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Copyright Law Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Music Modernization Act: Landmark music copyright law signed

In an unusual move in this time of deep division, sweeping federal copyright legislation updating copyright law for the digital age was unanimously passed in both the House and Senate. The president signed it on October 11, 2018. 

Court gives second try at climbing the "Stairway to Heaven"

At Lawrence G. Townsend, Intellectual Property Lawyer, in San Francisco, we represent people in copyright infringement disputes involving a variety of creative works, including those involving music and sound recordings. In current copyright news, the owner of the copyright to an obscure 1960s rock song who alleges that Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was copied from it has a second chance to prove his case. 

Introduction to the work-made-for-hire doctrine in copyright

At our law firm, we represent employers, employees and independent contractors in disputes over ownership of copyrights to creative works conceived during working relationships between the parties. In these disputes, the issue is often whether the creative work is a "work made for hire." 

Introduction to book-publishing contracts

At our law firm, we are well versed in legal and practical issues that come up in the negotiation of book-publishing agreements. We represent book authors as well as publishers throughout the process of publishing-contract drafting, review and negotiation

US Supreme Court to hear important copyright infringement case

At Lawrence G. Townsend, Intellectual Property Lawyer, we represent California plaintiffs and defendants in federal copyright infringement lawsuits. The copyright owner of an "original work of authorship" has an exclusive right to control, use and protect its creative work, which could range from books, movies, and architecture to music, poetry and software. 

VARA and the moral rights of graffiti artists

At our law firm, we represent artists and parties doing business with them in agreements and lawsuits about artists' "moral rights" to their creative works under the federal Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, known as VARA, as well as under the California Art Preservation Act. We have recently been discussing copyright issues concerning graffiti or aerosol art and, in an interesting twist, a federal judge in New York recently found in favor of graffiti artists in a VARA lawsuit

Another twist on copyright interests in graffiti art

We recently talked here about the emerging copyright question of whether graffiti can be protected creative work. In our previous post, we described a case in which a federal judge in New York decided that a graffiti artist did not have an infringement claim. Because the art was only displayed for a couple of seconds in the background of a scene in "Vinyl," a show involving Mick Jagger as a creator, the judge said the use was only de minimis, meaning so trivial and brief that it could not rise to the requirement that the use be "substantially similar" to the original work. 

Children's versions of literary novels were infringing

At our law firm, we represent authors, agents and publishers in a variety of copyright matters, including drafting, reviewing and negotiating agreements involving licensing, publishing, representation, marketing, works for hire and more. In addition, we vigorously protect our clients against accusations of copyright infringement or, on the other hand, we assert and enforce the rights of copyright and license holders against infringement by others.

Graffiti copyright claim fails because use in TV show de minimis

Broadly, creative works of art in many instances can be properly protected by copyright. We recently talked about copyright issues surrounding tattoos. Today we discuss an interesting case about copyright in graffiti in the context of its appearance in the background of a scene of a TV show. 

Can reproducing an affixed tattoo violate a copyright? Probably.

Copyrights grant exclusive legal rights to the owners of creative works. One protected category is "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works" -- think paintings, graphic art, sketches, illustrations, photos, sculptors and the like. But let's go out on a limb here. Can a tattoo be the subject of a copyright

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