Intellectual property issues and profit disparities for viral social media “stars” @ SxSW

March 7, 2017 Leave a comment

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Join me and this extraordinary panel of experts, Michael D. Armstrong (Viacom), Devin Johnson (Uninterrupted), and panel organizer, Simone Bresi-Ando (I’mPOSSIBLE) at SxSW on Tuesday March 14th at 11 AM: Gentrifying Genius: Urban Creators Stripped Bare.

The panel will explore themes around The Fader’s article: “Black Teens Are Breaking The Internet And Seeing None Of The Profits” in a solutions-focused manner that will not only discuss the ecosystem that maintains the inequalities but also ways to protect and monetize their creative genius on social media.

Simone Bresi-Ando of I’mPOSSIBLE explains:

Black and brown youth are missing out on fruitful and ultimately life changing opportunities and rewards from their intellectual property which remains wildly popular but unpaid and uncredited.

Intellectual Property and Social Media

thumbnail_ImP x SxSW 2017 panelist promo INSTAGRAM graphic PROF TONYA EVANSI will adjust the frame of reference by explaining what intellectual property is, how rights are created, what rights creators control and what they give up when they opt-in to social media platforms, and how creators of color, in particular, can better navigate disparities in what I call the “post-to-profit” pipeline.

This disparity, of course, is not new. Similar misappropriation pervades America’s history with creators of color. In the cinematic suspense phenomenon Get Out, Jordan Peele goes a step further beyond cultural appropriation to examine the ultimate misappropriation of black bodies themselves, genius and all.

This will be a rich, engaging, dynamic conversation. Hope to see you there!

Professor Evans to join the UNH Law faculty Fall 2017!

February 27, 2017 2 comments

unh-law-logo-twitter_400x400I am thrilled to announce that I will join the tenured faculty of The University of New Hampshire School of Law this fall as a Full Professor.

UNH Law, formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center, is a leader in intellectual property law, social justice, sports law, and innovative practical preparation and is ranked 82nd by US News & World Report. It is also home to the preeminent Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property (FPCIP) and the UNH Sports and Entertainment Law Institute (SELI).

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I look forward to serving as an integral part of both FPCIP and SELI, and I will also continue my work in the areas of Trusts & Estates and Inclusion & Equity.

[Read the official press release]

 

I am excited to announce that my hiring class includes Ryan Vacca. He is the David L. Brennan Professor of Law at The University of Akron School of Law, where he also serves as the Interim Co-Dean and Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Technology.

My departure from Widener Law Commonwealth is bittersweet; I have loved my time here! WLC has been a tremendous place to evolve as an educator and scholar in the legal academy while surrounded by wonderful, supportive colleagues and inspired by fantastic students (whom I will miss most of all!). Thank you for the well wishes I’ve already received.

Article Alert: Statutory Heirs Apparent explores copyright termination right succession in the entertainment industry

February 14, 2017 Leave a comment

2017-01-18-14-27-04My latest article, Statutory Heirs Apparent: Reclaiming Copyright in the Age of Author-Controlled, Author-Benefiting Transfers (119 W. Va. L. Rev 297 (2016)), explores the intersectionality of estate succession laws and copyright and the unintended conflict between a deceased author’s testamentary freedom and the right of the decedent’s statutory heirs to terminate the decedent author’s lifetime transfers.

A number of notable songwriters have successfully reclaimed control over their copyrights from recording companies: Bruce Springstein, Loretta Lynn, Tom Petty, and an original “Village People” member, Victor Willis, for that perennial Karaoke favorite “YMCA”. They all lived long enough to see the copyright termination window open for their respective rights.

However, some authors are not so fortunate.

Case in point: The Ninth Circuit recently heard Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson, 795 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2015). That case presents facts analogous to the problem the proposed amendment seeks to resolve; that is, when a statutory heir asserts a termination interest clearly contrary to the decedent author’s wishes.

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In that case, Charles named his private charitable foundation as sole heir of his rights and recipient of his royalties during his life and thereafter. In fact, the Foundation is totally funded by the royalties and is prohibited from receiving any other means of support. Separately, he negotiated with his children (all 12 of them) to waive any right to his estate in exchange for half million dollars into an irrevocable trust for each. He died before the termination window opened. The perfect storm.  Read more…

Media Alert: SmartTalk Feb. 1 interview re: Black History Month event Nat’l Parks & America’s “Untold Stories”

January 30, 2017 Leave a comment

In honor of Black History Month, on February 8th, Widener Law Commonwealth will host “National Parks & America’s Untold Stories”, led by Alan Spears, Director of Cultural Resources at the National Parks Conservation Association. This event is sponsored by WLC, Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center.

Mr. Spears will explore why maintaining an inclusive and relevant National Park System is critically important to the future of our parks. He will share stories of African American history in our national parks and how National Parks Conservation Association is advocating to create and maintain a park system that reflects all of America. I will discuss the broader role of African-American history as American History.

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In anticipation of this event, on February 1, 2017 9:00 AM-10:00 AM ET, Mr. Spears and I will do a SmartTalk WITF segment to discuss the event and some of the untold stories he will share at the event.

[Listen to the REPLAY via SoundCloud]

 

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[RSVP Now]

Categories: Intellectual Property

Shirley Caesar goes from viral Internet sensation to You Name It, LLC trademark applicant

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

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Perhaps it’s surprising that Pastor Shirley Caesar never registered her name as a source-indicating mark before now. Thankfully, trademark rights attach even to unregistered marks [NOLO.com] used in connection with sale of goods or, in her case, entertainment services as a world-renowned gospel recording artist.

And now after the “U Name It” Challenge [BET.com w/ sound] became a thing and gave new meaning to the phrase “going viral” recently, Caesar and her legal team realized that securing trademark rights in her name is as important as protecting her copyright interests.

About the “You Name It” Viral Clip

The video clip making viral rounds on social media is an excerpt from a live performance of “Hold My Mule.” The legendary gospel sermon has been edited to revolve around Caesar’s chant, “beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes,” in response to the question, “Grandma, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving?” – BET.com

Legal Intelligencer takes note of recent appoinment of Prof. Evans to senior leadership

October 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Evans joins law school’s senior leadership as Associate Dean of Inclusion & Equity

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Associate Professor Tonya M. Evans joins the law school’s senior leadership team as the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Equity.

Professor Tonya M. Evans imageDean Evans’ new role includes overseeing the law school’s implementation of its strategic plan, practices, and policies related to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the classroom and legal profession.

Her goal is to inspire and sustain a law school community that champions a culture of respect, civility, professionalism, and inclusivity.

To that end, Dean Evans will oversee and implement the greater University’s strategic goals regarding diversity to:

  • Continue to foster a campus climate that values multiple perspectives and experiences.
  • Prepare all students for success in a diverse and global society.
  • Expand and promote access, equity, and success for disadvantaged and underrepresented students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
  • Create and sustain institutional structures and processes to support a culture of inclusivity.
  • Promote scholarship related to diversity and inclusive excellence.

She will continue to teach in the areas of intellectual property, property, wills and trusts and entertainment law.

“We are preparing our students for success in a diverse and global society,” said Widener Law Commonwealth Dean Christian Johnson. “I know that Associate Dean Evans will work to create and sustain a campus environment that will promote access, equity and success for underrepresented students, faculty, staff and administration as well as the greater legal community.”

Read the complete article at the Widener Law Commonwealth website.

Insight into Diversity and Widener

Recently, Widener University was named, along with a select group of institutions nationwide, to receive an INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine‘s 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Widener is one of only 83 institutions in the United States to receive the award this year, and the only one in the Philadelphia region.

 “As a leading metropolitan university, Widener has made a concerted effort to create a campus community that is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and I’m very pleased that we are being recognized with the HEED Award,” said Widener President Julie E. Wollman.

A Note About Diversity at Widener

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Widener celebrates diversity and embraces multiculturalism as  it strives to maintain an inclusive and welcoming campus communityWidener encourages all students, faculty, staff, and guests on campus to respect the dignity of every individual and honor the value of their contribution to its community.

Widener University leadership is also aware that incidents of bias and hate crimes have increased on college campuses around the country. It condemns such acts and encourages all members of our community to follow its bias protocol.

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