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Copyright Law: Appeals court sides with "Jersey Boys" producers

The ins and outs of copyright law are sometimes difficult to understand. In the case of artistic works, it is often left up to attorneys and judges to determine what might constitute a violation of the law. One recent case that went all the way to an appellate court may have set a precedent for future copyright law cases when a judge decided to overturn a jury's verdict. The case was in relation to the musical "Jersey Boys," which ran here in New York for several years, and whether the work infringed on an unpublished autobiography of one of the members of The Four Seasons. 

According to the original suit, the wife of one of the members of The Four Seasons filed a civil claim over a decade ago. It is alleged that producers of the musical "Jersey Boys" had taken events detailed in her husband's unpublished autobiography and depicted them in the musical. Copyright law is not meant to protect depictions of events that happen in real life. The plaintiff tried to claim that the events were embellished and therefore protected by copyright. 

Intellectual property litigation involves claims against Swift

Creative works are often very dear to those who create them. If individuals or companies believe that another person has taken liberties with their work, including infringing on copyrighted material, serious problems could arise. In fact, it may be necessary to move forward with intellectual property litigation if such infringement occurs.

New York readers may be interested in such a case involving singer and songwriter Taylor Swift. According to reports, in 2017, two songwriters, Nathan Butler and Sean Hall, filed a claim that Swift had taken lyrics from their song "Playas Gon' Play" and used them in her hit "Shake It Off." Initially, the claims were rejected by the court, but an appeal's court overturned the rejection in 2018. Swift apparently tried to have the case dismissed, but recently, a federal judge ruled that it will move forward.

If your attorney is rude, can you sue?

When you decided to work with your last attorney, it was because you were told that they were good at what they did. You read about them and saw that they had experience in all the areas that mattered.

What you didn't expect was for your attorney to be so disrespectful to you. The first time you met, they kept interrupting you while you spoke. Later, they failed to return your calls, and when you questioned them, they snapped at you and said that you needed to be patient.

Model and photographer claim Volvo violated copyright law

Social media has helped countless artists here in New York and elsewhere promote themselves and their work for very little cost. However, there are still certain legal details that the judicial system is attempting to work through, since this area of the Internet and corresponding case law are very new. One question posed by a recent case is whether companies need to license user-created, public content in order to repost it to their own social media accounts and whether doing so is a violation of copyright law.

The case stems from an incident in which a model and photographer publicly posted photos to Instagram of the model next to a Volvo. The car maker was tagged in the post and decided to repost the images to its Instagram story feed. This is a feed of images and videos posted by an Instagram account owner that eventually disappear, though they can also be saved by that user.

Protect your intellectual property with these 3 tips

If there is anything that would hurt your business, it's losing control of your intellectual property. If any of your ideas or pieces of software made it out to the public before it was finished, or if private, proprietary information was not protected, then you could end up facing trouble when competitors begin to use your research and development.

Of course, whenever an important business asset is leaked, it could cost you money. In a worst-case scenario, the leak could shut your business down. So, how do you prevent that from happening?

Nicki Minaj copyright law case may impact entire music industry

Many music artists in the modern era use samples of other artists' songs in their own work. It may be a way to pay homage to that artist or reimagine the piece being used. However, some musicians are opposed to their music being sampled in another artist's song, saying it's a violation of copyright law. This is what singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman alleges in her lawsuit against rapper Nicki Minaj. This case could have far-reaching implications for music artists in New York and across the country.

According to Chapman, Minaj used a sample of song "Baby Can I Hold You" in her song, "Sorry," without obtaining permission. Chapman is known for not giving others permission to sample her music. Back in 2017, Minaj collaborated with hip-hop artist Nas to come up with "Sorry," and they say they attempted to get Chapman's permission to use the sample of "Baby Can I Hold You," but Chapman denied the request. Minaj even tried to make public pleas on social media, but her requests went nowhere.

What happens when an attorney misuses your funds?

You've been paying your attorney for several months. Every time they send a bill, you make sure you pay right away. You check over what they're charging for, and you guarantee that they have what they need for their time and the fees you need to pay to the court.

How to extend intellectual property rights to the web

Many artists have an interest in protecting the work they create. As such, there is a high probability that authors you're familiar with copyrighted most of the literature you've read up to this point.

However, as society changes, so must the laws established to govern behavior. With the increased use of the internet to distribute information, it will now be easier for writers to legally protect online pieces of work.

T-shirt artist says copycats violating her intellectual property

Thanks to the internet, artists can easily share their creations with people around the world. In the past, they had to rely on more traditional media or word of mouth in order to promote their work, but now "going viral" online can mean great financial success for artists of all mediums. Unfortunately, this also opens up potential intellectual property violations. New York artists may be interested in the story of a T-shirt designer who says a verbal slip-up by the President of the United States has been both a blessing and a curse for her work.

Several years ago, the artist in question created a T-shirt with the phrase "Yo Semite," as a play on the name of Yosemite National Park. When President Trump recently mispronounced the name of Yosemite Park in a speech, sales of her T-shirt skyrocketed. However, she says that due to the recent interest, many other T-shirt designers have stolen her design and the phrase, selling their own versions. 

Artists say politicians using their music violates copyright law

It is not unusual for political candidates of all kinds to use popular music as a soundtrack for their campaign ads or events. In the past, some politicians have come under fire for using an artist's music without permission. However, many well-known bands and singers recently came together in an attempt to stop this practice altogether, which they say is a violation of copyright law. Artists here in New York may want to take note of this development, which could have a far-reaching impact.

The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Elton John, among many others, signed an open letter on the subject sent from the Artist Rights Alliance. The letter requests that entities of both major political parties stop using the music of signatories unless they have obtained official permission. A representative for ARA says that though the illegal use of music has happened many times before, there has been an increase in complaints recently. 

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