Intellectual Property Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

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Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons Inc. - USCA, Sixth Circuit, May 16, 2016

Sixth Circuit concludes that author’s 1975 assignment of gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” was subject to 2008 termination notice, notwithstanding subsequent 1979 assignment of rights by late composer’s wife....more

PRINCE Act Shelved by Minnesota Legislator

Last week we reported on the right of publicity bill being considered by the Minnesota legislature in light of the passing of musical icon, Prince. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on May 18, 2016, State...more

Four Lessons Learned from Prince’s Estate (So Far)

Several of the events surrounding the initial administration of Prince’s estate provide lessons applicable to all estate plans, not just celebrity estate plans. If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan, the State Will Write...more

Sign O’ the Times: the Right of Publicity Comes to Minnesota

The ability to control the use of one’s name, likeness, voice, and other personal attributes is known as the right of publicity. Unlike trademarks, patents, and copyrights, which are types of intellectual property governed...more

Forget That Prince Had No Will, What About the Estate Tax Problems?

There has been a fair amount of buzz in the days after Prince’s death about his estate plan, whether he has a Will, whether he did or did not do any planning. Time will see this out. Prince’s heirs at law appear at this time...more

Living Like a Prince, but not Dying Like One

The media seems to be concerned with two primary subjects lately, and both topics continue to trounce each other in turn on social networks for attention: 1. The presidential elections 2. The death of Prince,...more

Happy Birthday To You: Blow the Candles Out

On two previous occasions, I wrote about the court battle and decision regarding the copyright status of the lyrics to the song, Happy Birthday to You. As noted in my September 2015 post, the U.S. District Court in California...more

The Halloween Edition: Frights of Publicity and Celebrity Ghosts

It is an undisputed fact that the 90’s were the best. The deadcade gave us some of the best television (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), movies (Clueless), fashion (flannel), and music (Backstreet Boys). Everything created since...more

Intellectual Property: Happy Birthday to You (10/15)

If you have ever been to a Chili’s restaurant, odds are you have heard this birthday jingle. Perhaps you have also heard different birthday greetings at other chain restaurants. More likely than not, you have not heard any...more

Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson - USCA, Ninth Circuit, July 31, 2015

Ninth Circuit reverses lower court’s dismissal for lack of standing of action brought by Ray Charles Foundation, finding that Foundation, sole beneficiary of music legend’s estate, had standing to challenge validity of...more

Socially Aware - Volume 6, Issue 2 - May 2015

In This Issue: - Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users - FTC Issues Landmark Report on Internet of Things - Who Will Update My Status When I’m Dead?: The Biggest Social Media Platforms’ Policies on...more

Copyright Co-Owner’s Ability to Grant an Exclusive Right to a Third Party - Corbello v. DeVito

Revisiting the issue of a copyright co-owner’s right to grant an exclusive right to a third party, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified its prior ruling in Sybersound v. UAV, and explained that a...more

Get smart when tackling estate planning for intellectual property

How should one account for intellectual property (IP), such as a patent or copyright, in their estate plan? These intangible assets can be highly valuable, and they should be handled according to the owner’s wishes. This...more

Insight on Estate Planning - February/March 2015

In This Issue: - Estate planning for young families: Flexibility is the key - Get smart when tackling estate planning for intellectual property - Avoiding undue influence claims - Estate Planning Pitfall:...more

The Artist’s Legacy – Business and Legal Planning Issues

Sheppard Mullin attorneys Christine Steiner and Lauren Liebes recently joined Weston Naef, Getty Photography Curator Emeritus, and ASA appraiser Jennifer Stoots for “What Will Become of Your Legacy”, a panel discussion at Los...more

Warner Bros.’ Super Victory: U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Ends Lengthy Superman Copyright Dispute

Warner Bros. and its DC Comics subsidiary can now breathe a bit easier, as the U.S. Supreme Court has recently declined to intervene in the ongoing dispute over the ownership rights to Superman. And so ends (at least for...more

Superman Dodges a Bullet: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Heirs’ Bid to Reclaim Character Copyright

Close on the heels of the settlement between Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby’s heirs, which ended their dispute over copyright in a number of iconic comic book characters, the heirs to one of Superman’s co-creators, artist...more

Privacy or Property? Arizona Court Adopts Post-Mortem Right of Publicity In Intra-Family Online Dispute

The right of publicity, i.e., the right not to have others appropriate your name or image for commercial purposes, is an odd duck. It was described by Professor Prosser in 1960, and later in the Restatement of Torts, as of...more

The Bill Graham Show Goes On … and On - Graham-Sult v. Clainos

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that the federal district court erred in dismissing claims for copyright infringement, conversion and declaratory relief brought by the sons of the late concert...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- January 30, 2014

Smith v. Sunshine Sound Enterprises, Inc., USCA, 11th Circuit, January 22, 2014 - Eleventh Circuit reverses dismissal of estate’s claims for copyright infringement, holding that songwriter who assigned his legal rights...more

"The Estate Planner" – January/February 2014

In this issue: - Planning For The Net Investment Income Tax - The Stretch IRA: A Simple Yet Powerful Estate Planning Tool - Do You Know How To Address IP In Your Estate Plan? - Estate Planning Red...more

Treasury Releases Additional Guidance on Employer Mandate

Treasury Releases Additional Guidance on Employer Mandate by Gary S. Young on September 18, 2013 The deadline for Employers to comply with the “Employer Mandate” provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care...more

NY Attorney General Wants to “Fire” Donald Trump from Education Industry

NY Attorney General Wants to “Fire” Donald Trump from Education Industry by Dan Brecher on September 3, 2013 While Donald Trump is well known for his antics on the air and in the boardroom, he may soon be spending some...more

Analysts Debate the Effectiveness of Municipal Bankruptcy on Improving Cities

Analysts Debate the Effectiveness of Municipal Bankruptcy on Improving Cities by Joel R. Glucksman on August 22, 2013 Five years after the Great Recession began, a number of cities across the country are still...more

Bezos May Have Trouble Securing Tax Benefits With WaPo

Bezos May Have Trouble Securing Tax Benefits With WaPo by Frank L. Brunetti on August 21, 2013 Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos turned some heads when the billionaire decided to purchase the Washington...more

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