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Brooklyn Graffiti Artists Sues Real Estate Developer Over Use of Work in Advertisement


By Rahil Gandhi

In the past few years, Brooklyn, NY has seen dramatic real estate growth.  This has brought developers by the truckload trying to cash in on the boom.  In a place as hip as Brooklyn, smart companies use engaging visual imagery in their advertisements to woo potential customers.  One such company is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over the use of a work of street art, or graffiti, in their advertisements.

Brooklyn-based graffiti artist Craig Anthony Miller (better known by his artist name “CAM”) has brought a lawsuit against real estate developer Toll Brothers for the use of a portion of his Elephant Mural in advertisements displayed on bus stop shelters, subways, phone booths, and newspapers in 2012.  These advertisements were meant to sell luxury loft-style condominiums.  Read More…

New Code of Best Practices to Assist those Working in Visual Arts with Fair Use

Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual ArtsBy Latasha Ramphal

Visual artists can defend their work from a claim of copyright infringement if fair use is properly applied. The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (Code) by the College Art Association was published recently with the goal of helping arts practitioners better understand how to apply the wily legal concept that is fair use. The Code, based on principles gleaned from conversations and workshops with over 100 visual arts professionals, includes guidance for artists, scholars, educators and museum professionals. While using the code cannot definitively protect you from being sued or losing a copyright infringement lawsuit, individuals who work with the visual arts may use the Code to apply fair use with more confidence. Read More…

The Law’s “Blurred Lines” Lead to Artists Having to “Give It Up” Big Time

blurred-linesRecent copyright infringement claims result in surprising settlements, court judgments:

By Hannah Fields

Copyright infringement has been a hot topic in pop music lately, and a verdict reached on March 10, 2015 by a federal jury in Los Angeles has caused quite a stir. That jury decided “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke and producer Pharrell Williams had to pay the estate of Marvin Gaye a walloping $7.4 million for copyright infringement of Gaye’s 1977 song, “Got to Give It Up.”

Similarly, in October 2014, singer/songwriter Tom Petty and co-writer Jeff Lynne claimed that their 1986 hit “I Won’t Back Down” was copied by the popular Sam Smith song, “Stay With Me.” Smith, along with writers James Napier and William Phillips settled the infringement claim with Petty and Lynne. According to a representative for Smith, the parties came to an immediate and amicable agreement. As a result of that settlement, Petty and Lynne are now listed as co-writers of the song and enjoy a 25% share of songwriting royalties. Read More…

Copyright Office: Change is Needed to Bring Music Marketplace Into Digital Era

copyright-symbol-smallBy Hannah Fields

The Copyright Office recently released a report, advocating for the music licensing system to better meet the demands of the digital era. This report, released February 5, 2015, recognizes many shortcomings of the current music licensing system and offers solutions for improving the music marketplace, which include changing how licensing fees are paid for copyrighted works.

Music is protected by two different copyrights: one in the composition and one in the sound recording. This is because there are two distinct works of artistic expression that exist in one song. First, the musical composition is the arrangement of notes, chords, and lyrics. This can be thought of as what you see expressed in sheet music, even though you don’t need to compose with sheet music to receive this type of copyright protection. Second, the sound recording, or the performance of a composition on a particular recording, is a work protected separately. Read More…

Monkey Selfie Belongs to the Public Domain!

By Latasha Ramphal

monkey-selfieThis popular monkey selfie recently shocked the media across the globe. In 2011, a monkey took several selfies in Indonesia using photography equipment owned by David Slater, a British wildlife photographer. The photographer made a huge profit from the famous monkey selfie. The best shot of the monkey selfie went viral and ended up on Wikimedia Commons’ online collection.

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