The recent passing of Aretha Franklin was sad news to fans in New York and across the world. While her first hit song "Respect" became an anthem of empowerment for women and all those seeking fair treatment, it ironically represents the inequity many pre-1972 performers experienced under intellectual property laws. While songwriters and publishers received royalties for songs each time a radio station played them, the recording artists got nothing.
Music Theater International is a licensing agency providing official scripts, librettos and musical scores for local theater groups in New York and across the world. Because of MTI's services, communities that would otherwise have little opportunity to see popular Broadway shows can have a taste of the experience. Perhaps more importantly, those who enjoy performing can participate in quality shows with wide appeal. MTI protects the intellectual property of the authors and composers of these shows, and this promotes creativity and artistic expression.
College is a time to work out new ideas and make plans for the future. Since the atmosphere is often alive with creativity and the campus full of like-minded people, university life may spark many original ideas and give rise to inspirational projects. Far from dismissing those projects as the concepts of an immature mind, many graduates from New York institutions and those around the world find that the finished work is intellectual property worth protecting.
For a New York songwriter, music royalties are an important method of sustaining income. In the past, royalties were largely affected by record sales, but modern musicians earn money through licensing agreements with streaming services, such as Pandora, Amazon Prime and Spotify. These agreements give the services the right to offer certain songs to listeners for a fee. While the U.S. Congress considers legislation to broaden the intellectual property protection in the music industry, at least one music streaming service is settling a class action lawsuit.
When a high school drama club plans to stage a lavish musical production, there are many preparations to make. In addition to designing costumes, sets and props, the director, usually a teacher, must plot the scenes and decide how to schedule rehearsals. Many behind-the-scenes tasks must be completed before auditions can take place. One important step that cannot be skipped is ensuring the school has obtained the legal right to stage the production without violating intellectual property law.
New York is certainly one of those places where creativity abounds. Those creative people in this city and elsewhere understand the importance of protecting their art from those who would try to profit from it. The internet has made it a challenge to keep one's intellectual property safe. One artist is committed to protecting copyrighted images online, and she has taken her campaign to Instagram.
For many in New York, gaming is a passion. What started as computer games and software is now prolific interactive games with massively multiplayer online games gaining in popularity. Each of these games and its technology is the intellectual property of someone and protected by copyright law. The exception to this protection is enjoyed by those who run museums and archives that house software for games that are not available because their publishers have abandoned them. Gamers can come to such places to play those long-lost games.
Oscar season is approaching, and many in New York were delighted to hear that Guillermo del Toro's historical fantasy "The Shape of Water" garnered 13 nominations, more than any other film this year. The lushly produced movie tells the story of a mute cleaning woman who falls in love with a magical creature that the government captured from the waters of the Amazon. While audiences may have been spellbound by the tale, the son of a legendary playwright and young adult novelist Paul Zindel claims the screenplay is a theft of his father's intellectual property.
It is not unheard of for people to file for trademark registration for clever phrases. "Just Do It," for example, is a popular saying New York consumers are happy to wear on their shirts, bags and other merchandise. Nike, Inc. is the owner of the trademark for the saying and thus has the right to use it in marketing to promote its products. However, there are some cases in which the claim for trademark protection is not covered by intellectual property law.
What some in New York are claiming is an example of an artist defending his rights, others describe as a bitter rivalry sparked by jealousy over a partner's success. The case involves a struggling playwright whose ex-girlfriend's first novel won critical and popular approval. He says she plagiarized his unpublished screenplay, but she contends her ex is trying to sabotage her career and reputation by claiming she stole his intellectual property.