Thinking out Loud…. About Copyrights: Ed Sheeran’s Recent Copyright Lawsuits

Ed Sheeran is a Grammy-winning artist known for his hit songs such as “Thinking Out Loud” and “The Shape of You.” Sheeran has accrued a great deal of wealth and as a result seems to be a good target for copyright trolls, litigious entities or individuals that litigate large amounts of copyright infringement cases with often baseless claims in the hope for a settlement. Ed Sheeran is a well-known artist and as such, he is in a financial situation to settle lawsuits rather than go through the litigation process. Continue reading “Thinking out Loud…. About Copyrights: Ed Sheeran’s Recent Copyright Lawsuits”

Sports, Photography, and Copyright: Who Has the Rights?

For sports fans, photographs taken during competition can become iconic. Muhammad Ali standing over Joe Frazier, the United States Hockey Team celebrating the “Miracle On Ice,” and Tiger Woods at the Masters are a few examples. Sports photos are highly marketable, but who owns and has the rights to use these photos?

Continue reading “Sports, Photography, and Copyright: Who Has the Rights?”

Classic Copyright Issues

If I played “Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II, you would probably recognize the song immediately. In fact, there are dozens of classical pieces that many of us are probably familiar with, even if we don’t listen to classical music regularly. Copyright for classical music can sometimes cause issues for YouTubers and other internet content creators. For example, a YouTuber might think that they are free to play a song because the composer has been dead for centuries. However, the recording they choose to play in their videos might be protected by copyright law and result in the video being taken down! Two content creators named Ludwig Ahgren and “JSchlatt” took it upon themselves to solve some of their copyright problems once and for all. To understand what they did and how they did it, we should talk about copyright law first.  Specifically, let’s look at the distinction between copyright protection over a musical composition versus a sound recording. Continue reading “Classic Copyright Issues”

“Scamilton” – Copyright Troubles in “Way-Off” Broadway Productions

When I was in high school, the annual musical was always a big deal. They would do renditions of famous productions such as Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, and even Disney’s High School Musical. Although I had long since graduated from high school by the time my favorite musical Hamilton became popular, I noticed that there weren’t really productions of it outside of Broadway sponsored productions. Perhaps a recent controversy regarding the threat of a copyright lawsuit and an unauthorized Hamilton production at a Texas church helps explain why…

Continue reading ““Scamilton” – Copyright Troubles in “Way-Off” Broadway Productions”

Be Ready to Face the Consequences, Warner Bros.

Remember Ed Helms’ face tattoo from “The Hangover Part II” movie? Did you notice the resemblance between the tattoo featured in the film and Mike Tyson’s face tattoo? Well, Warner Bros. may not have gotten permission to use that tattoo from artist S. Victor Whitmill who designed Tyson’s famous tattoo.

Before the movie’s release, Whitmill filed a complaint against Warner Bros., alleging that the facial tattoo in the film infringed on Whitmill’s copyright in the tattoo. Whitmill sought a preliminary injunction, which would have halted the film’s release. A preliminary injunction is a pre-trial court order that stops action by the opposing party in a lawsuit.

Continue reading “Be Ready to Face the Consequences, Warner Bros.”

NCAA Sports and IP – The Perfect Merger

Since the inception of the National Collegiate Athletic Association otherwise known as the “NCAA”, student-athletes were not able to collect any type of financial benefits while they were playing collegiate-level sports. Fast forward to today, student-athletes are now allowed to make profits off of their “name, image, and likeness” aka “NIL,” a type of intellectual property right that’s grouped under the right of publicity (essentially gives each person the exclusive right to use and license their identity for commercial promotion). What I and many others were once not allowed to partake in, is now available and encouraged for all student-athletes. Some student-athletes are already making millions in deals and sponsorships!
Continue reading “NCAA Sports and IP – The Perfect Merger”

Copyright Trivia: Music Edition

Which of the following acts violates copyright? Choose all that apply.

  1. Photocopying living American composer Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” (1983) scores for a famous orchestra to perform for a live audience without paying.
  2. Using a portion of Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2” (1830) in your new pop song.
  3. Recording your own quintet performance of “Strum” (2006) by Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Composer Jessie Montgomery with her permission.
  4. Playing “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino, the song from Disney Pixar’s adorable film UP on FM/AM radio at the bookstore.

Continue reading “Copyright Trivia: Music Edition”

Jodorowsky’s Dune – How Understanding Copyright Can Save You $3 Million

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.

Continue reading “Jodorowsky’s Dune – How Understanding Copyright Can Save You $3 Million”