10.23.2016

For Entrepreneurs and Business Owners: New York Region Small Business Administration Events Calendar (October - November)

NEW YORK REGION SBA EVENTS CALENDAR (October - November)


10.14.2016

Iron Man Composer Battles Tech Giant Sony and Ghostface Killah (Copyright Infringement Case)

by McDermott Will & Emery


The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of the composer of the 1960s Iron Man theme song, finding material facts in dispute as to whether the song was commissioned as a work for hire. Jack Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment, Case No. 15-1778-cv (2d Cir., July 29, 2016) (Hall, J).
In 1966, Jack Urbont wrote the theme songs for various characters in the “Marvel Super Heroes” television show, including Iron Man. In 2000, hip hop artist Dennis Coles (known as Ghostface Killah), Sony and Razor Sharp Records produced and released the album “Supreme Clientele” featuring the Iron Man theme song on two tracks, prompting Urbont’s June 2011 copyright infringement lawsuit against Sony, Razor Sharp Records and Ghostface Killah. At trial, the district court found that the defendants had standing to challenge Urbont’s ownership of the copyright under the “work for hire” doctrine, and granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on standing, finding that the Iron Man song was a “work for hire” composed at Marvel’s instance and expense, and that Urbont had not presented evidence of an ownership agreement with Marvel sufficient to overcome the presumption that the work was for hire. Urbont appealed.
Third-Party Standing to Assert Right to Hire Defense
On appeal, Urbont cited the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 holding in Jules Jordan Video v. 144942 Canada, which rejected third-party standing under the work for hire doctrine. The Second Circuit rejected Urbont’s argument, explaining that in that case both potential owners of the copyright were parties to the lawsuit, neither of which disputed ownership. Here, Marvel was not a party to the suit, and a plaintiff in a copyright infringement suit bears the burden of proving ownership of the copyright when ownership is challenged either by an employer or a third party. Citing Island Software & Computer Serv. v. Microsoft, the Court explained that Sony, a third party to an alleged employer-employee relationship, did have standing to raise the “work for hire” defense to try to refute Urbont’s alleged ownership of the copyright.
The Copyright Act Claim
Under the Copyright Act, an employer is considered an “author” of a copyrightable work in the case of works made for hire. Citing to its 2013 case Marvel Characters v. Kirby, the Second Circuit explained that absent an agreement to the contrary, a work is made for hire when it is “made at the hiring party’s ‘instance and expense,’” i.e., when the employer induces the creation of the work and has the right to direct and supervise the manner in which the work is carried out.
In reversing, the Second Circuit credited the district court’s reliance on evidence supporting the assertion that the song was a work for hire developed at Marvel’s instance, including that Urbont had not previously been familiar with the Marvel superheroes and had created the work from material given to him by Stan Lee, who had the right to accept or reject his song. However, the Court concluded that Urbont’s evidence that he retained all creative control over the project and that Lee was not permitted to modify the work, coupled with his testimony that he approached Lee, not the other way around, weighed against finding that the work was created at Marvel’s instance.
As for the expense factor, Urbont claimed that he created the song with his own tools and resources, including renting a recording studio, supported his assertion that it was he, not Marvel, who bore the risk of the work’s success. Although the $3,000 payment Urbont received weighed in favor of a finding that the work was created at Marvel’s expense, Urbont’s testimony that he also received royalties undermined such a conclusion. The Second Circuit explained that while a hiring party’s payment of a specific sum in exchange for an independent contractor’s work satisfies the “expense” requirement, the payment of royalties weighs against finding a “work for hire” relationship. The Court thus found that a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the Iron Man composition was a work for hire created at Marvel’s instance and expense.  
Finally, the Second Circuit found that the district court erred in concluding that Urbont failed to produce evidence to rebut the presumption that Marvel owned the work, noting that on summary judgment, the district court was required to accept Urbont’s testimony in support of his position.  The Court reversed and remanded the case back to the district court.
Jiminian Law PLLC is devoted to helping clients manage, protect, register, license, sell, grant and use their copyright(s) or defend it or themselves in matters of copyright infringement.  Regarding copyright management, it is always best to be pre-emptive with your business and implement a copyright strategy.  That is where I can come in.  Providing knowledgeable and effective representation are the keys to my success.  Danny Jiminian, Esq. is available for a free consultation if you call him at 917.388.3574 or 929.322.3546 or email him at danny@djimlaw.com.

10.07.2016

The C&C Music Factory Trademark Battle And Other Problems

I'm sure everyone knows this song by now...

While most musicians out there would wish for a hit like this (for the money and cultural stickiness, I mean), they would not want the disaster that erupted after.  From Thump:
Since the late-90s, "Everybody Dance Now" and the name "C&C Music Factory" have been the subject of a bitter battle between the group's co-founder, Clivillés, and the now 50-year-old Williams, who left the group shortly after C&C Music Factory's Billboard Awards appearance to pursue a solo career. 
Though he departed from the group in 1992, Williams legally trademarked the C&C Music Factory name in 2005. According to Clivillés, Williams has been performing shows under the C&C Music Factory moniker since the 90s, including recent shows in United States, Australia, and Brazil. Now, Clivillés is saying that Williams is profiting unfairly by positioning himself as the group's main (or only) member—when he was merely hired on contract as an ensemble player.
I think this article is worth reading for anyone trying to get into the music industry as part of a group because it shows how relationships built on shaky foundations fail so readily.  If you don't have family ties or a strong trusting friendship then you NEED strong contracts to keep the musical unit cohesive (I would say that even with strong family ties and friendships, you should still have strong contracts). 

Upon finishing this article, I wondered:

  • who drafted the contracts for co-founders Robert Clivillés and David Cole? They seem to have missed some clauses that could have protected them.
  • why didn't Clivillés lawyer not advise him to trademark his band's name and logo in 1991?
  • why did Clivillés do nothing in 2005 when Frederick "Freedom" Williams legally trademarked "C&C Music Factory" under his birth name, Frederick Williams?
  • why did Clivillés do nothing in 2015 when Freedom trademarked "C&C Music Factory" under his company, Freedom Williams Entertainment LLC?
I'm curious to know if this trademark case will be resolved in or out of court. 
Stay tuned.

Jiminian Law PLLC is devoted to helping clients in all areas of business, copyrights, trademark and entertainment law.  Providing knowledgeable and effective representation are the keys to my success and helping you with issues ranging from contracts to trademark are the keys to YOUR success in music.  Danny Jiminian, Esq. is available for a free consultation if you call him at 917.388.3574 / 929.322.3546 or email him at danny@djimlaw.com.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Changing Rules

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Rules of Practice are changing Jan. 14, 2017. The amended rules will be applicable to all proceedings, including those pending on Jan. 14, 2017.
The amendments are to rules that govern inter partes (oppositions, cancellations, concurrent use) and ex parte appeal proceedings.
The amendments:
·         Enhance efficiency and clarify process in trial and appeal cases
·         Increase use of electronic filing
·         Harmonize the rules with existing case law, federal rules
·         Codify existing practice
·         Include minor changes such as updating changed references and using standard, current terminology.
See our chart summarizing the rule changes.
We issued a notice of final rulemaking entitled “Miscellaneous Changes to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Rules of Practice” in the Federal Register, 81 Fed. Reg. 69950 on Oct. 7, 2016.
See our TTAB homepage for more information and resources.


Jiminian Law PLLC is devoted to helping clients resolve any issues with their trademark(s) or matters of trademark infringement.  Regarding trademark management, it is always best to be pre-emptive with your business and implement a trademark strategy.  That is where we can come in.  Providing knowledgeable and effective representation are the keys to our success.  Danny Jiminian, Esq. is available for a free consultation if you call him at 917.388.3574 or 929.322.3546 or email him at danny@djimlaw.com.

Labels

11th Circuit (1) 1st Amendment (2) 2015 (2) 2016 (20) 2017 (2) 2nd Circuit (8) 4th Circuit (1) 501(c)(3) (2) 7th Circuit (1) 9th Circuit (2) A-rod (1) accident (1) accounting (11) ACLU (1) acting (5) actor (2) advertising (3) advice (59) Aereo (1) age discrimination (1) agent (6) album release (3) alert (1) AlleyWatch (1) An Actor Inquires (3) analysis (6) Ancillary territories (3) angel pad (1) angels (1) anti-discrimination (1) AP (1) Apple (1) application (1) apps (2) architecture (1) art (5) art fair (1) art law (4) artist (3) asset (2) AT&T (1) athlete (1) athletes (4) Athletic Commission (1) audience metrics (1) avatar (1) bankruptcy (1) baseball (1) basketball (4) Beastie Boys (1) blog (17) Bob Marley (1) bonds (1) bone-head move (6) box office (2) boxing (1) branding (6) breach of fiduciary duty (1) brief bits (1) broadcast radio (2) broadcast TV (6) broker (1) budget (1) business (66) Business Insider (2) business manager (2) C&C Music Factory (1) CA (5) cable television (3) calendar (1) California (2) California law (5) campaign (2) cannabis (1) cases (10) casting (1) celebrities (6) Celebrity Endorsements (1) Center for Art Law (1) CFP (1) charts (1) China (1) China Law Blog (1) Chobani (1) Chubb Rock (1) class action (4) Coca Cola (1) Comcast (1) comedy (8) comic books (2) Commerce (1) Common Law Claims (1) company (14) compliance (1) contract (33) contracts (3) copyright (51) corporations (9) Creative Commons (2) crowdfunding (5) crowdsourcing (1) Cuba (2) cybersecurity (1) damages (1) Darth Vader (1) David Bowie (1) deals (11) Debmar model (1) defamation (4) demonstrations (1) development (6) DGA (2) digital (3) director (1) directors (10) DirecTV (1) disaster (2) discrimination (1) Disney (1) distribution (15) diversity (1) Division I (1) djimlaw.com (3) DMCA (3) DNA (1) DOJ (1) DOL (1) Dominican Republic (1) donor (1) Dov Seidman (1) DPRA (1) drone (1) Drumpf (1) DTSA (1) Duke Ellington (1) DVD (4) EA (1) economic espionage (1) economics (3) EEOC (2) EFF (2) EMI (1) Empire (1) employees (13) employer (13) entertainment industry (10) entrepreneur (9) ESL (1) esports (2) EST (1) ethics (3) events (1) Exclusive Use (1) executives (5) exhibitors (3) exploitation window (2) FAA (1) facebook (4) Fair Labor Standards Act (2) fair use (6) family & friends (1) fantasy sports (2) fashion (5) FBI (1) FCC (3) feature (4) FIFA (1) film (30) filmmaker (9) filmmaking (22) finance (6) finder (1) First Amendment (1) first-look deal (1) FL (2) FLSA (1) football (2) Forbes (2) forms (2) formula (3) foundation (1) FOX (2) FOX News (1) franchise (1) Free Speech (3) free trade agreements (1) funding (7) fundraising (3) gain (1) gambling (1) genetic larceny (1) Ghostface Killah (1) Google (3) Gordon Rees (1) government (28) grants (3) graphic novels (1) gross (3) guides (1) H-1B visa (1) HBR (1) hip hop (3) HOLA (3) Hollywood (9) Huffington Post (1) Hullabaloo (1) IATSE (1) IMDB (1) immigration (1) Inc magazine (1) incentives (5) Indiegogo (1) Indiewire (2) indigenous people (1) infographic (1) Information is Beautiful (3) infringement (20) Instagram (1) insurance (1) intellectual property (39) Intellirights (1) intent to use (1) International (7) internet (2) investment (10) investors (1) IP Watchdog (1) IPO (1) IPRHFF (1) Iron Man (1) IRS (10) ItsArtLaw blog (1) iTunes (1) jdsupra (5) Jersey Shore (1) John Cones (1) journalism (1) jumpstart foundry (1) Justice Dept. (2) Kickstarter (3) Kristin Thompson (1) LA Times (1) labor (10) Lanham Act (3) Las Vegas (1) latino (3) launch (1) law (8) Law 360 (1) Law360 (1) lawsuit (21) lawyer (3) lawyers (16) legal (2) legislation (8) liability (6) libel (2) licensing (6) Likelihood of Confusion (1) litigation (42) LLC (3) madrid protocol (1) maker (1) management (2) manager (3) marketing (8) Marvel (1) media (8) mediation (1) merchandising (2) merger & acquisition (1) MLB (2) MMA (1) mobile devices (4) money (5) moral rights (1) MPAA (1) Mr. Jaar (1) MTV (1) Murdoch (1) music (25) music publishers (1) musician (6) musicians (12) NAB (1) NALIP-NY (2) Name and Likeness (1) NBA (1) NC (1) NCAA (3) negotiation (10) Netflix (3) network (4) New Line Cinema (1) New Media (2) New York (6) New York law (9) news (6) newspaper (1) NFL (3) Nikki Finke (1) NJ (1) NJ Motion Picture and TV Commission (1) NLRA (1) NLRB (1) no budget (3) non-compete (2) Nonprofit Risk Management Center (1) nonprofits (15) NY (8) NY Court of Appeals (1) NY Mag (1) NY Press (1) NY Production Alliance (1) NY Times (4) NY Yankees (1) NYC Focus (1) NYC Mayor's Office (1) NYMag (3) O visa (1) Olympics (1) online rights (2) open-source (1) OSHA (1) P visa (1) partnership (2) patent (7) patents (3) PEDs (1) photography (5) PIPA (1) piracy (2) pitching (4) plan (1) policy (3) politics (3) Power Play (2) pre-1972 (5) privacy (5) producer (2) producers (20) producing (1) production company (12) production journal (1) production resources (2) production tips (1) profit (11) progress (1) projects (8) Promaxbda (1) promotion (5) PTAB (1) public domain (3) publicity (9) publishing (4) radio (2) Rakim (1) record labels (3) recording artist (1) registration (2) regulation (2) rent (1) Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (1) residuals (1) revenues (5) Richard Prince (1) Richard Pryor (1) royalties (1) ruling (3) safety (1) SAG-AFTRA (3) sales (4) satellite (2) SBA (1) SBA loan (2) scandal (2) science (1) SCOTUS (5) Script Reader Pro (1) SDNY (3) SEC (6) securitisation (1) seed capital (2) seed money (1) settlement (1) Sirius (6) small business (15) soccer (2) social media (5) software (3) Sony (3) SOPA (1) SoundCloud (1) Spiderman (1) sports (24) sports agent (3) Sports Agent Blog (1) sports law (2) Star Wars (1) startup (13) Starz (1) statistics (1) stock (1) strategy (28) streaming (10) student-athlete (1) studios (7) Sub Pop (1) successul film (5) summary judgment (2) Supreme Court (11) Supreme Court of NY (1) susan sarandon (1) Tax credit (6) tax foundation (1) tax inversion (1) taxes (10) technology (16) ted hope (2) television (11) The Art Law Report (1) The Atlantic (1) The Baffler (1) The Business of Sports (1) The Guardian (1) The Upshot (1) Theater (1) theatre (3) theatrical exhibition (4) theatrical window (2) THR (9) Time Warner (2) TPM (1) TPP (1) trade secret (11) trademark (31) transmedia (1) Triple Crown (1) Trump (1) TTAB (2) TV (3) Twitter (1) UFC (1) unions (3) US International Trade Commission (1) USPTO (7) Variety (2) VC (2) vendor (2) venture capital (1) video (1) video game (2) Vimeo (1) visualizations (1) VOD (2) Vox (1) Walmart (1) Warner Bros. (2) Washington Post (1) Wattpad (1) web series (2) webcast (1) webinar (1) website (5) WGA (1) What Every Producer Should Know (8) wikipedia (1) WME (1) work for hire (1) workshop (1) write-offs (1) writer (2) writers (4) WSJ (2) YFS magazine (1) youtube (3)