Black Expression, Black Protests, and Black Lives

By | BlackLivesMatter, Free Speech, Internet, Policy, Protest | No Comments

A Look at What Black People Have to Lose At the Hands of the EARN IT Act

We are living history: a pandemic that has disproportionately killed Black people, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the racial reckoning across this country that soon followed. All this in the final months of a presidential election. There has never been a more important time to fight for free speech online than now. Read More

If you created it, you should probably trademark it — even quarantine parties

By | Intellectual Property, Legal, Trademark | No Comments

In early March, at the very start of quarantine, D-Nice reminded us all of the power of music. What originally began as a way to connect with his friends (first Bun-B and Black Thought) and listen to music over Instagram live, grew into a series of historic, hours-long DJ sets for a crowd that has included Jamie Foxx, Timbaland, Rihanna, and Michelle Obama. Club Quarantine has become a much-needed escape from what’s going on around us; they are pure nostalgia, fun, and authenticity. It wasn’t long until D-Nice was approached by record companies and fast food chains to partner up with Club Quarantine, but he rejected their offers in hopes of building something bigger and new with Club Quarantine. And so he took the step of filing for a trademark for “Club Quarantine” and “Homeschool” in hopes of using the brand even after Coronavirus passes. Read More

TLDR: The hidden price of Instagram’s terms of use

By | Copywrite, Legal, Photography, Social Media, Terms of Use | No Comments

TLDR. Let’s be real, most of us did not read the terms of use before we downloaded Instagram. Or probably any other social media platform, for that matter.

For emerging artists, photographers, and influencers, deciding to opt out of social media because of its terms of use is impossible. Social media has become a routine part of our daily lives – an essential service if you will. It’s how we consume information, share our work, gain exposure to new audiences, make a living, and keep in touch. But for some, the “price” you pay to be online may be much greater than you anticipated. And then what? What are we to do? Read More

Drake Prevails In Copyright Case Against Jimmy Smith’s Estate

Drake Prevails In Copyright Case Against Jimmy Smith’s Estate

By | Copywrite, Hip Hop, Jazz, Legal, Music | No Comments

This month, Drake and his producers won a key battle in the fight for fair use. But what exactly is fair use? And what does it mean for artists and producers moving forward?

As artists and creators, we constantly take inspiration from our peers and our idols. But do you ever wonder, where is the line? How much is too much? Samples and mashups are commonplace in music and especially in hip-hop. Chuck D. once said: “We thought sampling was just a way of arranging sounds […] to blend sound. Just as visual artists take yellow and blue to come up with green, we wanted to be able to do that with sound.” The art of sampling is woven into the founding story of hip-hop along with the legal challenges that came with its commercial success. Read More

The Evolution of Artist Ownership

The Evolution of Artist Ownership

By | Hip Hop, Intellectual Property, Music, Music Business | No Comments

When industry recognition finally knocks, it doesn’t come bearing a manual on how a musician should make smart choices. But for artists, making smart choices and deals early is critical to ensuring the integrity of their work and securing future earnings.

This past week, rapper Mase took to social media to call out his former label head, Diddy. His concerns centered around ownership of his masters — the recordings from which all licensing and royalty agreements flow: “You bought it (Mase’ master publishings) for about 20k & I offered you 2m in cash. This is not black excellence at all. When our own race is enslaving us. If it’s about us owning, it can’t be about us owning each other.” Read More