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. Wall-Street.com, 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. § […]


Alphabet Soup: WHOIS, GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation), and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)

The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective on May 25, 2018. In light of this sweeping new law, the WHOIS global database of domain name registrants has ceased to be a key resource for intellectual property stakeholders seeking to protect their rights online. Registries will now need to have a good […]


Clash of the Titans – European Union Copyright Holders Versus Technology Giants

On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament took a first, but crucial, step in adopting sweeping changes to copyright law on the Internet in the European Union. The vote on this copyright directive pitted media companies who hold the copyright to music and news content against technology platforms such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. […]


Cultural Appropriation & the Lack of Legal Protection for Indigenous Australian Art

Samuel Meredith

Note: “Marking the Infinite,” a stunning exhibit of works by contemporary women artists from Aboriginal Australia is on view until September 9, 2018 at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. In spring 2018, a Utah high-school student named Keziah Daum caused a controversy when she tweeted out some prom pictures in which she was wearing […]