I like Taylor Swift’s Voice (and she sings great too). Reply

This week the musician Taylor Swift spoke out against Apple’s proposed plan NOT to pay music royalties during the 90-day free vlaueyourarttrial they are offering to customers who sign up for the new Apple Music streaming service. In a savvy and effective move, Taylor Swift asked Apple (in a letter posted online) to change their policy and refrain from asking musicians to provide their music without compensation during the 90-day period. The letter begins with a threat to not release her new album on Apple Music streaming service due to the 90-day-no-compensation period.

The goods news: Apple responded the same day with notice that they changed their tune and WILL pay artists for streaming during the 90-day free trial period.

Tis A “Swift” Change to benefit musicians! Bravo!

Here is the full text of Taylor Swift’s letter (also available at: http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor):

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Taylor

Thanks for your letter Taylor Swift. (You have a powerful voice!)  swiftchange

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Other blog posts on Music Copyright and royalties at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/copyright-music-copyright/; “Apple Changes Course After Taylor Swift Open Letter: Will Pay Labels During Free Trial” by S.Halperin at http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6605568/apple-changes-course-after-taylor-swift-open-letter-will-pay-labels-during; “Apple Responds to Taylor Swift’s Open Letter, Says It Will Pay Artists During Apple Music Free Trial Period: ‘We Hear You’” by J.Andriakos at http://www.people.com/article/taylor-swift-apple-music-open-letter-response; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Happy 225th Birthday – US Copyright Law Reply

Happy Birthday US Copyright!  This week is the 225th anniversary of the first Federal US Copyright Law, FullSizeRender (3)which was signed into law by President George Washington on May 31, 1790.  The 1st US Copyright Law was enacted less than 2 years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and was modeled after the British Statute of Anne.  Kudos to the First Congress of the US!  Here is a bit more information on the 1st US Copyright Law:

The law was called “An Act for the encouragement of learning,” and it protected “maps, Charts, and books.” The decision to protect maps and charts indicates that the First Congress wanted to encourage exploration of the American continent, including its lakes, rivers, and harbors. The decision to protect books confirms that the First Congress also valued the creation and distribution of authorship, both for informational and artistic purposes. These objectives are reflected in the works that were registered in the first month after enactment, which included an atlas, a spelling book, a collection of court decisions, and a “comedy in five acts.”

The first federal copyright law established many of the fundamental principles that are a vital part of the law today. It stated that copyright initially belongs to the author—the person who conceived and created the work— rather than the publisher or the state. At the same time, it recognized that an author’s rights are not perpetual but instead should be limited in time. And it recognized that authors are part of a larger economic ecosystem, and that they often transfer their rights to publishers, retailers, or other parties. The first federal copyright law established the principle that authors should have rights to control the use of their works, such as how they are printed, reprinted, published, and sold. It recognized that authors should have meaningful remedies to encourage others to respect these rights and to provide appropriate compensation when those rights are infringed. And it recognized the central role a registration system plays in documenting a public record of creativity, ownership, term, and other legal facts.   [Excerpt from the US Copyright Office commemoration at http://www.copyright.gov]

US Copyright Law has changed a lot in the last two centuries including offering copyright protection to a broader spectrum of works.  For example, US Copyright registration and protection is now available for computer software and website content which were not conceivable in 1790. (Not even a figment in George Washington’s imagination).   The full text of the 1st US Copyright Law is available at http://copyright.gov/about/1790-copyright-act.html  and the current US Copyright Law is available at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Information on how to write a copyright notice at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18; other blog posts on copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/;  the US Copyright Office’s website at www.copyright.gov; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

Selling Someone Else’s Instagram Photo for $90,000 Reply

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.38.40 AMDiscussing the broad usage rights given away by posting original content to social media is discussed frequently on this blog and elsewhere.  Reading that the controversial artist Richard Prince recently sold enlarged screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos without warning or permission for $90,000 a piece at the Frieze Art Fair in New York is a case in point.

Be mindful of the Terms of Use on Instagram and other social media sites that you use and where you post your original photos, artwork and other content.

Mining social media content might be the new wild frontier.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also:  more information on Instagram’s Terms of Use at http://wp.me/p10nNq-En; Washington Post article: “A reminder that your Instagram photos aren’t really yours: Someone else can sell them for $90,000” at http://wpo.st/XXOJ0; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Inspired by 19th Century Imperial Robes (Copyright & Design) Reply

Splendid 19th century imperial robes from China inspire modern fashion reddesigns in a new costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (titled: China Through the Looking Glass).  A fascinating element of this exhibit is that the imperial robes and the modern, couture gowns are displayed side-by-side.  While the styles, silhouettes and lines of the old and new fashions are drastically different, the inspiration linking the old and new is clear, including, borrowed colors, designs and artwork.

Borrowing colors, designs and artwork isn’t always free and easy.  Copyright laws in countries around the world vest the original creators and owners of designs and artwork with a bundle of exclusive rights to control the use and copying of their original designs and artwork.  However, these exclusive rights only last for a finite period of time. The duration of these exclusive rights varies country by country depending upon the national copyright laws.  The copyright laws in each country outline the length of time that the exclusive rights last (also known as the “term of copyright”).  Once the term of copyright expires, the work becomes part of the public domain and is free to use and copy.

Treat yourself to a visit of this exhibit, if you can. I give it two glamorous thumbs up.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: other blog posts on public domain at http://wp.me/p10nNq-ft and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/public-domain; a blog post on Traditional Knowledge of indigenous people and tribes which can be an exception to public domain works at http://wp.me/p10nNq-AC; information about the MET costume exhibit at http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass/images; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

It is a MYTH that Copyright Registration is Expensive Reply

News of Target copying a t-shirt design from SandiLake Clothing (a small business started by a creative and entrepreneurial young woman) …broke my heart because the designer, Ms. Lay, evidently stated that she did not have her design copyrighted due to the “high cost” of copyright.

IT’S A MYTH that copyright registration is expensive!  Applying for Copyright Registration is not expensive folks.  Applying for for Copyright Registration costs $35-$55.

My heartbreak is somewhat abated by the fact that Target has pulled the copy-cat shirts off their shelves.  Evidently, Ms. Lay launched a clever social media flurry by posting a photograph of herself in a Target Store wearing her original shirt and holding a copy-cat shirt being sold at Target and appealing for support of mom-run businesses.  (The photo is inserted to the right).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: other blog posts on related topics –  “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35″ or As of 5/1/14 “Some Basic Copyright Claims now cost $55; “How to Write a Copyright Notice And Why To Use It“; “How to use the ®, TM, SM, © symbols for trademark and copyright“; “Copyright Is Valuable, ‘The Birthday Song’ Earns $2 Million a Year In Royalties“; #smallbiz #valueyou #valueyourart; @ iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Flaunt Your Originality (originality is key to copyright) 1

While speaking to a group of visual arts students recently, a recurring theme was to FLAUNT YOUR ORIGINALITY and savor using your original work.  We had a heart to heart moment that went something like this:FullSizeRender (2)

Y’all are an incredibly talented group of people.  You wouldn’t be sitting here in this room, in a prestigious art school, if you hadn’t already proven how talented and artistically creative you are.  When you create a montage or a creative work, make every bit of it original.  You want your work to show every person who sees it how talented YOU are.  Use your gifts.  Pitch your genius.  Tap into your creative talents and let your originality shine.

This heart to heart moment arose spontaneously in response to a question about originality being a fundamental element of copyright and the fair use exceptions to copyright.  (In my opinion, original work created by talented folks is always best.  Don’t even think about how or when a fair use exception may apply.  Just flaunt your original work).

Originality is key to securing copyright protection under U.S. Copyright Law.  Section 102 of the U.S. Copyright Law includes “original works” within the general definition of copyrightable materials.  Here is the text of Section 102(a):

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works. [Full text of U.S. Copyright Law is available at www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf].

Today I am flaunting my originality with a flower arrangement of daffodils and parsley on my desk.  (Pictured above).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18 An outline of the topics covered in my discussion with art students on copyright is available at http://www.kasterlegal.com/iplegalfreebies/2015/4/6/copyright-contracts-outline.html ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; #valueyou, #valueyourart, #letyourIPshine @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Quote Brahms: Any ass can see the similarities with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ 2

The program notes for a recent concert of Brahms Symphonies No. 1 & 3 contained an admission by Brahms that the “big string section” in the finale of his first symphony was similar to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”  Evidently, when Brahms was confronted about the resemblance, he replied, “Any ass can see that.”  I’m not sure how this quote has managed to survive almost 200 years, but it’s a fascinating example of an admission to copying another artist’s work. [Today this would be an example of admitting to copyright infringement by copying another artist’s work and/or creating a derivative work based on another artist’s work].  While the Brahms’ quote may seem comical, it is not so uncommon today for similar admissions to be made to the media or on social media regarding plagiarism or copyright infringement.  Often this type of admission is made off-the-cuff by an artist who has copied another artist’s work without any thought being given to a possible copyright infringement claim.  Yet, when the copyright infringement claim surfaces it may be difficult to overcome because of the prior admission.  Admissions made off-the-cuff, even in a slightly comical tone or on social media can have detrimental repercussions.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; NY Times, What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling at www.nytimes.com; Carnegie Hall calendar and announcement of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra playing Brahms Symphony No. 1 at www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2015/2/27/0800/PM/Vienna-Philharmonic-Orchestra; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Rosita Missoni: Queen of Zig Zag (PS fabric designs are Copyrightable) Reply

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photo credit: Yavidan at VIOLETA PURPLE

“There are few people in fashion that are an institution like Rosita Missoni, she is not only the head of one of the most successful Italian houses but the Queen of a very beautiful family. With her late husband Ottavio they founded what today is one the most successful Italian houses thanks to their unique knits and colors.”

Reading this (which was posted on www.violetapurple.com by Yavidan) brought the COPYRIGHTABILITY of unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs to mind.

It’s true, unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs are eligible for U.S. copyright registration.  In the U.S., they are registered as a “work of visual art.”  To apply for copyright registration of an original fabric or weaving design, either a color photo of the complete design or a fabric swatch showing the complete design may be submitted along with the application for registration and payment of the filing fee. (The general filing fee is $35 or $55).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: www.violetapurple.com for Yavidan’s post on “Rosetta Missoni: Queen of the Clan”; other blog posts on copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40 on Copyright Registration for Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works including fabric designs at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40A on Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Materials at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40a.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

SELMA: Bravo for the Movie & Creative Script (mixing original text & public domain works) 1

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the movie SELMA and the creative script that uses accent, aura, scripture, lyrics of gospel songs and original text instead of historic speeches.  Before seeing the movie, SELMA, I read that the speeches given by Dr. King in the film were written by [the talented writer, producer, director and distributor] Ms. DuVernay and were not the historical speeches given by Dr. King.

Dr. King’s heirs did not grant permission for his speeches to be quoted in “Selma,” and while this may be a blow to the film’s authenticity, Ms. DuVernay turns it into an advantage, a chance to see and hear him afresh. Mr. Oyelowo, a British actor of Nigerian background, has mastered the Southern inflections and preacherly cadences that have become part of the permanent soundtrack of our educational system, and the script offers credible paraphrases of his character’s unmatched eloquence.

[–BRAVO, Ms. DuVernay, for turning this into an advantage].

It is not uncommon for permission to use famous copyrighted works, like Dr. King’s famous speeches, to be unattainable or denied.  (Obtaining permission to use a famous copyrighted work is often cost prohibitive).  Whatever the reason that permission to use a famous work is unattainable or denied, creating an original work is a brilliant solution.  After seeing the movie SELMA this past weekend, I was impressed with the use of bible verses and gospel lyrics in Ms. DuVernay’s script.  Bible verses and gospel lyrics are often in the public domain and free to use.  Intermixing public domain material and original text in a movie script works.  For example, Ms. DuVernay’s script uses the lyrics of the “Battle Hymn of The Republic” in a final scene with Dr. King.  The lyrics of this old hymn (written in the 1860’s and now in the public domain) were a powerful, spoken finale.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: An earlier blog post on Copyright Law & Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at http://wp.me/p10nNq-3R; Free tickets for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students at http://selmastudenttickets.com; the SELMA website at www.selmamovie.com; www.paramount.com/movies/selma; www.avaduvernay.com/about; movie review by Kenny Miles at http://themovieblog.com/2015/ava-duvernays-masterful-selma-is-the-timely-movie-america-needs/; quote above is from the NY Times article titled, “A 50-Mile March, Nearly 50 Years Later. In ‘Selma,’ King Is Just One of Many Heros” by A.O. Scott on Dec. 24, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; NY Times article titled, “The Man Who Would Be King.  David Oyelowo’s Pivotal Role in ‘Selma’ by Felicia R. Leedec on Dec. 18, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; information on the Battle Hymn of the Republic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic; NY Times article titled, “An Unsettled Chapter in Martin Luther King’s Legacy” by Richard Fausset on Jan. 12, 2015 at http://mobile.nytimes.com; Wikipedia photo credit at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Copyright ≠ Confidential: Key to Tire Litigation & Wrongful Death Claims Reply

Copyrighted works that have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office are not vested with the same confidential treatment as trade secrets because they are available to the tirepublic.  Each time a person or entity registers an original work with the U.S. Copyright Office, a copy of the work that the applicant wishes to register is submitted along with their application.  This submitted copy of a published, literary work (which is called a deposit copy) is often made available to the public via the Library of Congress and a national network of libraries.

The fact that copyrighted materials are public records and not confidential is a basic principle of U.S. Copyright Law.  This basic principle of copyright law may create big changes to tire litigation and the evaluation of wrongful death claims related to faulty tires.  To date courts have routinely held copyrighted reports containing data on tire safety is inadmissible in tire litigation because, the reports contain trade secrets and are thereby confidential.  However, it seems that the copyright notice on the reports and their availability (upon request) to the public in the stacks at the Library of Congress and other libraries has been routinely overlooked.

Proper application of copyright law in tire litigation could alter the evaluation, treatment and admissibility of copyrighted reports containing data on tire safety.  As a result, copyright law has the potential to impact public safety.

For more information on this topic, See the article titled “The Tire Industry’s Abuse of Copyright Claims and the Corresponding Defenses of Copyright Misuse and Fair Use of Smithers Documents” co-authored by me and my uncle, Bruce Kaster Esq.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: a full bio of Mr. Bruce Kaster who has extensive litigation experience against major tire manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers, including Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Continental General, Cooper Tire, Ford Motor Company and others at www.tirefailures.com and a copy of our article and other resources at www.tirefailures.com/helpful-resourses.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.