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The Merry Month of May

The Merry Month of May

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app.  Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/145

  • WARHOL PAINTING SOLD FOR 195 MILLION (AND WE’RE STILL WAITING ON THE SUPREME COURT)
  • STONE BREWING RECEIVES $56,000,000 IN TRADEMARK SUIT WITH MOLSON COORS (AND GETS SUED AGAIN)
  • CHER’s CASE TO PREVENT TERMINATION OF TRANSFER UNDER DIVORCE SETTLEMENT SURVIVES MOTION TO DISMISS 
  • ONE JUDGE BARS MULTIPLE ISPS FROM PERMITTING ACCESS TO PIRATE SITES
  • PERETTI V. AUTHENTIC SONG RIGHTS TERMINATION CASE DEMONSTRATES NEED FOR ESTATE PLANNING (PRACTICE POINTER) 
  • RIGHT OF PUBLICITY CASE AGAINST FACEBOOK PROCEEDS
  • SCHOOL DIDN’T INFRINGE BY TWEETING AN AUTHOR QUOTE
“Grease” rights holders lose lawsuit after demanding shutdown of “Vape” musical parody

“Grease” rights holders lose lawsuit after demanding shutdown of “Vape” musical parody

“Grease” may be the word,  but the creators of “Vape”, have won their lawsuit for declaratory judgment on grounds that their musical is a fair use parody.

When Concord, the music publisher that controls the original Jim Jacobs/Warren Casey Musical about 1950’s teen life learned about “Vape”, which was created by Comedy group Sketchworks, it sent a nastygram (cease and desist letter) asserting claims that the group needed permission to perform its sendup.

Sketchworks disagreed. Their musical, they believed, is covered by the copyright defense of “Fair Use” which arises out of first amendment free speech principles, and protects certain uses of copyright protected materials for criticism, commentary. They claimed that their show is targeted at pointing to the absurdities in the original, which it does by mocking the plot line, the propensity of characters to spontaneously burst into song, and by pointed dialogue aimed at the sexism and misogynistic approach to relations between the characters.

The lawsuit was allowed to proceed even after Concord and Jacobs dropped their demands because  there remained a threat of litigation absent a formal release or confirmation of intent not to sue.

So, after a trial,  federal judge Laura Swain (Southern District of New York) has ruled in Sketchworks’ favor,  finding “Vape” to be a parody, and therefore fair use of the “Grease” elements it incorporates.

No word whether the defendants plan to appeal.

He waited too long… and it cost him!

He waited too long, and it cost him…

Transcript:

Getting the legal stuff done can be intimidating, and it can seem expensive… but I’m here to tell you how waiting to get things squared away cost one client  big!

Hi, I’m Gordon Firemark, The Podcast Lawyer™ , and I help creatives and business people in the podcasting industry cover their legal bases and protect themselves and the things they create.

True Story

So this is true story, about a client I’m currently working with… trying to solve a problem that wouldn't have happened if he hadn’t waited too long to get some legal and business stuff handled.

Imagine how you’d feel if this happened to you!

This client, (whom I’m not going to name because of confidentiality, and I don’t want to cause him any embarrassment. ) This client is an award-winning podcaster.  He was podcasting from the very beginning of the medium.  One of the original crop of podcasters.  He started his show something like 14 years ago, and came up with a really great title.  It’s distinctive. It evokes a really great sense of the energy behind is subject, and it’s gotten millions of downloads.  A truly successful podcast.

But here’s the thing.  He never bothered to register a trademark for his show title.  At least never until he discovered someone else starting up a podcast using a very similar title.   That’s when he called me.  “Let’s register my show title for trademark protection”.  

Continue Reading
Vulnerable Icons and Public Resources

Vulnerable Icons and Public Resources

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app.  Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/144 Quick take/FYI: Senate confirms Kathy Vidal to lead USPTO CCB FINAL RULE IS OUT WARHOL GRANTED CERT IN PRINCE PAINTING FAIR USE… Continue Reading

Machines, Dark Horses, and Stolen Lyrics 

Machines, Dark Horses, and Stolen Lyrics 

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app.  Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/143 AI CANNOT BE AN AUTHOR WITH COPYRIGHT PRIVILEGES SCOTUS DETERMINES ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE IS NEEDED TO INVALIDATE COPYRIGHT APPLICATION RESTRICTION AGAINST TRUMP TOO… Continue Reading

A troubling trend in Shopping Agreements.

Recently, I’ve started seeing a dangerous trend in so-called “shopping agreements”. The first few of these came up in deals between podcasters and networks or production services, but I’ve also encountered the problem with TV producer/writer deals.  What’s odd is that, while they seem innocuous, these deals really don’t serve either of the parties very… Continue Reading

Justice Breyer’s copyright legacy, legacy artists, and more.

Justice Breyer’s copyright legacy, legacy artists, and more.

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app.  Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/142 LADY A TRADEMARK DISPUTE SETTLES (QUICK TAKE) INSTAGRAM SERVER-TEST SUIT (Hunley v. Instagram) DISMISSED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND CARDI B WINS DEFAMATION… Continue Reading

January 2022

January 2022

The Latest episode of my Entertainment Law podcast, Entertainment Law Update, is now available for your enjoyment. Listen here, or subscribe and download in your favorite podcast listening app.  Show notes are located at www.entertainmentlawupdate.com/141 PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY 2022 EMERGING SPLIT OF AUTHORITY REGARDING ORIGINALITY DETERMINATIONS DISNEY STILL HAS TO LITIGATE OVER ORIGINALITY OF JACK SPARROW THE … Continue Reading

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