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” 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.
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.
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”.