Copyright gives authors of creative works (books, music, art, movies, and the like) a bundle of rights to control how their works are used, and it gives users a corresponding set of rights to make socially valuable uses of copyrighted works without right holder permission. The Constitutional purpose of these laws is to “promote Progress” in culture and learning. Legal professionals support clients, whether authors or members of the public, by helping them understand and employ their rights.

Students in the clinic gain exposure to a variety of kinds of copyright matters, including registering works with the US Copyright Office, drafting license agreements, sending and responding to cease and desist letters, sending and responding to DMCA takedown notices, providing opinion letters in support of fair use, and more. They also work with clinical faculty on the kinds of policy projects that make practice in Washington, DC, especially exciting, including advocacy for legal reform, participation in administrative policy formulation, and even media outreach campaigns. As a result of this wide-ranging practice, students gain an appreciation for the public interest dimension of copyright law; they see the law from multiple angles and interests, and how it operates in multiple venues and contexts.

Clients of the clinic get representation in matters where they might otherwise be unable to assert their rights, and a level of representation that rivals that provided by private law firms. In exchange for their agreeing to work with student attorneys, clients ranging from independent artists to non-profit organizations, small businesses to private individuals receive careful counsel and effective written work product.

 The clinic provided IP counseling related to fair use issues for the following film makers:

the_price_of_pleasure The Price of Pleasure: “The film features the voices of consumers, critics, and pornography producers and performers.”
 81eAhRldMCL._SL1500_ Nina Paley:  The clinic conducted legal research in regards to the use of a song by Annette Henshaw in Nina Paley’s film, “Sita Sings the Blues” (here’s the song in the film) and advised her about the potential copyright and licensing issues. She credited the clinic in various interviews:

  • November 2008 interview “How Restrictions Suppress Art”: she credits the ip clinic at 0:26

Latinos Beyond Reel: “In Latinos Beyond Reel, filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun examine how US news and entertainment media portray — and do not portray — Latinos.”


Dakota38: “In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged.”                 


 Revolution 67: “is an illuminating account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history — the black urban rebellions of the 1960s.”

A-Dream-In-Doubt_200px A Dream in Doubt: ““A Dream in Doubt” is an immigrant story in a world in which patriotism has morphed into murder. When Rana Singh Sodhi’s brother is killed in America’s first post-9/11 revenge murder, he begins a journey to reclaim his American dream and fight the hate that continues to threaten his community.”

Joe Papp in Five Acts: “is the story of New York’s indomitable, street-wise champion of the arts who introduced interracial casting to the American stage, brought us free Shakespeare in the Park, Hair, and A Chorus Line, and nurtured many of our greatest playwrights, directors, and actors.”       

88392682001_2630107116001_video-still-for-video-2630091123001 The United States of Football: “is a documentary that explores the cumulative effect of repetitive trauma in America’s Game from Pee Wees to the pros.”
smiling-through-the-apocaly_med Smiling Through the Apocalypse: “is a personal narrative about my late father, Esquire Editor Harold T.P. Hayes, and also an intimate time capsule of what many have said, was the greatest period in magazine journalism.  During Dad’s tenure, Esquire was a galvanizing force in American culture permitting unprecedented artistic freedom to the most talented artists and writers of the time, including Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Nora Ephron, Peter Bogdanovich, Gore Vidal, Diane Arbus, and Norman Mailer.” – Director Tom Hayes

Other clients:

help your-self inc.  Help–Your-Self Inc.: The clinic provided IP advice and registered trademarks as well as a copyright for the client’s personnel management manual.
logo Retro Report:
– NYTimes on McDonald’s “Hot Coffee” Case The Takeaway (NPR station WNYC) on “War on Cancer” The Takeaway on “Walter Reed Medical Center”
report-walter-reed-medical-center-six-years-later/- HuffPo on “Free Willy”