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A FEW TIPS re managing copyright, trademarks and intellectual property  [Please note, the postings on this blog are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice]   ...follow and subscribe to this blog on wordpress

Entries in Music Copyright (44)

Tuesday
Sep262017

What does Copyright Protect? (Great Question!)

Asking what copyright protects is a great question!

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects "original works of authorship" including literary, musical, artistic and dramatic works, such as photographs, articles, novels, sound recordings, sheet music, lyrics, jewelry designs, artwork, graffiti, poetry, screen plays, children's books, user manuals, website content, movies, computer software, and architecture. [THE KEY is that the material (or work) is ORIGINAL].

Can I copyright a name, title, slogan, or short phrase? In most cases, No.  These things may be protected as trademarks. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.

Can I copyright the name of my band? No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law.

Can I copyright my domain name? No. Domain names are not protected by copyright law. Some domain protection may be available under trademark law.

Can I copyright my idea?  No.  Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description (for example, a user manual), but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

Excerpt from the U.S Copyright Office at: www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html.

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18; blog posts on trademarks and trademark registration at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k; "Copyright Basics" at www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf ; "Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases" at www.scireg.org/us_copyright_registration/circs/circ34.pdf ; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Thursday
Oct202016

New trend of Phone-Free Concerts has many benefits

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-33-01-pmFans are required to place their cellphones into Yondr’s form-fitting lockable pouch when entering the show, and a disk mechanism unlocks it on the way out. Fans keep the pouch with them, but it is impossible for them to snap pictures, shoot videos or send text messages during the performance while the pouch is locked.  (quote from NY Times article titled, Your Phone’s on Lockdown. Enjoy the Show)

When the rocker Axl Rose reunited with his former Guns N’ Roses bandmates, Duff McKagan and Slash, for the first time in 23 years, the concert was phone-free. “God, it was wonderful,” Mr. McKagan said of the first reunion show in April, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. “It was the old-school feeling, where people were dancing and getting down. It was really cool.”

Not surprisingly performing artists reportedly enjoy playing phone-free concerts.

In addition to increasing the fun “old-school feeling” at a phone-free concert, decreasing the likelihood of intellectual property infringement may be a hidden benefit of a phone-free concert. While it’s not uncommon for audience members to record and post concert clips, this can infringe a bundle of intellectual property rights including:

  • Copyright in the music compositions and lyrics (often controlled by the publisher or sometimes the artist)
  • Copyright in the performance (often controlled by the label)
  • Trademarks of the band, club or venue

I haven’t met a Yondr case yet; although, I’m looking forward to using one sometime soon at a phone-free concert.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See also: Previous blog post Recording and Posting Concert Clips: what’s legal… what’s not at http://wp.me/p10nNq-os; The New York Times article titled, Your Phone’s on Lockdown. Enjoy the Show. by J. Morrissey at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/technology/your-phones-on-lockdown-enjoy-the-show.html?_r=0; Yondr website at http://overyondr.com/; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Tuesday
Apr282015

Flaunt Your Originality (originality is key to copyright)

While speaking to a group of visual arts students recently, a recurring theme was to FLAUNT YOUR ORIGINALITY and savor using your original work.  We had a heart to heart moment that went something like this:FullSizeRender (2)

You all are an incredibly talented group of people.  You wouldn’t be sitting here in this room, in a prestigious art school, if you hadn’t already proven how talented and artistically creative you are.  When you create a montage or a creative work, make every bit of it original.  You want your work to show every person who sees it how talented YOU are.  Use your gifts.  Pitch your genius.  Tap into your creative talents and let your originality shine.

This heart to heart moment arose spontaneously in response to a question about originality being a fundamental element of copyright and the fair use exceptions to copyright.  (In my opinion, original work created by talented folks is always best.  Don’t even think about how or when a fair use exception may apply.  Just flaunt your original work).

Originality is key to securing copyright protection under U.S. Copyright Law.  Section 102 of the U.S. Copyright Law includes “original works” within the general definition of copyrightable materials.  Here is the text of Section 102(a):

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works. [Full text of U.S. Copyright Law is available at www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf].

Today I am flaunting my originality with a flower arrangement of daffodils and parsley on my desk.  (Pictured above).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18 An outline of the topics covered in my discussion with art students on copyright is available at http://www.kasterlegal.com/iplegalfreebies/2015/4/6/copyright-contracts-outline.html ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Thursday
Mar122015

Quote Brahms: Any ass can see the similarities with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’

A page from Beethoven’s manuscript for his 9th Symphony available at www.wikipedia.orgThe program notes for a recent concert of Brahms Symphonies No. 1 & 3 contained an admission by Brahms that the “big string section” in the finale of his first symphony was similar to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”  Evidently, when Brahms was confronted about the resemblance, he replied, “Any ass can see that.”  I’m not sure how this quote has managed to survive almost 200 years, but it’s a fascinating example of an admission to copying another artist’s work. [Today this would be an example of admitting to copyright infringement by copying another artist’s work and/or creating a derivative work based on another artist’s work].  While the Brahms’ quote may seem comical, it is not so uncommon today for similar admissions to be made to the media or on social media regarding plagiarism or copyright infringement.  Often this type of admission is made off-the-cuff by an artist who has copied another artist’s work without any thought being given to a possible copyright infringement claim.  Yet, when the copyright infringement claim surfaces it may be difficult to overcome because of the prior admission.  Admissions made off-the-cuff, even in a slightly comical tone or on social media can have detrimental repercussions.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; NY Times, What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling at www.nytimes.com; Carnegie Hall calendar and announcement of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra playing Brahms Symphony No. 1 at www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.

Tuesday
Nov112014

GhostTunes: Garth Brooks launches iTunes competitor and releases his new album

As a Grammy winning artist and a #1-selling solo artist in the U.S., Garth Brooks has interesting leverage and oomph when it Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 4.43.59 PMcomes to launching a new digital music platform called GhostTunes.  After resisting to sell his music through iTunes or any download store, Garth Brooks has begun selling his music digitally through the newly launched GhostTunes website.  Just this week, Garth Brooks released his new album “Man Against The Machine” on the service for $12.99 or in a “bundle”/package deal with 8 of his other studio albums for $29.99.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about GhostTunes:

  • Users can access the music they buy on GhostTunes on any of their devices instantly (smart phone, tablet, laptop).
  • Taylor Swift is selling her new album “1989” on GhostTunes after publicly pulling her catalog from Spotify.
  • GhostTunes may be selling some music for less than iTunes (According to a WSJ article this week).
  • GhostTunes is allegedly making about 10% less than iTunes and other popular download services by allocating 80% of each song’s sale price to artists, labels, songwriters and music publishers. (According to a WSJ article this week).
  • Artists can create “bundle” deals (like the group sale of several of Garth Brooks albums) for one price.
  • Bundle deals can include more than just music.  For example, concert tickets and merchandise.
  • www.ghosttunes.com

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: GhostTunes at www.ghosttunes.com and www.ghosttunes.com/garth-brooks;  Article in the WSJ by Hannah Karp on 11/10/2014 titled, “Garth Brooks Launches Download Store: GhostTunes, to Debut Tuesday, Will Offer Digital Songs by Thousands of Artists” at http://online.wsj.com/articles/garth-brooks-to-launch-music-download-store-1415594399; @iplegalfreebies and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com.