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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.

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, | 2 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. 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 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

Graffiti: Legal or Illegal?

In the rapidly changing world of Intellectual Property Law, street art protection is less commonly discussed than that of other innovative creations.  Street art is somewhat ambiguous in its meaning.  It is common to associate street art with the graffiti spray-painted tags on a building or subway.  However, actual street art is something created with more depth.  Legally, the distinction between permanent graffiti and art is permission.  Street art becomes vandalism when that permission to publicly paint is not granted.[1]  Because of the complexity of public art, the amount of protection warranted to street art is unclear.  Graffiti law is not yet a legal practice; however, graffiti-related disputes have been stirring across the country. Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged 5Pointz, copyright, copyright law, graffiti, Notorious B.I.G., street art, VARA, Visual Artists Rights Act, | 9 Comment

Intellectual Property Implications for the Booming E-sports Industry

The term e-sports is short for electronic sports and has come to be associated with describing video games competitions.  Much like traditional sports, there are amateur and professional scenes for the sports in question.  There are also teams and contracts, leagues, and sponsorships.  However, e-sports are very early in their lifespan and thus the infrastructure is not as well developed as traditional sports in many ways.  Visas, for example, are routinely denied to competitors to go to events because they do not fit the traditional definition of an athlete or businessman.  Specific contracts between players and teams are kept secret with unethical strategies being used.  The basic terms of these contracts also are slanted heavily in favor of the o Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged copyright, E-sports, Nintendo, trademark, U.S. Copyright Office, video games, | 2 Comment

Demonstrative evidence: friend or foe?

          A jury’s job throughout a trial is to comprehend, understand and process all of the information conveyed by both the attorneys and witnesses.  Plainly hearing this information without any form of aids (e.g., picture, graphs, physical objects, etc.) can lead to forgetfulness when it comes time for deliberations.  That is why it has been common practice in the trial world to use evidence to help these juries pair aids with facts throughout a trial.  Lawyers are afforded the ability to use demonstrative and substantive evidence throughout the presentation of their case: both to simplify information and make it more memorable.  Demonstrative evidence is used to give the jury a chance to experience the issues and facts of a case in the eyes of the presenting par Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged demonstrative evidence, evidence, judge, jury, O.J. Simpson, trial, witness, | 2 Comment

The Search For Equitable Remedies For Breach of Contract

by Augustus Balasubramaniam, Esq. Contracts Overview In New York, for a legally enforceable agreement to exist at contract, the Plaintiff must establish an offer, acceptance of that offer, consideration moving between the parties, mutual assent, and intent to be bound.  See Kwalchuk v. Stroup, 61 A.D.3d 118, 121 (1st Dep’t 2009).  An Offer is defined as “…the manifestation of willingness to enter into a bargain, so made as to justify another person in understanding that his assent to that bargain is invited and will conclude it” (see Restatement (Second) of Contracts §24).  “…(I)t must create a reasonable understanding in the offeree that the offeree has the power to create a contract by simply man Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged acceptance, breach of contract, consideration, contract, equitable, equity, offer, remedies, remedy, | 3 Comment

Commercial Lease Parties Beware: Lessons from Tarrytown

by Andrew Fine, JD (NYS Bar admission pending; firm alumnus)   Through a recent appellate court decision, New Yorkers were gravely reminded that the age-old commercial concept of “caveat emptor” - which is Latin for “buyer beware” -  applies with equal force to those seeking commercial leases. Due diligence and factual investigation, it appears, are burdens naturally imposed on buyers and lessees alike. On September 14, 2016, the Second Department of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, decided 1357 Tarrytown Road Auto, LLC v. Granite Properties, LLC.[1] In this case, the plaintiff was a company that operated an automobile dealership (hereinaf Read More

Posted in Blog | Tagged appellate, commercial lease, local zoning laws, New York supreme court, Second Department, | 3 Comment

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