From Beasties & Bikram to Sunglasses: CVL’s Inaugural Blog Post

Welcome to the inaugural blog post for Creative Vision Legal! I am Mike Thomas, and I’d like to use this post to lay out my vision of the kinds of topics I hope to address in the coming months.

I plan to comment on current news and events in the worlds of entertainment, IP, and business law in California, and also to use this blog as an opportunity to explore topics I have always wanted to research but never found the time to. I also plan on revisiting some things I’ve done in the past (cases I worked on or talks I did) and seeing whether anything has changed that is noteworthy in those areas.

As far as an overall tone, I hope to strike a balance between being entertaining for non-lawyers but relevant and informative for lawyers. We’ll see if I can uphold that standard on a regular basis…

Now let me throw out some ideas for where this thing is going for the rest of the year. If any of these sound good and you don’t see them after a month or two, feel free to send a gentle prod my way and I’ll hunker down on it:

  • Beasties in Da House:  First up, a little ditty I plan on calling “The Beastie Boys: Greatest Legal Hits.” Over the years, I’ve run across what seems to be a lot of cases involving the Beasties, most recently the GoldieBlox case, which got me thinking: someone needs to pull all these cases together in one place and do some bang-up down-and-dirty analysis of the holdings and what impact (if any) the results had on the law.
  • We're in this thing together:  Over the years, I have had at least a handful of clients who encountered issues involving joint authorship, usually in the music realm. One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I plan on crowning myself an authority on this issue and doing a presentation somewhere, but you have to crawl before you walk, so I think a blog/primer on the issue is warranted.
  • Bikram Redux:  I worked on a copyright case involving Bikram yoga back in 2004-05 and wrote a law review article about it as well. The case settled after summary judgment, and the issue of whether or not Bikram could prohibit anyone from using his yoga sequence was still out there lingering, but not anymore-recently I stumbled across an opinion in which the Central District of California ruled that the Bikram yoga sequence was not entitled to copyright protection. Ahh, the sweet taste of vindication. The case is a little dated (late 2012) and I don’t know if any other commentators picked up on it, so I might be late to the show. However, given the history it feels fitting that I should write a postmortem, and maybe even invite some of the lawyers who worked on the case with me to comment as well in a guest blog.
  • Not your Daddy's Cheap Sunglasses:  I did a talk back in 2006 about copyright protection for three-dimensional works (jewelry, sculptures, etc.). Some of the cases were really cool-like the guy who went up against the Gap pro se in federal court (and won $$$) because a model in one of their ads used the hip sunglasses he designed without his permission. I’m curious about where the state of the law is on this topic, particularly as it relates to aesthetic functionality and conceptual separability.  Has anything changed, both in the 9th or anywhere else? We’ll hopefully find out, so stay tuned...
Well, that wraps it up. Check back in a few days for the Beasties post. Always feel free to send comments about this blog directly to me at mike@creativevisionlegal.com.

 

Photo by HealthZone (The Star), via Wikimedia Commons.

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