Month: October 2012

Exec sees YouTube in high-gear on content

The online content explosion potentially will affect the practice of entertainment law in numerous ways such as talent recruitment, promotion, distribution, privacy, copyright, publicity, digital music, internet radio … the list goes on. And racing to the fore of the future, for now, in this technology is YouTube, a content giant with the backing of a tech behemoth (Google). So whenever there’s a chance to sneak any insight into where matters are headed from YouTube executives, well, that’s what brings us quick to Peter Kafka and his recent Q-and-A with Robert Kyncl. He’s YouTube Channel Guide, the strategist who wants to expand what started as a wooly collection of amateur videos into a premier content destination. In the interview  (read it here), Kyncl draws an analogy between YouTube’s strategic business plan to a stick-shift car, which he says is zooming along, “and in the U.S., we decided to go into Gear Three. That’s where we’re putting money at risk to catalyze the creative community — both existing partners and new — to create many new channels, new programming brands.” After YouTube launched with its key innovation — allowing users easily to upload their videos — it since has monetized with advertising and sponsorships. Now it’s funding its own programming, like a television or film studio. Kyncl joined YouTube two or so years ago and came up with the channel...

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New acrimony in long ‘Superman’ rights fight

Warner Bros., owner of DC Comics, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, assailing Marc Toberoff, the attorney who has given them much trouble in a long-running battle over who owns what rights to Superman. Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel, using her strategy superpower, went directly to the court of public opinion and issued an open letter directly to fans (You may read it here.) Larson and Warner Bros. have a history over who owns the rights to Superman. One major battle resulted in the successful recapture of  pere Siegel’s half of the copyright claim to the first editions of Action Comics (Read the case here.) Fans love the Man of Steel, and Warner Bros. must proceed carefully or risk the wrath of comic fans. One accounting of the Siegel family’s more recent legal struggles has made it into an e-book, The Trials of Superman Vol. 2, compiled and edited by Daniel...

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Honors for 3, opportunities for future lawyers

Southwestern Law School soon not only will both give the considerable recognition due three  outstanding Entertainment Law attorneys for their contributions to the entertainment and media industries, the legal profession and legal education, it also will look to the future and the creation of more intriguing opportunities for students interested in pursuing a practice in the field. This will all occur through the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute Awards Reception where: Thomas H. Hoberman ’75 (left) will receive the award for Outstanding Alumnus in Entertainment and Media Law; Deborah Drooz ’85 will be recognized as Outstanding Adjunct Professor in Entertainment and Media Law; and Russell Frackman (right) will receive the Donald E. Biederman Legacy Award. The reception, hosted by the Biederman Institute and Southwestern’s Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association, will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  on Oct. 26 at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Proceeds from the event will help establish the groundbreaking Entertainment and the Arts Legal Aid Clinic at Southwestern. The clinic will enable Southwestern students to provide legal services to a wide array of creative artists — such as writers, actors, musicians, film students, game designers and painters — who would otherwise be financially unable to secure the assistance of a lawyer, and to help strengthen Southwestern’s position as a leader in the field. “Tom, Deb and Russ all...

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A settlement in rocker vs. gamer likeness suit

The rockers and the gamers have settled their copyright conflict. Now what about the jocks? No Doubt, led by superstar Gwen Stefani, and the noted video game publisher Activision recently resolved their dispute over use of the performers’ likenesses in a video game. Terms were not disclosed, THR Esq. reports. In 2011, the alt-rock stars sought judicial action to enjoin what it termed  unauthorized use of the likeness of No Doubt members in the video game “Band Hero,” a derivative product of Activision’s hit “Guitar Hero.” In this franchise  of products, gamers pretend to perform smash tunes on stage.  A California appellate court denied a motion to strike in an opinion that provides a tutorial of sorts of game-related law. (Click here to read the ruling). No Doubt asserted a claim for violation of the right of publicity under Civil Code section 3344, as well as under common law. Section 3344 provides in pertinent part: “Any person who knowingly uses another’s name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services, without such person’s prior consent . . . shall be liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result thereof.”  The right to publicity was implicated here when the video game...

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FCC turns off cable access programming rule

The Federal Communications Commission voted recently 5-0 to sunset (end) rules that prohibit exclusive contracts between cable operators and cable programmers, when a cable operator has an interest. Cable companies that own programming, like Comcast or Cablevision, no longer must make their programming available to competing pay TV providers at reasonable terms. This puts the nail in the coffin of the program-access exclusivity ban, part of the Cable Act of 1992. Now cable companies can control whether to deny programming to other distributors or develop exclusive programming deals. The exclusivity provision applied only to satellite delivery of programming to cable operators, not to fiber optic cables or terrestrial delivery. (To see the revised FCC program access rules, click here.)  Smaller cable companies, satellite TV and telco providers (AT&T and Verizon) worry that they may lose programs owned by the big guys, and, thus, suffer serious competitive disadvantage.  The FCC established a six-month deadline for resolution of program-access complaints on a case-by-case basis. Adweek’s Katy Bachman finds that the FCC listened to the message of the Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia in Cablevision v. FCC — that is that the program access exclusivity ban had been successful in encouraging competition among pay TV providers and that its goals had been...

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Entertainment Law Blogs

The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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