The laws surrounding intellectual property can be difficult to navigate and understand for anyone, including artists. It may not be evident that artists of all mediums here in New York need to protect their creative work to reduce the chance that some other person or company will attempt to profit from it. For those who don't know exactly what intellectual property entails, here is an overview of the subject.
Writing a book takes considerable time and dedication. Whether or not a book becomes a bestseller, the author deserves to profit from his or her hard work. Unfortunately, the internet has made it easy to steal and share illegal electronic copies of books. Doing so is a violation of the author's intellectual property. New York artists of all mediums may be interested to know about one major culprit of this offense and its ties to a popular social media site.
When New York artists create a piece of art, of any medium, they often feel as though it is an extension of themselves. If someone else uses that work without the artist's permission, it is essentially theft. This is why many artists make use of copyright law to protect their intellectual property. Unfortunately, this kind of theft still happens, and it may be partly because on the occasions that it happens to a larger company, the company can afford to fight it, or even afford to ignore it. This is what many people say happened recently with Disney and one of its newest characters, unofficially named "Baby Yoda."
Many common and popular phrases appear in different songs. Because certain phrases have been part of common usage for so long, no one is certain who the first person may have been to actually say the words. However, there are often disputes over whether certain phrases actually are part of common vernacular. New York artists of all mediums may be interested in a recent case brought against popular singer Taylor Swift, who has been accused of using the intellectual property of two other songwriters that say she used lines from their own songs in the lyrics for one of her most popular hits. Reps for Swift argue that the lines in question weren't invented by the songwriters.
Many people might assume that famous celebrities don't need to protect their artistic works, but that is not the case. It is vital for artists of all mediums and at all levels to ensure that their creations have copyright protection to deter others from profiting off of their intellectual property. However, violations still occur and New York artists have to deal with them. Singer Ariana Grande is in just such a legal battle right now, with clothing retailer Forever 21. She alleges that the retailer stole her likeness, song lyrics and other intellectual property.
Artists and businesses of all kinds here in New York have to take care that their work isn't misused or stolen. If they don't, they could experience significant financial loss. Sometimes, larger companies and businesses can make matters difficult for artists and business owners who do not have the same level of means. Putting a trademark on one's intellectual property may be the best way to protect a product or artwork. However, some larger companies and organizations are attempting to trademark small, common words, which could have significant impact on many people.
A New York artist's work is his or her livelihood. If it is misused in any way, the financial consequences to the artist can be dire. There are a great deal of questions surrounding intellectual property regarding the relationship between an artist and the companies that work with the artist. Some of these questions have come up as part of the recent class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of several musicians against Universal Music Group after masters of many of their recordings were destroyed in a fire.
Copyright law is intended to protect artists of varying mediums and their work. The thought is that other people shouldn't be able to steal and profit from an original work that someone else has already created. The internet and meme culture are changing the game on this idea. Some celebrities in New York and around the country are concerned that others are profiting off of their intellectual property, specifically original dance moves that they have popularized. Unfortunately, these cases may be difficult to prove.
Lawsuits filed by patent trolls have been the bane of many companies over the years. The problem became so extensive that in 2016, Congress passed the Defense of Trade Secrets Act in an attempt to stem the flow of these lawsuits in order to allow them into federal court since they were ordinarily filed in state courts, including those here in New York. Unfortunately, it now appears that this opened up this type of intellectual property to patent-troll type lawsuits.
When the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board recently announced its decision to raise the royalty rates record labels and digital services will pay to songwriters, many rejoiced. Songwriters in New York and elsewhere have arguably been a forgotten group of artists, and recent changes in intellectual property laws have brought their important work into the public consciousness. Unfortunately, streaming services may not have the same respect for songwriters as the CRB does.