with a focus on intellectual property, administrative law, and separation of powers issues. Mr. Damle has been recognized by the National Law Journal for his work, both as one of the top “40 under 40” minority lawyers in the United States, and as one of “DC’s Rising Stars.”
Mr. Damle began his legal career as a law clerk to the Hon. Sandra L. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He received his JD from the University of Virginia, where he graduated first in his class. He also holds engineering and business degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a software developer and information technology consultant prior to attending law school.
October 09, 2017
JONATHAN TAPLIN DISCUSSES HIS RECENT BOOK, “MOVE FAST AND BREAK THINGS: HOW FACEBOOK, GOOGLE AND AMAZON CORNERED CULTURE AND UNDERMINED DEMOCRACY”
Speaker: Jonathan Taplin
Join us for a fascinating evening as Taplin discusses what has been described as a “stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the internet by Google, Facebook and Amazon and proposes a new future for musicians, journalists, authors and filmmakers in the digital age.”
Jonathan Taplin is director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and was professor at the USC Annenberg School from 2003-2016. He began his entertainment career as tour manager for Bob Dylan and The Band and was producer of numerous films, including The Last Waltz, Mean Streets, and To Die For, as well as 26 hours of television documentaries. Taplin served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch and was a founder of Intertainer, a pioneer video-on-demand company for cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies and has provided consulting services on Broadband technology to the President of Portugal and the Parliament of the Spanish state of Catalonia and the Government of Singapore.
Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, sits on the International Advisory Board of the Singapore Media Authority, and is a fellow at the Center for Public Diplomacy. He was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007 and is a member of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Council on Technology and Innovation.
September 11, 2017
CUTTING EDGE ISSUES ON CUTTING OFF RIGHTS: AN UPDATE ON U.S. COPYRIGHT TERMINATION
Speaker: Laura Brill, Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP
Many articles have been written about the floodgates that would open in 2013 and beyond with regard to Section 203 Copyright Termination. Commentators predicted that songwriters, recording artists, and producers from the late 1970’s and 1980’s would send numerous notices of termination and there would be litigation over work-for-hire and other issues. Laura Brill, partner at Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP (and formerly at Irell & Manella) will catch us up on some of the most interesting developments and aspects of Section 203 and 304 Copyright Termination. Come with your questions and opinions for a lively exchange of information and ideas.
With a focus on complex civil litigation and appeals relating to media, entertainment, commercial, and regulatory disputes, founding partner Laura W. Brill has secured precedent-setting victories in numerous appearances before state and federal courts. She is a certified appellate specialist who handles a broad array of high-profile business disputes involving contracts, torts, intellectual property, governance issues; First Amendment and other constitutional issues; fine art restitution; government contracting, and challenges to municipal regulation.
Ms Brill is a thought leader who publishes and speaks widely on legal issues, including the First Amendment, entertainment and copyright law, appellate practice, and the legal profession. She maintains an active pro bono docket, with a focus on equal rights, freedom of expression, and challenges to the use of the initiative process.
Ms. Brill received an A.B. from Brown University and graduated first in her class at Columbia University School of Law. Recognized as among the top appellate and intellectual property litigators in California, Ms. Brill served as a law clerk to the Honorable Wilfred Feinberg on the Second Circuit and to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom she has co-authored several articles. Laura also has been a law school guest lecturer at Yale, Georgetown, UCLA, and USC.
June 12, 2017
2017 ANNUAL MEMBERS-ONLY MEETING
Speaker: Alex Kozinski
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
It was reported by state media in China that on January 14, 2017, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court, delivered a speech calling on his colleagues to resist Western ideologies that threaten the leadership of the Communist Party, including constitutional democracy, separation of powers, and judicial independence. He called judicial independence a Western “trap,” and said Chinese courts must “dare to pull out the sword” to combat the erroneous Western notion and other false ideas that could undermine China’s judiciary system.
Alexander Hamilton, without breaking into rap cadence, wrote in The Federalist No. 78 in 1788:
“The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing. . . . . Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental.”
Judge Alex Kozinski will engage in a conversation with Society President Gary Bostwick on judicial independence today in the federal court system, how it is maintained by law, how tradition affects its exercise in everyday operation, the efforts federal judges individually must exert to maintain their independence and what challenges judicial independence faces in coming years. To the extent appropriate, the conversation may cover Judge Kozinski joining the dissent in Washington v. Trump, on whether the Court should reconsider the panel’s decision en banc.
The conversation will also delve into Judge Kozinski’s views on topics of interest to the Society’s members in other areas such as net neutrality, applying state anti-SLAPP laws in federal court, how a young man’s thinking was shaped by life under Soviet domination and the elusive craft of writing impactfully and to be understood.
Judge Kozinski was appointed United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit on November 7, 1985, and served as Chief Judge from 2007 to 2014. He graduated from UCLA, receiving an A.B. degree in 1972, and from UCLA Law School, receiving a J.D. degree in 1975.
Prior to his appointment to the appellate bench, Judge Kozinski served as Chief Judge of the United States Claims Court, 1982-85; Special Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board, 1981-82; Assistant Counsel, Office of Counsel to the President, 1981; Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of President-Elect Reagan, 1980-81; Attorney, Covington & Burling, 1979-81; Attorney, Forry Golbert Singer & Gelles, 1977-79; Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, 1976-77; and Law Clerk to Circuit Judge Anthony M. Kennedy, 1975-76.
Judge Kozinski is married to Marcy Jane Tiffany and has three children: Yale, Wyatt and Clayton, and three grandchildren: Quinn, Owen and Anna.
May 08, 2017
The Republication Quandary: Lessons Learned from the Rolling Stone Trial
Speaker: Elizabeth McNamara, partner Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and lead counsel in Eramo v Rolling Stone
If a client publishes something that draws a demand for correction or retraction, the careful attorney usually considers it and, if appropriate, approves publication of a correction. The Rolling Stone trial threw a wrench into the works. Perhaps the most revolutionary takeaway from the trial is that the republication doctrine, previously a sleepy concept invoked in largely predictable circumstances to restart the statute of limitations, is now used as a backdoor means to establish actual malice and liability because of a retraction. The Rolling Stone trial is not alone. Publishers now take care when they attempt to do the right thing and alert readers to errors in articles by corrections or editorial notes. Producers take care when they employ standard roll-out windows whereby a film or show opens on different platforms over time. These standard business practices are ripe for a trap tripped by plaintiffs who argue the work was “republished.” Liz will explore this development, a development little-known to even experienced attorneys, with other insights from weeks in the land of Jefferson – Charlottesville, VA.
Elizabeth McNamara is a partner in the New York office of Davis Wright Tremaine, nationally recognized in media defense. She has more than 30 years litigation and counseling experience in media and intellectual property law, representing publishers (books, magazines, newspapers, and websites), television and radio broadcasters, cable companies, and motion picture producers and distributors. Her litigation practice includes all areas of sophisticated IP, media and entertainment litigation at the trial and appellate level of federal and state courts, in such areas as libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, prior restraint, and reporter's shield laws. She was Rolling Stone’s counsel in Elias v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al., obtaining dismissal of the libel suit brought by three fraternity brothers against Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely arising out of article "A Rape on Campus" and Eramo v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al. against Rolling Stone and Erdely in a libel suit by University of Virginia Dean Nicole Eramo resulting in verdicts against both defendants. The dispute has since settled.
April 17, 2017
ANYONE CAN SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYONE – AND THEY DO: THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF DEFAMATION
Speaker: Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and publisher of “The Volokh Conspiracy”
Today, though, the relatively poor and the anonymous (literally and figuratively) can speak to the world, and can often find an audience, in Google search results even if not in daily visitors to a site. And while this democratization has many virtues, it has the vices of those virtues. Anyone can say anything about anyone—and they do. It should therefore be no surprise that the legal system has been changing in response to these changes; but many of the changes are happening under the radar of the academy and of the Supreme Court—indeed, mostly outside any appellate court.
March 13, 2017
Boldly Going Where No Copyright Lawsuit Has Gone Before: Fan Films & the Battle for Axanar
Speaker: Speaker: Erin R. Ranahan, Partner, Winston & Strawn
Was the Axanar copyright infringement case brought by Paramount and CBS the final frontier of lawsuits against fan films – or just the beginning? With advances in technology enabling fan filmmakers to create low-budget films that look more and more like big-budget features, studios are left to decide whether to threaten and/or pursue litigation against some of their biggest fans, or allow fan films to live long and prosper.
In Axanar, Plaintiffs alleged that a 21-minute “mockumentary” fan film, Prelude to Axanar, and various draft screenplays for a yet-to-be produced longer fan film based on Prelude, constituted copyright infringement of fifty separate Star Trek works. After a year of hotly contested litigation, the Axanar case recently settled on the eve of trial. This was not before a wild ride in the media that featured surprising public statements by a Star Trek producer and director, the issuance of Star Trek fan film guidelines in the middle of the lawsuit, media scrutiny, and strong fan reaction.
Winston & Strawn partner Erin Ranahan will discuss her experience as lead defense counsel in the case, including what factors led Plaintiffs to target Defendants (despite the existence of hundreds of other Star Trek fan films), various challenges in the case, and rulings along the way, including those involving substantial similarity, liability and fair use. She will also address the potential impact this litigation will have on future cases.
Erin Ranahan is a Litigation Partner of Winston & Strawn, where she focuses her practice on copyright, new media, entertainment, trademark, right of publicity, and false advertising litigation. She has handled several high-profile intellectual property matters, including Axanar, and was on the team that won an important legal victory on behalf of Veoh in the landmark battle in UMG Recordings v. Veoh. Erin also successfully defended Myxer, a ringtone company and leader in ad-supported mobile entertainment, in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by several of the world’s largest record companies, and represented several EMI entities that won summary judgment in the Nafal a copyright case, the original copyright infringement lawsuit against Jay-Z about the song “Big Pimpin.” She has and continues to represent Wolfgang’s Vault in various copyright and other intellectual property disputes. In 2016, Erin was recognized as a Law360 Rising Star, named to Benchmark Litigation’s “Under 40 Hot List,” and selected as one of the top “40 Under 40” attorneys by the Daily Journal. She was also recognized in The Legal 500 2016 for her work in copyright. She was named one of “Hollywood’s New Leaders” in Law in the October 2014 issue of Variety Magazine.
February 13, 2017
(Not) Tired of Being Alone: The State of the Law on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Speaker: Bobby Schwartz and Victor Jih
Starting in 2013, the owners of pre-1972 sound recordings by the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and others were convincing judges of their right to control the broadcast of these works and collecting nine-figure settlements from SiriusXM and Pandora. In October 2016, SiriusXM paid over $100 million to settle a California class action brought by former members of The Turtles.
The recording owners’ strategy has hit a brick wall. CBS Radio was sued in New York and California by owners of iconic R&B recordings from the 1960s, such as Al Green’s Tired of Being Alone. Instead of settling the putative class actions, CBS moved immediately for summary judgment on the grounds that it was broadcasting post-1972, remastered and acoustically improved versions of the recordings that were registered for federal copyright and therefore not subject to state law. Judge Percy Anderson in the Central District of California agreed, and spared CBS from any liability or need to settle.
Irell & Manella partners Bobby Schwartz and Victor Jih will discuss their work for CBS. They will explain how a technical expert identified meaningful differences in plaintiffs’ remastered sound recordings, and how an old sound recording makes it from a vault in New Jersey to be streamed on a radio station’s website. They will also cover the state of the law around the country, including the important decision in December from the New York Court of Appeals in the Flo & Eddie v. SiriusXM case in which the court held that New York common law does not recognize a right of public performance for sound recordings.
Bobby Schwartz | Irell & Manella LLP
Bobby Schwartz is a Litigation Partner of Irell & Manella and a nationally recognized leader in large-stakes disputes, particularly in the media and entertainment industry. Bobby has successfully represented some of the country’s most influential companies in matters of far-reaching significance in a range of subject areas. Most recently, he delivered a huge victory to CBS in a California class action lawsuit over the broadcaster’s airing of music recorded before 1972. Bobby is currently defending video game publisher Take-Two Interactive, which is facing a class action alleging violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act over its series of NBA 2K basketball video games. In 2016, he was named a “Power Lawyer” by The Hollywood Reporter, a “Leading IP Litigator” by the Daily Journal and ranked among the leading entertainment litigators by Chambers USA. In addition to his practice, Bobby serves on the Board of Directors of Bet Tzedek Legal Services.
Victor Jih | Irell & Manella LLP
Victor Jih is a Litigation Partner of Irell & Manella. He has significant experience in a broad selection of complex litigation matters, at both the trial and appellate levels. Victor’s areas of practice include entertainment, copyright and trademark, First Amendment, unfair competition, consumer privacy, class action defense, contract and other commercial disputes in forums across the nation. His major clients in recent years include computer software companies and hardware manufacturers, major motion picture studios, and other large companies in the Internet, entertainment and retail industries. Victor’s recent victories include defeating a putative class action filed against Hulu alleging violations of the Video Privacy Act, and defeating a consumer class action filed against Sega of America involving the Aliens: Colonial Marines video game. A long time avid debater, Victor also holds the position of debate coach at Brentwood School in Los Angeles. You may also recognize him as a contestant and winner of the 14th season of The Amazing Race, which he completed with his sister.
January 09, 2017
How President-elect Donald Trump’s Bullying Ways Might Impact Journalism and the Media Industry
Speaker: Susan Seager
Susan Seager, LACS Trustee, will discuss her study of Trump’s past as a libel bully and his potential impact on the First Amendment, media ownership, net neutrality and privacy on the Internet.
Media defense lawyers can learn much from Trump’s litigation strategies and weaknesses by examining Trump’s 30-year history of suits alleging libel and other speech-related claims. Seager recently authored a study of Trump’s speech-related lawsuits in her ABA article, “Donald K. Trump Is a Libel Bully But Also a Libel Loser.” The article became the subject of national news coverage in the New York Times and Washington Post and a skit on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after the ABA tried to kill and censor Seager’s article by removing the words “bully” and “loser." The ABA later contended its edits were merely friendly suggestions and published Seager's article uncensored in the ABA’s Communications Lawyer Winter 2016 newsletter.
She also will comment upon Trump’s list of nominees for the Supreme Court and whether they have ruled on any First Amendment speech/press issues; the likelihood of Trump threatening or filing libel lawsuits as president; and whether Trump will use an appointment to the FCC to kill off the current consumer-friendly net neutrality rule, weaken media ownership rules and new privacy rules for internet service providers.
Susan E. Seager recently opened her own Los Angeles area solo practice as a media defense lawyer. She also writes as a part-time columnist for Law Newz and teaches media law as an adjunct professor of media law at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Before law school, she worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, LA Daily Journal, United Press International, and San Luis Obispo Telegram Tribune, and also worked as a free-lance photographer covering the LA band scene in the early 1980’s, briefly managing the LA band BPeople. She has extensive experience as a media defense litigator, working most recently as a vice president of litigation at Fox Entertainment Group in Century City, where she handled defamation, privacy, right of publicity, and copyright claims and litigation. Before her in-house assignment, she was at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles. Susan has published op-eds in the LA Times and LA Daily Journal and several articles for the ABA’s Communications Lawyer. Susan holds a law degree from Yale Law School.
December 12, 2016
A Review of Recent and Pending Supreme Court Cases Focusing on Copyright and Intellectual Property
Speaker: Erwin Chemerinsky
Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science.
Prior to assuming this position in 2008, he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and before that was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School from 1983-2004, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School.
He is the author of ten books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court, published by Viking in 2014, and two books to be published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How the Supreme Court Made Your Rights Unenforceable and Renewing Free Speech on College Campuses (with Howard Gillman). He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. In January 2014, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.
Chemerinsky holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.
November 07, 2016
The gulf between the United States and European IP system.
Another event highlighting why understanding it matters to American copyright attorneys.
Speaker: Daniel McClean
In the landmark case of Patrick Cariou v Richard Prince and Gagosian Gallery (2013), the US Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) expanded the doctrine of “fair use” holding that copyright law does not require that an artist’s secondary use of visual material comment on the original artist, work or popular culture.
The court’s decision in Cariou v Prince et al, underscores significant territorial differences between how copyright exemptions for visual artists are applied in the United States and in Europe. Lacking the flexible provisions of fair use, it seems almost inconceivable that a European court would have reached the same conclusion as the US court did here.
The decision injects a lack of certainty as to how copyright law in the United States may be applied to artworks individually elsewhere. The case also reveals an elitist privileging of artworks canonised by the “high” art system over “lower” unacknowledged works (here, works of photography), an elitism which runs counter to the self-proclaimed, value “neutral” structure of copyright law.
This presentation will discuss the implications of Cariou v Prince for both copyright law and freedom of artistic expression, highlighting the current gulf between the legal systems of the United States and Europe in dealing with copyright defenses. It will go further, using this gulf as a springboard to illustrate philosophical and cultural justifications underpinning copyright law in the different legal systems, something any intellectual property lawyer in the United States must understand to be fluent in cross-ocean transactions.
Daniel McClean is a consultant at the London based law firm, Howard Kennedy LLP, where he specialises in art and cultural property law. He advises leading international art world clients (including artists, advisors, collectors, estates, galleries, museums and national governments) on transactions and agreements involving artworks and on dispute resolution, including relating to ownership, authentication, export and sale. Daniel also regularly advises clients (particularly artists and photographers) on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and defending infringement claims.
In 2002, he commissioned and edited an anthology of inter-disciplinary essays, “Dear Images: Art, Copyright and Culture” (Ridinghouse/ICA London), on the relationship between art and copyright law.
October 10, 2016
The Stairway to Heaven Trial: How Did Led Zeppelin Win by Convincing a Jury Stairway Was Not Substantially Similar?
Speaker: Peter Anderson
Led Zeppelin recently won a jury trial against claims the iconic guitar riff in “Stairway to Heaven” was copied from Spirit’s 1968 instrumental “Taurus.” Peter Anderson represented the surviving members of Led Zeppelin and Warner/Chappell and others in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, tried to a jury in June 2016. He will address what recordings were provided to the jury and why, what was used to address the claimed musical similarity and difficulties faced in defending a 45-year-old copyright claim. Hopefully, he will help the members feel the drama in the courtroom when the jury asked to listen once more to both songs and then reached a verdict within minutes.
The trial featured Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant testifying as well as Michael Skidmore, the Trustee of the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, named after Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe. Witnesses included Spirit band members, musicologists and those offering testimony on whether Led Zeppelin might have heard “Taurus” before composing the song.
Page and Plant denied having access to “Taurus” despite performing at some of the same concerts that Spirit performed at. Profits from the song’s continued exploitation were at stake.
The jury decided in favor of Led Zeppelin and various subsidiaries of Warner Music. It decided that the plaintiff owned the copyright to “Taurus”, that Led Zeppelin members had access, which the court instructed meant they had a reasonable chance to have heard “Taurus”, but there was no substantial similarity in the extrinsic elements of “Taurus” and “Stairway.”
Mr. Anderson has extensive experience in litigating copyright infringement cases over the last 36 years, including representing the prevailing parties in Stewart v. Abend and Seltzer v. Green Day. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” for the last ten years, and is a graduate of UCLA and UCLA Law School.
September 19, 2016
THE NATION’S MOST PROLIFIC COPYRIGHT PLAINTIFF
Emilie Kennedy, Pillar Law Group
A single plaintiff has been responsible in the past five years for nearly half the copyright lawsuits filed in the United States.
Is it a major movie studio that aggressively enforces its rights? Maybe a record company going after teenage downloaders? A software company angry others are installing copies without paying?
No, the nation’s most prolific copyright plaintiff is a small producer of adult films called Malibu Media, LLC.
It has filed over 5,000 lawsuits since 2012 against individuals for “sharing” its works over the BitTorrent network without permission. The lawsuits have largely succeeded, resulting in favorable settlements or judgments for Malibu, bringing a tidy profit from its litigation campaign. But its aggressiveness also has been highly controversial, causing proponents claiming to defend internet freedom to deride Malibu as a “copyright troll” bent on extorting settlements from parties who would rather pay up than expose themselves to public scorn from allegations they are sharing pornography over the internet.
Emilie Kennedy, an associate at Pillar Law Group APLC in Beverly Hills, and Malibu Media’s long-time outside counsel, will explain how Malibu’s anti-piracy campaign functions, how courts have dealt with this flood of lawsuits, what new copyright law has been made in the process, and will take on Malibu’s critics. Leading the discussion with Ms. Kennedy will be Ben Sheffner, Vice President, Legal Affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America.
Emilie Kennedy is an attorney with Pillar Law Group, APLC and has focused her legal career on protecting the content of movie studios, record labels, music publishers and songwriters. Her work is inspired, in large part, by her prior experience serving as Vice President, Business Affairs for a nationally recognized independent record label. She holds a B.A. from the University of Vermont, a Master’s in Music Business from the University of Miami and a J.D. from Florida International University and is a member of the Florida bar. During law school, she spent a summer studying copyright law at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England and as a law clerk for the United States Copyright Office, Office of the General Counsel. Recently, she was awarded “Rising Star” by Florida Super Lawyers for Intellectual Property Litigation.
June 13, 2016
THE HURT LOCKER BOMBSHELL: THE RIGHT OF PUBLICITY AFTER SARVER V. CHARTIER
David Halberstadter, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Jeremiah Reynolds, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP with special guest Mark Boal, Academy Award winning screenwriter and producer of The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and In The Valley of Elah
This February, the 9th Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Sarver v. Chartier - and in the process may have forever changed the market for “life story” rights. Affirming the anti-SLAPP victory in favor of the filmmakers of Best Picture-winner The Hurt Locker (including Summit Entertainment, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal), the Court rejected a claim by Army Master Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver that he was entitled to compensation for the film’s alleged dramatization of his service in Iraq. At this year’s Annual Members-Only meeting, top LA entertainment litigators, David Halberstadter, who represented Summit Entertainment, and Jeremiah Reynolds, who represented Bigelow and Boal, will discuss the case in depth, and what it means for the future of right of publicity claims arising from dramatic works. They will also explore the creative process of transforming interviews of real people into fictional works, the often-asserted claim of “defamation by fiction,” the First Amendment protections available to motion pictures and television productions based on stories that have been “ripped from the headlines,” and where the decision leaves the use of celebrity images in video games and California’s “transformative use” test. And to make the event truly special, Mark Boal, Academy Award winning screenwriter and producer of The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and In The Valley of Elah, will be on hand to describe his experiences writing the The Hurt Locker, answer questions, and present his perspective on this groundbreaking case.
David Halberstadter is deputy general counsel for Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s four California offices, representing traditional, institutional entertainment industry clients as well as new media companies in litigation relating to all aspects of motion picture, television and new media conception, development, finance, production and distribution. David both prosecutes and defends litigation on behalf of motion picture studios and production companies, television networks and producers, and Internet/new media companies on a wide variety of issues, including: copyright infringement, fair use, parody and termination; trademark infringement and unfair competition; defamation, rights of publicity, rights of privacy and the First Amendment; rights acquisitions and transfers; contract disputes between producers and talent; and production, financing, distribution and licensing matters. Jeremiah Reynolds is a partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP where he specializes in entertainment-related disputes and complex business litigation. He has represented Justin Bieber, Michael Keaton, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Robert Duvall, Kate Hudson, Reggie Bush, the Kardashian Family, Tom Hanks, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, among others. Recent honors include recognition by Variety in its Legal Impact Report for 2015 as one of the leading lawyers in the entertainment business, in addition to selection by Law360 as a Rising Star of 2015.
Notice of Action: At this Annual Meeting, members will also be asked to vote to approve the following slate of Officers and Trustees for the 2016-17 term: OFFICERS - Cathy Paul (President-Elect), James Gladstone (Vice President), Aaron Moss (Secretary), and Catherine Bridge (Treasurer); TRUSTEES-AT-LARGE - Valerie Barreiro, Janene Bassett, Laura Dawson, Michael Garfinkel, Susan Seager, Ben Sheffner, Joel Tantalo, Joel Weiner and Jason Zelin. (Current President James Lichtman and President-Elect Gary Bostwick will automatically assume the roles of Immediate Past President and President, respectively, at the commencement of the 2016-17 term.)
May 09, 2016
STREAMING CONSCIOUSNESS: UNDERSTANDING THE NEW WORLD OF DIGITAL MUSIC LICENSING
Eric Greenspan, Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light, LLP & Jonas Kant, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
In just the past few years, the way music is consumed, licensed and distributed has changed dramatically. Digital sales have overtaken physical formats, and now streaming is growing exponentially faster than downloads. From iTunes to Spotify, to music television and motions pictures, copyright practitioners need to know how the music industry is evolving and the current issues that arise. Guiding you through the quagmire are two industry experts, Eric Greenspan, recognized as one of the “Five Music Attorneys To Know” and Jonas Kant, a senior executive at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Topics will include negotiation, deal structure, and royalties for music use on television and radio, in feature films, streaming, and subscription services, as well as upheaval in the organizations that collect and distribute royalties, the complexities of co-owned works, and the future of music publishing and delivery.
Eric Greenspan, chairman of the music department at Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light, LLP, has represented clients such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slash, Christina Aguilera, Guns N Roses, the Grateful Dead, Justin Bieber, and John Legend. Among his many accolades, Eric was featured in Billboard’s Top Music Lawyers in America and Hollywood Reporter’s Power Lawyers Top 100. Jonas Kant is the Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher. A 15 year veteran of the company, Jonas oversees all aspects of the company’s West Coast business and legal matters (copyright acquisition, songwriter, co-publishing, administration, major film and television licenses, new technology, joint venture agreements) and regularly advises the company’s Chairman, Presidents, and foreign affiliates.
April 11, 2016
COPYRIGHT, COMPETITION AND THE CONTINENT: THE FUTURE OF TERRITORIAL RIGHTS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
Greg Olsen, Clifford Chance LLP & Ted Shapiro, Wiggin LLP
There is significant change on the European horizon that no copyright lawyer can ignore. The stakes are huge: the European Commission is pursuing potentially far reaching copyright reform as a key ambition within its digital single market (DSM) initiative; legislation on content portability is pending; and the European Commission’s antitrust directorate is pursuing enforcement action against the major Hollywood studios and Sky challenging the terms of certain territorially exclusive copyright licenses. Greg Olsen, a partner at Clifford Chance in London, Ted Shapiro, a partner at Wiggin LLP in Brussels, are deeply involved in the above matters; they will provide their insights on the issues at stake and a roadmap that all IP practitioners – those with primarily domestic and international practices alike – must have to navigate this changing and complex European terrain.
Greg Olsen specializes in EU and UK competition law and violations such as cartels and abuse of market power. He handles regulatory investigations in a diverse range of industries including media and consumer goods. Greg is a committee member and past Chair of the Law Society’s Competition Law Section, has been identified as a leading individual in Legal 500 UK for EU and competition, and has written and spoken extensively on EU competition issues. Ted Shapiro heads Wiggin’s Brussels office. He is a recognized expert in international and European copyright law assisting clients on issues related to policy, litigation, compliance and commercial matters. He joined Wiggin in January 2013 from the Motion Picture Association in Brussels, where he was the General Counsel for Europe. Ted is the co-editor of the book Copyright in the Information Society: A Guide to National Implementation of the European Directive, and he has written numerous articles on copyright issues including on recent judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU.
March 14, 2016
REGISTERING OFFENSE: DISPARAGING TRADEMARKS, THE FIRST AMENDMENT, AND “IN RE SIMON SHIAO TAM”
Ron Coleman, Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Just months ago, a little-known dance rock band from Portland, Oregon grabbed the spotlight from the Washington Redskins trademark battle by winning a key federal appellate court decision striking down as unconstitutional the Lanham Act ban on so-called “disparaging” trademarks. The en banc decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in In re Simon Shiao Tam allows the Asian-American band members to register the band’s name – “The Slants” – after the name was initially rejected by the PTO as racially disparaging. Ron Coleman, lead counsel for The Slants, will discuss the preparation of the PTO application to register the trademark, the PTO’s actions and subsequent TTAB appeal, the initial Federal Circuit appeal and panel decision, the Court’s sua sponte vacatur, and the band’s second-round victory that will shape the law for years to come and may lead to the reinstatement of the canceled Redskins trademark.
Ron Coleman is a partner in Archer & Greiner, P.C.’s New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey offices. Ron’s leading-edge involvement in trademark law and policy has been Ron’s own “trademark” for decades. A leader in social media for lawyers, his blog about copyright, trademark and free speech, LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®, has since its inception in 2005 become one of the most influential publications in IP law. Ron has represented some of the world’s leading luxury brands in trademark enforcement, litigation, and legislative efforts. He has successfully represented internet businesses facing trademark-based designed to stifle competition or legitimate criticism, and has handled cases throughout the country that have helped shape the law at the intersection of free speech, intellectual property and the internet. Ron has been recognized by the World Trademark Review WTR 1000 and SuperLawyers, and has appeared as a featured speaker on trademark and related issues at INTA, the AIPLA, the Copyright Society of the USA, and many other bar associations and institutes.
February 08, 2016
POW! BOFF! THWACK! WHAT DC COMICS v. TOWLE MEANS FOR COPYRIGHT CHARACTER PROTECTION
James Weinberger, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C.
After several years of litigation, in September 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in DC Comics v. Towle, finding that Batman’s iconic Batmobile was subject to protection under copyright as a character. While a few prior federal court decisions suggested that an inanimate object could qualify for character protection, no court had ever gone so far to make that determination outright. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit laid out a clear, three-part test for determining whether a character – even one lacking “sentient attributes” or the ability to speak – is protected by copyright, synthesizing decades of sometimes conflicting precedent. James Weinberger, who was lead counsel for DC Comics on the appeal, will join us to discuss the case, some of the challenges that arose during appellate briefing and oral argument, as well as the decision and its potential impact in the industry.
James Weinberger is a partner in the litigation group of New York IP boutique Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C., focusing on litigation in the areas of copyright, trademark and trade dress infringement. Recognized by Chambers, Legal 500, Managing Intellectual Property IP Stars and New York SuperLawyers in the areas of copyright and trademark law, James regularly counsels and advises clients across a broad range of industries, including apparel, beverages, cosmetics, film, finance, music, pharmaceuticals, publishing and software on matters relating to intellectual property rights. James has acted in dozens of cases for well-known brands and properties throughout the United States federal courts, as well as lectured on copyright and trademark law for the International Trademark Association, Practicing Law Institute, the Managing Intellectual Property China-International IP Forum and at Columbia Law School.
January 11, 2016
ALL THE OTHER KIDS ARE DOING IT: COPYRIGHT ISSUES IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Judy Jennison, Perkins Coie LLP
Whether you love it or hate it, social media is changing the way many people share information. Today’s platforms allow easy use of content in unanticipated ways, with unexpected legal consequences. Judy will give us a crash course in some of the hottest social media trends and lead a discussion on their copyright implications.
Judy is an IP litigation partner with Perkins Coie in Seattle, where her practice focuses on technology and Internet related IP disputes. Her primary area of expertise is in the application of copyright law to software and new technologies. She was lead counsel for the successful search engine defendant in the landmark fair use case Kelly v. Arriba Soft – the first case to address the issue of graphic search engine use of images on the web. She has participated in a number of other leading copyright cases, including Nintendo v. Galoob, Adobe v. Southern Software and MGM v. Grokster. Recruited by Microsoft in 2004, she spent eight years leading its Copyright and Trade Secret Group before returning to Perkins Coie in 2012.
December 14, 2015
THE COPYRIGHT YEAR IN REVIEW: NOT JUST CASES
Professor Doug Lichtman, UCLA School of Law
For our final meeting of the calendar year, UCLA Law Professor Doug Lichtman will once again lead us through a review of the year's biggest copyright law moments. We will look not only at the key cases, including a few that might have slipped under the radar, but also at some of the events, product launches, and decisions that might well reverberate with equal force in the years ahead.
Professor Lichtman joined the UCLA faculty in 2007, having previously spent ten years teaching and writing at the University of Chicago. His areas of specialty are copyright and patent law, though he also covers a variety of more general legal issues pertaining to technology firms and the Internet. Lichtman’s academic work has been featured in journals including the Journal of Law & Economics, the Yale Law Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. He also writes for mainstream publications like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Lichtman maintains an active consulting practice, advising Fortune 100 clients on patent and copyright strategy. Mr. Lichtman has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, and a JD from Yale Law School. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 09, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SET FREE: IS A PARTY IN ORDER?
Mark Rifkin, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz
Happy Birthday to You is one of the world’s most famous songs. Many are surprised to learn that the beloved anthem we all sing over cake and candles has long been subject to a claim of copyright. Mark Rifkin, the lead lawyer for group of independent filmmakers and singers who sought to end that claim, will join us to discuss the landmark summary judgment decision in Good Morning to You Productions v. Warner/Chappell Music. He will take a close look at Judge King’s ruling putting the song in the public domain, provide a behind-the-scenes look at the case, explain the fascinating historical evidence that came to light, and explore the decision’s implications for future copyright disputes.
Mark Rifkin is a New York partner of the national law firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz. Over thirty years, Mr. Rifkin has tried many complex commercial actions in federal and state courts across the country. He has successfully argued dozens of appeals in many federal appellate courts and in the highest appellate courts in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Mr. Rifkin has been a New York Super Lawyer® since 2010. In 2014, Mr. Rifkin was named a “Titan of the Plaintiff’s Bar” by Law360®. Mr. Rifkin appears regularly in the media and lectures frequently to business and professional organizations on a variety of shareholder, intellectual property, and commercial matters.
October 12, 2015
THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY: WHEN BANKRUPTCY AND COPYRIGHTS COLLIDE
Marsha A. Houston and Christopher O. Rivas Reed Smith LLP
When movie and television studio Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 protection in July, it left a large number of broadcasters, distributors and financiers struggling to understand what could happen to the movies, shows, and other existing projects they had with the company. One particularly difficult question is just how Relativity’s bankruptcy, and those of companies like Columbia, Trump Entertainment and Blockbuster, could impact hugely valuable IP rights that they license to and from other parties. In our October event, Marsha Houston and Christopher Rivas will address the copyright, trademark and other license issues that frequently arise in deals with distressed or insolvent parties, recent developments in bankruptcy law that may affect copyright and trademark owners for years to come, and what entertainment lawyers must know to protect their clients in this complex area.
Ms. Houston is a partner at Reed Smith LLP and has extensive experience in creditors’ rights matters and the protection of intellectual property rights. She represents entertainment companies, lenders, trustees, creditors, investors, and other clients seeking to protect and enforce their copyright, trademark and license rights in bankruptcy cases and in negotiations with companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy. Her recent representative entertainment cases include: Columbia House (Filmed Entertainment, Inc.); Aramid Entertainment Fund Limited; ThinkFilm, LLC; KSL Media, Inc.; Blockbuster, Inc.; Movie Gallery, Inc.; and Axium International, Inc. Mr. Rivas is an associate at Reed Smith LLP and has broad experience representing creditors in bankruptcy litigation and workout negotiations. He was named a "Rising Star" by Los Angeles Magazine in 2008.
September 21, 2015
THE “BLURRED LINES” TRIAL: WHAT JUST HAPPENED, AND CAN IT BE FIXED?
Howard King King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano
Our first meeting of the 2015-16 term features esteemed litgator Howard King, who represented Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. in one of the most notable copyright cases decided in the last year, presenting an (admittedly biased) post-mortem on what happened at trial and how it could impact future copyright litigation and practice. Among other things, Mr. King will address what the jury saw - and didn’t see - before deciding that the defendant’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed the Marvin Gaye composition “Got To Give It Up”; the difficulties of instructing a jury in a music copyright case; the use and misuse of expert witnesses and demonstrative exhibits; the unique challenges of litigating pre 1978 composition copyrights; the need for a clearer legal standard to guide in distinguishing between artistic inspiration and copying; and what is likely to happen in the case on appeal.
Mr. King is managing partner of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano and has broad experience representing individuals and companies in all facets of corporate, real estate, music and entertainment law, as well as complex business, real estate, banking, finance, copyright and trademark litigation. He has been named as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Lawyers in Entertainment,” has been designated a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine, and has been included in the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s list of “California’s Top Entertainment Lawyers.” He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles.
June 10, 2015
ANNUAL MEMBERS ONLY MEETING
CLOSING PANDORA’S BOX: A PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE ON DEFENDING THE AVATAR LITIGATION
Please join us for a special evening with Jon Landau, Academy Award winning producer of Titanic and Avatar, and Matt Belloni, executive editor of The Hollywood Reporter. Mr. Landau will share his personal experience defending and prevailing in the series of Avatar lawsuits, and will participate in a question and answer session moderated by Mr. Belloni.
Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time, has been the subject of numerous high profile copyright and breach of implied contract claims asserted against the producer and distributor of the film. Mr. Landau will discuss the issues raised in these cases, including substantial similarity and independent creation, from the unique perspective he gained while defending these lawsuits.
May 13, 2015
Getting Sirius About Public Performance Rights: the Epic Battle Over Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Tyler T. Ochoa, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
At this month’s meeting, Professor Ochoa will discuss the ramifications of several recent state and federal court decisions recognizing a right against unauthorized public performance under state law for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. If these rulings stand, they will have a significant impact — not only on the music industry — but on film and television studios that produce and distribute content containing pre-1972 sound recordings.
Professor Ochoa joined the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty in 2003, where he served as Academic Director of the High Technology Law Institute for the 2005-2006 academic year. He is a recognized expert in copyright law and rights of publicity. Professor Ochoa was awarded his law degree, with distinction, from Stanford University, where he also received his undergraduate degree, with distinction.
April 08, 2015
The “Glee Club” Litigation
David Stone, Partner, Simmons & Simmons LLP
Simon Malynicz, Three New Square
Comic Enterprises Ltd v Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation: What happens when the popular, long-running US television series, “Glee,” airs in the UK, where a British comic who owns a series of two UK-registered figurative trade marks that feature the words “The Glee Club,” happens to also own comedy clubs with that name? The solicitor and barrister representing Fox will take us through the ensuing litigation, the preliminary ruling and where the case goes from here as we present our annual Axel aus der Muhlen International Lecture.
David Stone, Partner, Simmons & Simmons, LLP: David specializes in intellectual property matters, with particular expertise in trademarks, copyright and registered and unregistered designs. David works with large and small clients in a diverse range of industries. A solicitor advocate, David also has the benefit of in house experience, having represented The Coca-Cola Company as Trade Mark Counsel for Western Europe in 2003-2005. David led the team that won the EU Trade Mark and Design Team of the Year at the MIP Awards 2013. In November 2012, David was recognized as the (London) Times Lawyer of the Week. David is a graduate of the universities of Sydney, Oxford and Cambridge.
Simon Malynicz, Three New Square: Simon’s practice covers trademarks, passing off, designs, copyright, IT/computer software, media/entertainment, confidential information and patents. He also handles commercial cases with an intellectual property element. He appears regularly before all the relevant tribunals including the High Court, Court of Appeal, Patents Court, Patents County Court, and UK Intellectual Property Office. Simon holds a B.A. (Sydney), M.A. (New School, NY) and LLB (Lond.)
March 11, 2015
How’s Fair Use “Trending” Online, and Other Copyright “Buzz” in the Interactive Internet
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Interactive social web sites are proliferating—from BuzzFeed to Instagram to Tumblr to many others. These and other emerging sites are wildly popular, in so small part because they make widespread use of audiovisual and other copyrighted content. The latest generation of internet sites employ a diverse range of postings, including “gifs,” “listicles” and more. How does copyright law apply to such postings when they make use of third-party content? How do the postings implicate the exclusive rights of copyright under Section 106? If there is infringement, is it direct or secondary? And how might the fair use defense apply in this context? This program will explore a variety of copyright issues in this rapidly evolving space.
Kelly Klaus is a litigator with Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. He specializes in copyright and related IP issues. The Daily Journal has named Kelly one of the leading intellectual property lawyers in California. Kelly has represented all of the major motion picture studios and recorded music companies in copyright and related entertainment litigation. Last year, he also represented the NCAA in the O’Bannon antitrust litigation, and Activision in former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s right of publicity action. Kelly graduated from UCLA and Stanford Law School. He joined Munger Tolles after clerking for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
February 11, 2015
College Football Players Tackle the Right of Publicity: O’Bannon v. NCAA and Beyond
Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz
In O’Bannon, college athletes contend that they have a right of publicity that requires they be compensated whenever their name or image appears in a live broadcast, or re-broadcast, of any game in which they play. Having prevailed at trial against the NCAA, the same class of athletes is now taking aim at television networks, asserting in Marshall v. ESPN that television networks must negotiate with and pay them directly. The media argues that such an outcome would be a dramatic and unconstitutional shift in the definition of publicity rights that would interfere with the media’s ability to air matters of public interest. Many observers believe the dispute could eventually land in the Supreme Court and prompt it to re-visit the modern publicity tort for the first time in four decades.
Nathan Siegel represents the media amici in O’Bannon and one of the defendants in Marshall. Nathan is a partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP and represents media clients in First Amendment, intellectual property, and entertainment law cases in trial and appellate courts throughout every region of the country. His diverse practice has included successfully defending ESPN in defamation suits brought by major sports personalities, representing reality television programs such as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Wife Swap in the defense of right of publicity lawsuits, advising The Guardian concerning its reporting about documents released by WikiLeaks, and successfully defending news organizations in novel lawsuits testing the limits of copyright law doctrines such as fair use and equitable estoppel. Nathan also provides pre-broadcast and pre-publication counseling to a wide range of print and web publishers, television networks, and film producers.
Nathan received his law degree from Yale Law School and his undergraduate degree from Duke University.
January 14, 2015
Copyright Law and the First Amendment
Dean of the School of Law, UC Irvine
We will open the new calendar year with a provocative presentation from Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law. The assumption of copyright law always has been that granting copyright protection will lead to more speech than that which is lost by the restrictions on expression caused by copyright law. But is that true? And should copyright law continue to be based on this assumption?
Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Previously, he taught at Duke Law School for four years, during which he won the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. Before that, he taught for 21 years at the University of Southern California School of Law. Chemerinsky has also taught at UCLA School of Law and DePaul University College of Law.
His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of eight books, most recently The Case Against the Supreme Court, to be published by Viking in September 2014, and more than 200 articles in top law reviews. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and also serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. He writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. In January 2014, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.
Chemerinsky holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.
December 10, 2014
Annual Year in Review - “Not Just Cases”
Doug Lichtman, Professor of Law, UCLA Law School
For our final meeting of the calendar year, UCLA Law Professor Doug Lichtman will lead us through a review of the year's biggest copyright law moments. We will look not only at the key cases, including a few that might have slipped under the radar, but also some of the big decisions that might reverberate with equal force, including CBS's launch of a surprisingly complete online presence, and Taylor Swift's recent decision to pull her music from Spotify.
Doug Lichtman is a tenured professor of law at UCLA. He joined the faculty in 2007, having previously spent ten years teaching and writing at the University of Chicago. His areas of specialty are patent and copyright law, though he also covers a variety of more general legal issues pertaining to technology firms and the Internet. Lichtman's academic work has been featured in journals including the Journal of Law & Economics, the Yale Law Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. He also writes for mainstream publications like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Lichtman maintains an active consulting practice, advising Fortune 100 clients on patent and copyright strategy. Mr. Lichtman has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, and a JD from Yale Law School. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
November 12, 2014
Getting Creative About Protecting Content: The Future of Anti-Piracy
Ruth Vitale, Executive Director, CreativeFuture
The changing viewing habits of audiences present both challenges and opportunities for today’s artists and filmmakers. The creative industries are finding new ways to provide audiences with high-quality, reliable, and convenient access to creative works. At the same time, the for-profit theft of creative works continues to be a large and growing problem. Ruth Vitale, Executive Director of CreativeFuture, will talk about the challenges of protecting content in today’s ever-evolving global media marketplace. She will address ways that the creative community can speak out about the cultural and economic value of what we do – and can stand up for the fundamental rights of artists and creators to be compensated for their work.
Ruth has unique first-hand experience with the grave impact of the piracy of copyrighted works, and of the importance of vigorous content protection. She been at the forefront of independent film production and distribution for more than three decades, including as Founder and Co-President of Paramount Classics and as President of Fine Line Features. Ruth also served as President of UBU Productions’ feature film division, as Senior Vice President of Production for United Artists, and as President of Production for Vestron Pictures. Most recently, Ruth was President of First Look Pictures and the owner of The Film Collective, a consultancy business that helps financiers and companies with the strategic planning for their films in the worldwide marketplace from development and production through distribution. Her films have won three Oscars and received 16 nominations as well as 18 Golden Globe nominations and two wins.
October 08, 2014
Congress Considers Copyright: Thoughts and Observations About Current Copyright Law and the House Review
A discussion featuring Bob Goodlatte, United States House of Representatives, Virginia, 6th District
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.
In the 113th Congress, he was elected as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues like patents, copyright, trademark law, antitrust matters, and the Internet. In addition to serving in this role, he is the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Internet Caucus and the Congressional International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus as well as Chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.
Chairman Goodlatte has long been a leader in Congress on a number of intellectual property and technology issues, including encryption, piracy prevention, anti-counterfeiting, online service provider copyright liability, high speed data access, privacy, digital signatures, the Internet tax moratorium, Internet gambling, copyright term extension, patent reform, cyber-squatting, class action reform, and spam and spyware prevention.
Chairman Goodlatte is the sponsor of the Innovation Act, which takes steps to combat the ever increasing problem of abusive patent litigation. The Innovation Act passed the House of Representatives in December 2013 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 325-91. He also introduced the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, which would ban taxes on Internet access. This legislation passed by voice vote in the House in July.
Chairman Goodlatte is a graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, and his undergraduate degree in Government was earned at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
Chairman Goodlatte and his wife, Maryellen, reside in Roanoke and have two adult children.
September 10, 2014
Controversy Over "The Innocence of Muslims": Breaking Down Garcia v. Google, This Year's Most Controversial Copyright Case and Its Wide-Ranging Implications
On April 14, four members of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, with able assistance from a recent USC graduate, filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of International Documentary Association, Film Independent, Fredrik Gertten, and Morgan Spurlock in Support of Google, Inc. and Youtube, LLC’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc or, Alternatively, Rehearing.
June 11, 2014
Copyright in the Nation's Capital
Featuring Maria A. Pallante, Register of Copyrights of the United States and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office
Maria A. Pallante is Register of Copyrights of the United States and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office, a position she has held since June 1, 2011. Among other duties, Ms. Pallante oversees the legal and administrative aspects of the copyright system, including registration and recordation, and carries out a variety of domestic and international policy activities prescribed by law, including providing expert and impartial advice to Congress and executive branch agencies.
Ms. Pallante was previously in private practice in New York, and earned her J.D. in 1990 from the George Washington University. In the past year, she encouraged Congress to review and update the Copyright Act for the 21st century, and delivered three major lectures on related themes: The Next Great Copyright Act (Columbia University Law School); The Curious Case of Copyright Formalities (Berkeley Center for Law and Technology); and The Next Generation Copyright Office: What it Means and Why it Matters (Copyright Society of the USA).
May 14, 2014
Raging Bull: As Time Goes By
Featuring Glen L. Kulik and Mark A. Perry
The Supreme Court is poised to resolve whether the equitable defense of laches is available in a copyright infringement lawsuit. On January 21, 2014, the Court heard argument in the case of Petrella v. MGM, in which the authors daughter asserts rights to the screenplay for the acclaimed film Raging Bull. The Ninth Circuit held that she waited too long to bring suit, creating a conflict with a Fourth Circuit decision suggesting that laches is not an available defense under the Copyright Act. The Supreme Court will soon decide whether and in what circumstances a copyright defendant may assert laches, and whether or not Ms. Petrellas claim is barred. Two of the attorneys intimately involved in the case Glen Kulik, who argued the case for Ms. Petrella in the Ninth Circuit, and Mark Perry, who argued the case for MGM and Fox in the Supreme Court will discuss the background of the case and its potential ramifications for copyright litigation.
April 09, 2014
Going Foreign: Copyright and the Growth of Overseas Business for U.S. Entertainment Companies
Featuring MAREN CHRISTENSEN & DEAN MARKS
The growth in revenues for many studios and other entertainment companies is coming increasingly from international markets. This presentation will explore some of the international and foreign copyright issues that can impact distribution and production occurring overseas. Our speakers are highly experienced in international copyright, as well as entertaining, and we are fortunate to have them present this years Axel aus der Muhlen Lecture.
March 12, 2014
Recent Developments in Fashion Law
Featuring Sherry Jetter
The Fashion Industry is an ever evolving world of imagination, innovation, creativity and trends. Yet, with its ingenuity, the fashion industry is often said to be sustained by inspiration from the works of others. So, where does inspiration end and copyright infringement begin? This discussion will explore the challenges of copyright protection for designs and fashion-related works, review some news-making incidents at the intersection of fashion and copyright law and provide insight into recent cases involving fashion and their potential implications for copyright in general.
February 12, 2014
LOW TECH, HI TECH TO NO TECH: SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE YEAR IN COPYRIGHT LAW
Featuring Professor Jay Dougherty, Loyola Law School
Professor Dougherty will discuss interesting and important copyright and related developments from courts decisions in 2013, particularly those that have not yet been the topic of previous dinner presentations. From Sherlock developments to lip dubs, red flags, old records rock concert sets and classic pop tunes, Rasta appropriation, stick figures, the Batmobile, wanted photos, terminations, electronic transfers of copyright, the exciting concept of laches and more& The year that was is never more fun than in the world of copyright, its denizens and their neighbors!
January 07, 2014
CAMBRIDGE v. BECKER (The Georgia State University Case): The Most Important Educational Copyright Case In A Generation
Featuring TONY ASKEW AND STEVE SCHAETZEL, Meunier Carlin & Curfman, LLC
The ability to make fair use of materials in the educational context is fundamental; the doctrine enjoys a special place in terms of scholarship, research, criticism, comment and teaching. As a result, the educational environment constitutes a leading edge for consideration of fair use issues. In a case just argued before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, such fair use issues took center stage as three publishers appealed an District Court decision largely upholding the E-reserves policy of the University System of Georgia as implemented by Georgia State University. The ultimate ruling in this case will have ramifications for rights holders and users across the United States, both inside and outside of the educational environment.
Tony Askew and Steve Schaetzel represented the University System of Georgia in this now multi-year litigation. They will provide a recap of the Georgia State case, offer insights as to how recent leading decisions such as Google Books and Hathitrust influence the Georgia State case and current thinking in fair use, and they will explore the ramifications that this case could have for practitioners across the entire spectrum of copyright.
December 11, 2013
ITS A BIRD, ITS A PLANE, ITS . . . AN END TO THE SUPERMAN LITIGATION?
Featuring Daniel Petrocelli, OMelveny & Myers
The Los Angeles Copyright Society is proud to present an in-depth look at the copyright battle of the century, by one of todays top trial lawyers.
On November 21 of this year, the 9th Circuit effectively ended decades of litigation over who owns the copyrights relating to Superman. It affirmed summary judgment in favor of DC Comics parent company Warner Bros., holding that a 2003 termination notice filed by the nephew of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster was invalid due to a 1992 agreement between Shusters heirs and DC. This decision was the latest in a string of dramatic legal developments, including a 9th Circuit ruling last January dismissing similar claims by the heirs of Shusters co-creator Jerry Siegel, and seems finally to establish Warner Bros. as the sole owner of Superman.
Dan Petrocelli of OMelveny & Myers has represented Warner Bros. in these cases and will provide a first-hand account of this important litigation. He will address the various trial and appellate decisions and what they mean for copyright practitioners in a market hungry to adapt comic books and other preexisting works into movies, television shows and digital content.
November 13, 2013
STREAMING VIA THE PUBLIC AEREO-WAVES: A NEW TECHNOLOGY GOES OLD SCHOOL
Featuring Paul M. Smith & Doug Lichtman
Some of the most cutting-edge and controversial new issues of copyright law have been raised by the creation of the Aereo service and its imitator FilmOn X. These services receive broadcast television signals and retransmit them to users on request over the Internet. When an order is placed, they say they use a separate mini-antenna for each user and create a separate copy for that user on the server before transmitting. Equally cutting-edge and somewhat related issues have been raised by the Dish Network's "Prime Time Anytime" service, which records prime-time network programming to a subscriber's DVR and allows later viewing with the commercials automatically skipped.
October 09, 2013
What Will the Next Copyright Act Look Like?
Featuring Fred von Lohmann (Legal Director, Copyright | Google Inc.)
The Copyright Act of 1976 is beginning to show its age, despite updates like 19982s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Both the Register of Copyright and the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee have begun the discussion about what The Next Great Copyright Act should look like. It seems clear that the digital online environment will be at the center of the upcoming statutory overhaul of the Act. How do we craft a Copyright Act that is forward-looking, that encourages both creativity and innovation, and that meets the needs of millions of new creators who depend on the Internet for both inspiration and distribution?
September 11, 2013
RIGHTS OF PUBLICITY v. THE FIRST AMENDMENT: FROM HUMAN CANNONBALLS TO VIDEOGAMES
Kelli L. Sager of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP speaks on Hart v. Electronic Arts, Third Circuit, Keller v. Electronic Arts, et al., Ninth Circuit and James Brown v. Electronic Arts, Ninth Circuit decisions all decided recently relating to the right of publicity, Lanham Act claims and First Amendment defenses and SLAPP motions in connection with entertainment products.
September 11, 2013
September LACS Meeting: Guest TBA
September LACS Meeting: Guest TBA
June 04, 2013
Copyright at a Crossroads: The View from Washington
Senator Christopher Dodd Chairman MPAA
May 08, 2013
AN HISTORIC STRUGGLE OVER RIGHTS TO HISTORICAL CHARACTERS How One Sherlockian Is Taking on the Conan Doyle Estate
Jonathan Kirsch, author and publishing attorney, is the lead intellectual property counsel on Les Klinger’s legal team. Klinger is a prominent Los Angeles attorney, expert on the Sherlock Holmes Canon, and author of numerous works about Sherlock Holmes.He is also the plaintiff in a newly-filed civil action now pending in U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois against the Conan Doyle Estate. He will reprise the leading cases on character protection and discuss the origins and status of Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, LLC, a saga with all the twists and turns of a Sherlock Holmes story but one that stands on the cutting edge of character protection under copyright and trademark law.
April 10, 2013
Aaron Moss and Ken Basin: Termination Salvation: Do Artists Who Use Loan-Out Corporations Say Hasta La Vista to Their Termination Rights?
On January 1, 2013, the first generation of copyright transfers made under the 1976 Copyright Act became eligible for statutory termination, enabling creators of copyrighted properties and their heirs to unwind their own transactions and reacquire potentially valuable rights to long-since transferred works. As recent headlines involving marquee properties such as James Camerons The Terminator and the Village Peoples Y.M.C.A. have made clear, the implications for successful, enduring franchises created after 1978 could be dramatic.
March 13, 2013
Simon J. Frankel: A Night at the Museum: IP Battles in the World of Fine Art
February 13, 2013
It’s Crazy in Canada: A Copyright Blizzard
January 09, 2013
Copyright Year in Review: Looking Back at 2012 and What to Look For in 2013
December 12, 2012
Battlefield Conditions?: A State-of-the-Nation Report on the Right of Publicity
November 14, 2012
The Knockoff Economy
September 12, 2012
Fashion Weak? Copyright and the Fall Line
June 13, 2012
The View of Circle C from DC
May 09, 2012
The New Consensus on Digital Theft and Counterfeiting
April 11, 2012
Jan Bernd Nordemann
Axel aus der Muhlen lecture on International Law: See You in the EU - Finding Common Ground in European Copyright Law
March 14, 2012
Hope and Obey: A Copyright Fairey Tale
February 08, 2012
From Seven Dirty Words to Fleeting Expletives and Wardrobe Malfunctions – Where Are We Now?
January 11, 2012
An Empirical Study of Fair Use Cases, 1978-2011 – And What It Means for Copyright Practitioners
December 14, 2011
2011 Year in Review: Recent Developments in Copyright and Media Law
November 09, 2011
This is Not My Beautiful House!: How Can We Have An Information Economy If All Content is Free?
October 12, 2011
We'll Just Have To 504© About That: The Limewire Case And Statutory Damages In Mass Infringement Cases
September 14, 2011
Jonathan Zavin and David Grossman
Kung-Fu Panda Fighting: The Kung-Fu Panda Case, Terence Dunn v. Dreamworks Animation
June 08, 2011
A Copyright System for the 21st Century: One That Would Work
May 11, 2011
Mira T. Sundara Rajan
Axel aus der Muhlen Memorial Lecture on International Law: The Story of the Moral: The Case for Bringing International Moral Rights to the U.S.
April 13, 2011
Gail Migdal Title and Joel R. Weiner
The Future of Idea Submission Claims and the Copyright Preemption Doctrine: Montz v. Pilgrim Films (discussing the Grosso and Montz cases).
March 09, 2011
Farewell Frequent Flyer Filings: The Legislative Response to Libel Tourism
February 09, 2011
Edward H. Rosenthal and Maura J. Wogan
Catcher in the Wry: Parody, Fair Use, and Injunctions in the World of Literature
January 12, 2011
Aaron Moss and Lincoln Bandlow
First Sale Fail: Supreme Court Deadlocks in Omega v. Costco; Now What?
December 08, 2010
Bob Clarida and Thomas Kjellberg
Current Developments in Copyright
November 10, 2010
Don Johnson Productions v. Rysher Entertainment: New Risks at the Intersection of Copyright and Profit Participation
October 13, 2010
Judge Alex Kozinski and Louis Petrich
A View From the Bridge: Navigating Through Recent Copyright, Right of Publicity and Trademark Rulings in the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court
September 14, 2010
Cliff Sloan and Michael Kwun
Viacom Dios: What the District Court's Dismissal Of Viacom's Lawsuit Against YouTube Means And What Happens Next
June 09, 2010
Prof. Doug Lichtman
Shoot the Messenger
May 12, 2010
Keith Ashby and Peter McInerney
Axel aus der Muhlen Memorial Lecture on International Law: Are You Okay in the UK? An Update on Online Piracy, Formats, Privacy and Defamation Law Across the Pond
April 14, 2010
Lee Phillips and Eric Custer
Music Rights Terminators: They'll Be Back
March 10, 2010
James Juo and Scott Hansen
Three Ways to Skin a Copycat: How Design Patents Overlap with Copyright and Trade Dress
February 10, 2010
Erika Solti Shaeffer, Slyvie Maracci and Elena Muravina
Copyright Issues in International Productions: a panel discussion
January 13, 2010
Whether a Rolling Stone Will Gather No Loss: A Rock N' Roll Tribute Meets a Right of Publicity Class Action
December 09, 2009
Bob Clarida and Tom Kjellberg
Current Developments In Copyright
November 11, 2009
Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick: A View From The Trenches
October 13, 2009
Knockoffs and Fashion Victims: Why We Don't Need a Design Piracy Protection Act
September 09, 2009
Is Amazon Watching?: The First Sale Doctrine In the Age of eBooks and Movie Downloads
June 03, 2009
John Schulman and Jeremy Williams
Holding On And Letting Go
May 13, 2009
Copyright Protection On The Internet – A European Challenge: The Struggle Against The PirateBay or How Sweden Became An Internet Piracy Haven
April 01, 2009
April Fools! Plaintiff Wins Fair Use Trial, But Defendant Is Publishing A New Manuscript Anyway!: Recent Developments In Fair Use And Free Expression
March 11, 2009
Inspector Clouseau, Clark Kent and Lassie Walk Into A Courtroom: Terminating Copyright Transfers – Recent Case Law Developments
February 11, 2009
Janis C. Nelson and Prof. Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Trouble in River City: Ethics in Entertainment Practice. A Conversation with Janis C. Nelson, Esq. and Prof. Carrie Menkel-Meadow
January 14, 2009
Copyright (and Media too) Year In Review
December 03, 2008
Michael S. Elkin
Io v. Veoh: Application of DMCA Safe Harbors to UGC Sites
November 06, 2008
Living in a World of User Digital Distribution: The UGC Principles – a Case Study
September 10, 2008
Exploding the Inverse Ratio Rule
May 07, 2008
Control Of Public Domain Images And Other Intersections of Copyright And Contract
April 02, 2008
Has The Worm Turned: Personal Managers and Procuring Employment – Recent Developments Under The Talent Agency Act
March 05, 2008
Copyright Or Copywrong: The Top Ten Worst Copyright Decisions
December 05, 2007
Professor Neil Netanel
Copyright Developments: What Happened in 2007 and What to Expect in 2008
November 07, 2007
It's (Not) The Same Old Song: Music Rights In A Digital Age
October 03, 2007
Copyright & Technology: Legal, Political and Market Challenges. A View From WIPO
September 11, 2007
Jeff Mausner, Andrew Bridges & Jay Spillane
Recent Important Cases Involving Secondary Liability, Fair Use, The DMCA and Right of Publicity: Perfect 10 v. Google, Visa and CCBill
June 06, 2007
Fred von Lohmann
Developing Dolphin-Safe DMCA Takedowns: Responsibly Policing User-Generated Content
May 02, 2007
Charles Alexander & Carolyn Dalton
3rd Axel aus der Mühlen Memorial Lecture On International Law Copyright Reform Australian Style: Recent Developments and Emerging Copyright Reform Issues Down Under
April 04, 2007
Anthony Falzone & Michael Donaldson
Creative Coverage: Documentary Film Makers Get New "Fair Use Insurance" – How Much Do They Need It?
March 07, 2007
Scandalous Notes: Applying The New Musical Reality To Film And Television Music
February 07, 2007
The Dilution Solution? Implications of Recent Amendments to the Trademark Statute
January 10, 2007
Professor Neil Netanel
2006 – Copyright Year in Review
January 09, 2007
Injunctive Relief in Copyright Cases: Not So Fast
December 06, 2006
Neville Johnson, Gerald Weiner
The Music Download Class Action Suits
November 01, 2006
Glen Kulik & Lou Petrich
Plenty More Plaintiffs Pursuing Purloined Pitches?: The Status And Future Of Idea Submission Law Post-Grosso
October 04, 2006
The Book Review And The Fair-Used Photo: A Case Study In Trying Section 107 To A Jury
September 13, 2006
Termination of Transfers after the Winnie The Pooh Case
June 07, 2006
A Conversation with William Patry about Fair Use
May 03, 2006
Carole Handler & Jimmy Nguyen
The Medium is the Message: How New Media Technologies Will Transform Copyright Protection and Limits
April 05, 2006
Christoph Wagner and Winston Maxwell
2nd Axel aus der Mühlen Memorial Lecture On International Law Recent Copyright Law Developments in France and Germany
March 11, 2006
L.A.C.S. Conference at La Costa Resort
Speaker and Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award, Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights. Other speakers: David O. Carson, David Nimmer, Jeff Mausner, Robert Clarida, Lionel S. Sobel, Stacey Byrnes, Mark Roesler, Prof. J. Dougherty and Susan Aslan
February 08, 2006
Professor David Kohler
Sending Central Hudson Down The River: What Abandoning The "Commercial Speech" Test Would Mean For Advertising And Right Of Publicity Law
January 11, 2006
Robert Schwartz and Josh Wattles
Grokster: The Case, The Holding, The Future
December 07, 2005
Lou Petrich and Robert H.Rotstein
The Use of Marks in Movies and the Impact of Parody
November 02, 2005
Crystals, Pixels and Light: The Curious Case of Mannion v. Coors
September 14, 2005
Music Machinations: The Changing Landscape Of The Statutory Licenses for Musical Works and Sound Recordings
May 04, 2005
Codifying Copyright Comprehensibly
April 13, 2005
Lawrence Heller & Eric Stockel
That, and $15 Million, Will Get You a Jar of Coffee: A Discussion of the Recent Nestle Right of Publicity Case
March 02, 2005
Glen A. Bloom
1st Axel aus der Mühlen Memorial Lecture On International Law: Recent Developments in Canadian Copyright Law and the On-Going Shifts in the Canada/US IP law divide
February 02, 2005
Your Karma Ran Over My Dogma: Issues in Copyright Protection for Yoga Sequences, Sports Plays and Choreography
January 12, 2005
Jo-Ellen Dimitrius, Ph.D.
Jury Selection In Intellectual Property / Privacy / Publicity Cases
December 01, 2004
David Lyle & David Shall
All About Formats
November 03, 2004
Robert H. Rotstein
Digital Video Recorders and the Law of Copyright
October 06, 2004
Lou Petrich and Lincoln Bandlow.
Recent cases involving Copyright and the Right of Privacy: Bochco and Gates
September 06, 2004
Michael D. Lewis
Legal Issues Concerning Creation and Licensing of Content Distributed On-Line and Wirelessly
May 05, 2004
Richard B. Kendall
April 14, 2004
Professor Eugene Volokh
Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Property: A Survey of Some Important Remaining Questions
March 03, 2004
Trademark, Copyright And Other Challenges To Props/ Background Scenery in Film
February 04, 2004
Recent UK and European Developments in Copyright and Neighboring Rights
January 07, 2004
David Halberstadter & Harrison Dossick
Professional Responsibilities of Outside and Corporate Counsel in the Entertainment Industry
December 03, 2003
George Borkowski and Michael Page
The Grokster/Kaaza/Aimster litigation
November 05, 2003
The Enforceability of Shrinkwrap/Clickwrap Agreements
October 01, 2003
Douglas E. Mirell
Worming Around the First Amendment: An Overview of Recent Developments in Publicity Rights Litigation
September 10, 2003
Bruce E. H. Johnson & Kelli Sager
The Nike v. Kasky Case
June 04, 2003
Marybeth Peters, US Register of Copyrights
What Can you Legally Use Without Paying For It?
May 07, 2003
Plagiarism Revisited: Current issues relating to plagiarism such as passing off, reverse passing off, and violation of the claimed right of attribution
April 10, 2003
Copyright & Trademark: The Year in Review
March 05, 2003
Moral Rights 10+ Years After The Asphalt Jungle Case: Still a jungle?
February 05, 2003
Copyright Ownership and Separated Rights
November 06, 2002
Eldred v. Ashcroft: The Challenge to the 20-Year Copyright Extension
October 02, 2002
Trademark and the First Amendment: Fred and Ginger dance into the Ninth Circuit
September 04, 2002
Washington and Hollywood: Proposed copyright legislation and its potential effects on the entertainment industry
May 01, 2002
Do you Believe in Magic?: IP Protection for Magic and Illusions
April 03, 2002
Stephen F. Rohde
Kidnapping the Son of Sam Law: A Victory for the First Amendment or a Defeat for Victims' Rights?
March 06, 2002
The European Civil Law (A Different Legal Tradition): How & Why It Differs from Common Law
February 06, 2002
Use of the anti-SLAPP Statute in Media Litigation
January 09, 2002
Creative Accounting in the Entertainment Industry: How to Follow the Money
December 05, 2001
P.T. Barnum Redux: Tales in Building a Billion Dollar Brand.
November 07, 2001
Royalties from Abroad
October 03, 2001
Joel McCabe Smith
Silver Screen Stars, Stooges and Surfers: California's Right of Publicity Law in the aftermath of Hoffman, Saderup and Abercrombie
September 05, 2001
Henry J. Tashman
Statutory Damages in Copyright Cases: Constitutionality and Application by the Courts and Juries
May 02, 2001
Copycat Crime Litigation and the First Amendment: A Review of the Natural Born Killers Case
April 04, 2001
When Intellectual Property Rights Restrict Competition — The interface of antitrust, trademark and copyright law
March 07, 2001
Donald S. Passman
Music Update: Challenges in the Digital Age"
February 07, 2001
Copyright, Trademark and the Scope of the Fair use Parody Defense: Columbia Pictures v. TeeVeeToons
January 03, 2001
Russell J. Frackman
A&M Records vs. Napster: Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation
December 06, 2000
Siva Vaidhyanathan, Ph.D., Professor, NYU
The End of Copyright: Technology and the Threat to the Information Commons
November 01, 2000
What Every Good Entertainment Lawyer Needs to Know about Bankruptcy
October 04, 2000
Jon A. Baumgarten
Cease and DeCSS'd: The DVD Encryption Case in the Broader Context of New Technology and the Protection of Motion Picture Copyrights
September 06, 2000
Ian C. Ballon
Fair Use in Cyberspace
May 03, 2000
Recent Developments in the Law of Entertainment Lawyering: Cautionary Tales about Letter-Writing (Cease-and-Desist, Opinion, Settlement Confirmation, and Conflict Waiver), Sanctions, Fees Malpractice, Lawyers as Private Investigators, and Messing with Don Engel
April 05, 2000
Joseph M. Beck
The cases of Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. v. CBS and Rosa Parks v. LaFace: Civil Rights heroes, Copyright, Fair Use, The First Amendment and "Symbolic Conflicts"
March 01, 2000
Ed Labowitz, Stephanie Lieser
Moral Rights – An International Perspective
February 02, 2000
Los Angeles Times and Washington Post v. Free Republic: Fair Use and Freedom of Speech
January 05, 2000
Music Rights in the Digital Age – They Aren't What You Think They Are
December 01, 1999
Kathryn A. Young
Using Trademarks in Film: Is it Worth the Risk?
November 03, 1999
Mark Flagel and Dan Shecter
Why Worry About Patents? (After all My Client has Never Been Injured by a Stealth Bomber)
October 06, 1999
Creation of Entertainment Content for the Internet
September 08, 1999
Of Laws and Sausage: The Right of Publicity in Sacramento
December 02, 1998
Recent Developments in Fair Use and Copyright Issues: Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishing Group, Inc.
November 04, 1998
Roger L. Mayer
The Legal and Practical Consequences of Film Preservation (or the Lack Thereof!)
October 07, 1998
Kelli L. Sager
Recent Developments in Misappropriation and Right of Publicity Law
September 09, 1998
Professor Eugene Volokh
Copyright Law and the First Amendment's Procedural Rules
April 01, 1998
The Spider In The Web: The Top 10 Ways To Get Stung With A Website
October 08, 1997
Harvey E. Harrison
A Declaration of Independence – The Call for Legislative Abolition of Most Exclusivity Provisions in Employment Agreements in the Entertainment Industry
April 02, 1997
Copyright Protection for Creations of Nonhumans: Celestial Beings, Chimpanzees and Computers.