Month: October 2015

For students, an Entertainment Law symposium

Law students from around Southern California who are interested in Entertainment Law have been invited to attend the Annual Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law Symposium hosted at Southwestern Law School, and sponsored by the Law School Career Advisors of Southern California. To RSVP and to get more information, students may click here. A Los Angeles tradition for two decades, the program, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Nov. 14 (a Saturday), features morning and afternoon practice-specific panels, starting with a special networking breakfast. The panelists include counsel for major entertainment companies, attorneys from esteemed law firms, scholars and judges who will discuss topics ranging from career paths, to practice areas, to career advancement in the entertainment and intellectual property fields. This is a unique opportunity for law students to hear about a “day in the life” of Entertainment and IP attorneys and how to break into the field. Panelists will include attorneys from: Getty Images Center for Management in the Creative Industries deviantArt Mannatt Lionsgate Warner/Chappell Music The Collective Discovery Communications Three Olive Media Advisors Relativity Sports Jeffer Mangels Fox Sports Benz Law Group Fox SoCal IP Law Group Trademark Trial & Appeal Board Mattel O’Melveny & Myers Kramer Holcomb Sheik DMG Entertainment Paramount OddLot Entertainment Law Office of Eric Thompson Facebook Information Law...

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Anti-paparrazi law allowed to motor ahead

This guest post was written by Mary P. Ray, a law student enrolled in Southwestern’s Entertainment Law and Web 2.0 class. Paul Raef in 2012 was in his car pursuing  Justin Bieber, the one-time teen heart-throb turned rock bad boy, on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.  Little did photographer Raef know that he was driving into California’s law books, creating the test case for a state appellate court’s recent decision upholding some of the state’s anti-paparazzi statutes as constitutional. Lawmakers had sought to curb dangerous situations involving notoriously aggressive shooters trying to capture celebrities in photos and videos on California roads. The legislators, effective Jan. 1, 2011, increased the misdemeanor penalties under Code § 40008 for motorists judged to be driving recklessly as they tried to “capture any type of visual image” for commercial purposes. Raef (above) was charged with violating this statute and other road rules as he chased Bieber on the highway as the young star drove his $100,000, chrome-finished Fisher Karma hybrid at speeds guesstimated at between 80- and 100-miles-an-hour. But the photographer challenged the statute, claiming that it was an unconstitutional infringement on his First Amendment rights. The trial court agreed, dismissing the charges. The state Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District reversed the lower court, and Raef, with the assistance of press groups, challenged the matter all the way to the state Supreme Court,...

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Drone drama: FAA fines operator $1.9 million

This guest post was written by Jason D. Knight, a Southwestern 2016 juris doctorate candidate. As a previous post here has discussed, bad actors have complicated the efforts by regulators and lawmakers to provide their pledged rules for what has become one of Hollywood film and television shooters’ hottest technologies: unmanned aerial systems or drones. The FAA has deployed its ”file-and-fly”’ system for them and now 1,800 plus Section 333 exemptions have been granted to lawful operators. But the clamor to deal with the aerial cowboys also has lassoed what the feds deem a significant offender: SkyPan International, Inc., a...

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GoDaddy beats Oscar over domain-name claims

This guest post was written by Anahit A. Pogosyan, a Juris Doctorate candidate in Southwestern’s Entertainment Law and Web 2.0 course: GoDaddy, go, but Oscar, please stop, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has said. In legal terms, the appellate judges ruled recently that GoDaddy Inc. should triumph in a cybersquatting lawsuit brought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which claimed the giant domain-registration company illegally was profiting off its Oscar-related trademarks. U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte wrote in his opinion that the Academy failed to show that GoDaddy acted in bad faith by letting customers buy 293 domain names, including academyawards.net, oscarsredcarpet.com, billycrystal2012oscars.com and theoscargoestothehangover.com. Purchasers often did nothing but buy these “parked” domain names, though, in theory GoDaddy might share revenue from advertising on the prospective sites. The judge said in his 129-page decision that any inadvertent use of names similar to the movie industry’s top honors or any other Academy trademark were unintentional. “GoDaddy reasonably relied in good faith on the representations made by the registrants of the Accused Domains stating that the registration of those domains did not violate any third party trademark rights,” the judge wrote. As a result, GoDaddy could not have used or trafficked … with a subjective bad faith intent to profit from the AMPAS marks until such time as GoDaddy received notice by a third party of a potential issue.”...

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Pow! Batmobile’s character earns it copyright

This guest post was written by Hayk Stambultsyan, a PLEAS student in Southwestern’s Entertainment Law and Web 2.0 course: Bam! said the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. And Ow! was what auto designer Mark Towle likely felt in his Gotham Garage as the appellate judges in Pasadena, Calif., recently decided his replica Batmobiles infringed on copyrights held by DC Comics. The appellate court rejected the arguments by Towle’s attorneys that the super hero’s legendary vehicle, as seen in a Sixties television series and in movies, varied in looks and design between 1969 and 1989, and, that, at the end of the day, it was just a car. Notably, automotive design has not been afforded protection under the Copyright Act. But DC comics’ counsel countered that the Batmobile could be protected because it was not just a vehicle but actually a “distinctive element” of the super hero’s character and even a character unto itself. As U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Ikuta wrote for the three-judge panel, the Batmobile “is known by one consistent name that identifies it as Batman’s personal vehicle,” and, though some of its physical traits have changed over time, several have remained consistent, including its “high-tech gadgets and weaponry,” “bat-like motifs,” and its jet-black color. Further, the court found that the Batmobile is “depicted as being swift, cunning, strong and elusive,” and is even portrayed as a “superhero” and “Batman’s sidekick, if not an extension of Batman’s...

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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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