All blog posts by Kelsey Farish

All blog posts published on KelseyFarish.com are listed below, from most recent to oldest.

Palace of Westminster and Big Ben along the Thames River

The UK Innovation Strategy: Learnings and reflections from 2021/2022

In July 2021, the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published a policy paper entitled The UK Innovation Strategy: leading the future by creating it (the “Strategy”). The purpose of the Strategy is to set out various objectives and policy ambitions to help make the United Kingdom a global hub for innovation by 2035. As part of London Tech Week 2022, Tim Ryan, head of DAC Beachcroft’s national technology and media practice, joined a techUK panel entitled The UK Innovation Strategy one…

Keep reading

Deepfakes and their impact on women: why gender matters

This article was written by Tanya Petersen, who interviewed Kelsey Farish for the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) magazine, Dimensions (Summer 2021). Dimensions offers a series of in-depth articles, interviews, portraits and news highlights, and is available in English and in French. Republished here with kind permission from EPFL.  Kelsey Farish describes herself as an actor who got lost on her way to drama school and ended up at law school instead. Yet it was the marriage of these interests that…

Keep reading

Case Summary: Facebook suspends Donald Trump’s account

This article was originally written for and published on LexisNexis. Published 1 June 2021 The Facebook Oversight Board (the board) announced in May 2021 that it upheld Facebook’s decision to temporarily suspend Trump’s account following content he posted during the US Capitol riots on 6 January 2021, on the grounds that doing so was ‘necessary and proportionate to protect the rights of others’. However, the board held it was improper to impose an ‘indefinite suspension’ as a penalty. In its 35-page decision,…

Keep reading

Jack Ryan: The Hunt for… Copyright Ownership!

In February 2021, a U.S. federal court in the state of Maryland handed down a decision regarding Jack Ryan, one of Hollywood’s most prolific spies. However, after nearly 90 pages of legal analysis and a review of events reaching back to the 1980s, the Judge was unable to determine who owns rights to Jack Ryan as a fictional creation. In declining to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim regarding ownership of the iconic character, the door is left wide open for a jury…

Keep reading

What we’ve learned from the cheerleader deepfake video

When you hear about deepfakes, what first comes to mind? Many people will often imagine funny but ultimately innocent face-swapping videos depicting celebrities or politicians, which are then shared on social media. Some people may also be aware of how the technology is used as a means of image based sexual abuse, or so-called revenge porn. But in reality, deepfakes can be used for an incredibly wide range of purposes – even as a means for a mother to get schoolgirls kicked…

Keep reading

Photo Post: Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

The beautiful Middlesex Guildhall is the home of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Established under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Supreme Court assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords in 2009. Although not as powerful as the supreme courts of some other countries – it cannot, for example, overturn primary legislation of Parliament – the UKSC is the final court of appeal here in the UK, and hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance.…

Keep reading

When does a musician not own their music?

My reflections from Week 2 of the CopyrightX programme at Harvard Law School. Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) was a Soviet and Russian composer and pianist, whose piano concertos (such as this one) I really enjoy, and often listened to while studying in law school. Shostakovich is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century, and has significant historic importance due in part to his years of work under Stalin. This political context is important to note in…

Keep reading

A lawyer walks into an art gallery…

My reflections from Week 1 of the CopyrightX programme at Harvard Law School. Can bad art benefit from copyright protection? Yes! In fact, even something that is not artistic at all can be copyright protected, provided that it is original and creative. But does this mean that judges should necessarily shy away from evaluating artistic merit? Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression (17 U.S. Code § 102, but similarly stated in other jurisdictions). This…

Keep reading

CopyrightX at Harvard – an introduction!

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been selected for CopyrightX, a programme run by Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. For 12 weeks (late January – April) I’ll be exploring the current law of copyright, and the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry. I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on my coursework here on kelseyfarish.com, under the #CopyrightX tag! My successful application essay My name is Kelsey Farish, and I am a…

Keep reading

Deepfakes: Publication Round-Up

I’m a London-based media and technology lawyer at DAC Beachcroft, and have been researching and writing about deepfakes for a few years. In light of my recent interview for Deep Fakes: Can You Trust Your Eyes? (Dispatches, Channel 4, 28 December) here is a list of my key publications about this fascinating form of synthetic media. Follow me on Twitter for more! Last updated December 2020 Deepfakes Legal Guidance LexisNexis (2020). This comprehensive practice note (8,000 words) provides in-depth and up-to-date…

Keep reading

How to stay on top of media law developments

It’s no good if a lawyer only knows the law, but not how it applies in practice. To that end, it is imperative that media lawyers stay on top of current events and various industry developments. But how do you actually do that? I was asked this by the Film Law Society, and this was my advice… The Key Point: Small pieces of information, more often! People often assume that commercial awareness difficult to achieve, and requires sitting down for hours…

Keep reading

Predictions for 2021: Will we see new laws on social media and AI?

I was asked by the Society of Computers and Law (SCL) to give my predictions, as a media and technology lawyer, on what 2021 has in store for us! Here are my thoughts on social media regulations and artificial intelligence laws. You can read the transcript below the video. SCL is a registered educational charity in England that seeks to cultivate discussion and provide foundational and advanced training at the intersection of information technology and law. My name is Kelsey Farish,…

Keep reading

Publicity on the Pitch? Football Superstars vs EA Sports

This article was co-authored by myself and my colleague, trainee lawyer Alexander Dimitrov. It was originally published on our law firm’s website on 10 December 2020. To what extent does an individual footballer actually ‘own’ his or her image rights? Could a footballer object to the use of their image and attributes in a video game? While the newest edition of the FIFA football game franchise is usually released in late September each year, it is not until later that the…

Keep reading
photo of women having conversation

Why IP? 5 Things every creative and start-up should know

On Wednesday 7 October 2020, I was delighted to be on the panel for a webinar masterclass organised by Krissi Boakye of AH Innovations, to help people navigate the wonderful world of start-ups, side hustles and content creation. The event was hosted by Chipo Kureya, a thought leader, activist and actor, who asked me several questions about the importance of intellectual property (IP). Here I expand on the answers I gave during the webinar, with a hopefully helpful table summarising the…

Keep reading

Facebook and a Biden Presidency

I was recently interviewed by Jason Murdock, a reporter for Newsweek, for his article, “What Could Happen to Facebook Under a Joe Biden Presidency, and Should Zuckerberg Be Worried?” In this post, I expand on the quotes I provided in that article regarding section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Keep reading

Fighting words: Defamation law in England, explained

Defamation laws – to include slander and libel – seek to protect someone’s personal reputation and character from destructive attacks. However, these laws must do so without sacrificing freedom of thought and the benefit of public discussion. How is this managed under English law?

Keep reading

Photograph licences: 5 things to know before you sign!

Are you a content creator who has been approached by a brand that wants to use your photos? Are you a burgeoning professional photographer, who wants to syndicate your images? Maybe you want to collaborate with another person, whose images you’d like to post on your social media accounts or website. In these situations, you might want to consider entering a licence agreement. But before you sign anything, here are a few things you should know. 01. What is a photograph…

Keep reading

Deepfakes and the Law: an excerpt from my Society of Computers & Law Webinar

On Tuesday, 8 September 2020, I was delighted to give a webinar for the Society of Computers & Law entitled Me and my Deepfake: a closer look at image rights and our digital selves. SCL is a fantastic educational charity so, if you like what you see here, I would encourage you to join SCL or perhaps donate to their organisation. My webinar was structured into three main sections: the technology behind deepfakes, the real world risks they can pose, and…

Keep reading

The Tech Behind Deepfakes

I am by no means a computer programmer, let alone an expert in artificial intelligence. But I have done a lot of research on AI and machine learning in the context of deepfakes. In this post, I summarise some of the key concepts underpinning how deepfakes are made. Artificial Intelligence When some people think of Artificial intelligence, they may imagine a system such as Skynet – the computer with superintelligence that stars, albeit off screen, as the antagonist in the Terminator…

Keep reading
young woman painting on paper at workplace

Is someone stealing your Instagram posts?

Here are 10 things to know about copyright infringement on Instagram and other social media platforms… and what you can do about it. Putting photos or other forms of creative content on social media is a key part of gaining exposure and growing one’s business. However, sharing work online also puts it at risk of being used in ways you did not consent to. Here are just a few things to know about copyright protection for content posted to social media.…

Keep reading

A Lawyer’s Take on Social Media Misdeeds: Part 2

There are many reasons why you might want content removed from someone else’s website or social media feed. Many complaints involve defamation or intellectual property rights infringement, and can be settled between the parties themselves through litigation. But sometimes the misdeeds perpetuated online can amount to a criminal offense, which may become a police matter. Here are some of the most common criminal acts committed on social media.

Keep reading

A Lawyer’s Take on Social Media Misdeeds: Part 1

There are many reasons why you might want content removed from someone else’s website or social media feed. Some of the most frequent grounds for complaint concern copyright or trade mark infringement. Defamation and harassment are also common painpoints, as are privacy and data protection concerns. This post, which is the first in a series, provides an overview of nine common offenses people commit on social media.

Keep reading

The NFL Takes a Knee: an Update for the Black Lives Matter movement

American football boss admits that it was wrong to censure players who kneeled during the playing of the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racism. From a legal perspective, it is absolutely essential for employers and brands to constantly keep any codes of conduct under review. For what it’s worth, I’m so glad to see that the NFL is finally taking a knee, even if it’s several years late.

Keep reading
young barefoot woman using laptop on floor near books in stylish living room

Name™ ⁠— What to consider when naming your brand, blog, or product

For most people, when they hear the name of their favourite shop or company, they will also feel something, too. Perhaps they will remember the shopping experience, or how the item made them feel when they used it for the first time. Although price, quality, and convenience are obviously key factors in one’s purchasing decisions, brand awareness is an essential aspect of salience and loyalty. It’s therefore essential for a brand to have a unique and meaningful name which resonates with…

Keep reading

Using someone’s image in your advertising

What does a brand need to consider, before using a photograph of someone for their advertisement or marketing campaign? Getting it wrong can have serious consequences, ranging from lawsuits to public backlash. So here are my top tips! Celebrities and public figures have been featured in advertisements for centuries. But thanks to social media, these days even non-celebrities have the opportunity to act as powerful advertising agents for various products and services. Over the last few years, we’ve seen influencers from…

Keep reading

Using AI in Film Studio Decision-Making

An “auteur” is a film director who influences their films so much that they rank as an author, and the auteur theory of filmmaking is one that frames the director as the primary creative force in a motion picture. Are we moving into an era in which artificial intelligence algorithm – rather than the auteur – is behind the magic of the movies? In this article for JURIST, I consider several legal and social implications of using AI in the film industry.…

Keep reading

Deepfakes: 2019 in Review

By now, many people are aware of Deepfakes: a form of digital impersonation, in which the face and voice of a person can be superimposed into video and audio recordings of another individual. But much has happened from technological, social and legal perspectives since deepfakes first surfaced in 2017. Here’s a roundup of the technological and legal changes we’ve seen. Deepfakes are now mainstream 2019 has seen deepfakes go from niche novelty to mainstream phenomenon. As any moviegoer knows, computer-generated special…

Keep reading

Deepfake Laws: What’s on the Statute Books?

Given the risk that deepfakes pose, some lawmakers assert that new, specific regulations are needed to curtail the proliferation of the technology.  Here is a list of laws (including proposals for new legislation*) which specifically address deepfakes, last updated October 2019.

Keep reading

From A to P: Amazon’s Third-Party Problem

With Christmas ‘only’ two months away, many of us will soon be turning to Amazon for our holiday shopping. But recently, the company has received heavy criticism regarding counterfeited items and expired food sold by third-party vendors. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live Conference this week, one of the company’s top managers explained the company is prepared to spend billions to combat the problem. Some of us (myself included!) will remember that Amazon began as an online bookseller 25 years…

Keep reading

Can the Rockets Rebound? The NBA’s Twitter Problem in China

One tweet from the general manager of an NBA team shows us how a well-intentioned post on social media can have explosive financial and political impact. It also serves as a stark reminder of internet censorship in China. Two weeks ago, the General Manager of an American basketball team found himself in the middle of an international political scandal. Daryl Morey, who has managed the Houston Rockets for over a decade, tweeted a message of support for protestors in Hong Kong.…

Keep reading

Forging Authenticity: Experts’ workshop on Deepfake Technology, Risks and Governance

In September, I had the privilege of attending the Swiss Re Centre for Global Governance in Zürich, Switzerland for a two-day conference on deepfakes. The conference was hosted by the International Risk Governance Center (IRGC), whose objective is to better understand emerging and systemic risks, as well as the governance of opportunities and risks associated with new technologies.  Because the conference was subject to the Chatham House Rule and a paper from the event is forthcoming, I can’t go into too much…

Keep reading

Regulating the Raunchy? Free speech and obscenity under Miller v. California

One of the most interesting aspects of being a technology lawyer is that it necessarily requires a strong understanding of Internet regulation and digital rights, including the right to express yourself online.  As such, free speech is one of my favourite areas of legal history and theory.  Coincidentally, two major US Supreme Court cases regarding free speech were decided on this day —  21 June! This post takes a look at one of them: Miller v. California [1973].  In a later post, I’ll…

Keep reading
woman standing on cliff

On taking the “scenic route” to becoming a lawyer

According to the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society of England & Wales, the average age of a qualifying solicitor now is 29. However, despite the fact that more and more lawyers are joining the profession in their late 20s or even early 30s, it’s still common for many prospective lawyers to feel like outliers – or even outsiders – if they take a “scenic route” to qualification. I know I certainly did! Inspired by the recent #TimeToTalk day, here is…

Keep reading

DeepFakes and False Lights: what does the law say?

What do Scarlett Johansson, cyber intelligence experts and some law makers have in common? Their shared concern about AI-generated videos. This post is from February 2019 and much has changed since then. For more recent commentary, view the deepfakes tag. Known as “Deepfakes,” these videos can have damaging impact on reputations, emotional health, and even national security. But what is the legal status of this disruptive – and oftentimes disturbing – technology? Deepfake – which combines “deep learning” and “fake” – is…

Keep reading

Privacy Day 2019

In 2006 the Council of Europe officially recognised 28 January as a data privacy holiday, to celebrate the date The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data was signed in 1981. Also known as Convention 108, this document remains the only international treaty in the field of personal data protection. In honour of this year’s Privacy Day – also called Data Protection Day – here are a few excerpts from some of my favourite English and American legal…

Keep reading

Do Neo-Nazis have a right to privacy?

Earlier this month, a leftist art collective in Germany called the Centre for Political Beauty (Zentrum für Politische Schönheit or “ZPS”) launched a website to name and shame neo-Nazis. At soko-chemnitz.de, people were invited to examine photographs taken during this summer’s violent anti-immigration protests in Chemnitz, and in exchange for identifying suspected right-wing demonstrators, would receive a crowd-funded reward of at least €30. The twist? The image recognition database was a honeypot: a sophisticated hoax to induce neo-Nazis into identifying themselves. This recent project gives…

Keep reading

🎂 KelseyFarish.com’s 1st Birthday!

As of November 2018, KelseyFarish.com has officially turned one year old! When I come across something in the news about digital rights, free speech, intellectual property or other aspects of the media and entertainment industries, I really do love trying to get to the heart of the issue, and writing about it here. It’s a continual joy and fantastic learning experience for me to share with the world the legal stories I find most interesting. And of course, I hope you…

Keep reading

Facebook and Privacy: cases, reports and actions in Europe

A list of European enforcement action, official legislative (Parliamentary) reports, and cases concerning Facebook with respect to data protection and privacy. This is a work in progress, last updated November 2018. Data Protection Commissioner (Ireland) v Facebook Ireland Limited, Maximillian Schrems [Case C-311/18] Jurisdiction: European Union, Ireland Status: Case still in progress Authority:  Court of Justice of the European Union Keywords: EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC); EU/US Privacy Shield; Fundamental Rights

Keep reading

Transatlantic Data Transfers: US-EU Privacy Shield under review

When personal data travels between Europe and America, it must cross international borders lawfully. If certain conditions are met, companies can rely on the US-EU Privacy Shield, which functions as a sort of “tourist visa” for data.  Earlier this week (19 November) the United States Federal Trade Commission finalised settlements with four companies that the agency accused of falsely claiming to be certified under the US-EU Privacy Shield framework. This news closely follows the highly anticipated second annual joint review of the controversial…

Keep reading

Noteworthy interview on new social media advertising regulations

Earlier this autumn, several celebrities were investigated by UK regulators for not labelling social media posts as “advertisements”. Given that so-called influencers can potentially sway the shopping habits of millions, the Advertising Standards Association published An Influencer’s Guide to making clear that ads are ads, to help celebs and bloggers avoid misleading consumers. But what does this guide really mean in practical terms? To better understand the world of influencers and online advertising, I’ve interviewed Nicole Ocran-Hegarty: journalist, style blogger, and Influencer Strategy Manager…

Keep reading

The MPRE: my experience sitting the American legal ethics exam as an English lawyer

The Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam, or “ethics exam” (MRPE) is one of three exams required in order to practice law in an American state (more on that here). Having just taken the exam, here are my thoughts as an English-trained solicitor currently practicing in London.  🌟 UPDATE: I passed the exam! I exceeded the score I needed for California. For more information on how the United States and English legal systems compare, read my post “Lawyering in America and England”.  Introduction to the MPRE…

Keep reading

From stealing to kneeling, what do NFL player contracts say about “bad” behavior?

Three times each year, two professional American football teams journey across the pond to play against each other in the NFL London Games. This weekend however, four players from the Jacksonville Jaguars made headlines for something they did off the field. They were arrested under suspicion of fraud by false representation for attempting to leave a nightclub without paying the £50,000 ($64,000) bar tab. According to ProFootball Talk, expensive bottles of champagne and vodka were sent to the players’ table. They thought someone else was paying, and were surprised to…

Keep reading

NDAs and the Sound of Silence

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”  ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko The #MeToo movement has brought Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) as a way to silence allegations of sexual harassment into the public debate.  In light of controversies surrounding Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and now – Sir Philip Green, the billionaire retailer whose brands include Topshop – much has been discussed about the legality and morality of using NDAs to prevent publicity or otherwise cover up  bad behaviour. But like any legal document,…

Keep reading

“The Wife” and rights of attribution: an intellectual property perspective

In The Wife, Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, the steadfast and amenable wife of celebrated novelist Joseph Castleman. But when Joe wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, things start to unravel between them. Is there more to Joan’s support than meets the eye? In this post, I consider the merits of a hypothetical intellectual property dispute between the couple, and an often-neglected right in particular. We first meet Joan Castleman – The Wife – the evening before her husband, celebrated novelist Joseph Castleman, wins the…

Keep reading

Brexit: Questions and Concerns

Part Two I’ve attempted to set out the very basics of Brexit in a (currently) three-part guide designed for those who may not be aware of some of the history and context.  In Part One of my series, I set out the basics of what the EU is, and why the United Kingdom is set to leave. This Part Two explores some (but not all!) of the main issues and concerns that have complicated or otherwise stalled the negotiations. Part Three will explain why…

Keep reading

Brexit: An Introduction for Americans

Part One I’ve attempted to set out the very basics of Brexit in a (currently) three-part guide, made for those who may not be aware of some of the history and context. In particular, this has been written with Americans in mind. Why? Because as a UK resident, I know Brexit will impact me. But as an American myself, I think Americans should know (and hopefully care) about Brexit, too.  In Part Two of my series, I set out some of…

Keep reading

Photos of Oxford Student Celebrations Raise Questions About Privacy Rights and Journalism

Dear reader, This post was originally published on 14 October 2018, and subsequently deleted on 24 October 2019, after an interested party contacted me and asked that any reference to them in my blog post be removed. I chose to delete the post in its entirety to avoid any further problems. I stand by what I wrote and shared, including the watermarked images from a stock photo company for illustrative purposes, an image from Flickr, and screen captures of newspaper headlines…

Keep reading
couple love sitting evening

TickBox sent packing as film studios and Netflix win $25 million lawsuit

This story was first published for the 1709 Blog, where I regularly write about copyright law in entertainment, technology and media.  The Alliance for Creativity in Entertainment (ACE), an industry coalition of global entertainment companies and film studios, together with Netflix and Amazon, has secured a major legal victory against Tickbox, a type of so-called “Kodi Box” streaming device. As a result of the judgement and permanent injunction, which were handed down in Los Angeles, California on September 11th, Tickbox will pay $25m (£19m)…

Keep reading

Courtroom Catwalk: The Middle Temple explores Legal Fashion

As a solicitor, my “legal fashion” normally consists of a black or blue dress, paired with a sweater and heels. But this fairly standard outfit worn by City lawyers like myself is quite a departure from those worn by our professional predecessors. Earlier this week, I visited the Middle Temple Library’s exhibit, Legal Fashion: From Mantles to Mourning Hoods to discover how English court dress has evolved over the centuries. When the Romans left the British Isles in 425, they took…

Keep reading

UK regulator to investigate social media influencers

A number of celebrities and social media stars are being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, which says it has concerns that some influencers are failing to disclose that they are being paid for their endorsements. In the early days of social media, Instagram and Facebook were seen as ways to connect with those closest to us, and to provide an insight into our private lives. Today however, models and celebrities can make thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of…

Keep reading

Sir Cliff Richards v BBC: is publicity the soul of justice?

You don’t have to be a privacy or media lawyer to have heard of the sex abuse allegations levied against celebrities in the entertainment industry over the last few years. The investigations concerning Sir Cliff Richard, a famous British musician, included a widely-televised raid on his estate in Berkshire by South Yorkshire Police. Nearly four years after the BBC first named and shamed Sir Cliff in what is now considered to have been “sensationalist” journalism, the High Court has determined that his rights…

Keep reading

Chinese IPRs and Trade Wars

著作權 or Zhùzuòquán means “copyright” in Mandarin Chinese. Earlier this week, Chinese authorities kicked-off a campaign against online copyright infringement. Is this crackdown a response to increased pressure from foreign investors —and the Trump administration— for China to combat widespread piracy and counterfeiting? The latest Jianwang Campaign Against Online Copyright Infringement was jointly launched by several government agencies including the National Copyright Administration of China, the Cyberspace Administration, and the Ministry of Public Security. It will target key areas for intellectual property rights (IPRs) including…

Keep reading

A Step Too Far? Fifa takes down celebratory World Cup dance video

This story was first published for the 1709 Blog, where I regularly write about copyright law in entertainment, technology and media.  The World Cup is the largest single sporting event on Earth, with nearly half the world’s population tuning in. With England’s (somewhat surprisingly!) good run up to the Semi-Finals, fans of the Three Lions were especially eager to show their support.When England’s captain Harry Kane scored a goal against Tunisia, a mother filmed her 7-year old boy celebrating the moment. She subsequently posted…

Keep reading

France vs Russia in media regulator showdown

France’s broadcasting regulator recently issued a warning to the French division of Russian television channel RT for falsifying facts in a programme about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The following day, the Russian state media regulator accused French television channel France 24 of violating Russian media laws.

Keep reading

“Faceswap” for Lady Liberty costs US Post Office $3.5M

Between 2011 and 2014, the United States Postal Service (USPS) used an image of the Statue of Liberty for its Forever Stamp series (a type of First Class postage stamp). Unfortunately for the USPS, the image they chose was not actually of the famous statue that towers over New York Harbor designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi in 1886. Instead, the image they chose was actually Robert S. Davidson’s replica Statue of Liberty which looks over the New York-New York…

Keep reading

Social network, media company, host provider, neutral intermediary… what’s in a name for YouTube?

Media companies who call themselves social networks will have to recognize that they, too, have to take on responsibility for the content with which they earn their millions. -— Markus Breitenecker, CEO of Puls4 Who is to blame, if someone records TV programmes and illegally uploads them to YouTube: YouTube, or the individual? According to the Commercial Court of Vienna, YouTube is jointly responsible for copyright breaches from user-uploaded content. Is this einer Entscheidung, die das Internet revolutionieren könnte – a…

Keep reading

Fair Play to use FIFA trade marks on social media?

This weekend, together with millions of others around the world, I watched Iceland make its World Cup debut against Argentina. Iceland, the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup, is a special country for me, not least because my husband and were married there! Especially as my home country failed to qualify for this year’s tournament (sigh) it comes as no surprise that I’m supporting the Iceland’s national football team, or Íslenska karlalandsliðið í knattspyrnu. I recently came across…

Keep reading

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

The GDPR has been in force for less than two weeks, but Europeans have already started to contact companies left, right and centre to exercise their newly enshrined statutory “right to be forgotten.” However, this right is not absolute, and only applies in certain circumstances. Let’s look at the balancing act between a data subject’s right to have their data erased on the one hand, and an organisation’s need to maintain data for legitimate purposes, on the other. Organisations (data controllers…

Keep reading

Ricciardo’s ritual returns at Monaco Grand Prix

Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo has an interesting celebratory ritual: he drinks champagne from his sweaty racing shoe. Keen to capitalise on the popularity of the stunt, Formula One has recently trademarked the name of this quirky act, known as a “shoey.” Drinking champagne from a lady’s slipper was once a symbol of decadence in the early 1900s. According to drinks and culture website VinePair, sipping booze from shoes is said to be of Russian origin, dating back to the…

Keep reading

For creatives in California, a recent employment law case may raise concerns over copyright ownership

This story was first published for the 1709 Blog, where I regularly write about copyright law in entertainment, technology and media.  A California court ruling from April has raised concerns regarding its potential impact on copyright ownership. In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, the matter before the court was a wage dispute. The court was asked to consider the standard to apply in determining whether workers should be classified as employees, or as independent contractors. Nowhere in the 85-page judgement is…

Keep reading

Lights, camera, data protection.

Cannes: movie stars, auteurs, glamour, the French Riviera, and… data privacy? Before the cameras start rolling, a film production company will need to agree service contracts for cast and crew.  In honour of the Cannes Film Festival happening this week, let’s consider how data protection issues need to be addressed for an actor’s contract. A standard Actor’s agreement will cover payment, travel and residence allowances, box office bonuses, and of course, intellectual property.  But if the production company intends to process a significant…

Keep reading

Is posting rap lyrics on Instagram a #HateCrime?

A teenager who posted rap lyrics on Instagram has been convicted of “sending a grossly offensive message over a communications network,” which was uplifted to a hate crime. She has received a community order (probation) and must pay costs of £500 ($700 USD) together with a £85 victim surcharge. Chelsea Russell, a 19 year-old woman from Liverpool, England posted the lyrics from American rapper Snap Dogg’s song, “I’m Trippin” (NSFW) onto her Instagram account profile, or “bio.” The lyrics in question were ‘kill a…

Keep reading

American Copyright law to get 21st century remix

In my previous post, I wrote about the European Union’s sweeping new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is currently in draft stages. But copyright legislation is getting an update on the other side of the pond, too. Since 1909 — before recordings of music even existed — Section 115 of the Copyright Act has regulated the licencing of musical works. Many songwriters and music publishers have trouble collecting royalties for the use of their songs played via digital streaming…

Keep reading

No more Safe Harbours for EU-ser Uploaded Content?

The European Union is considering a sweeping new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, currently in draft stages. Industry groups are keen to ensure their opinions are taken into consideration, especially in instances where consumers share content which belongs to artists, authors, record labels, and television channels. Digital platforms and internet service providers which host User Uploaded Content (UUC) argue that they are not responsible for any copyright infringing material uploaded by their users. However, trade bodies representing various industries…

Keep reading

The Six Principles of Data Protection: Facebook fails

Facebook may believe that dubious data collection and security practices justify a more connected audience: the incoming General Data Protection Regulations say differently. Once again, data privacy is in the headlines. But this time, it isn’t a credit agency or department store that has fallen short of consumer expectations: instead, it’s Facebook. Much credit is due to Carole Cadwalladr and her team at The Guardian, who first broke the the Cambridge Analytica story. #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter for a while,…

Keep reading

Is Taylor Swift getting a copycat Reputation?

Taylor Swift’s latest music video, Delicate, has been criticised for its obvious similarities to a 2016 Kenzo perfume advert directed by Spike Jonze. In the Kenzo advert, we see a young woman portrayed by actress and dancer Margaret Qualley at a posh black tie event in a hotel. Looking beautiful in an evening dress but nevertheless seemingly uncomfortable and bored, she quietly slips out of the ballroom to pensively roam the hallways of the hotel alone. What made the advert so…

Keep reading

Lawyering in America and England

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” As an American who chose to pursue my legal career in London, I really enjoy considering legal issues from both an American and an English perspective, as I’ve done with Taylor Swift and defamation lawsuits, or the concept of celebrity “publicity rights”. But what about the differences in the legal system itself, or the education and training needed to become a lawyer? I’ve answered a few common questions…

Keep reading

Project Gutenberg: the German edition?

Project Gutenberg is an American website which digitises and archives cultural works to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. It currently offers 56,000 free books for download, including classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Heart of Darkness, Frankenstein, A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, and Jane Eyre. Many of these titles are available because their copyright protections have expired in the United  States, and are therefore in the public domain. The website is a volunteer effort which relies mostly on donations…

Keep reading

From Stockholm to Stock Market: Sweden’s Spotify set to list on NYSE

Music streaming giant Spotify recently filed its application to put shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The 264 page document details the company’s key risks and challenges: I’ve read them so you don’t have to! The Securities Exchange Act of 1933, often called the Truth in Securities law, requires that investors receive financial and other significant information concerning financial securities. To avoid misrepresentations and other fraud, any company wishing to place its shares on an American market must submit a…

Keep reading

Lawyerpalooza: when music festivals get intellectual property licensing wrong

Commercialisation is the process of bringing Intellectual Property (IP) to the market in order to be exploited: put simply, it’s how artists make money from their creations. To maintain control and balance risk against rewards, creators often use license agreements to ensure their work is used only in accordance with their wishes. So what happens when things go wrong? Juan Marco is an artist from Los Angeles, California who has created illustrations and branding projects for the last decade. Marco’s work includes…

Keep reading

All the Stars and Constellations

A music video for the new Black Panther film features scenes of striking similarity to artist Lina Iris Viktor’s Constellations series. Is this inspiration or infringement? Marvel Studios’ new movie Black Panther features the first black superhero to appear in mainstream comics. It has received widespread acclaim and press, not least because of its positive portrayal of Africans and African Americans as powerful, heroic characters. In its review, The New York Times exclaims that the film “is a vivid re-imagination of something black Americans have…

Keep reading

Legal Careers: Applying for Training Contracts & Vacation Schemes

It goes without saying that one of the most important skills any solicitor can have is the ability to organise and prioritise. One of the most helpful systems I implemented during my year-long search for a training contract was an extensive spread sheet. To begin, I listed out the main information of 100 or so firms with offices in London. This was a dispassionate research task: I tried to separate any emotion I felt regarding rankings or website design. My research considered:…

Keep reading

Cisco v Arista: what next for computer programs and copyright?

Computer programs are functional, but they are also “literary works” that may be protected under copyright law. In December 2016, Arista Networks defended itself against a $335 million copyright infringement lawsuit from Cisco Systems. Cisco is now appealing the decision. Cisco Systems, the largest networking company in the world, is trying to prevent Arista Networks from building ethernet switches which partially rely on technology copied from Cisco. Now on appeal before Federal Court in California (9th Circuit), the legal question is…

Keep reading

UEFA scores goal against internet giants to prevent copyright infringement

Union Des Associations Européennes De Football (UEFA), whose members include 55 national football associations, organises some of the most famous and prestigious football competitions in Europe. Recently, UEFA obtained an injunction against the UK’s main retail internet service providers. As a substitute for paid subscriptions to sport packages through Sky, BT and others, some football fans are instead using set-top box devices such as Kodi to connect directly to streaming servers via their IP addresses. A survey for the BBC found that 47%…

Keep reading

Google prepares for the first “Right to Be Forgotten” trials in England

All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret. ― Gabriel García Márquez The European Union’s Court of Justice decision in Google Spain v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (“Google Spain”) confirmed the “right to be forgotten” for European citizens. This right is further enshrined in the upcoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Accordingly, European data protection law grants individuals a qualified right to have personal data relating to them removed from search engines. This right is however considered by some to be a uniquely European phenomena, which…

Keep reading

Silent Witness: silent on data protection officers

Silent Witness is a BBC crime drama about a team of forensic pathology experts and their investigations into various crimes – it’s a bit like American hit shows Bones and Law & Order. In a recent episode, a cyber hacker steals the files of 30,000 patients from a hospital, and then extorts the hospital for payment. As medical secrets are leaked, several murders are tied to the data breach. In addition to the criminal investigations, boardroom drama ensues when the hospital…

Keep reading

That robot took my theatre ticket!

The UK’s Digital Economy Act 2017 is to be amended by the Breaching Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations, which will criminalise use of internet bots to bypass limits on ticket purchases set by event organisers.  In practice, the problem is not necessarily how the tickets are purchased – by bots or otherwise – but rather, the crazy prices fans are forced to pay on the secondary market. When tickets first go on sale for an event, they hit the primary market. If somebody resells their…

Keep reading

Facebook won’t stop the music

Before I started law school, I spoke to a lawyer at Universal Music about licensing, copyright, and other fascets of law pertaining to the music industry. Since becoming a lawyer myself, I’m even more fascinated by the ways in which commercial contracts, digital strategy, artists’ rights and expression interact with and shape each other: Facebook’s new global, multi-year agreements with Universal and Sony Music are perfect examples of such dynamism. Facebook first inked a deal with Universal Music in late December…

Keep reading

New intern for the 1709 Blog!

I’m excited to announce that for the next six months, I’ll be an intern blogger for the 1709 Blog – a website dedicated to all things copyright. If you are familiar with IPKat, you may recognise CopyKat posts. I should be writing at least once or twice a month, and hope to focus on copyright issues which pertain to film and music. I will still be writing here at kelseyfarish.com but hope that you’ll check out the 1709 Blog, too! You can also…

Keep reading

Cease and Desist, Dilly Dilly!

I’ve written previously about cease and desist letters (also known as letters before action) regarding Taylor Swift and Netflix: as evidenced in these two instances, the standard legal documents can be ridiculous, cheeky, or even rather funny. But Budweiser recently took things to a whole new level when it used a medieval town crier to deliver a cease and desist handwritten scroll to Modist, a Minnesota brewery. American beer company Budweiser launched Game of Thrones-like commercials set in the middle ages, with lords…

Keep reading

Morality clauses and talent contracts

As the year draws to a close, most of us will think back on the people and events that shaped 2017. Considered by many to have been one of the biggest stories of the year, it would be difficult to ignore the social (and legal) discourse surrounding the more than forty high-profile men caught in sexual misconduct scandals. Last month, Netflix removed Kevin Spacey from its hit show House of Cards after Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct. However, Spacey claims Netflix cannot…

Keep reading

Don’t sue the messenger

From 1 October, the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 offers new protection for professional advisers (including lawyers) involved in certain intellectual property disputes. If the owner of a trade mark, patent or design thinks someone else is using their intellectual property without permission, they may be tempted to threaten legal action with a letter, social media post, or other communication. While these are not formal legal actions as such, making such threats can be very a effective deterrent strategy. Because IP litigation…

Keep reading

Merger at the Movies

British cinema chain Cineworld will buy American chain Regal Entertainment for £2.7 ($3.6) billion The merger announcement comes at a time of tough competition amongst theatre chains as they struggle with long-term declines in audiences and changes in consumer behaviour. Exclusive release windows continue to shorten.  Introduction of the Video Home System (VHS) technology in the late 1970’s posed a significant threat to the traditional studio-to-cinema distribution model. Studios and cinemas created the “release window” system in the 1980’s as a strategy…

Keep reading

New California law to address gender pay gap

“I knew I was being paid less and I still agreed to do American Hustle because the option comes down to do it, or don’t do it. So you just have to decide if it’s worth it for you. It doesn’t mean I liked it.” — Amy Adams From January 2018, employers in California will be prohibited from asking job applicants about their previous pay.  Guidance for the new Labor Code 432.3 states “closing the wage gap starts with barring employers from asking questions about…

Keep reading

The Monarchy, Meghan, and Trade Marks

Kensington Palace announced this week that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are officially engaged, and are expected to marry next May. Before we dismiss the celebrations as just another celebrity extravaganza, it’s important to remember that the upcoming nuptials will benefit the economy, too. This year, the British Monarchy generated £1.77 billion to the UK economy. This includes a £50 million contribution for fictional shows like The Crown and Victoria, which offer a glimpse into the mystique of the Royal family. The figure also takes…

Keep reading

A Soundtrack for Data Security

So much of the explosion in innovation in the music industry is around technological processes. But artists still need to focus on their art. To do so, they need to surround themselves with tech-savvy people. And hire a good lawyer. – Gigi Johnson, Director of the Center for Music Innovation, University of California Los Angeles Privacy policies are painful to read, not least because they’re very technical, boring, and long. According to a recent study, if the average person read every privacy…

Keep reading

Fame and fortune: how do celebrities protect their image?

Famous movie stars and athletes earn big bucks beyond their day job at the studio or stadium. Their image can be used to in a variety of commercial contexts, ranging from endorsements and sponsorships, to merchandising and deals with fashion brands and magazines. Marketwatch reports that on average, signing a celebrity correlates to a rise in share prices, and a 4% increase in sales. After Chanel signed Nicole Kidman in 2003 to promote their N°5 perfume, global sales of the fragrance increased by 30%.…

Keep reading

Fake News? How about Fake Journalist™ 

Last week, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against Contessa Bourbon for causing substantial damage and injury to the paper’s business, goodwill and reputation. Despite having never worked for the Times, Contessa has been representing herself as one of their reporters – both in person, and on social media. According to the lawsuit, Bourbon pretends to be a NYT reporter to gain access to press events: she recently interviewed US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Turkish Ambassador under such…

Keep reading

Lord Hutchinson, barrister who defended “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” dies aged 102

In October 1960, a jury formed at the criminal court in central London was asked to consider what would become one of the most important cases in modern English history. The trial concerned neither murder, treason, nor espionage, but the publication of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover by Penguin Books. In honour of Lord Jeremy Hutchinson QC, a member of the Penguin defence team who passed away yesterday, here is a reminder of why Regina v. Penguin Books was such an enormous decision for the freedom…

Keep reading
photo Doran Hannes (500px)

Cyber security gets Hollywood makeover

Hacking is a major issue for many industries – but Hollywood is an especially tempting target. The new Entertainment Security Operations Center in Los Angeles hopes to provide a secure system for studios to control their valuable creative content. HBO, Sony Pictures, and Netflix have all been hacked in major security breaches. In addition to embarrassing information being made public and loss of consumer confidence, infiltration can cost a film or television company big bucks. According to a Carnegie Mellon University…

Keep reading

Reputation: Taylor Swift’s protections under American and English defamation law

this post is featured on the University of the Arts London’s intellectual property blog, creativeIP.org ♫♬ Now we’ve got problems / and I don’t think we can solve them (without lawyers…) The right to freedom of expression is not an absolute right: there are certain restrictions in place to protect an individual’s reputation. But those restrictions vary significantly, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on. Considering the shared legal traditions of the United States and Great Britain, their differences on…

Keep reading

Film workers’ rights to be restored as New Zealand announces repeal of controversial “Hobbit Law”

Has New Zealand been too friendly towards Hollywood, at the expense of its own workforce? New Zealand’s incoming Labour Government promises to restore certain employment protections for film cast and crew, by repealling the controversial “Hobbit Law” within the next 100 days. New Zealand is famous for being film-friendly. Gorgeous landscapes provide dramatic settings not far from the city comforts, and generous financial incentives are available in the form of government grants. Since the 1990s in particular, the country’s film and television…

Keep reading

Gunpowder on Primetime: were torture and execution scenes too violent?

The BBC’s new show has been criticised for being “unnecessarily gruesome and brutal,” with some viewers saying they became physically ill due to the graphic torture and execution scenes. Is portraying such violence necessary to better understand the historical context of 17th century England, or simply too much for Saturday night primetime television? Tonight is Bonfire Night! The “Gunpowder Treason Plot” of 1605 was a failed mass assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland and the House…

Keep reading

The Copyright Between Oceans?

Imagine you’re an author trying to get your screenplay made into a film, but despite giving Miramax Studios and Working Title copies of your script, you have no luck. Ten years later, you discover the theatrical trailer for an upcoming movie starring Michael Fassbinder, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weiss. Your heart sinks as you realise that your story has been stolen. What do you do? If you’re Joseph Nobile, you call a lawyer and sue Hollywood for copyright infringement. In 2012,…

Keep reading

GDPR Spotlight on media platforms

Personal Data has been Hollywood’s rising star over the last few years. But will the introduction of Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulations steal the spotlight? I had a bit of a migraine this weekend, so I spent the better part of the last two days on the couch watching Narcos and a few period costume dramas on Netflix. As I scrolled through the recommendations deciding what to watch, I smiled to myself thinking of how confusing my behaviours must appear…

Keep reading