“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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Cautious Optimism: The Washington Football Team’s Pledge to Review Its Racist Name

The Washington D.C. football franchise has announced “a thorough review of the team’s name,” long criticized as a racist slur against Native Americans. In the last week, majority owner Dan Snyder has received increased pressure to change the name from corporate sponsors (including Fed Ex, Bank of America, PepsiCo and Nike) as well as the NFL commissioner and the DC Mayor.   The  team’s name and logos have been the subject of organized protest and litigation by Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee) and other Native advocates for decades.  

Under the supervision of Prof. Victoria Phillips, the WCL IP Clinic has represented Harjo in the IP controversy surrounding the team’s disparaging trademark. Phillips noted this week, “I got involved in this issue as a trademark matter.  As I learned more and worked with Suzan, I got invested in it as a civil rights cause.  Sadly, most Americans don’t know a Native person so what they learn and believe about them is from the dehumanizing imagery peddled by professional, college and high school sports teams. The harmful stereotypes perpetuated by these racial slurs and imagery have a well-documented negative impact on the Native community — especially children.”  Her writings on the topic include Beyond Trademark: The Washington Redskins Case and the Search for Dignity [92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1065 (2017)] and Missing the Point: The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth [Ctr. for Am. Progress (July 22, 2014)].  

On the fast moving developments brought about by corporate pressure this week, she added “ any change related to the Washington team is just the beginning.  Retiring the use of this slur is the powerful precedent needed to end the use of racialized names and imagery across all competitive sports.  As the nation reckons with racial injustice in its systems and symbols, it looks like that time may finally arrive.” 

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IP Clinic Alum, Natalie Koss ’03, Elected to D.C. Bar Board of Governors

Congratulations to Natalie Koss, an IP Clinic alum, who has been elected to the D.C. Bar Board of Governors!

The D.C. Bar is governed by the Board, composed of 20 lawyers selected by the active membership and three members of the public appointed by the Board itself as nonvoting members. Koss has been a member of the D.C. Bar for over 15 years and is managing partner of Potomac Legal Group PLLC – a small firm that represents employees in public and private sector employment matters



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Annual IP Clinic Jury Trial Simulation

For the seventeenth year, IP Clinic students faced off before clinic founder, Judge Peter Jaszi, to represent their clients in the annual two-day simulated trademark jury trial of Navajo Nation v Yazzie.

IP Clinic Trial 2020


plaintiff clinic

Plaintiff & Plaintiff’s Counsel

defense clinic

Defendant & Defendant’s Counsel

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Clinic Students Present 4th Annual Tips and Tricks for Start-Ups

Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic Students presented the 4th annual IP Tips and Tricks program for startups on March 5th, 2020 at 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 Francesca Gross, Courtney Krawice, Kiara Ortiz, Maggie Strouse, and Eli Sulkin addressed copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets, privacy and other issues important to technology startup ventures.

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