Myers Berstein
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Music copyright battle over Prince's unpublished songs

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When Prince died suddenly last year, he left behind a number of unpublished songs. Just days before the one-year anniversary of the famous musician's death, his former sound engineer and mixer, George Ian Boxill, released six songs.

Within days, a court in Prince's home state of Minnesota ordered Boxill to unpublish the songs at the request of Prince's estate. A temporary injunction stopped the release of the songs with the exception of the 'Deliverance' single, which is still available for downloading. Boxill claims that he and Prince jointly owned the songs while the estate claims that Prince had sole and exclusive rights to them.

Don't be afraid to pursue your business ideas, no matter your age

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Whether you are just out of college or have many years, jobs or careers behind you, it is never too early or too late to do what you love. Sure, there will be hurdles to jump, challenges to face and bridges to cross, but that is all part of it. As the famous author, Jack Canfield (best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul books) once said, "Most everything you want is just outside your comfort zone".

The good news is that even though something is out of your comfort zone, it doesn't mean it is out of reach. Let's take a look at some young entrepreneurs who didn't let age or experience get in the way of their dreams.

The Unauthorized Pop-Up Art Exhibit: Artist Discovers Knock-Offs of His Artwork All Around OC

Wakefield Sculpture.jpgA Southern California artist, Donald Wakefield, was surprised to find unauthorized knock-offs of his art years after he created and gifted his one-of-a-kind granite sculpture to a colleague's son.  His original sculpture, "Untitled" (pictured on the far left), was created in 1992. 

   Approximately sixteen (16) years after Wakefield's creation, Wakefield endeavored to investigate whether other unauthorized knock-offs of his work existed.  He discovered that knock-offs of his work, and the work of other artists, were displayed throughout Orange County on properties developed by Olen Properties Corporation ("Olen") which is owned by Igor Olenicoff, a Russian billionaire.  In total, Wakefield uncovered at least six (6) unauthorized knock-offs of his sculptures on Olen properties.


Do you know how to protect your fashion designs?

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Ivanka Trump's clothing and jewelry lines have been pulled from a number of retail stores in recent weeks. Other retailers - including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls - have stopped promoting her brand, choosing instead to mix her products in with other name brands in their stores.

Nordstrom blames lagging sales in 2016 as its reason for dropping her designs, denying that the boycott instigated by Grab Your Wallet had anything to do with it. Other big-name retailers are still contemplating similar moves.

Ivanka Trump's intellectual property woes

If Trump can copy a cake, how can I protect my recipes?

President Trump's inauguration caught the eye of foodies across the country. Eyebrows were raised - not because of the sumptuous appetizers, but because of alleged food plagiarism.

Copycat cake gives rise to #CakeGate

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The cake cut with a sword by President Trump and Vice President Pence at the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball was an exact replica of a cake created for Obama's second inauguration in 2013. The original creator, Duff Goldman, a pastry chef who starred on Food Network, immediately noticed the duplication and started a brief social media storm known as #CakeGate.

It was a number of days before a bakery in Washington, D.C., revealed that an exact replica had been ordered just two weeks prior to the ball. A flurry of social media posts gave credit to Goldman, and he ultimately closed CakeGate by posting, "Group hug, y'all." An interesting fact was revealed during the process: The copycat cake was only intended as a prop and, aside from the bottom layer, was made of Styrofoam.

Are your cake designs and food creations protected from copycats?

SiriusXM and The Turtles are Not So Happy Together: Royalties Owed for Satellite Radio Use of Pre-1972 Recordings Pending Court Approval

TheTurtlesGettyImages.jpgFormer members of the 1960s rock group, The Turtles, brought a class action lawsuit against SiriusXM back in 2013 for playing their pre-1972 recordings without their permission. Just as the case was set to go to trial, SiriusXM decided to settle with the band and thousands of recording owners for a whopping $99 million.

Kardashians Dash to Block Blac Chyna from Trademarking Their Name

kardashians.jpgIt is no surprise that the Kardashians are always in the news. This time the companies of Khloe, Kourtney, and Kim have filed an opposition to Blac Chyna's registration for the trademark, Angela Renée Kardashian-her future married name once she marries Rob Kardashian. With Rob and Chyna's on again/off again relationship status the matter could end up being irrelevant, but read on to learn about the current Kardashian debacle.

The companies allege that the Kardashian brand will "suffer damage including irreparable injury to their reputation and goodwill" if Blac Chyna were granted the trademark with the Kardashian name because she would be aligning herself and her brand with theirs.


QiaodanChina.jpgMichael Jordan Scores a Win in China's Highest Court

The majority of Michael Jordan's victories have been on the basketball court, but now he can add a victory that took place at China's highest court to his list of accomplishments.

After four long years, Mr. Jordan won a landmark trademark case against Qiaodan Sports Company, a company that he has accused of profiting off his name. How? Qiaodan is the Mandarin transliteration of "Jordan".

The customer confusion is easy to understand. The Qiaodan storefront features the silhouette of a basketball player with a basketball in his hand and they sell sporting goods.

In the 1990s, the Air Jordan brand registered only the English version of "Jordan" in China. This is a common mistake that foreign companies make. China has a widespread problem where their citizens register well-known brands from around the world when those companies have not registered those marks themselves yet. In China, they follow the first to register system when it comes to protection of trademarks instead of the first to use system, so this practice becomes burdensome on international companies.

Disney drama reveals the depth of China's IP problems

rollycoasterx.JPGChina has long been depicted as a wild west for intellectual property rights. For decades it was famous as a pirate publisher and maker of knockoff products.

The country has been trying to adopt a more law-based approach to IP, but problems continue to occur. The latest company caught up in this confusion is the Walt Disney Company.

Disney licenses Disney Shanghai, an immense installation that opened this past June. As is customary, Disney gave the park exclusive rights to its characters.

Imagine the consternation, then, when a competing theme park operator, Dalian Wanda Group Company, opened its new park ahead of Disney Shanghai - featuring classic Disney characters such as Snow White and storm troopers from the new Disney-owned Star Wars picture.

Disney protested the infringement. The Wanda Group explained that the use of the characters was by third parties.

Wanda founder Wang Jianlin called the Disney park a "lone tiger" that would be quickly done in by his own park's "pack of wolves." [Source: Fox News]

DRESS UP AS A CELEBRITY---IF YOU DARE: How Right of Publicity Issues May Arise When Choosing Your Halloween Costume

M&B BATMANJOKER.jpgHalloween 2016 is sure to bring some of the most entertaining pop culture costumes like the characters from Suicide Squad. These characters belong to DC Comics and costume companies that create and sell these type of costumes for profit must license out the intellectual property for each costume design from its respective owner.

Then there are those costumes of real people like the presidential candidates, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian West. Whether you exercise the right or not, everyone has the right to control their name and likeness for a commercial purpose. This is known as a right of publicity. California Civil Code Section 3344 protects a person's name, voice, signature, photograph, and likeness. This statute is in addition to the common law publicity rights.