Author Archives: Gordon Firemark

Should you trademark your podcast’s title?

Should you trademark your podcast’s title?

Last week, I spoke at the Podcast Movement Conference in Philadelphia. It was a blast and if you're at all interested in podcasting, I encourage you to check this out next year, when it'll be in Orlando.

One of the questions I hear most frequently from podcasters is whether they can and should get a registered trademark for their show title.

And my answer is almost always a resounding “YES”. Unless your show is very new, and the title is super descriptive (like “The Motorcycle Touring Show”, it can probably be registered, and you'll be able to stop others from adopting similar titles that could confuse folks out in the marketplace.

Trademark registration is a relatively simple process, but it does take some knowhow.

I have helped quite a few podcasters and lots of other businesses to secure this important form of intellectual property protection. So, if you've got a valuable brand, title or slogan, contact me for a free consultation and see if a trademark right for you. Schedule your trademark consultation here

New California Ruling changes test for Independent Contractors

Are you classifying the people who work for you properly? I work with lots of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and I'm struck by how often people assume that just calling someone an independent contractor is enough to make that the case.

It's especially common with small independent films and theatre projects. Producers often include provisions in their contracts stating that the work is being performed by an independent contractor, who agrees to take responsibility for all taxes, workers' compensation, and other obligations.

But wishing it, or even contracting it won't make it so.

In 2012, shortly after California legislated some harsh penalties for misclassification of workers, I wrote about the so-called “Control test” which examines the degree of control the employer has over the worker in a number of areas.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee – misclassification can cost entertainment industry employers dearly.

New Supreme Court Ruling

But earlier this week, that changed. On April 30, 2018, California Supreme Court rendered its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, and clarified the standard for determining whether workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors. The Court held that there is a presumption in favor of treating workers as employees, and that an independent contractor classification places a burden on the company to establish that it is proper under the so-called “ABC test”, which has been adopted in some other jurisdictions.

The ABC Test

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Contracts must prohibit sexual harassment in the entertainment workplace.

It’s a tragedy that the headline of this story even needed to be written.  But it did.  Desperately. By now, we’ve all heard about the truly despicable behavior of some hollywood heavyweights. Men in power abusing that power to take advantage of, demean and humiliate women. And we’re learning just how persuasive this kind of… Continue Reading

Episode 89 – you’re a mean one, Dr. Seuss

Episode 89 – you’re a mean one, Dr. Seuss

Show notes are located at 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. Here’s what we talked about.. 1 SCREEN ACTORS GUILD URGES JUDGE TO SAVE AGE-CENSORSHIP LAW TO COMBAT RAMPANT BIAS 2… Continue Reading

Register your DMCA Agent by December 31 or risk losing your “safe-harbor” protection against copyright infringement lawsuits.

Earlier this year, the copyright office finalized the plan to modernize the process for registering your DMCA Agent.  Registration offers important protections for all operators of online service providers.  This includes you if you have a website, blog, podcast or other online presence.  Operators of sites with a registered DMCA Agent can benefit from a “safe… Continue Reading

The Equifax Breach, and what you should do to protect your credit

While this post is not, strictly speaking, on the “Entertainment Law” beat,  several clients asked me about it, and I addressed their concerns in my e-newsletter (sign up in the sidebar).  On recommendation from a friend, I’m reposting it here as a service to readers. DISCLAIMER: I’m not a data-security expert, and the above should… Continue Reading

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