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McBrayer Blogs

SCOTUS: You Can't Register Someone Else's Name as a Trademark, Especially Not TRUMP TOO SMALL

The Supreme Court made it clear, regardless of any intended message, the First Amendment does not permit anyone to register someone else’s name as part of a trademark. The Lanham Act, the law which governs federal registration of trademarks, (“the Act”), prohibits registration of trademarks containing the names of living individuals without their consent. In the case of Vidal v. Elster, the Court held that such a restriction is not a violation of the First Amendment. More >

SCOTUS to Public Officials: Private Eyes Are Watching You...Post to Your Social Media

Removing negative comments or blocking someone from your social media page may seem harmless, but if you’re a public official, a new holding from the United States Supreme Court may give you pause about how you use your social media. More >

Are You Sure That’s Free? Content from Others in Your Social Media

Big business owners, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and influencers are all looking for boosts to their reputations that drive traffic and revenue their way. Using the parlance of the 2020s, they are looking to generate impressions and conversions through clever online marketing—usually leveraging the power and reach of social media platforms. Frequently this takes the form of sharing or reposting content already on social media, sometimes with a creative business-specific twist. More >

“X” Marks the Spot Where Twitter Once Stood – A Lesson in Trademark Searching and Rebranding

In early August, the nearly half a billion users of Twitter looked at their phones and found something perplexing—the instantly-recognizable blue icon with the white silhouette of a bird had vanished, and in its place a black square with a white “X” had appeared. CEO Elon Musk had decided to rebrand Twitter as “X”—but did he think through all the trademark ramifications of this choice before implementing it? More >

Miami Dance Club Hopes New Golf Tour’s Name Will Be Short-LIVed

Over the past few weeks we have been watching CBS’s celebration of college basketball and, during commercial breaks, hearing those familiar musical notes that signal The Masters golf tournament has arrived. So, what better time than now to celebrate Passover, Easter, world class golf, and, naturally, a good trademark dispute.

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How Much “Dune” You Know about Copyright?

A few months ago, an NFT group known as “Spice DAO” made the news for paying nearly $3 million at auction for a rare book of filmmaker Alexander Jodorowsky’s storyboards and concept art for a never-to-be-made adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune—and announcing their plans to use their purchase to make and sell their own adaptations and derivative works as well as copies of the book itself in NFT form. Of course, buying a copy of a book, no matter how rare, does not grant you the copyright or license to its contents. A clear gaff to be sure, which is then heightened by the fact that the purchase was funded almost entirely by investors and fans of the Dune franchise. But if purchasing a creative work does not give you rights to reproduce it, what does? We’ve put together this quick quiz to help you figure out when you do—and don’t—own the rights to a piece of intellectual property covered under copyright law. More >

March Gladness – New KY Law Allows College Athletes to Profit from Use of Name, Image, and Likeness

On March 9th, Governor Beshear, surrounded by Kentucky college coaches, put his signature on a new law that will allow college athletes to profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness, an opportunity formerly blocked by the NCAA. This new law opens up many doors for college athletes to benefit from their most closely held intellectual property—themselves. More >

Do You Know How the Cookies Crumble? Your Duty in Protecting E-Commerce Consumers’ Data Privacy

The pandemic led people to work from home, connect from home, shop from home, and, for many, entrepreneur from home. With every passing day, people and businesses are more reliant on e-commerce and the internet in general, and, at the same time, people and businesses are more sophisticated about privacy issues. People are now accustomed to seeing cookies notices whenever they land on a website, and they are generally familiar with the idea that websites may be collecting data about them. Many consumers even know that they may have rights to control how a business manages that private information collected. More >

Two New Intellectual Property Laws Now in Effect – at Least in Theory

Two intellectual property (“IP”) pieces of legislation were tucked into Congress’ 2020 federal omnibus spending bill, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021,” and since it is now 2022, we thought it would be a good time to check in on those laws. The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act (“the CASE Act”) was passed to create a small claims alternative for copyright disputes, and the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act (“the PLSA”) was a new law that purportedly closed a loophole that has long frustrated copyright owners and law enforcement seeking to enforce piracy laws against illegal streamers of digital content. More >

Taylor Swift Knows Perils of Music Copyright Law “All Too Well”

It’s likely that you’ve heard about pop star Taylor Swift re-recording her old albums. Just a few weeks ago, she released Red (Taylor’s Version), a re-recording of her 2012 album Red. In April of this year, she released “Taylor’s Version” of her 2008 album Fearless. Why would a globally-known music star take the time out of her busy schedule to rehash her old music? The answer lies in the complex and little-understood realm of copyright law—and the issues that led to Swift’s undertaking are not only experienced by artists of her fame and status. More >

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