In The News

Sean Kirk Joins Bone McAllester Norton

As reported in the Nashville Post, Sean Kirk has joined Bone McAllester Norton as a commercial So with pigeons from the menu why not a slice of bingo-roulette mobile.the-best-casinos-online.info/roulette.php ?Casino entrepreneurs Jimmy and Simon Thomas, along with The spanish language expert Marcos Marugan, have produced a physical casino game that merges both bingo and roulette mobile.the-best-casinos-online.info/roulette.php into…well a bingo and roulette mobile.the-best-casinos-online.info/roulette.php kind of game. litigation attorney, firm Chairman Charles W. Bone announced today.

Click here to read the entire article.

Charles W. Bone To Be Honored at Annual "Good Guys" Awards

The Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee will honor four men who have been outstanding advocates of women, women’s issues and the community as “Good Guys” on Monday, October 15, 2012, 6:00 p.m. at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. The men honored at this year’s event include:
  • Charles W. Bone, founder and chairman, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
  • Lowe Finney, senator, Tennessee General Assembly
  • Bill Haslam, governor, State of Tennessee
  • Joseph R. Hyde, III, owner and president, Pittco Holdings Inc.
The Good Guys Award, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is the ultimate recognition which honors men who uniquely promote and support women. Over the past 20 years the Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee has recognized 73 men who have worked to promote, support and expand women’s roles in the community.  These men include elected officials, official appointees, community leaders, philanthropists and businessmen. Previous Good Guys recipients include Governor Phil Bredesen, U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, Phil Ponder, Howard Gentry, Dave Cooley and many others.

“The Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee is thrilled to honor our four distinguished recipients for this year’s Good Guys Awards,” said WPCTN President Lane Rhodes.  “Each has displayed great commitment to women’s issues and supporting the growth and development of women as leaders in the community.  This is year is particularly special as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Good Guys Awards and jointly recognize the advancement of women in the community and the men who support them.”

The Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee is a multi-partisan, multi-ethnic organization that promotes full and equal participation of women in government and the political process. To learn more about the Collaborative, log on to http://www.wpctn.com.

Will Cheek Talks About Liquor Laws With the Tennessee Bar Association

When talk turns to liquor laws in Tennessee, everybody has a question.

• Why can’t I Kroger for wine? If 69% of Tennesseans favor wine in grocery store, what's the holdup?

• I can buy tequila but not beer, limes or shot glasses at my liquor store, what's up with that?

• Why was the right for women to vote crucial to prohibition?

• Why would we ban the sale of all alcohol?

 
Attorney Will Cheek of Bone McAllester Norton delivered a one-hour CLE webcast with the answers to these questions and more concerning the labyrinth of liquor laws in Tennessee, a place where liquor has played a pivotal and sometimes controversial role in the state's history and economy.

Read Will's blog to learn more on this topic.

Stephen Zralek to moderate Roundtable on Copyright Fair Use at ABA Annual Meeting

The Copyright Litigation Committee will host a CLE Roundtable discussion, “Copyright Fair Use: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest One of All?” at the ABA Annual Meeting on Friday, August 3 from 10:30 to 11:30am.

Committee Chair Stephen Zralek of Bone McAllester Norton will moderate a panel which includes Deborah Robinson of Viacom, Victor Perlman of the American Society of Media Photographers, and Claudia Ray of Kirkland & Ellis will each present.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Charles Bone Named to Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies Advisory Board

Charles Bone is one of four community leaders to join the Advisory Board for the Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies. The advisory board members help set the center’s priorities and serve as ambassadors for the center’s mission.

The Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies facilitates research on community-identified issues and needs and provides timely recommendations on policy-level solutions and actions. This mission is carried out through research projects, university-community partnerships and conversations and collaborations. The center is particularly focused on four community-identified areas for 2010 through 2012: quality of life, the city's safety net, Nashville as a creative place, and community health.

Bonelaw Client "Bluegrass Underground" Wins Two International Awards

Entertainment Attorney Stephanie Taylor represents Bluegrass Underground.

NASHVILLE, TN. – July 17th, 2012 – Producers of the acclaimed PBS music concert event series BLUEGRASS UNDERGROUND today announced that the show is the recent recipient of two international awards—the coveted CINE Golden Eagle and the Telly Silver award. These prestigious prizes are awarded in recognition of the highest production values of the television/film industry.

A 12-part concert series taped 333-feet deep inside the wondrous Volcano Room of Cumberland Caverns near McMinnville, TN, BLUEGRASS UNDERGROUND is a unique, “musical adventure.” Executive producer Todd Mayo and Emmy Award-winning producer Todd Jarrell (Todd Squared, LLC) teamed up with the legendary talents of Director James Burton Yockey, Lighting Designer Allen Branton, and Audio Engineer Hugh Johnson to create this singular series for American audiences on PBS.

The CINE competition functions as an academic peer review with over 400 jurors screening hundreds of productions in search of, “overall excellence that separates it from productions similar in content, genre or style,” in “upholding an unparalleled reputation of excellence.” Past Golden Eagle honorees include Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Billy Crystal, Robert DeNiro, Robert Altman, Spike Lee, Ken Burns, Ron Howard, Jim Henson, Pixar, and Steven Spielberg.

Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards also honor the finest film and video productions with the mission of strengthening the visual arts community by inspiring, and promoting creativity. Judges evaluate entries “to recognize distinction in creative work against a high standard of merit.” The 2012 Telly Awards received over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. This year’s honorees include HISTORY, NBC Universal, SPEED, Disney, ESPN Int’l, National Geographic, NASA, and WGBH.

“A little bit Bluegrass; a little bit Underground,” the series found wide acclaim in its first season and is now airing on PBS in over 300 U.S. markets. The unique mix of HD video, a near-perfect acoustical cavern, and top musical talent brings viewers “an eye-popping presentation of one of the most visually amazing venues there is,” says Jarrell. BLUEGRASS UNDERGROUND Season II premieres on PBS in September, 2012.

Underwriters of the television series will include the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Nissan of North America, Griffin Technology, Southgate Brand Foods and The City of McMinnville.  “Our partners believe in the series, and for their support we are truly grateful,” says producer Todd Mayo adding, “Receiving recognition like these awards just ices a very special cake.”

Larry Bridgesmith Joins Bonelaw as Of Counsel

We welcome attorney Larry Bridgesmith to Bonelaw. Larry will serve as Of Counsel in the area of Labor and Employment.  Before joining Bone McAllester Norton, Larry was Of Counsel at Miller & Martin, PLLC.

“I have known Larry for years. We are pleased to have him join us with his experience in Labor and Employment law, as well as conflict resolution and legal project management,” Mr. Bone said.  “He will be a great asset to our clients and our other attorneys, and we welcome him and his clients to the firm.”

Larry is also the Founding Executive Director, Senior Fellow and Associate Professor at the Institute of Conflict Management at Lipscomb University. He recently co-founded a technology company called ERM Legal Solutions that provides legal project management solutions to law firms and legal departments.  Larry’s expertise in dispute resolution processes has led to appointments by the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section as co-chair of task forces in Health Law and International Dispute Resolution.

He earned his juris doctorate degree in 1978 from Wayne State University Law School and his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Larry and his wife, Linda have been married 44 years and have 2 children, Lara and Lance and 5 grandchildren.

Stephen Zralek Quoted in ManagingIP about GoogleBooks Class Action

Earlier in June 2012, Stephen Zralek was quoted in a story by ManagingIP about the GoogleBooks Class Action certification. Recently, Judge Denny Chin, sitting by designation for the Southern District of New York, issued a ruling allowing the case to proceed forward as a class action. ManagingIP asked Stephen how much of a blow this decision was to Google. Stephen explained:

“I think it’s fair to say that it’s always a major blow to a defendant when a class action is certified. Here the class includes all U.S. authors and heirs who have a copyright interest in a book that Google scanned into its Library Project. With the certification of a class, there’s a much greater chance that authors will participate in the litigation; otherwise, each author would have had to commence his or her own suit, and many times suit is never filed after evaluating the risks and benefits. A class, however, allows authors with smaller claims to reap the benefits of joining forces with those authors with bigger claims, more at stake, and funds to fight Google.”

He continued: “If Google is found liable, the damages will be aggregated and likely will appear to be significantly higher than if Google had been forced to defend separate lawsuits. The upside for Google is that it won’t have to defend cases all over the country and that it likely will spend less on legal fees, itself. But, if found liable, Google likely will have to pay a big sum to the class attorneys.”

To see a copy of the full article, click here.

Attorney Michael Norton of Bone McAllester Norton Creates Unique Stamp Art

The 21 art works in our lobby were all hand crafted by Michael Norton, one of the name members of our law firm. Each collage is created using only United States postage stamps. Mr. Norton designs each work, and each stamp or portion of a stamp is individually glued into place and the work is finished with multiple coats of clear acrylic.

Mr. Norton’s unique works of art have won several art competitions. Two of his works were selected for display at the Northwest Art Center in Minot, North Dakota, as part of the 2011 Americas Paperworks competition. His works will again be exhibited as a one person show at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee May 2013 through July 2013.

On average, the works each require approximately 400 to 500 stamps, and have been known to require more than 1,000 stamps to complete. Mr. Norton acquires most of the stamps as unsorted bulk purchases of used stamps. Currently, he has over 100,000 stamps available for future projects.

 

Tucker Herndon and James Mackler Named in Nashville Post's Law Leaders Rising List

Law Leaders Rising

A strong group of young attorneys is making its mark on Nashville’s legal scene.

Published January 10, 2012

by Philip Nannie

Nashville has long been respected for its legal community, a business sector often defined by seasoned law professionals with stellar resumes and, in some cases, national notoriety. And for years, that community was defined in large part by men who earned their JDs at the Nashville School of Law, the University of Tennessee or Vanderbilt University.

However, Nashville’s impressive array of attorneys would not be as noteworthy without a cadre of young guns, often 20- and 30-somethings making major names for themselves. They have attended law schools throughout the nation, they have interesting legal specialties and they are — like the city in which they practice — far more diverse than their peers of a generation or even a mere 10 years ago.

In an attempt to highlight the best of this strong crop of fast-rising legal stars, Nashville Post interviewed dozens of local attorneys to solicit feedback. Based on the pros’ recommendations and our own research, we whittled down an impressive pool of dozens of candidates to the arbitrary number of 21. We did not include partners unless they started their own firms and we sought out a mix of industry specialists and emerging all-rounders. Together, they make up Nashville Post’s first Law Leaders Rising list.

Congratulations to Tucker Herndon and James Mackler:

Tucker HerndonMember
Bone McAllester Norton

Comments like “outstanding young lawyer,” “amazing worth ethic” and “effective leader” are a mere sampling of what folks around here think of the 2008 graduate of the Nashville School of Law. And, despite Herndon’s relative few years in the legal trenches, we consistently heard people say they were surprised to learn how young he was upon meeting him. Nevertheless, Herndon has impressed. His law practice centers on commercial lending, creditors’ rights, foreclosure and general real estate law. And, he has earned a unique reputation as the local “go to” attorney for expertise in alcohol beverage licensing and the regulatory and compliance aspects of that area of the law.

James MacklerMember
Bone McAllester Norton

Mackler, a New York City native, Duke University graduate and alumnus of the University of Washington School of Law, was contentedly practicing law in Denver before Sept. 11, 2001, changed his world — and a little more than most. Inspired by those events, Mackler walked away from the Denver law practice he’d spent seven years building and, by an amazingly circuitous route, found himself in the cockpit of a Blackhawk helicopter with the 101st Airborne serving missions in Iraq.

After an intense one-year deployment, Mackler returned to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps office, serving as legal advisor there, before relocating to Nashville in 2011 and affiliating with the Bone McAllester firm.

Click here for the entire article (subscription required)

Celebrating Two Years of WaterCooler: Young Entrepreneurs Networking in Nashville


Two years ago, I was talking with my friend Wade Munday about how I wanted to start a fun, informal, monthly event for young entrepreneurs in Nashville to meet each other.  The goal was to provide networking opportunities and to learn about interesting topics or hear from speakers within our own age range (20s through 40s).  He helped me come up with the name WaterCooler, which sounded a lot better than CornerOffice and other names that we considered.  Then he moved to Boston for a year before coming home and getting married.
My friend Renata Soto, who runs Conexión Americas, graciously agreed to co-chair and co-host these events with me.  Our first speaker was Kimberly Pace of Owen Management School at Vanderbilt University, who talked about personal brands:  how each of us creates a personal brand with every action or inaction that we take.  We hosted the first one at Cantina Laredo, which had awesome guacamole and margaritas, but didn’t have the best acoustics.  We later moved to 1808 Grille at The Hutton Hotel, which provided a rock star environment, but was too small for our growing crowds.  Then we moved to Miro District.  We decided it was time to take the show on the road.
During that time, we hosted some amazing speakers, ranging from Becca Stevens, who talked about her work with former prostitutes at Magdalene and Thistle Farms, to Clint Smith of Emma, Laura Creekmore, who gave an overview of social media (which now seems like it was eons ago), and Alan Young of Armor Concepts, whose products I see on billboards all around the city.
Our first field trip was to Yazoo Tap Room, where Linus Hall and Neil McCormick gave everyone a tour of their brewery and free tastes of Yazoo.  That event turned out to be our most popular yet, and it showed us that WaterCooler was good not only for participants (who, in that case, reaped free beer) but also for the hosts whose businesses we showcased, because it gave them an opportunity to connect with their audience and further build brand loyalty.  I know, for myself, that I buy a lot more Yazoo beer now than I did before, because I heard Linus’ story and know how fresh it is, in addition to merely wishing to support the local economy.
From there, we realized that our niche was really in focusing on locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and not just hearing from a variety of speakers in our age range.  We went to Oliver & Sinclair Chocolate Factory, which was so jam packed that we had to turn people away at the doors for fear of overcrowding/fire marshals.  We also visited Corsair Distillery and heard from Darek Bell and his partner.  More recently, we toured CentreSource, then walked down the street to City House for drinks.
Our hope in doing this, in hosting and starting WaterCooler, was to build connections, for ourselves, and with each other.  We want folks to come whenever they’re inspired by the topic or have an interest in the location or the host or the product.  But we didn’t want to do anything that required people to sign up for one more commitment.  Everyone has enough of those already.  Because of that, we don’t have an official membership, and we don’t ask people to pay dues.  
We know that we are achieving our goal, because we have made connections with you resulting in new clients for our businesses/practices, new donors for our non-profits, new jobs, and more generally new friends.  And we know that you have done the same.  Emma has gotten new clients because one person who attended was impressed with Clint Smith's story.  And at least one person has gotten a new job because of a relationship she made while trying to attend our event at Olive & Sinclair.  These are the sorts of things we want to happen with WaterCooler.  If you have more examples of good connections that you’ve made, or if you have interesting locally-owned businesses based in Nashville that you want to highlight, please let us know.  These are the stories that we want to help you tell.

Celebrating Two Years of WaterCooler: Young Entrepreneurs Networking in Nashville


Two years ago, I was talking with my friend Wade Munday about how I wanted to start a fun, informal, monthly event for young entrepreneurs in Nashville to meet each other.  The goal was to provide networking opportunities and to learn about interesting topics or hear from speakers within our own age range (20s through 40s).  He helped me come up with the name WaterCooler, which sounded a lot better than CornerOffice and other names that we considered.  Then he moved to Boston for a year before coming home and getting married.

My friend Renata Soto, who runs Conexión Americas, graciously agreed to co-chair and co-host these events with me.  Our first speaker was Kimberly Pace of Owen Management School at Vanderbilt University, who talked about personal brands:  how each of us creates a personal brand with every action or inaction that we take.  We hosted the first one at Cantina Laredo, which had awesome guacamole and margaritas, but didn’t have the best acoustics.  We later moved to 1808 Grille at The Hutton Hotel, which provided a rock star environment, but was too small for our growing crowds.  Then we moved to Miro District.  We decided it was time to take the show on the road.

During that time, we hosted some amazing speakers, ranging from Becca Stevens, who talked about her work with former prostitutes at Magdalene and Thistle Farms, to Clint Smith of Emma, Laura Creekmore, who gave an overview of social media (which now seems like it was eons ago), and Alan Young of Armor Concepts, whose products I see on billboards all around the city.

Our first field trip was to Yazoo Tap Room, where Linus Hall and Neil McCormick gave everyone a tour of their brewery and free tastes of Yazoo.  That event turned out to be our most popular yet, and it showed us that WaterCooler was good not only for participants (who, in that case, reaped free beer) but also for the hosts whose businesses we showcased, because it gave them an opportunity to connect with their audience and further build brand loyalty.  I know, for myself, that I buy a lot more Yazoo beer now than I did before, because I heard Linus’ story and know how fresh it is, in addition to merely wishing to support the local economy.

From there, we realized that our niche was really in focusing on locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and not just hearing from a variety of speakers in our age range.  We went to Oliver & Sinclair Chocolate Factory, which was so jam packed that we had to turn people away at the doors for fear of overcrowding/fire marshals.  We also visited Corsair Distillery and heard from Darek Bell and his partner.  More recently, we toured CentreSource, then walked down the street to City House for drinks.

Our hope in doing this, in hosting and starting WaterCooler, was to build connections, for ourselves, and with each other.  We want folks to come whenever they’re inspired by the topic or have an interest in the location or the host or the product.  But we didn’t want to do anything that required people to sign up for one more commitment.  Everyone has enough of those already.  Because of that, we don’t have an official membership, and we don’t ask people to pay dues. 

We know that we are achieving our goal, because we have made connections with you resulting in new clients for our businesses/practices, new donors for our non-profits, new jobs, and more generally new friends.  And we know that you have done the same.  Emma has gotten new clients because one person who attended was impressed with Clint Smith's story.  And at least one person has gotten a new job because of a relationship she made while trying to attend our event at Olive & Sinclair.  These are the sorts of things we want to happen with WaterCooler.  If you have more examples of good connections that you’ve made, or if you have interesting locally-owned businesses based in Nashville that you want to highlight, please let us know.  These are the stories that we want to help you tell.

Using Technology to Tap into New Sources of Revenue: Highlights of Technology Panel at Bone McAllester Norton


Recently my law firm hosted a panel on technology.  It was a packed audience, and more guests showed up than rsvp’d, showing us that this was a topic that people really want to know more about.  Usually law firms invite clients and friends to hear about risks or changes in the law.  This event was all about business opportunity.
Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve given 1-2 speeches a month on the legal issues involved in using social media.  These talks typically have revolved around social media as a marketing tool, but not necessarily linked directly with creating new revenue.  At our tech panel, we wanted to focus instead on how companies and individuals can use technology to create new streams of revenue.  How can they tap into new revenue sources by creating their own apps, games and contests?  And what is on the horizon that none of us has even contemplated?
We invited an expert panel, comprised of David Owens of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Nicholas Holland, CEO and Founder of CentreSource, and two of our clients, Parker Polidor, CEO and Co-Founder of Cell Journalist and Carter Hopkins, CEO and Co-Founder of City Streak, LLC.  Our audience was made up of leaders of financial institutions, educational institutions, technology companies, start-ups, developers, and venture capital firms.  We asked our panel and our audience to focus on three things:  (1) using technology to create new revenue streams, (2) tapping into the growing technology sector here in Nashville, rather than shipping assignments out of state to Silicon Valley or Texas, and (3) using our panelists’ stories as inspiration.
David Owens kicked off the discussion by talking about how companies that develop technology these days are recruiting high school students and high school graduates rather than college graduates, because young people are so connected with technology these days.  He talked about how younger people are physically developing stronger hands, fingers and forearms as a result of constantly using Smartphones, and how marketing firms are beginning to place signs and advertisements at foot level and knee level in stores, rather than overhead, because our bodies are getting used to looking down at a hand-held device all day, rather than looking up.  These are just some of the physiological and physical changes that are taking place from an evolutionary perspective, based on our recent adoption of certain technological devices.
Nick Holland did a great job providing an overview of how businesses can tap into technology from a variety of perspectives and in order to accomplish multiple goals.  His company is one of the fastest growing technology companies in America, and its based right here in Nashville.  Already as a result of our panel, members of the audience have hired CentreSource to help them with their needs.  This is great for them, for CentreSource, and for Nashville.
Parker Polidor shared his company’s amazing story, which deserves far greater recognition in Nashville than it currently has.  Cell Journalist is one of the biggest connectors and providers of user-generated content (UGC), such as videos of the floods captured from the Northeast over the past few weeks on individuals’ cell phones, which they then upload to various local and national news stations across the country.  As a direct result of the panel that we hosted, Cell Journalist was approached by one of the nation’s largest media conglomerates and is in the process of negotiating additional work.
Finally, Carter Hopkins, who was the youngest person in the room, and had just graduated from college at SMU in May 2010, captivated the audience by telling his story of how he and his business partner invested just over $10,000 to start this company, which already has thousands of fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.  His company is similar to a combination of The Amazing Race and Groupon, which lets its target audience of individuals in college and recent graduates go on scavenger hunts in urban locations around the country.  They hunt for prizes and the game is based on speed and skill.  They also realize that they are in a unique position to help companies promote their products and services by incorporating them into the scavenger hunt as clues.  One of my takeaways from the morning was a conversation after the event with one of the older attendees, who said how inspired she was by Carter’s presentation.  She said it got her wheels spinning and that she is already thinking about new ways she can incorporate similar concepts into her own app.

Using Technology to Tap into New Sources of Revenue: Highlights of Technology Panel at Bone McAllester Norton


Recently my law firm hosted a panel on technology.  It was a packed audience, and more guests showed up than rsvp’d, showing us that this was a topic that people really want to know more about.  Usually law firms invite clients and friends to hear about risks or changes in the law.  This event was all about business opportunity.

Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve given 1-2 speeches a month on the legal issues involved in using social media.  These talks typically have revolved around social media as a marketing tool, but not necessarily linked directly with creating new revenue.  At our tech panel, we wanted to focus instead on how companies and individuals can use technology to create new streams of revenue.  How can they tap into new revenue sources by creating their own apps, games and contests?  And what is on the horizon that none of us has even contemplated?

We invited an expert panel, comprised of David Owens of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Nicholas Holland, CEO and Founder of CentreSource, and two of our clients, Parker Polidor, CEO and Co-Founder of Cell Journalist and Carter Hopkins, CEO and Co-Founder of City Streak, LLC.  Our audience was made up of leaders of financial institutions, educational institutions, technology companies, start-ups, developers, and venture capital firms.  We asked our panel and our audience to focus on three things:  (1) using technology to create new revenue streams, (2) tapping into the growing technology sector here in Nashville, rather than shipping assignments out of state to Silicon Valley or Texas, and (3) using our panelists’ stories as inspiration.

David Owens kicked off the discussion by talking about how companies that develop technology these days are recruiting high school students and high school graduates rather than college graduates, because young people are so connected with technology these days.  He talked about how younger people are physically developing stronger hands, fingers and forearms as a result of constantly using Smartphones, and how marketing firms are beginning to place signs and advertisements at foot level and knee level in stores, rather than overhead, because our bodies are getting used to looking down at a hand-held device all day, rather than looking up.  These are just some of the physiological and physical changes that are taking place from an evolutionary perspective, based on our recent adoption of certain technological devices.

Nick Holland did a great job providing an overview of how businesses can tap into technology from a variety of perspectives and in order to accomplish multiple goals.  His company is one of the fastest growing technology companies in America, and its based right here in Nashville.  Already as a result of our panel, members of the audience have hired CentreSource to help them with their needs.  This is great for them, for CentreSource, and for Nashville.

Parker Polidor shared his company’s amazing story, which deserves far greater recognition in Nashville than it currently has.  Cell Journalist is one of the biggest connectors and providers of user-generated content (UGC), such as videos of the floods captured from the Northeast over the past few weeks on individuals’ cell phones, which they then upload to various local and national news stations across the country.  As a direct result of the panel that we hosted, Cell Journalist was approached by one of the nation’s largest media conglomerates and is in the process of negotiating additional work.

Finally, Carter Hopkins, who was the youngest person in the room, and had just graduated from college at SMU in May 2010, captivated the audience by telling his story of how he and his business partner invested just over $10,000 to start this company, which already has thousands of fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.  His company is similar to a combination of The Amazing Race and Groupon, which lets its target audience of individuals in college and recent graduates go on scavenger hunts in urban locations around the country.  They hunt for prizes and the game is based on speed and skill.  They also realize that they are in a unique position to help companies promote their products and services by incorporating them into the scavenger hunt as clues.  One of my takeaways from the morning was a conversation after the event with one of the older attendees, who said how inspired she was by Carter’s presentation.  She said it got her wheels spinning and that she is already thinking about new ways she can incorporate similar concepts into her own app.

Congress Should Take up Conyers' proposal to Clarify Copyright Law

Today's New York Times reports that Rep. Conyers is calling on Congress to revise the Copyright Act to clarify that recording artists are entitled to recapture ownership over their copyrights in sound recordings.  As the article explains, and as I referenced in my last blog post, questions exist whether transfers in copyrights in sound recordings (like other works) may be terminated, or whether they are "works made for hire," disqualifying them from being recaptured/terminated. 

The article indicates that the big four record labels and their allies in Congress may prefer to ignore the issue and let the courts decide it.  While such strategy would undoubtedly provide job security for us copyright litigators, it seems to make little sense for anyone else.  This is an issue that Congress can and should decide now, putting recording artists in the same camp as every other type of author, with all of the same rights. 

Congress Should Take up Conyers' proposal to Clarify Copyright Law

Today's New York Times reports that Rep. Conyers is calling on Congress to revise the Copyright Act to clarify that recording artists are entitled to recapture ownership over their copyrights in sound recordings.  As the article explains, and as I referenced in my last blog post, questions exist whether transfers in copyrights in sound recordings (like other works) may be terminated, or whether they are "works made for hire," disqualifying them from being recaptured/terminated. 

The article indicates that the big four record labels and their allies in Congress may prefer to ignore the issue and let the courts decide it.  While such strategy would undoubtedly provide job security for us copyright litigators, it seems to make little sense for anyone else.  This is an issue that Congress can and should decide now, putting recording artists in the same camp as every other type of author, with all of the same rights. 

Regaining Ownership over Copyrights

The Tennessean recently published my article on recapturing copyrights.  This is what I wrote: 
 
         
             If they’re not scrambling yet, Nashville songwriters, recording artists, publishing houses and labels soon will be as they jockey to control copyrights. Starting this year, authors can begin to give notice to terminate the transfer of any copyright that was published on or after January 1, 1978.   
            Generally, whoever owns the copyright owns the right to distribute, sell and reproduce the work in question, whether it be lyrics or music to a song, sound recordings, motion pictures, manuscripts, software, architectural designs, or photographs.  When an author transfers ownership, he or she loses those rights.  But by terminating the transfer, authors redirect royalty streams away from the current owners (labels, publishers, and so forth) and back to the original authors.
            A five year window opens up 35 years after publication, allowing authors to terminate transfers they made in the past.  For those works published in 1978, the first opportunity to terminate the transfer will be in 2013.  (For works published or registered prior to 1978, different rules apply, but authors can still recapture their copyrights.)  The Act requires authors to provide at least two years notice, so those who want to terminate their 1978 transfers in 2013 must send notice in 2011. 
            Historically, when working to get established, authors (be they poets, songwriters, filmmakers or sculptors) have had little leverage with their publisher or label.  In exchange for receiving financial advances and getting published, young authors often must transfer ownership of the copyright in the work to the publisher/label.  For example, Garth Brooks currently has a lot more negotiating power than newer artists because he has a track record of producing huge hits.  
            Recognizing the uneven bargaining power that authors possess when first trying to make it big, Congress leveled the playing field by giving them the ability to recapture the copyrights they transferred to the publisher/labels 35 years ago.  Whether an artist’s record contract says he has created a work made for hire, or whether she has signed a contract promising never to terminate the transfer, it doesn’t matter because the right to terminate transfer is irrevocable. 
            Congress left open many unanswered questions that courts across the country will have to answer.  With Nashville’s stature in the music and publishing industries, as well as our growing technology community, this has the potential to wreak as much havoc on business as the switch from vinyl to digital.  Given the impact of this law on our own community, I feel certain that Nashville’s federal courts will be in the center of this storm.
            The rules in this area are complicated, even to many lawyers.  They are highly technical and require jumping through many hoops.  Once the window to recapture closes, it generally closes for good.  Authors who are interested in recapturing their copyrights should start working on this right away, take this into account when writing their wills, and enlist professional help from a lawyer in this field. 

Regaining Ownership over Copyrights



The Tennessean recently published my article on recapturing copyrights.  This is what I wrote: 


         
             If they’re not scrambling yet, Nashville songwriters, recording artists, publishing houses and labels soon will be as they jockey to control copyrights.  Starting this year, authors can begin to give notice to terminate the transfer of any copyright that was published on or after January 1, 1978. 

            Generally, whoever owns the copyright owns the right to distribute, sell and reproduce the work in question, whether it be lyrics or music to a song, sound recordings, motion pictures, manuscripts, software, architectural designs, or photographs.  When an author transfers ownership, he or she loses those rights.  But by terminating the transfer, authors redirect royalty streams away from the current owners (labels, publishers, and so forth) and back to the original authors.

            A five year window opens up 35 years after publication, allowing authors to terminate transfers they made in the past.  For those works published in 1978, the first opportunity to terminate the transfer will be in 2013.  (For works published or registered prior to 1978, different rules apply, but authors can still recapture their copyrights.)  The Act requires authors to provide at least two years notice, so those who want to terminate their 1978 transfers in 2013 must send notice in 2011.

            Historically, when working to get established, authors (be they poets, songwriters, filmmakers or sculptors) have had little leverage with their publisher or label.  In exchange for receiving financial advances and getting published, young authors often must transfer ownership of the copyright in the work to the publisher/label.  For example, Garth Brooks currently has a lot more negotiating power than newer artists because he has a track record of producing huge hits. 

            Recognizing the uneven bargaining power that authors possess when first trying to make it big, Congress leveled the playing field by giving them the ability to recapture the copyrights they transferred to the publisher/labels 35 years ago.  Whether an artist’s record contract says he has created a work made for hire, or whether she has signed a contract promising never to terminate the transfer, it doesn’t matter because the right to terminate transfer is irrevocable.

            Congress left open many unanswered questions that courts across the country will have to answer.  With Nashville’s stature in the music and publishing industries, as well as our growing technology community, this has the potential to wreak as much havoc on business as the switch from vinyl to digital.  Given the impact of this law on our own community, I feel certain that Nashville’s federal courts will be in the center of this storm.

            The rules in this area are complicated, even to many lawyers.  They are highly technical and require jumping through many hoops.  Once the window to recapture closes, it generally closes for good.  Authors who are interested in recapturing their copyrights should start working on this right away, take this into account when writing their wills, and enlist professional help from a lawyer in this field. 

Entertainment Industry's New Copyright Alert System May Create New Form of Evidence in Copyright Infringement Lawsuits & Lead to Higher Damages


It was big news earlier this month when many of the big entertainment companies entered into an agreement with Internet service providers (ISPs) regarding efforts they will take to self-regulate and self-police copyright infringement. The name of this plan is the "Copyright Alert System."
According to the Wall St. Journal and the Center for Copyright Information, the plan has six steps, from the mildest (in issuing warnings), to the intermediate (in requiring users to acknowledge that they received notice), to the most severe (in slowing down the speed at which alleged infringers may access the Internet).
As a copyright lawyer who goes to court to resolve disputes, I am most interested in the intermediate step. It strikes me that if users are forced to acknowledge that they have received a warning that their conduct may constitute infringement and yet they proceed forward anyway, the fact that they acknowledged such warning may be used against them in a copyright infringement action. The ISPs will not be releasing the identity of these users voluntarily. But a court can always grant permission to subpoena material showing that they took this intermediate step. This new policy may be opening up a whole new world of evidence of willfulness that can be used against people who knowingly infringe on others' copyrights. And willful infringement entitles copyright plaintiffs to increased money damages.

 

Entertainment Industry's New Copyright Alert System May Create New Form of Evidence in Copyright Infringement Lawsuits & Lead to Higher Damages


It was big news earlier this month when many of the big entertainment companies entered into an agreement with Internet service providers (ISPs) regarding efforts they will take to self-regulate and self-police copyright infringement. The name of this plan is the "Copyright Alert System."

According to the Wall St. Journal and the Center for Copyright Information, the plan has six steps, from the mildest (in issuing warnings), to the intermediate (in requiring users to acknowledge that they received notice), to the most severe (in slowing down the speed at which alleged infringers may access the Internet).


As a copyright lawyer who goes to court to resolve disputes, I am most interested in the intermediate step. It strikes me that if users are forced to acknowledge that they have received a warning that their conduct may constitute infringement and yet they proceed forward anyway, the fact that they acknowledged such warning may be used against them in a copyright infringement action. The ISPs will not be releasing the identity of these users voluntarily. But a court can always grant permission to subpoena material showing that they took this intermediate step. This new policy may be opening up a whole new world of evidence of willfulness that can be used against people who knowingly infringe on others' copyrights. And willful infringement entitles copyright plaintiffs to increased money damages.