Art Law Report

Go Forth, Left Shark, and Prosper? USPTO Trims Katy Perry’s Request to Trademark Super Bowl Meme

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 24, 2015 at 5:15 AM

In the afterglow of the spectacle of this year’s confusing yet captivating Super Bowl halftime show (Go Pats!), we mused about the art law ramifications of the unexpected birth of the visual Left Shark phenomenon, the costumed dancer who was famous within seconds for a certain lack of enthusiasm. The initial discussion focused on whether the dancer’s costume design within the show itself allowed Perry to control its use as a matter of copyright. The recipient of one cease and desist letter disagreed, both humorously and persuasively, principally based on precedents about costume designs, and on the nature of the use itself. Left unresolved were any arguments about fair use, but those seemed clear to us as well: a T-shirt, Twitter post, internet meme, SportsCenter commercial, etc., that evokes some level of post-modern world-weariness in contrast to Perry’s boisterous beach-party theme should be transformative enough even for the strictest of copyright constructionists. It is not clear on the public record though how much of a fight there has been over that point.

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Topics: Left Shark, trade dress, USPTO, Halftime Show, Katy Perry, Super Bowl XLIX, Trademark, New England Patriots, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Super Bowl, Copyright, Patent and Trademark Office, Trending Trademarks

Less Fun Than a Barrel Full of Monkeys (As a Matter of Law): The U.S. Copyright Office and the “Monkey Selfie”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 24, 2014 at 7:50 AM

There has much much Internet mirth about the recent publication of the Third Edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, more specifically, the Compendium’s statement that “the Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work.”

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Third Edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright, monkey selfie, Internet, crested black macaque, Lawrence Robbins, David Slater, Copyright, Trending Trademarks, Art Law Report

Blogs to Read and Support

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 22, 2013 at 5:11 AM

The ABA Journal is conducting its annual poll of the best 100 blogs. For arts and the law, the blogs I read the most are below. If you are a blog reader, consider casting a vote. We are all engaged in a great conversation, and your voice matters to what we write. If nothing else, read these blogs!

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Blogs, MItchell Stein, Kim Herman, Peter Bert, Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, Lee Rosenbaum, Commission for Looted Art in Europe, Plundered Art, CultureGrrl, ARIS, Harry Ekblom, Holocaust Art Research Project, Dispute Resolution in Germany, Looted Art, Marc Masurovsky, The Art Law Blog, ARCA, Trending Trademarks, Business Aviation Law Blog, Center for Art Law

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