Archive for February, 2014

Justin Bieber Plays Victim Again… Avoiding “drama” by singing a song about it

Justin Bieber Plays Victim Again… Avoiding “drama” by singing a song about it

According to Bieber, the world is “trying to break him down.” 

Ok, I agree that with ridiculous searches over classic Halloween pranks that normally go ignored, he has a point.  Not that he’s been particularly smart in his reactions, but egging, drag racing, and even drugs–he’s just young and stupid.  Not to defend him (and I’m not), but the police attention does feel targeted (no matter how funny from the outside).  And it’s gotta suck.  But I love that he wrote a song about it.  If you listen to “Broken,”  he says,

“I guess they want a reaction /  I ain’t gonna give it to ’em,”

He’s right.  If I were to try not to react to something, I’d definitely write, record, and air a song on the radio.

I love the brilliant obliviousness of this song.  Tell me what you think of the song!

, ,

Leave a comment

Oscar Presenters Announced!

Oscar Presenters Announced!

Ellen DeGeneres will host.  Angelina Jolie, Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron, Sidney Poitier, Kevin Spacey and Channing Tatum to present.

After the epic Golden Globe acceptance speeches, I CANNOT WAIT to hear the Oscar speeches!

Also looking forward to seeing Angelina Jolie.  We don’t see enough of her.  And Kevin Spacey seems to be the man of the year with House of Cards (which btw was Netflix’s first original programming–for which they shelled out what’s turned out to be a well spent $100million).

The Oscars will be presented on Mar. 2 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on ABC.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Didn’t I say this would happen? Netflix deal with Comcast–the monopoly begins!

Didn’t I say this would happen? Netflix deal with Comcast–the monopoly begins!

If you came to my panel on digital distribution and VOD back in mid-October, you would have heard me predicting media conglamorates joining forces and increasing costs for consumers. I for one cord-cut quite some time ago and freed myself from my $150 monthly cable bill, and could not have been happier.  With so much content, I really haven’t missed “TV,” and have found some incredible shows I may not have seen before because of the traditional time-restrictions of cable.  Alas, these days may be over soon.

Netflix and Comcast just entered into a multi-year streaming deal.  While analysts claim this deal will improve the customer experience, is anyone complaining about the need for improvement?  Outside a thirst for more current programming, I think we’re good… I’d rather see Netflix pay for more premium content than enter into a deal like this.  At least improved content would actually improve the “consumer experience.”

The article above focuses on the benefit to both companies–presumably addressed at stockholders.  But what about us?  A natural extension of this is increased fees passed on to the consumer.

Anyone else dreading this?




, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

“Dumb Starbucks” akin to Weird Al Yankovic’s use of parody under the Fair Use Doctrine?????

“Dumb Starbucks” akin to Weird Al Yankovic’s use of parody under the Fair Use Doctrine?????

By now, we’ve all heard of “Dumb Starbucks,” the pop up, so called “parody” coffee shop that opened in Los Feliz, claiming to have the right to use the Starbucks trademark to sell coffee.  A Viacom spokesperson (parent company to Comedy Central, the network behind Nathan Fielder’s show responsible for the stunt) is quoted as saying “[t]he episode relating to ‘Dumb Starbucks’ constitutes protected free
expression,” apparently referring to the fair use exception to US Copyright Law.  We can rest assured that there is no way, no how any lawyer would ignore the trademark issue at hand, instead focusing on the copyright issue (which alone is a tenuous argument–that the stunt is a social commentary allowable under copyright law).  Apparently, there is a FAQ issued by ‘Dumb Starbucks’ that reads:

“By adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically “making fun” of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’  Fair use is a doctrine that permits use of copyrighted material in a parodical work without permission from the rights holder.  It’s the same law that allows Weird Al Yankovic to use the music from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in his parody song “Eat it.”” 

Hmm.  So it’s ok to use another company’s trademark under a law that permits use of copyrighted material? Are you sure it’s Starbucks you want to call dumb?  Please tell me this isn’t real.

(P.S., even Weird Al gets permission–though he probably doesn’t have to).

The FAQ then goes on to admit it is an actual business:  “Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art.  So, in the eyes of the law, our “coffee shop” is actually an art gallery and the “coffee” you’re buying is considered the art.”  Oh my gosh I LOVE THIS!  But even better, “…that’s for our lawyers to worry about.  All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee.”  Anyone else worried? ( I say with a gleeful chuckle :-))

Starbucks, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sue so I can read about what happens in court.  This is awesome.  The coffee may or may not be art, but the arguments made here are certainly creative.  That creativity is one of my favorite parts of practicing law.  Us lawyers are just as creative as the artists we represent.

It may not even matter because Dumb Starbucks has been shut down for operating without a license (See  Apparently the store was selling pastries bought at Vons (another lawsuit on the horizon?).


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: