As many of us were minding our own business in the wee hours of Wednesday, April 17, Mrs. Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter was preparing to come for all of our necks, edges, and lives with the release both a 137-minute documentary and concert film, titled Homecoming, AND a live album featuring songs from the concert, aptly titled Homecoming: The Live Album. As I was watching all of this transpire, it made me think a lot about content creation and how masterfully Beyoncé was using and re-using hers. HIt the link for three lessons I see for content creators from Professor Knowles-Carter.
Ona Judge’s life and story is remarkable, and there’s a lot we can learn from her even today. Ona was targeted and hunted by America’s first president—who was vindictive, racist, and out to get her—because she wanted the fundamental, basic human right of freedom. This article shares her story in honor of Black History Month.
America has long been the land of innovation. More than 13,000 years ago, the Clovis people created what many call the “first American invention.” This spirit of American creativity has persisted through the millennia, through the first American patent granted in 1641 and on to today. One group of prolific innovators, however, has been largely ignored by history: black inventors born or forced into American slavery. This article highlights several of these inventors and other current black inventors following in their footsteps.
America’s major cities each have their own vibe. Chicago’s vibe has been on my mind a lot lately, in part because of Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly. I have thoughts on the intersections between the two, and what Chicago is trying to teach us. I’m sharing a couple of these observations here.
As we go into Black History Month this year, I’ll be sharing little-known moments in history that reflect the multifaceted ways in which black people have contributed to the country’s tapestry. This post features the story of Betty Jean Owens, a civil rights and women’s rights heroine who helped make it possible for people of color and women to speak up in the face of injustice today.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I found myself at home watching an episode of black-ish that explores the stereotype that black people don’t get out into nature. These two things got me thinking about nature, our national parks, and culture.
Your vote via PanelPicker can make me a SXSW presenter! The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.) for SXSW and SXSW EDU
One of the most popular magazine covers this year is the Vogue September 2018 edition featuring Beyoncé' on the cover. This edition is also history-making because a black photographer, Tyler Mitchell, shot the cover for the first time in Vogue's 126 year history. The inspiring shoot has led to some instances of copying, but is this kind of copying illegal? I think so, and I explain why here.
Free expression on TV and social media generates big ratings and even bigger online followings. Unscripted reality stars claim to bring their authentic expressions to the public through these channels. Beyond influencing the court of public opinion, though, can reality stars wind up in legal trouble for these actions?
Unless you've been living under a rock or in one of the thirteen countries without internet access, you probably know that the Knowles/Carter family has been making headlines for all kinds of reasons lately. 2017 has been good to them, especially when it comes to building a legacy for their kids. What can parents learn from the Carters about protecting the digital assets of their children? As it turns out, a lot.
I've had a few discussions about the significant, and seemingly growing, emphasis that many people place on professional sports in the lives of kids - especially in the African-American community. These discussions made me curious about the actual statistics on how many people actually make it to the pros. The results were even more stark than I thought.
Because the internet is geographically borderless, nearly any message can have a global audience. Questions about online regulation have persisted for years, especially regarding harmful information. Finding widespread common ground on internet-based issues will likely only become more difficult as the U.K. exits from the EU and the U.S. takes increasingly nationalist positions. Even so, the experiences of smaller groups of countries may inform a broader effort as global policies on terrorism shift, and the world’s approach to internet regulation changes with it.
In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May publicly criticized “the Internet” and the “big companies that provide Internet-based services” as providing a safe space for terrorist ideologies to spread. May did not, however, specifically identify the spaces or companies she views as problematic. While these kinds of all-encompassing, non-specific statements may be politically effective in the lead-up to this week's general election in the UK, any serious attempts to address the spread of terrorism deserves significantly more nuance. Anything less is harmful to global discourse on such matters.
Last week, Facebook stated that it is hiring 3,000 new people to monitor and remove inappropriate posts like graphic and violent videos. This makes sense, given that the company has seen an influx of violent videos featuring murders, suicides, and rapes posted on the site. Hiring 3,000 new employees isn’t a bad start, but these future hires will not eliminate Facebook’s video problems. And it isn’t clear yet if anything will.
This week’s tragedy involving Robert Godwin has renewed the debate over the level of responsibility social media companies like Facebook have in monitoring and permanently removing graphic content. As I argue in the below Fortune Magazine article, it's time for someone to step in before there's another Facebook murder video. All of this, of course, would raise serious and legitimate censorship and free speech concerns. If social media users don't want to see rapes, murders, and suicides as they scroll through their feeds, however, something must change.
The convenience of the internet comes at a high price - a price that we as internet users pay with our data. Our data provides a clear window into our purchases, likes/dislikes, and relationships. And companies want it. Recent Congressional actions have made it much easier for companies to get that data.
Some days the internet can be wonderful place. Yesterday was one of those days, thanks to Chance the Rapper, the Golden Girls, Aaron Scott and Black Twitter. On Tuesday, Chance resurrected one of 2016's greatest internet videos, in search of what we can only hope is the next great collaboration between him and an up and coming creator. The entire story is truly a testament to the power of interconnectivity and creativity.
Today, in honor of telling important stories (thanks for the reminder, Hidden Figures and #ArrayToday), I am sharing the story of the dynamic and legendary Dorothy Irene Height. We have so many important stories to tell in this country - hers is one of many that more children and adults should know.
Yes - it is important to vote and get engaged in the political process. People on both sides of the aisle are readying themselves for the 2018 midterm elections and looking forward to 2020 also. People are resisting, making America great again, getting out the vote, rocking the vote, and everything in between. But, one point I'd like to raise is that much of those efforts pale in comparison to dealing with the issue of gerrymandering.
Less than a week ago now, Remy Ma released ShETHER and dropped some gems. I've been writing about the several lessons Professor Ma gave us through the lyrics all week. Lesson #3 is one that I hope didn't go over the heads of up and coming (and even established) artists. Artists must know and understand the 360 deal and its consequences.
Remy Ma's ShETHER came and dropped major keys about life, business, and law. Lesson #2, Know What to Protect on Social Media, revolves around copyright law, creativity, and the unprotected sharing artists regularly do on social media. Many creators on social media are creating and posting their work to disseminate it to a wide audience. But, many artists are simultaneously uniformed about the law and what they actually own.
For those of us who like to learn from the things happening around us, ShETHER provides enough material for a month long workshop on.....just about everything. I've put together some lessons I took from the song, because if this ain't a #PopCultureClass I don't know what is This song's very existence should have us taking notes from now until #BHM2018.
As most of us were running errands, in the hair salon/barber shop, or otherwise minding our own business on Saturday morning, Reminisce Smith Mackie (also known as rapper Remy Ma) was plotting to take over the internet and other people's careers. By the middle of the day, she released one of the nastiest diss records of our lifetimes. The song, titled "Shether," was directed at rapper Nicki Minaj and the internet (black Twitter especially) was here for it.
Just a few weeks ago, the Women's March descended on nearly 700 locations around the globe with almost 5 million participants. It is estimated to be the biggest protest demonstration in American history. Many marveled that, though conditions were tight, cold, and uncomfortable, people were mostly nice and polite to each other. The response of a protester to one not-so- nice person has led to an interesting trademark application.
In January 2017, two different suicides were streamed using Facebook Live, a service that allows Facebook users to create and broadcast real-time videos to their followers. At the end of the month, a third was streamed live using a different service and is still publicly available on Facebook as of February 2017. Should Facebook be legally obligated to do more to prevent these types of disturbing live broadcasts? As disturbing as these videos are, I don't think the current law extends liability to Facebook.
So...the "cash me ousside how bow dah" girl may actually be sued for trademark infringement by Hanesbrands, Inc. - owner of Champion sportswear. And I'm so confused about how we got here. If you're active on social media, you've probably seen people using "cash me ousside - how bow dah" as some strange inside joke. This article outlines the basis of what is going on in our crazy world, with a very brief explanation of trademark law and parody.
Nicki Minaj has built a nine-figure brand since stepping on the scene in 2004. In addition to music, she's sold everything from nails and perfume to moscato and wigs. Minaj's stamp of approval is valuable, and she's knows it. Companies who use her name must compensate her for that privilege. On Friday, Minaj took to Twitter to call out one ultra-high end shoe company who is using her name without paying her . . . Giuseppe Zanotti. Here's why I believe she's right to do so - I hope he runs her that check ASAP.
By many accounts, Donald Trump’s bold use of Twitter helped him get the attention and votes necessary to win a presidential race few initially thought he could. Given Trump’s affinity for the social media platform, it was unsurprising that tweets began streaming from his @realDonaldTrump account before noon on Inauguration Day. He recently came under fire for deleting tweets after officially becoming president. Many Twitter users tweak their tweets every day with little to no fanfare. When the president of the United States does it, however, there can be legal consequences.
One bio I've been amazed by for years is that of Janice Bryant Howroyd. If you've never heard of her, you should Google that name. Mrs. Howroyd serves in many capacities, including as an entrepreneur, educator, ambassador, businesswoman, author, and mentor. Born in a small, segregated North Carolina town called Tarboro, she rose to become the first African-American woman to build a $1 billion business.
Scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, I learned that the "skee wee" sound, a high pitched squeal used by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) to promote its organization and as a greeting among its members, became a registered trademark this week. The sorority has been using the "skee wee" sound since 1941, and the registration covers its "association services, namely promoting the interest of the sorority and its members. How did AKA do this, and how can you?
A few weeks ago, gospel singer Kim Burrell found herself in hot water with saints and sinners alike when a two-minute excerpt from one of her sermons, which many characterized as homophobic, found its way to the internet. Celebrities and others quickly condemned Burrell’s statements and her career began to take a hit. Some have questioned whether Burrell’s punishments have gone to far. And, Burrell does have some supporters. Those raising free speech concerns, however, are mistaken if they think the right to free speech can save Kim Burrell.
Run-DMC made headlines at the end of 2016 because their company, RUN-DMC BRAND LLC filed a $50 million dollar trademark infringement lawsuit against Walmart, Amazon.com, and a number of other companies. The lawsuit alleges that these companies (the defendants) are wrongfully and illegally using the RUN-DMC brand and trademark by selling unauthorized products. In reading through all of this, it seems that RUN-DMC, unlike a lot of artists, have taken many of the appropriate steps to protect their brand. I thought it would be useful to share some of the best takeways in this blog post.
It is inevitable. One day, you're scrolling through Facebook looking at photos of friends and old classmates and you see posts like: "I can't believe you're gone, John Doe!" You might not have thought about John Doe in days, months or years, but now, John is gone and you learned about it on Facebook. I've always felt weird about how this goes down. How can you make sure this doesn't happen to you? You can tell Facebook who should control your account when you die using its "legacy contact" service.
I recently attended a swearing-in ceremony for newly-minted lawyers who passed the July 2016 bar exam. During the ceremony, an accomplished lawyer provided remarks about professionalism and the practice of law. Among her remarks were some strong sentiments about internet usage – she encouraged each new lawyer to cultivate a strong presence online through blogging, active engagement on social media, and other public legal writing. I immediately wondered whether this was the first time these new lawyers had gotten this advice. I also wondered how law schools currently educate and advise students about curating content in their online profiles, and whether law schools should do this at all.
After the presidential election, how do faculty members most effectively teach students in a divisive climate? College campuses are experiencing the same high levels of racial and religious frustrations and tensions that are playing out on other national stages. What should faculty members, who see these students most regularly, be thinking about and doing during this time?
When NFL player Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem, or the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” confronts the vice president-elect, or the Dixie Chicks speak out against war, talk quickly turns to freedom of speech. Most Americans assume they have a constitutional guarantee to express themselves as they wish, on whatever topics they wish. But how protected by the First Amendment are public figures when they engage in political protest?
The internet shared with me that Kim Kardashian paid celebrity hair stylist Kim Kimble $2500 to teach her how to braid her daughter's hair in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The entrepreneur in me rejoiced, because this is exactly the kind of thing I've been working with my clients on recently. Entrepreneurs, there's nothing wrong with knowing your value. As Kim Kimble has shown, there's also nothing wrong with charging for it.
On Monday of this week, TIME announced its 2016 Person of the Year shortlist. Many of the names were unsurprising: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Simone Biles, and Beyoncé Knowles all seem to make sense. One entry in particular, however, seemed like a bit of an outlier -- the CRISPR Scientists. I've been following this technology for a little while, so when the announcement was released, I immediately wondered how it would impact everything else happening in the food law arena right now and in the future.
I HATE seeing children being used as memes or in negative ways on the internet. Like, I truly hate it. As wonderful as it is to see smile-inducing photos of beautiful kids on social media when the original photos are posted by loved ones, there are some opportunists out there who will superimpose or caption the most offensive, vile, and harmful language on these precious photos. And this happens more than you would think. If this happens to your child, what can you do?
I’ve been planning a screening of 13th at my law school that I'd like to be open to the full campus. I have a Netflix membership and could easily stream the film from my personal account. I had some difficulty determining Netflix’spolicy on streaming films for educational purposes - thank God for Ava DuVernay's Twitter account.
The internet gave us an early holiday present in the #unameitchallenge that we may forget by Christmas (unless you buy your grandma one of those official aprons). The entrepreneurial lessons, however, can serve entrepreneurs well for years to come.
In the past three years, three simple words, Black, Lives, & Matter, have formed the foundation for one of the most prominent social movements of the twenty-first century. It has shunned traditional rules and created a host of questions about leadership in, and ownership of, social movements.
What can future politicians learn from Donald Trump's social media presence while on the campaign trail? Disruptive technologies can and do drive societal shifts, and it seems that the president-elect took a page out of history and used tech to help him win the 2016 presidential election.
It’s hard to ignore the connection between the science of memetics and the question of what makes certain media get shared and repeated millions of times. Companies and individuals would be well-served to understand whether there is actually a science to going viral and how to use that science in campaigns.
Do you want a GRAB THEM BY THE P**** T-Shirt? Neither do I. But, did you know that the United States Supreme Court is taking up a question this term that could make this a possibility? This article explains why this is a real possibility.
You probably assume that the tattoo on your body belongs to you. But, in actuality, somebody else might own your tattoo. Recent lawsuits and events have shown that tattoo artists and companies can have intellectual property rights in tattoos worn by others, including both copyright and trademark rights.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sweetie Pie’s and the show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” on the OWN Network, do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes from one of the six (!) seasons its been on air. Apparently, all of the publicity from the show led Ms. Robbie’s son, Tim Norman, to open up restaurants in California using the Sweetie Pie’s name and brand. Ms. Robbie recently sued Tim for, among other things, trademark infringement based on his use of the Sweetie Pie’s brand.
Open your Twitter or Instagram account and chances are good somewhere in there you may see an unflattering photo of a stranger. It’s become increasingly common to share pictures of people we don’t know online. Do you have any legal recourse against a person who posts unflattering photos of you?
After the shocking death of music icon Prince, fans immediately began searching for his music online to purchase and play while they mourn the loss of a music titan. But most of these searches were futile because American law provides strict protections to copyright owners, and Prince was a pioneering advocate when it came to asserting copyright protections for his creative works.