IP MEETS T/E: ADVISING ARTISTS, AUTHORS AND MUSICIANS ON LEGACY, INHERITANCE AND TAX
Co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Copyright Society of the United States (CSUSA) and the School of Law’s Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity (CLIC)
- Jim Grace
Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of Boston
- Tonya Evans
Professor of Law, University of New Hampshire School of Law’s Franklin Pierce Center for IP
- Peter Riley
Principal, Riley & Associates
[Event Flyer: NUSL-CLIC-2018-SpringEvents]
Thursday, February 8, 2018 | 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Northeastern University School of Law
250 Dockser Hall
Willa Cather famously told her literary trustee to prevent publication of her draft manuscripts and letters. Tennessee Williams forbade his plays from being changed in any manner after his death. And Beastie Boys Adam Yanuch directed in his will that his image or music never be used for advertising purposes.
Are these restrictions enforceable? Should they be? Copyright descends to heirs, who become the owners of the intellectual property with all the rights and responsibilities IP provides. As we have seen in headline lawsuits, such as by the family of Marvin Gaye (about the song “Blurred Lines”), heirs can also be litigious. How can artists and authors provide for their heirs without the burden that caring for the art provides? These are complex and somewhat unsettled issues in intellectual property law. Come hear three experts speak about these issues from a variety of perspectives at IP meets T/E.
Light refreshments will be served.
Part of a lawyer’s professional competence includes technological competence. Therefore, every lawyer should have a basic understanding of the business and legal implications of the blockchain and its varied and various use cases.
To that end, I will present an overview of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts at the law offices of Tilleke & Gibbins (Bangkok, Thailand) on January 31, 2018 and at the Annual Meeting of Licensing Executives Society (LES)-Thailand on February 1, 2018. This presentation is intended to introduce attorneys of all practice areas to the essential information every lawyer should know about this emerging, global technology.
Ready? Set? Disrupt!
Blockchain technology is poised to disrupt law and business on a global scale in ways neither rivaled nor contemplated since the advent of the Internet. This talk will include definitions of key terminology, an explanation of the two most prominent use cases within this ecosystem (cryptocurrency and smart contracts), as well as intellectual property issues, current events, and likely blockchain trends in 2018.
On Thursday, March 23rd I presented a Lunch & Learn at the University of New Hampshire School of Law’s Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property.
I covered 203 copyright transfer termination rights mechanics, the post-2013 response of copyright creators and copyright-industries when the first termination “window” opened for post-1977 transfers, and stakeholder and commentator forecasts about whether the anticipated termination tidal wave of destruction is more academic than real.
Copyright transfer termination permits a copyright creator to reclaim control of his or her copyright several decades after transferring the right. This applies to all copyright transfers no matter what a contract may say about a perpetual transfer. Creators cannot waive this right. But they can forfeit it if they are not careful.
In fact, some creators have already forfeited their rights if they transferred copyright in 1978 and failed to serve notice of termination by 2016.
I offered some preliminary conclusions on the future of copyright-dependent industries in light of the 203 termination right.
Watch, listen and learn!
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
I 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!
I 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).
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.
My 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.
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. Continue reading “Article Alert: Statutory Heirs Apparent explores copyright termination right succession in the entertainment industry”
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.
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.