From April 23-27, the Copyright Alliance celebrated World IP Week by co-sponsoring events with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) organizations across the country. This year’s theme was Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity. Each event focused on copyright and its importance to creativity, and some of these events honored a female creator or creator advocate from communities around the country.
Couldn’t attend all of the events or read all of the blogs during World IP Week? No problem – we have you covered with our recap of exciting and inspiring 2018 videos, blogs, and FB Live event footage!
– Read more than a dozen World IP Day blogs here, including many guest blogs from inspiring female creators!
– Check out numerous inspiring World IP Day video messages here from key supporters of the creative community.
– And check out videos and quick summaries of the events hosted by our partner VLAs included below!
Copyright Mythbusters was the theme of ABC Nashville’s event. The interactive workshop aimed to answer common copyright misconceptions with a panel of experts. Questions included:
– Is registration is required to get copyright protection?”
– If it’s on the internet, its free right?”
– Is using background music on YouTube videos fair use?
Sacramento: The Sacramento office hosted a panel with Steve Davis, Esq., Mark Leonard, Esq., and Brad Heisler, Esq. Steve Davis reviewed important aspects of copyright law such as origin, purpose and definition, as well as types of covered (and not covered) works; explained that registration is not necessary but useful and easy and inexpensive; discussed copyright infringement, including examples, remedies, defenses, and more. Mark Leonard explained the aspects of trademark law; defined trademark and gave examples of trademarks that are (and are not) protectable; suggested tips on choosing a trademark, including pronunciation, domain availability, unintended meanings and translations; and explained benefits and methods of conducting a trademark search. Brad Heisler dove into the ins and outs of patent law; defined patents and explained types of patents; explained that registration is required for patents; listed common mistakes people make when pursuing patents (including filing too late, failing to take full advantage of “patent pending” status before patent issues, thinking your invention is not patentable, and failing to focus on the claims to get the coverage you need); described the patenting process and protection process; and differentiated between an inventor and an owner of a patent.
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles office featured the topic “Fair Use in Filmmaking,” presented by Carol Contes, Esq. This event was an interactive seminar that explored the fair use of copyrighted audiovisual works in film, including the fact that fair use permits creators to use a copyrighted work without permission or payment if the use serves a “transformative” or socially valuable purpose such as criticism, commentary, or illustration. The workshop also provided an overview of the doctrine of fair use and explained how to apply it. And it summarized recent developments and reviewed a few notable cases. Lastly, Carol covered practical guidance about obtaining E+O insurance and sending and receiving takedown notices.
San Francisco: The Bay Area office hosted “The Merch Table: Licensing & Merchandising for Creative Artists” with Daniel Schacht, Esq. Dan led a workshop discussion on the essential legal and business concerns that creative artists need to consider when entering into a licensing agreement for copyrighted works. The workshop also covered legal questions and common deal points for merchandising agreements for creative works, including clothing, souvenirs, and the like.
The Chicago event featured opening remarks by USPTO Assistant Regional Director, James O. Wilson, followed by two lively panel discussions.
Panel One – Women Change Makers: Forging a Path to Access Creative Works
This panel featured Sarah Ebel, Assistant General Counsel, The Field Museum; Kristin L. Lingren, VP and General Counsel, VSA Partners, Inc.; Linda S. Mensch, Of Counsel, Leavens, Strand & Glover; and Betsy Steinberg, Executive Director, Kartemquin Films. The panel was moderated by Marci Rolnik Walker, Legal Director, Lawyers for the Creative Arts.
Panel Two – Women Innovators and How Their Innovations Changed Our Lives
This panel featured Esther Barron, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Entrepreneurship Law Center; Dr. Jane Leland, inventor and food flavor science consultant; Sarah Burrows, Modern Sprout; and Brittney Braxton, Girl Develop It. The panel was moderated by James O. Wilson, USPTO. A networking reception and light refreshments followed the conclusion of the panel discussions.
Minnesota Lawyers for the Arts and Springboard for the Arts hosted three attorneys – Maxwell Felsheim, Patty Zurlo and Joel Leviton – for three separate Facebook Live Q & A sessions. Artists were encouraged to submit their legal questions in advance through Springboard’s Facebook page, or to tune in live to ask their questions in real time.
Maxwell Felsheim discussed works made for hire, explained that each author of a sound recording has rights in that recording unless they either sign a work for hire agreement or assign the rights later. He further noted that if it’s not your intention to share joint authorship with other contributors, you should have them sign a work for hire agreement, (and keep a stack on hand so that there’s never an instance where the agreement has not been signed beforehand). He explained what PROs do and says it’s in musicians/recording artists best interests to join one, and covered the benefits of copyright registration, including statutory damages, and said he always recommends that creators register their work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Patty Zurlo explained the difference between copyright and trademark, as well as covered copyright basics. She emphasized the importance of registering trademark before there is an issue, and described public domain (and how works end up falling into the public domain). She also explained that simply “giving credit” when using someone’s work is not enough and suggested contacting copyright holders for permission or license. She made suggestions on what to do if your work is being infringed upon, such as contact the infringer directly, or consult an attorney to send a cease and desist letter.
Joel Leviton discussed what trademarks protect and the differences between trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and publicity rights. He explained that a good trademark should be distinctive and not be generic or descriptive of a product. Leviton also recommended getting the trademark cleared, but pointed out that common law trademarks may still exist (but that these trademarks are geographically limited, and may only be protectable where the consumers recognize the trademark).
The St. Louis VLAA hosted a workshop led by Mary Ann Wymore. At the beginning of the program, Brigid Flynn and Liz Deichmann, co-founders of Midwest Artist Project Services were honored for their services for the artistic community.
Wymore covered copyright fundamentals including the various categories of copyrightable works, published versus unpublished, utility versus creativity, idea-expression dichotomy, and a copyright owner’s exclusive rights. She pointed out copyright ownership issues to be aware of when contracting in the context of work-made-for-hire, joint authorship, collective works, and derivative works. She also discussed the topic of transfers of copyrighted works, which include assignments, exclusive licenses, non-exclusive licenses. Wymore further urged artists to think about the specific rights they would be willing to share in a transfer and to consider the length of time of the transfer. She suggested that there be a robust/scope of rights clause in the license. Wymore also stressed that the clause concerning how the copyrighted work will be delivered is also vital (how will your work be delivered to the licensee? master record? photograph in high resolution/low resolution?), and emphasized that ownership clauses are very important.
During the second part of the workshop, CREATIVE COMMONS Licenses (CC Licenses) were discussed, and it was explained how there is no universal, single CC license, so it’s important to identify which CC licenses artists are applying to their works (and to identify which license apply to the works being used).
TALA hosted a panel that included Bill Hulsey, patent attorney; Erin Rodgers, entertainment and non-profit attorney who spoke on copyright; and Michael Ramos-Lynch, an attorney who spoke on trademarks. The panel was moderated by Adrian Resendez, a TALA Board Member.
Ramos-Lynch defined trademarks as a design, logo, or mark that allows a customer to identify a product or service. He shared that the best way to do trademark correctly is, once the mark is out in the world, to trademark it as early as possible. Trademark helps to make sure no one else is using your marks already.
Hulsey explained the different types of patents, noting that Design patents protect the way something looks; Utility patents are hard to get and protect the structure and function of an invention. He further explained that creators need to apply for a patent within one year of putting it out in the public, and explained that a copyright is the easiest and cheapest IP to use to protect works, and it’s used for creative works fixed in a tangible medium. (The term for copyright is life of the author plus 70 years). He further noted that, although copyright protection is automatic, you creators should register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office as there are benefits to doing so.
The Ella Project hosted a Copyright Basics program for New Orleans’ Creative Community. The workshop was run by Max Hass and Bri Whetstone, two Louisiana-licensed entertainment attorneys. Participants learned about the rights they have in their work, and how to use those rights to maintain creative and financial control over their projects. In addition, they were walked through the basics of copyright law, focusing on the specific needs of artists, musicians, filmmakers, etc. The goal was to provide artists with the tools of copyright basics so that they receive the full benefit of what the law provides for them in order for them to monetize on their creativity and earn a living doing what they love.
VLANY hosted an expert panel consisting of two attorneys – Cheryl L. Davis and Elissa D. Hecker, who bring a wealth of experience in the realm of entertainment law. The two presented an introduction to copyright law, focused on issues of concern to artists in a variety of genres, and also addressed some current issues and cases in connection with the Right of Privacy law in New York State, the Visual Artists Rights Act, and Fair Use.
WALA-DC hosted a Contracts and Licensing session with Karl W. Means, Counsel, Miles & Stockbridge. The workshop explained when a “deal is a deal” – spanning the offer, the acceptance, and consideration of terms. He also explained what you can license, your ownership rights, contract considerations and royalties. Lastly, the workshop covered what happens if someone fails in the process, including the remedies, deadlines, indemnification, governing law, and limitations on remedies.
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