Recently, the concept of NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, have taken over the internet as the new, hot investment. Unfortunately, so too have people’s misconceptions about what owning an NFT actually is. Many investors think that owning an NFT of a digital image means owning the underlying copyright to the image. Spoiler alert – it doesn’t.
Every kid in the world at some point in their lives has probably dreamt of inventing something or creating a brand–and making millions off their creative genius. I know I have. While I regret to inform you that I am neither a millionaire nor the next Steve Jobs (yet!), I’ve dabbled in many areas of intellectual property, which ultimately led me down the path to IP law. Continue reading →
Coming into law school at Loyola, I was really interested in learning about intellectual property (IP) law and possibly even making a career out of it. During my fall 2L semester, I had the chance to take my first IP course: the Intellectual Property Survey course. I was so excited to finally be able to study IP, and was eagerly anticipating the class.
I remember the conversation that sent me to law school vividly. I was working in marketing for an arts organization, discussing an upcoming art exhibit with the artist. Of course, the topic of online marketing arose. The conversation went like this:
Francis Cugat’s original 1925 cover of “The Great Gatsby,” now in the public domain
Before coming to law school, I only had a vague understanding of what the public domain was. Mostly, it seemed like a phrase people would throw around when describing music that was insanely old. However, a few of my friends make music in their spare time and seeing how they used music they found within the public domain” helped me understand its importance and how it functions.
Using the internet, my friend would find songs that were in the public domain. He would slice and dice particular sections from them. He would then add the sounds into his own sound mix, often changing the pitch and adding effects as he went along. The final product would sound unrecognizable, and usually really cool. (If you want an example of how musicians do this, this link offers some excellent examples of how to use public domain music. It also has a sound example that shows the unique sound a sample creates).
On March 26, 2021, theSecond Circuit ruled that a decades-old series of prints created byAndy Warhol depicting music legendPrince infringed the copyrighted photograph byLynn Goldsmith on which the series was based. Warhol’s series of prints takes Goldsmith’s traditional, black and white portrait of the singer and superimposes it with his signaturepop art stylization. Goldsmith did not find out that Warhol had used her image until Prince died in 2016. The court’sdecision overturned adistrict court ruling which declared Warhol’s works legal under the fair use doctrine. But what exactly is the fair use doctrine, and why was it so important in this case? Let’s find out.
If you know me, you know that I love quilting. Something about taking all these tiny, mismatched pieces of fabric and joining them into a cozy blanket is more than a hobby. It is an expression of love.
Banksy, one of the world’s most notorious street artists, has learned a hard lesson about trademarks. Trademarks is a type of intellectual property (“IP”) that protects things such as brand names and logos. The British artist recently lost a court battle in which the trademark for his popular Flower Thrower image was declared invalid. However, Banksy’s contempt for copyright, which protects artistic expressions such as his graffiti art, and other IP is well documented. Why then did he seek to trademark the Flower Thrower image in the first place? And why was the trademark found invalid? It is all tied to Banksy’s desire keep his identity a secret.
I love board games and have been playing a lot of Settlers of Catan online during the pandemic. I use a site called colonist.io, which is an offshoot, unaffiliated version of the Settlers of Catan game. During my Intellectual Property (IP) class with Professor Ho earlier this year, I wondered how IP rights extend to board games. When we tend to think of IP, we might think of cool technological inventions for patents or Disney’s Mickey Mouse for copyright. IP generally relates to protecting human created products, names, and expressions, and can give its owner rights to protect these.