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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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The UCLA Entertainment Law Review (“ELR”) is an international law journal published once or twice a year by the UCLA School of Law. Since 1994, ELR’s staff has worked diligently to bring to our subscribers academic work of the highest quality, as well as articles that tackle the most novel and cutting edge issues in the field of entertainment law.

UCLA Entertainment Law Review

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Articles

Reality Bites: The Limits of Intellectual Property Protection for Reality Television Shows

Reality television is an incredibly successful genre of entertainment. Reality TV has had enormous ratings success beginning in the early 2000s, and its influence (and revenues) are only likely to increase. Given the value of these properties, an important issue for reality TV creators and producers is the degree to which intellectual property protection is available to stop competitors from appropriating the content of reality programming. This Article first documents the rise of the reality genre. It then explores both copyright and trademark jurisprudence affecting reality plaintiffs and offers original analysis of this important aspect of intellectual property law.

Give Me A ©: Refashioning the Supreme Court's Decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Into an Art-First Approach to Copyright Protection for Fashion Designers

Fashion designers have struggled to establish their works as expressions that qualify for copyright protection. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in March 2017 in Star Athletica v. Varsity was less of a victory for fashion designers than it might appear. The Court’s effort to clarify and apply the “separability test” stopped short of providing the clarity needed to protect the works of fashion designers. This Article contends that this confusion can be resolved by conceptualizing fashion designs as forms of art that are often applied to useful objects, rather understanding them as useful items that, if their designs can be conceptually separated from the object, can receive protections.

FCC's Indecency Regulation: A Comparative Analysis of Broadcast and Online Media

Lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have implemented policies, many at the urging of special interest groups and parents, aimed at restricting content on broadcast television and radio and the Internet in the interest of protecting children. Through comparative analysis, this research studies the FCC broadcast regulations and online regulations to determine how indecency standards are applied in both mediums and whether there is common ground. The study finds that the courts accepted arguments for broadcasting that resembled a public interest approach, but for the Internet, accepted arguments that included public interest and marketplace approaches.

Remembering the CLASSICs: Impact of the CLASSICs Act on Memory Institutions, Orphan Works, and Mass Digitization

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) promised to revolutionize the role of copyright in the music industry for artists, businesses, and entertainment lawyers alike. Title II of the MMA, the Classics Protection and Access Act (CLASSICs Act), extended federal copyright protection to pre–1972 sound recordings. Advocates for the CLASSICs Act focused largely on its impact for pre–72 sound recording artists, who now possess a federally protected digital performance right in their recordings. In the wake of the CLASSICs Act, however, scholars and practitioners will need to reckon with the Act’s consequences for the millions of pre–72 sound recordings held and preserved by another group: American memory institutions.

Museums, libraries, archives, and other memory institutions have long advocated for federalization of copyright in pre–72 sound recordings as a superior alternative to the fifty-state patchwork that previously governed their collections. Now that federalization has happened—and tens of millions of sound recordings have been pulled within the umbrella of federal copyright protection—it is time to evaluate whether and how the CLASSICs Act helps memory institutions to engage in publicly beneficial uses of their pre–72 sound recording collections.

This paper considers the impact of the CLASSICs Act on memory institutions’ ability to combat two of the most significant legal challenges that they face: orphan works and mass digitization. Although the CLASSICs Act is at best a partial solution for orphan works and mass digitization, it has fundamentally changed the landscape for memory institution use of pre–72 sound recordings. A thorough understanding of the Act’s implications will be crucial not only for memory institutions attempting to comply with copyright law, but also for the scholars and practitioners looking to advance future research and copyright reforms.