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McBrayer Blogs

Showing 4 posts from 2021.

Life, Liberty, Happiness, and…Personality? What to Know about Your Publicity Rights

Believe it or not, there are no federal statutes or case laws protecting your exclusive right to the use of your name, image, and likeness (NIL) or any other defining factor of your identity, such as your voice or signature. Rights of publicity vary state by state, and as a result, these rights are complicated and little-understood. Recently, publicity rights (sometimes called “personality rights”) have been in the news—first for college athletes gaining the ability to profit from their NIL through a recent Supreme Court decision, then for the use of AI-generated clips of the voice of the late Anthony Bourdain in the documentary film Roadrunner. These two very different instances illustrate two sides of the multi-faceted issue of rights of publicity. More >

Supreme Court: Bad Intent Not Enough to Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

In an unlikely 6-3 decision where Justices Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh joined the three so-called “liberal justices,” the United States Supreme Court held on June 3, 2021, that a police officer did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. §1030(a)(2) (“CFAA”), by accessing a law enforcement database to retrieve information to commit a crime. This case may have far-reaching implications for companies that provide access to trade secrets and confidential information to employees, and it’s probably time for them to review their contracts and policies. More >

Trademark Infringement Case Gets Hotter Than Hell: Lil Nas X, Nike, and “Satan Shoes”

Lil Nas X, Trademark infringement, Satan, Shoes. These may seem like four completely unrelated items chosen entirely for their randomness, and yet all four comprise pop culture’s biggest legal story of 2021 so far. Don’t worry – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll bring you up to speed, but the short version is that a rapper, a shoe company, and the devil are involved in turning a run-of-the-mill trademark infringement case into headline-making news. The real message is that a company’s brand and trademark are defined by its willingness to aggressively defend them, and the devil isn’t always just in the details. More >

Trademark Registrants, Take Note: COVID-19 Presents Some Challenges for Maintaining Trademark Registrations

As we all know, the varying degrees of lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have, for over a year now, interrupted nearly every aspect of personal and professional life. For businesses, mandatory closings and temporary shutdowns can mean a waning customer base and dwindling revenue, but it can also mean something even worse: losing federal rights to a trademark. More >

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