Copyright Defense to Complaints About Distance Learning in a COVID-19 Era

Complaining about innovative distant learning programs in a COVID-19 era, some students and parents are revolting and seeking refunds of their tuition fees. Some are even suing their colleges. The suits claim that they paid for in-person education, and distance learning in this age of COVID-19 lockdown doesn’t cut it.  See “College Students Demand Refunds,” […]


The Supreme Court Holds That North Carolina Can’t Be Sued for Its Infringing Activities, but the Copyright Holder May Still Have a Remedy

The Supreme Court unanimously held this week that sovereign immunity insulates a state from suit for copyright infringement. Allen et al. v Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, et al., 589 U.S. ___(2020). The state in the Supreme Court case was North Carolina. In 2011 Lutzker & Lutzker fought a similar battle in federal district court […]


The Pandemic: Copyright’s Role in the Switch to Distance Education and Online Learning at Home

Copyright might seem unrelated to the pandemic, but the suddenly critical role of online education especially for young students raises important new issues and opportunities in that area. As schools are closing around the country, some perhaps for the rest of the year, our heroic teachers are scrambling to make sure that the education of […]


A Copyright Lesson from a California Elementary School

A Berkeley, California elementary school trying to raise funds for its PTA recently had an unpleasant surprise. After an evening showing of the movie The Lion King by the school’s Dads Club, for which there was an optional $15 entrance fee, the school received a letter from Movie Licensing USA, which represents Disney, accusing it […]


Creative Ways to Protect Your Brand

It takes more than just a trademark registration to establish and maintain a strong brand in today’s flooded consumer market. While federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is still the GOLD standard in brand protection, the following tips are additional ways to ensure your brand stands out: Consistency is Key […]


The Line Between Honoring Cultural Heritage and Appropriating It: Where Copyright and Trademark Law Fall Short

It’s ironic that fashion designer Carolina Herrera, who is Venezuelan and a self-declared emissary for Latin heritage, has found herself in the midst of a controversy over cultural appropriation.  The controversy arose out of the use by Herrera’s new creative director, Wes Gordon, of two designs associated with Mexican indigenous peoples on dresses in the […]


EU Copyright Directive Spells Major New Responsibilities for ISPs

Isabel Agnew

On March 26, 2019, the EU Parliament passed Article 17 (formerly Article 13) of the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, entitled “Use of protected content by online content-sharing service providers” (EU Directive 2019/790, Art. 17), which will require large, online content-sharing service providers like YouTube and Facebook to actively screen and […]


New Guidelines Provide Clarity for Cannabis and Hemp Trademark Applications

The path to trademark registration for hemp and CBD-based products may be a little easier now. In response to the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recently issued Official Guidelines for the examination of marks for cannabis and cannabis-related goods and services. Brand owners […]


Register Your Work Sooner Rather Than Later: The Supreme Court Clarifies the Copyright Registration Requirement

Meagan Glynn

On March 4, 2019, the Supreme Court decided Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v., LLC, settling a long-standing dispute over the Copyright Act’s registration requirement. Under the Copyright Act, a copyright owner generally may not institute a copyright infringement action until the work at issue has been registered in accordance with 17 U.S.C. § […]