January 9, 2019
I’ve been writing and speaking for several years about the likelihood of lawsuits concerning unlicensed music in podcasts. See, for example, my 2015 blog post “Can I Play Music On My Podcast?” Spoiler Alert: The answer is “no, unless you have the proper licenses.” Recently, a podcaster was sued for copyright infringement for doing exactly that – playing popular music on a podcast without the appropriate license. To my knowledge, this is the first time that this has been the subject of a lawsuit, but I doubt it will be the last. Universal Music Group (“UMG”), one of the world’s…
December 12, 2018
Disney character knockoffs come a dime a dozen, but are they legal? A recent ruling took on this issue. In the spring of 2016, Disney Enterprises, Inc. and its affiliated entities sued a small party services business called Characters for Hire (“CFH”) for presenting Disney character knockoffs to the public. The entertainment conglomerate alleged that CFH violated its copyright and trademark rights. But the plaintiff was up to the challenge. Disney—along with subsidiaries Marvel Characters, Inc., Lucas Film Ltd., LLC, and Lucas Entertainment Company Ltd., LLC (collectively, “Disney”)—moved for summary judgment, meaning a ruling from the civil court judge without…
October 5, 2018
Last week, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada announced that they had come to terms on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the proposed replacement for NAFTA. I say “proposed” because the treaty still has to be approved by all three countries’ legislatures. The full text of the proposed USMCA agreement can be read here. Assuming the USMCA goes into effect as currently proposed, what are the impacts for trademark and copyright holders? General Stance Towards Intellectual Property USMCA Article 20.A.8: National Treatment states that “In respect of all categories of intellectual property covered in this Chapter, each Party shall accord to nationals…
December 27, 2017
What do Dungeons & Dragons players and content creators need to know about trademarks and copyrights?