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Welcome to the LAW FIRM OF DAYREL SEWELL, PLLC. Thank you for visiting the Blog section of this firm. We will be updating this page with information about the firm, recent legal updates, and other legal issues.

Copyrighting Tattoos in Sports Video Games: Can LeBron James License His Image?

Tattoos are permanent, often complex, creative, and original pieces of work created by a tattoo artist. Recently, litigation has come up regarding tattoos on famous athletes. While most issues involving tattoos on athletes are more easily handled — such as J.R. Smith’s tattoo of the brand Supreme on his leg1 — there are questions of whether a tattoo is subject to copyright protection when it is prominently displayed and reproduced on a famous athlete in a video game. This question is at the center of a lawsuit filed by Solid Oak Sketches against Take Two Interactive Software as well as two other producers of the popular NBA 2K Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged athletes, copyright, fair use, intellectual property, LeBron James, Mike Tyson, tattoo, | 2 Comment

Trademark Law Implications of AM General v. Activision

Video games have grown in realism since the days of pong on an Atari console.  As technology allows for higher resolutions and graphics, so does the need for attention to detail.  In certain cases, video game developers try to depict the real world.  There are legal implications when this real-world depiction goal includes trademark protected items, such as Humvees.  The federal Lanham Act governs trademarks at the federal level.  There are two basic requirements: (1) that a mark be defi Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged art, federal district court, Humvee, Lanham Act, technology, trademark, video games, | 3 Comment

Prince’s purple: without rain or color trademark protection

In October 2018, Paisley Park Enterprises filed an application with the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) for the registration of a color mark for music, live performance, and museum-related uses [1]. Paisley Park Enterprises is known for being decedent Prince Rogers Nelson's company. In August 2017, the Prince Estate and Pantone created a purple color called "Love Symbol #2" to represent Prince [2]. The Pantone Matching system is useful to define particular shades of color, and to ensure a consistent use of the same color for one company [3]. [caption id="attachment_895" align="aligncenter" width="434"] Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged color mark, Louboutin, Prince, purple, Purple Rain, Saint Laurent, secondary meaning, Supreme Court, Tiffany, trademark, UPS, USPTO, | 4 Comment

Recent Developments in Governmental Takings

Takings by the government have long been a murky area.  The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not proffer a great deal of insight into how takings were to be effected.  Recent case law adds some clarity to the murky sediment, but it remains a complex topic.  The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment exists to recompense private citizens in the event that government effects a taking of private property.  It states, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”  The intent behind this was to limit government in its task of maintaining public interest rather than empower it, but it also serves also to give the private citizen recourse when government (local, State or Federal) takes physical possession of land for public use.  Over th Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged fifth amendment, New York, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, takings, U.S. constitution, wetlands, | 4 Comment

The Effect of Tax Laws on Commercial Real Estate

Recently the Supreme Court decided the case South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., in which they addressed whether remote sellers of goods and services can be required to collect and remit sales taxes imposed by the consumer’s State.[1] According to S. 106, 2016 Leg. Assembly, 91st Sess. (S. D. 2016) [hereinafter “the Act”], remote sellers are required to collect and remit sales tax to the State in which the goods are sold.[2] Plaintiff, the State of South Dakota, filed of an injunction requiring respondents to register for licenses to collect and remit sales tax.[3] Respondents Wayfair, Overstock.com, Inc., and Newegg, online merchants selling goods such as furniture an Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged Commerce Clause, interstate commerce, online, presence, real estate, sales tax, shopping, Supreme Court, tax, Wayfair, | 2 Comment

The Fashionable Supreme Court: Will They Say Yes to the Trade Dress?

Copyright Protection of Non-Utilitarian Designs under the Copyright Act of 1976 Designers in the high fashion industry face many obstacles in receiving intellectual property protection for the utilitarian aspects of their clothing. Congress has provided copyright protection only for original works of art, but not for industrial designs that embody utilitarian functions.  See 17 U.S.C. 101.  Copyright protection does not extend to utilitarian aspects of objects because it would open up a flood of litigation over exclusive monopoly rights that would “burden competition, raise prices, and also harm consumers.”  See Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., Brief for United States as Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged Balenciaga, Burberry, copyright, Fashion, Gucci, infringement, intellectual property, litigation, Supreme Court, Zara, | 3 Comment

Landlord-Tenant Battle Over NYC Rent Stabilization

  [caption id="attachment_823" align="aligncenter" width="946"] Rent Stabilization[/caption] New York’s first step towards rent regulation can be traced back to the 1920s.[1]  The history of rent control in New York has been a battle between owners and tenants for quite some time.  In general, rent controlled apartments must be in buildings of three or more units constructed on or before February 1, 1947 and tenants must have occupied their apartment since at least July 1, 1971.[2]  Under rent c Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged apartment, commercial litigation, Landlord-Tenant, litigation, real estate, real property, Rent, Rent Stabilization, Transactional, | 1 Comment

Piece of Cake: What’s Behind Supreme Court Opinions?

On June 4, 2018 the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in the controversial case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case concerned a baker, Mr. Jack Phillips, a devout Christian, who in 2012 declined to create a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding on the basis that doing so would require him to express himself artistically in a way that was inconsistent with his religious beliefs. At the time, gay marriage was not legally recognized in Colorado. However, the state had an anti-discrimination act regarding goods and services available to the public. See C.R.S. 24-34-601. The Commission determined that Mr. Phillips violated the anti-discrimination act. On review, the Supreme Court held that the Commission violated the First Ame Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged Anti-Discrimination, Concurrence, Dissent, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Opinions, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, | 1 Comment

Can Crypto-Currency Revolutionize the Music Industry?

It was only a matter of time before cryptocurrency [1] pervaded the music industry.  The proliferation and potential applications of blockchain seem to be the perfect fit for the challenges struggling musicians face.  While musicians are the creators of their art, it’s the record labels that distribute the music who tend to own the songs.  It is for this reason Paul McCartney has now been fighting for 40 years for the rights to The Beatles albums.[3]  As technology evolves, some crafty music executives have been devising new ways for musicians to protect and sell their songs. [caption id="attachment_786" align="alignnone" width="840"] Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged Blockchain, Boogie Shack Music Group, Cryptocurrency, Drake, Entertainment Law, intellectual property, IP, IP Transactions, Music Law, Song Rights, Sony/ATV, | 2 Comment

Playing Politics with the Internet – Dangerous game with Net Neutrality

Background The idea behind the concept of Net Neutrality arose in the early 2000s, when, inter alia, the High Tech Broadband Coalition (“HTBC”) filed comments before the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).  At the time, the HTBC urged the FCC to “vigilantly monitor” the provision of internet services to consumers to ensure rights to access content of their choice.   Today the matter has, to a great extent, become a political battle largely drawn along ideological/party lines.  Nonetheless, the issue remains an importa Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged ACLU, FCC, internet, internet service provider, net neutrality, Obama, politics, | 1 Comment

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