Serova v. Sony Music Entertainment: Anti-SLAPP Motions and Unfair Competition Law

On August 30, 2018, Sony Music Group (Sony) and Michael Jackson’s estate (Estate) were handed a big win against a class of consumers who had purchased Michael Jackson’s posthumous self-titled album and filed suit against the label and Estate under California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). The Court of Appeal of California ruled Sony and the Estate’s anti-SLAPP motion to strike was improperly denied by the trial court. (Serova v. Sony Music Entm’t, 26.. Read More

Palin v. New York Times Company: A Potential Change to Defamation Law and Freedom of the Press

The Supreme Court has consistently recognized a profound national commitment to a free press and the “principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). Nevertheless, the freedom of the press is subject to certain restrictions, including, notably, defamation law. A recent federal defamation suit filed by Sarah Palin against The New York Times in June 2017, Palin v… Read More

Richard Prince, Copyright, and Appropriation Art: A Personal Perspective on Graham v. Prince , 265 F.Supp.3d 366 (S.D.N.Y. 2017)

The purpose of Copyright Law as enumerated by the United States Constitution is to “promote the progress of Science and useful Arts.” Artistic works are protected by copyright so that artists will be incentivized to keep creating. Appropriation art is a style in which the artist takes an existing object and uses it with little to no transformation. Appropriation art seems antithetical to copyright’s original purpose because there is a lesser incentive to.. Read More

Copyright Office Review Board Denies Copyright Registration for Two Corporate Logos

Despite the growing pressure on corporations and organizations to strengthen legal protection of their corporate logos, their attempts to enlarge the utility of copyright law for this purpose have proven futile. Two recent decisions by the Copyright Office Review Board (“CORB”) are particularly illustrative. The first decision concerns the Union des Associations Européennes de Football’s (“UEFA”) “Starball” logo. Comprising a pattern of black stars and white polygons that are “warped” within a white.. Read More

The Federal Circuit Weighs in on CRISPR

Gene editing was once quite difficult.  Though it was not impossible to insert a new sequence of DNA into a bacterium and measure the effects, as recently as a decade ago, the process consumed unsustainably large amounts unlucky graduate students’ time and effort.  In 2012, a groundbreaking paper from the group led by Dr. Jennifer Doudna at the University of California demonstrated that the bacterial immune protein CRISPR Cas-9 could revolutionize gene editing… Read More

Williams v. Gaye Rules that Blurred Lines Infringes on the Copyright in “Got to Give it Up”

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the song hit   song, Blurred Lines by artists, Pharell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford Harris Jr, infringed on the copyright in Marvin Gaye’s song Got to Give it Up. The panel of the appeals court affirmed that the award of actual damages, infringers’ profits and a running royalty were all proper. This decision will likely have several implications in IP law specifically on.. Read More

Anderson Corp. v. GED Integrated Sol., Inc.: The Future of AIA Derivation Proceedings

Under the pre-AIA first-to-invent regime, interference proceedings were available to contest which of two (or more) parties invented the claimed subject matter first. With the AIA’s shift to a first-to-file regime, interference proceedings have given way to derivative proceedings. Under the AIA, the first party to invent does not necessarily secure the patent, so interference proceedings no longer fit. Instead, derivation proceedings offer an alternate challenge on grounds of originality. Specifically, derivation proceedings.. Read More

YouTube’s Demonetization Debate: How Smaller YouTubers are Disproportionately Affected

I have been vaguely aware of YouTube’s practice of “demonetization” for some time, that which has something to do with ad revenues. However, it wasn’t until a recent tragedy at YouTube’s headquarters that I began to comprehend emotional and symbolic challenges smaller YouTubers (i.e. creators/owners of small YouTube channels) face because of demonetization. In this blog post, I briefly introduce the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), explore the arguments for and against the recent.. Read More

Machine Learning, Blockchain and an Inefficient Patent System

The digitalization of information and the implementation of computer-based processes in society has fundamentally changed how humans interact with the world and one another. Now, almost everyone in the US has access to an enormous pool of information in some form or another. While this is touted as the necessary step towards information equality, it is not without its problems. In a society where we demand efficient and accurate results, what happens when.. Read More

Is Using a Shared Netflix Password a Federal Crime?

Following the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Nosal, 844 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2016) (“Nosal II”), several commentators in the media queried whether using a borrowed password for streaming video on demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix and HBO Go constitutes a criminal violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. Time reported, for example, that “[t]he act of sharing Netflix passwords has apparently been decreed.. Read More