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Nearly 70 years after it became law, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in January on whether §2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment. The case, Lee v. Tam, 15-1293, focuses on the provision that forbids registration of trademarks that “disparage” people, institutions, beliefs or national symbols. At one level the case is about Asian-American musician Simon Tam’s long-running effort to register his band The Slants. The case also could go a long way toward deciding the Washington Redskins’ dispute with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
By Scott D. Locke and Laura-Michelle Horgan
Broadcasters around the globe know that Americans want access to digital content and that they often ignore who provides it to them. For business reasons, tax reasons or to try to avoid liability under copyright law, many of these broadcasters intentionally do not set up operations in the United States. However, when these broadcasters transmit content for which they do not have authorization, they may be in violation of the copyright holder’s rights.
By Stan Soocher
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed a district court’s award of attorney fees to Sony Corp. under §505 of the Copyright Act for winning a ruling that a lawsuit over a Sony Music songwriting contest should be sent to arbitration.
By Dr. Dariush Adli
The hotly disputed legal issue between the majority and dissent in the recent, highly-publicized “Blurred Lines” decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concerned whether Marvin Gaye’s 1976 hit song “Got to Give it Up” was entitled to “broad” or “thin” copyright protection.
By Christopher J. Buccafusco
Pop musicians may be running out of creative space. And this problem is being exacerbated by the behaviors of what we might call the “legacy” interests — parties who own copyright interests in already-created songs but who won’t be making any new music.