This time last year, Law Law Land joined the hackneyed proud tradition of legal blogs offering year-end lists of cases to watch in the coming year (though in our defense, we did try to mix it up by reviewing totally absurd cases as well as totally important cases). But “year in review” and “year to come” are cultural clichés that never held much appeal to me. “Where are they now?” on the other hand? That’s more my speed. (Maybe that’s why I always adored the last five minutes of every episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, where the program would show the artist in their current, everyday life and tease the inevitable “impending comeback.”) So what has become of those five big cases we told you to watch this year? And did we pick good ones or not? (Preview: Yes, we did. Oh shush, I don’t care if we’re biased.) Continue reading the full story . . . »
Posts In "Music"
On a Saturday night in September, I took my wife to the first ever “Call of Duty” convention, hosted by Activision Blizzard inside a hangar on the old airfield where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose. Did I tell her ahead of time that I was taking her to a nerd convention where the only food available would be burgers and fries from a recreated fictional in-game restaurant called “Burger Town?” No way! I told her I was taking her to a Kanye West concert! Which was kind of true. Kanye was the “big performance” at the end of the geekfest (which explains why increasingly better looking people started showing up as time went by). Unfortunately, even Kanye’s harem of near-naked dancers could not distract from the utter awfulness of Kanye’s performance. Worst. Concert. Ever. (And yes, he did have an I-am-a-Greek-god theme going on in the background.)
Since that disaster of a concert, Kanye (or “Ye” as he is [unfortunately] sometimes referred to by fans) has been fighting two lawsuits (unrelated to said disaster of a concert, but no promises I don’t start a class action lawsuit out of that one) — one that alleges that he stole ideas for his hit song “Stronger,” and one that alleges he used a sample from Syl Johnson’s song “Different Strokes,” without permission, for Kanye and Jay-Z’s album, “Watch the Throne.” These cases are interesting to look at side-by-side because, while both cases deal with copyright issues, one case involves (allegedly) copied lyrics while the other case involves (allegedly) copied sound. And in the sometimes confounding world of copyright law, that could actually make a huge difference. Continue reading the full story . . . »
5 Important Cases You Should Watch in 2012…and 5 Totally Unimportant Cases You Might Not Be Able to Stop Watching Even if You Tried (Part 1 of 2)
‘Tis the season.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. ‘Tis the season to go shopping. ‘Tis the season for political gaffes. ‘Tis for hilarious gifting of intentionally awful presents. Yes, ‘tis the season for lots of things, but most of all, ‘tis the season for top-ten lists.
It seems only fitting, then, to embrace the spirit of the season, and look ahead to 2012 in obligatory list form. But let’s mix it up a little by breaking up our list into two parts. Today, we bring you five important cases you should watch in 2012. On Friday, we’ll follow up with five totally unimportant trainwrecks of cases you might not be able to pry your eyes away from. Continue reading the full story . . . »
About a year ago, I wrote my very first blog regarding copyright protection for choreography. In that post, I explained that even though dance is one of the world’s oldest art forms, the legal framework around copyright protection for choreography is still one of the least developed around. And, as our loyal readers will recall, the combination of law nerd/ex-dancer in me affectionately wished for the day that we would see a courtroom battle over choreography theft. Unfortunately for Beyoncé, the countdown may be over. (Cheesy pun intended.)
Most of you had probably never heard of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a Belgian contemporary dance choreographer. That is, until the recent release of Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video. Almost immediately following the release of “Countdown,” Beyoncé faced allegations that she stole the choreography featured in her video from two of De Keersmaeker’s contemporary works, Rosas danst Rosas (1993) and Achterland (1990). While Beyoncé admits that De Keersmaeker’s works were “one of the inspirations used to bring the feel and look of the song to life,” her official statement — no doubt vetted by a team of lawyers — was careful not to admit that she (or, more appropriately, her team) actually copied De Keersmaeker’s choreography. Thanks to YouTube and those of you out there with way too much time on your hands, however, we can analyze De Keersmaeker’s claims for ourselves and determine whether “Countdown” crosses the line between inspiration and imitation.
First, take a look at Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video:
And then take a look at De Keersmaeker’s works featured in this split-screen comparison:
Yeah, that’s kind of hard to explain away.
Although De Keersmaeker claims that she is neither upset nor honored that Beyoncé copied her dance moves, she made a point to say that “there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can’t imagine [Beyoncé] and her team are not aware of it.” Is De Keersmaeker right about those consequences? That is, does Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video infringe De Keersmaeker’s copyright in her choreography? Let’s recap some of the things we have learned here at Law Law Land. Continue reading the full story . . . »
I love Lindsay Lohan. Really, I do. I think she’s funny, smart, and an all around good time waiting to happen. Sure, as an actress, she’s had her share of ups and downs. But who hasn’t? As a singer…well…mostly just downs. She’s also been unrelentingly stalked by paparazzi for the entirety of her adult life, getting caught in far more than her share of compromising moments in the process. Well I say, leave Lindsay alone! If I had cameras following me since before I started shaving, I can assure you, it would not be pretty either (riotously entertaining, yes, but not pretty). So I try to cut Lindsay a lot of slack. But man, oh man, is her latest escapade testing the limits of my adoration.
Fresh off settling her lawsuit against E*Trade for a Super Bowl ad featuring a “milkaholic” baby named Lindsay and threatening (via Momager Dina Lohan) to sue the producers of Glee for some off-color Lohan-based Spanish lessons, Lindsay recently filed suit against rapper Pitbull for using her name in his song “Give Me Everything.” The offending lyric in question: “Hustlers move aside, so I’m tiptoein’, to keep flowin’ / I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan.” Frankly, it is difficult to fully convey the absurdity of this lawsuit. Nevertheless, my enduring loyalty demands that I try.
Holding my nose and looking a little deeper, I see there are two claims apparently being made here: defamation and right of publicity. (From the outset, I should note that Pitbull’s stated defense of “I thought it would be helping [her] career and keeping [her] relevant”doesn’t fly.) But let’s parse each claim and see if there’s any chance that my hero will succeed. (Spoiler Alert!!! No, there is not.) Continue reading the full story . . . »
Curt Sachs once said that “dance is the mother of the arts.” Sounds very eloquent, doesn’t it? You can’t help but think of a beautiful ballerina gracefully cascading along the stage, performing in front of an adorning audience. Now, take this quote and those serene images, place them on train tracks, wait for speeding train to hit, and…boom! You now have Dance Moms, Lifetime’s latest so-called reality show and voyeuristic indulgence featuring infamous dance studio owner Abby Lee Miller, several of her young dancers, and their overbearing moms. The show appears to be loosely scripted, at best, to contrive needless drama and controversy. Does anyone seriously believe that these moms were genuinely outraged by the “wildly inappropriate” costumes their daughters were wearing? Pah-lease!
Not surprising that the best they could do was Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. (Although we can all be grateful to the show for helping to bring the phrase “prosti-tots” into the vernacular. So, you know, thanks for that.)
Before I write any further, I should probably confess that I am both a former dance competition kid and, by definition, a dance mom. Like the Abby Lee dancers, my 11-year old daughter dances nearly 20 hours a week, performs in nine group routines and two solos, and attends many of the dance competitions and conventions featured by Lifetime. So, are the rest of us dance moms angry that the show entirely ignores the positives of youth dance in favor of gross sensationalization? That it fails to point out that, instead of coming home from school and sitting on the couch playing video games, these dance kids are getting incredible exercise, learning an art form, gaining performance skills, building self-confidence and creating life-long friendships? That it ignores how the drive and ambition these kids build as young dancers will launch them into a variety of successful, non-dance careers? Absolutely. Am I writing this blog to express my disdain for Lifetime’s unfair and irresponsible depiction of the dance world? Maybe. But behind all the pirouettes, the show raises some interesting and novel legal issues. Really. Continue reading the full story . . . »