Friday, May 22, 2009

Success Story #1

One of the reasons we like what we do so much is that we have lots of fun, interesting and world-class clients. They range from sales training companies to musicians to hot-rod aftermarket specialists, clothing companies, record labels, surf wax manufacturers, direct mail and response experts and all manner of film, video and Internet-based companies. One of our most fun clients is Opper Sports, one of the world's leading surf documentarians which is run by multiple Emmy-award winner Ira Opper who has recently built an easy-to-use website that allows for entire Opper Sports library of surfing-related films and tv shows to be instantly downloaded . Here is an article about one of Opper Sports most-recent successes. We have helped Opper Sports over the years with music licensing questions, domain name disputes and general competitive strategies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Copyrights and the Radio

It's one thing to be the songwriter of a hit song that gets tons of radio airplay. But it's another thing if you're the singer and/or the band that performs the song but didn't write it. This article explains why. In a nutshell: due to a long-standing policy in the United States (but not Europe, for example), only songwriters and music publishers get to share in the royalties that are paid by radio stations when songs are played on the radio. The band and the singer doesn't. Musicians have been trying to get the law changed for years, but so far haven't had much luck. That may change if a piece of legislation in Congress passes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Problems With Branding Using Geographic Terms

The City of Hollister, California is quasi-famous for being the place that inspired one of Marlon Brando's most iconic movie performances in the 1953's "The Wild One". But now it's embroiled in a legal battle with clothing manufacturer Abercrombie & Fitch because A&F started a clothing line called Hollister Co. about 10 years ago and is now trying to stop anyone anyone who uses "Hollister" for clothing - including people and businesses in Hollister, CA. This article describes the dispute in more detail.

Why is this important? Because geographic terms are very difficult - and sometimes impossible - to protect as a trademark. But that doesn't stop people from trying. We typically advise our clients to stay away from using geographic terms as trademarks for this exact reason. Meanwhile, as the dispute between Abercrombie & Fitch and the citizens of Hollister continues, it reminds us of the famous exchange between Brando and another character in the film when Brando's Johnny is asked: "What are you rebelling against?". Johnny's response: "Whadaya got?".