Month: December 2013

Honored, thanks. An ABA shoutout, please?

Yes, it’s one of those times of year when the blog doesn’t refresh as frequently as we might like: Our editors are buried in academic finals and we’re awaiting our next group of bloggers. Still, we’re thrilled because the ABA Journal recently chose us as one of their favorites, part of their seventh annual Blawg 100. The journal, which says it is seen by half of the 1 million lawyers in the U.S., also notes that it routinely looks at 3,800 legal-related blogs to keep on top of developments in the field. So to be among their picks is great — even more so because of the company we’re in: almost all are practicing lawyers, jurists, appellate judges, noted legal faculty and professional reporters or analysts, as well as legal librarians, legal foundations … well you get the picture. Our finger- and toe-counting among the Blawg 100 may be off but we see a rare few that are law student-run, from law schools at New York University, the University of Miami. And us. We see a fair representation of Southern Californians in the mix. A last plea on topic: If you see the Biederman Blog and would like to tell the ABA Journal (by a Dec. 20 deadline) that we’re among your favorites, too, we’d much appreciate it! You’ll find us under the IP category and you can click...

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Oh, those Boys again: Beastly about ‘Girls?’

When two idealistic interests clash — artists’ wishing to protect their creations from commercial exploitation vs. advocates desiring to increase the now fractional representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields — where does the law come down? To those concerned about music and copyright, a recent case calls into question the bounds of owners’ rights. It’s all about a recent legal scuffle between the Beastie Boys and toy company GoldieBlox over a parody of the lads’ hit Girls in a television commercial. It has created quite the buzz within the blogosphere, because the toy company promotes products that bust sexist stereotypes to encourage girls to consider interests in STEM endeavors. But late last month, the Beastie Boys shared an open letter with the New York Times asserting that they would not allow their music to be used in product advertisements. Based on their statements, the hip-hop group may be a bit off-beat to the tune of copyright control and ownership. Sure, copyright holders generally have exclusive rights to control the use of their work – but that list is short. Copyright owners can often be restricted by several limitations –  the fair use doctrine, the substantial similarity test, the de minimis doctrine, and whether the work in question is actually an original work of authorship, just to name a few. GoldieBlox would seem to hold...

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