Congrats to Clinic Students for Great Work Over the Summer!

As the Fall semester starts, it’s time to give applause to IP Clinic students who continued their hard work on behalf of their clients long past the end of Spring semester and into the summer. In these hot summer months, our students continued to fight trademark bullying, help documentarians evaluate fair use of photographs and videos, and assist entrepreneurs and local nonprofits seek trademarks for their valuable products and services.

A special applause deserved goes to four students who continued a difficult task into the summer. Michael Blumenthal, Harrison Neidish, Clemence Kim and Adam Wasinger spent the year representing musician Dr. Lydia Warren, an award-winning blues singer and bandleader, and now blues historian, in seeking the return of her domain name, lydiawarren.com, from a registrant in Asia.

When the registrant refused to response to their communication, the students engaged in extensive research of Ms. Warren’s many festivals, awards, interviews and her tours overseas. They learned the technical and dispute policies of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and filed a Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaint seeking return of the domain name.

The Forum in Minneapolis agreed with the student’s concerns and transferred the domain name to Ms. Warren. Congratulations Adam, Clemence, Harrison and Mike for filing the Clinic’s first UDRP case, and for the Clinic’s first UDRP win!

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Congrats Clinic Student Jesse Spiegel for Your Testimony Before Copyright Office!

Congratulations to IP Clinic student Jesse Spiegel for testifying before the Copyright Office on April 21st in the Eighth Triennial Proceeding on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) proceeding.  Jesse brought some special concerns before the Copyright Office and fielded some fascinating questions.  

spiegel

For months, Jesse and his Clinic partners Chelsea Kaminsky, Keyana Pusey and Hector Contreras, Jesse interviewed, researched and wrote extensive comments and reply comments asking the Copyright Office to allow educators working on online learning platforms to be able to use clips of movies and TV shows in their course materials. The team wrote these comments on behalf of the “Joint Educators” headed by Professor Peter Decherney and Dr. Rebecca Stein of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Katherine Sender of Cornell University. 

Jesse chose to testify due to his concerns.  He wanted the Copyright Office to share his observation that young people today communicate by video: “Our society relies on video for everything – we communicate through video – we FaceTime, we send gifs… younger people send snapchat videos… which often completely replace even speaking at all. When we want to learn how to do something, let’s say like cooking a meal or fixing an electronic, most people don’t open a recipe book anymore, or an instruction manual. We go on YouTube.”  He added: “now we have grown accustomed to working, socializing, and learning – online, using videos. So clearly effective education must use more videos than ever to match how we now function in society.” 

Jesse voiced his deep concern that the Copyright Office’s current exemptions only allow traditional educators to use clips within the four walls of K-12, college and university classrooms, but exclude the growing number of non-traditional educators working on online learning platforms. He noted that the current exemption “includes only a sliver of the educational experiences we are having online.”  

Jesse’s clear call to the Copyright Office stated: “we should be expanding access to education, not limiting it.”  He noted that there is nothing to fear from online learning platforms as they offer an array of protections for educational materials and any clips they may include.  Specifically, Jesse outlined that they work only with “registered learners,” feature “sophisticated digital protection measures” and limit access to “students currently enrolled in courses.”    

Jesse closed with an appeal to educational equity:  

“Let’s celebrate this expansion of educational access, this very real opportunity in front of us to address inequities that exist in our educational system, even by simply chipping away at them through this exemption, and provide learners outside the box of K-12 and accredited schooling means to have the same chance of commentary and critical thinking skills that comes from analysis of short clips of movies and tv shows.” 

Jesse then expertly fielded questions from senior Copyright Office attorneys about distinctions between entertainment and dedicated online learning platforms.  

Congratulations, Jesse, on your expert testimony and taking client representation to a new level! 

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IP Clinic Students Present 5th Annual Tips and Tricks for Start-Ups for Business School Entrepreneurs

Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic Students presented a 5th annual IP Tips and Tricks program for startups on April 9th via Zoom for the AU Center for Innovation (AUCI) Incubator at American University’s Kogod School of Business.  The AUCI entrepreneurs are in the either at the initial stages of their startup ventures or in the process of building their businesses.  At the session they received key IP “tips and tricks” for their startups.

IP Clinic students Adam Wasinger, Chris Kuhman, Kassidy Schmitz, Raina Barbee, Hector Contreras and Chris Mtanos addressed copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets  and other issues important to Kogod’s startup ventures in the annual training session.

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#PAYITFORWARD ALUMNI PROFILE: Nabila Aguele

Congratulations to IP Clinic alum Nabila Aguele!

INSEAD, the Business School for the World, has announced the appointment of Nabila (Isa-Odidi) Aguele MBA’14J to its Board of Directors, effective June 2021.  Nabila is an alum of the IP Clinic and also served as a Practitioner in Residence in the clinic after several years practicing patent law at Morrison and Foerster and Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal LLP (now Dentons.)

Nabila Aguele is of Nigerian origin and has called several countries home, including England, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Canada. After over a decade in the United States, her passion for Africa and desire to help drive sustainable impact and development on the Continent led her to move back to Nigeria as a Policy Advisor to the Federal Government in 2016.

Currently, Aguele is a Special Adviser to Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning. She provides policy and strategy advice on international development cooperation, and on performance monitoring and evaluation for data-driven policy formulation and implementation. A strong advocate for women’s rights, Nabila is also supporting interventions at the intersection of gender and public financial management.

Nabila continues to be a strong supporter of the clinic and law school and a champion for balanced IP policies. She is also an accomplished artist and lives in Abuja with her husband and three children.

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“9to5: The Story of a Movement” Premiered on PBS and IP Clinic Students Provided Fair Use Counseling

Four students in the IP Clinic spent part of their summer engrossed in the fascinating, but little-known history of the movement of women – secretaries and administrative assistants – across the US in the 1970s seeking better pay, more advancement opportunities, and an end to sexual harassment. Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” song reflected their struggles and in turn became their anthem.  

Now Academy-Award winning producers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar tell the story in a new documentary, 9to5: The Story of a Movement, which premiered this month on PBS. The film shares the frustrations, difficulties and drive of young women to organize and improve their lives through recording and photographs of 9to5 organizers, in the 1970s and today.  The producers also pulled deeply from TV and news archives to find materials of the day that show deeply-engrained sexism in popular shows, news interviews, and secretarial training materials.  

IP Clinic students Cameron Rocha, Kiara Ortiz, Kristen Canales and Eli Sulkin dove deep into these historical and news archives materials to provide IP counseling and fair use analysis.  Among other materials, they used Clinic founder Peter Jaszi and Pat Aufderheide’s The Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of American University’s Center for Media & Social Impact as a valued guide, https://cmsimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Documentary-Filmmakers.pdf   

Congratulations to Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar on the release of this important new film!   More information at https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/9to5-the-story-of-a-movement/

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IP Clinic fights for fair and equitable access to “short clips” of movies and TV shows for all educators and instructors using online learning platforms in recent filing to Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

In a pleading submitted just before the holidays to the Copyright Office in the Eighth Triennial Proceeding of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), student attorneys Keyana Pusey, Jesse Spiegel, Hector Contreras and Chelsea Kaminski of the WCL Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic asked the Copyright Office to allow innovative online educators and instructors on online learning platforms for the same basic rights as educators in traditional classrooms – to use short clips of movies and TV shows in their educational and instructional learning. They argue that access to such popular media – on which the current generation of students depends – is a critical part of the educational process in and outside the classroom. 

Writing on behalf of longtime educational advocates Professor Peter Decherney, Director of the Cinema & Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Katherine Sender of Cornell University, numerous traditional educators and innovative online learning platforms, the comments show beneficial ways that today’s innovative online learning platforms would use exemptions under Section 1201 of the DMCA to teach medicine and help future doctors and nurses understand the common and rare disorders, to dive into computer science and help students explore challenging subjects with inspiration from diverse role models who came before them, to develop professional and business skills for new skills to advance in existing jobs or new skills to shift as industries change, and to develop avocations that enrich life, including musical skills for traditional students and lifelong learners. Video of a great drum technique, a person describing a rare medical disorder, or the life of a great female mathematician can bring to life a lesson, illustrate a concept, and deepen interest and understanding.   

The long comments note that the exceptions they seek fall squarely with the goals of the DMCA (1998) to “facilitate the robust development and world-wide expansion of electronic commerce, communications, research, development, and education in the digital age” and the vision of the TEACH Act (2001) to “extend education beyond children and young adults to lifelong learning for working adults, and to reach all students of all income levels, in cities and rural settings, in schools and on campuses, in the workplace, at home, and at times selected by students to meet their needs.”  

Clarity from the Copyright Office on the use of these clips will open doors of opportunity for students of all ages, in all parts of the country, even those with the most unusual of schedules:  

“Adopting an exemption for educators and preparers of educational materials for online learning platforms will inevitably help break down existing barriers to education posed by social and economic inequality. Online learning levels the educational playing field for public and private school pupils, home-schooled students, and part-time learners of all kinds by providing equal access to education.” 

The long comments of Professor Decherney and Professor Sender with WCL IP Clinic, together with all long comments in this proceeding, can be found at: 

https://www.copyright.gov/1201/2021/comments/

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Advancing Inclusion in Copyright and Register Barbara Ringer’s Legacy

Barbara ringer illustration, signature, and organizational seals

Join the U.S. Copyright Office, Georgetown Intellectual Property and Information Policy Clinic, and Georgetown Institute for Law and Policy online, on November 19 at 5 p.m. eastern time, as we examine the importance of creating space and opportunities in copyright and developing more diverse and inclusive legal systems for the benefit of all. This event extends and builds on the legacy of Barbara Ringer, a lead architect of the Copyright Act of 1976 and the first woman to serve as U.S. Register of Copyrights.

During the event, we will host a discussion with leading scholars on the relationship between intellectual property and critical race and feminist theory.

  • Deidré A. Keller, dean and professor of law, Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University College of Law
  • Madhavi Sunder, professor of law, Georgetown Law Center
  • Victoria Phillips, director, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law

Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office Shira Perlmutter will provide opening remarks.

Amanda Levendowski, associate professor of law at Georgetown Law and director of the Intellectual Property and Information Policy Clinic, will provide a brief overview of Ringer’s impact on copyright.

Current and former U.S. Copyright Office Ringer Fellows will host break-out networking sessions that will follow the approximately one hour event.

Registration is available here.

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Copyright Office Announces Continuation of Exemption to Allow Professors, Teachers and Students to use Short Clips of Movies and TV Shows for University Classes, K-12 and Massively Online Open Classrooms!

Student attorneys Chelsea Kaminski, Hector Contreras, Keyana Pusey, and Jesse Spiegel of the Washington College of Law Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic (IP Clinic) have been working with Professor Peter Decherney, Director of the Cinema & Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Katherine Sender of the Department of Communication and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University, Dr. Rebecca Stein, Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Online Learning Initiative to renew the existing exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Section 1201 of the DMCA allows for the creation of temporary exemptions to the ban on circumventing technological protection measures on copyrighted works. In 2018, the Copyright Office renewed two exemptions that were filed by the IP Clinic on behalf of Professor Decherney. One exemption allowed for the use of excerpts of motion pictures, including television programs and videos, for educational purposes by faculty in massive open online courses (“MOOCs”). The other exemption allowed for the use of excerpts for educational purposes by college and university or K-12 faculty and students. 

On July 22, 2020, the IP Clinic filed a petition to renew both of these exemptions for another three-year period. In an unprecedented turn of events, the Copyright Office announced on October 15 in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it would be renewing all existing exemptions, including both the MOOC exemption and the college/university/K-12 exemption. 

In the words of the Copyright Office, “…the Office has reviewed all renewal petitions and related comments and concludes that it has received a sufficient petition to renew each existing exemption and does not find any meaningful opposition to renewal. Accordingly, the Office intends to recommend readoption of all existing exemptions.” 

A summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Eighth Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding can be found here: https://copyright.gov/1201/2021/.  

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9th Annual Peter A. Jaszi Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property

From Sacred Places to Playing Fields — The Long Struggle for Dignity and Respect
Suzan Shown Harjo
October 1, 2020 | 6:00PM

Registration is required for this online event. A link to participate will be sent after your registration is received. Please register here.

Hosted by the WCL Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP)

A single bright thread runs through the half-century+ career of writer-curator-activist Suzan Shown Harjo. Insistence on the fundamental human right to dignity and respect has unified such causes as repatriating plundered Native American remains and sacred objects, protecting sacred places, building institutions to promote cultural understanding, and eliminating sports teams’ use of “Indian” names, symbols, and mascots. In its next phase, the struggle for dignity and respect includes advocacy for new laws and changes to existing ones that put Pueblos, Nations and Tribes in their proper place in law and policy, self-determining and in the position of deciding how to safeguard their own heritages, identities, histories, legacies and future.

About Suzan Shown Harjo

Suzan Shown Harjo is President of the Morning Star Institute, an advocacy group she founded in 1984 for Native culture and education. Her name is most often associated with the successful trademark cancellation proceeding against the Washington football franchise, a request she initiated in 1992, but saw tied up in federal courts for over two decades. Despite the recent notoriety of that particular issue, she had worked steadfastly for many years trying to convince the larger world of professional and scholastic sports to renounce the use of team names, mascots and imagery promoting negative stereotypes of Native Americans.

Harjo’s meritorious good works and quest for Native justice go well beyond those efforts. Over her long career she has worked to preserve and protect Native sacred places, human remains, tribal sovereignty and cultural property. Suzan was the driving force behind most of the important laws protecting Native American cultures and arts including the 1996 Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act, and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act. She served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1984-1989 and continues to serve as co-chair of their subcommittee on Human, Religious, and Cultural Concerns. She was also a founder of the National Museum of the American Indian and guest curator of the museum’s current exhibit Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations. She is also a prolific writer, poet, and accomplished scholar.

Harjo was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest civilian honor – in 2014.

About PIJIP

The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) is the internationally recognized intellectual property and information law research and academic program of American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL). Our prolific IP faculty has expertise in every major topic of the field, including Copyright, Patent, Trademark, Trade Secret, Cyberlaw, and international IP.

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Statement of Suzan Shown Harjo on the Retirement of the Washington Football Team’s Racist Name

Susan Shown Harjo

“Poor Daniel Snyder has nothing left to do but this slow strip tease. He had to satisfy: First, his FedEx and other managerial and promotion partners. Second his merch partners. Third, the franchise’s 40% owners. 


“This day is brought about by Native Peoples and our BIPOC partners moving the country toward racial and social justice. And by the longevity and persistence of our no-mascot movement, which began in earnest for me when Clyde Warrior (great Ponca fancy dancer and Oklahoma youth organizer) visited my senior high school class in OKC in 1962, and informed and energized us about “Little Red” at the University of Oklahoma and the “worst one of all, right there in the nation’s Capitol,” R*dsk*ns.” 
 

“Clyde lived to co-found the National Indian Youth Council and to forge coalitions with other students of color and women at OU, but he didn’t live long enough to see OU retire “Little Red,” which became the first “Indian” reference to be eliminated (in 1970) from the entire landscape of American sports (Stanford 1972, Dartmouth 1974, and Syracuse 1979.)


“This day of the retirement of the R*dsk*ns slur and stereotypical logo belongs there all those Native families (including mine and that of Amanda Blackhorse, my sister target number one), who bore the brunt of and carry the scars from the epithets, beatings, death threats and other emotional and physical brutalities resulting from all the “Native” sports names and images that cause harm and injury to actual Native people. It does not belong to a change of heart by the team’s energy or to those who are bandwagoning and in line to cash in on our hard-fought and hard-won success. 


“We’ve ended more than two-thirds of these obscenities and now have only 900 or so left to go, but the fall of this king of the mountain of trash will help others to give up their ghosts of racism even faster, so, Aho, Mr. Snyder and thank you, Mvto, Mr. Fred Smith.”

—-Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom), writer, curator and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover sacred places and more than one million acres of land. President, The Morning Star Institute, and Lead Plaintiff and organizer, Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc. (1992-2009), and organizer and expert witness of the identical lawsuit brought by Native young people, Blackhorse et al v. Pro Football, Inc. (filed 2006, active 2020-2017).

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