Boldly Going Where I Haven’t Gone Before… The [Legal] Artist Turns Three!

When I started this blog three years ago, it was a lark. I had just taken the bar exam and had months to wait before the results would come out, so I needed something to do. Even at my most optimistic, I didn’t see myself sticking with the blog for more than six months. But here we are, three years later and it’s going as strong as ever. That’s in large part due to your readership and encouragement. Even in hard times this has been safe space for me to discuss topics that I felt were important, or address issues that I wish I’d known about when I was a struggling filmmaker. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. 

I believe year four will be just as successful, if not more so, but that’s for another time. As is my habit, I’d like to take a spin through what I feel are the highlights of the past year. I’ve listed them below in no particular order. Read through them and let me know what you think! As always, the comments section is open (be nice!) and you can always email or call me directly.

  1. Will A New Copyright Act Strip Artists Of Their Copyrights? And If So, Would It Really Be So Bad? I thought this was an important article and no one really read it, so I'm hoping you'll take a chance now. It deals with an unreasonable panic (so far) about Congress passing a new Copyright Act that would ostensibly strip artists of their rights. As of now, that's simply not the case and there isn't even legislation being proposed. 

  2. In Brief: Taylor Swift Kicks Apple In The Nuggets, Is Proclaimed Savior Of Music By All. Probably one of my most read pieces and the one where I really got saucy in terms of writing style.

  3. You Should Consider Licensing Your Work To Your Infringers. This one struck a chord and I think I know why... artists aren't the most affluent professionals so any opportunity to make something happen that doesn't require hiring a lawyer or commencing litigation is, I think, appreciated.

  4. On Civil Disobedience, Drones, Street Art, and Being Bold. My favorite and maybe the most important piece I've ever written. If you want to know why I advocate for breaking the rules and support civil disobedience, this article tells you everything you need to know about me. I also think it's one of my best written pieces. If I was submitting myself for an award, this is the piece I would send in. You should absolutely read this one.

  5. Marvel's Daredevil Gets Young Attorneys Right. I really enjoyed writing this piece and it's the first of six mentions I've gotten so far this year on Above The Law. A lot of people read it and I think I make a good argument here as to why Matt and Foggy are the most accurate on-screen portrayals of young attorneys that I've ever seen.

  6. Why J.K. Rowling Should Walk Away From Harry Potter Forever. I'm a big believer in the death of the author, and that's why I think J.K. Rowling should pass the Harry Potter mantle to someone else before she George Lucas' up the whole situation. Widely read, then I got a bunch of Potter-themed twitter accounts follow, then unfollow me. That was a good week.

  7. How Does Mad Men Get Away With Publicly Badmouthing McCann Erickson? Another widely read piece that circulated on Above The Law. I really had a lot of fun researching and writing this article and I had been looking for years for something to say about Mad Men before it went off the air. Thankfully, I was able to pull it off in the last few weeks of the show's run.

  8. Trademark Registration Is Not Easy And You're Going To Hate It (But It'll Be Worth It). A classic how-to article. Not particularly interesting to write or read, but I think I break down the trademark process here pretty well, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

  9. Avoid Legalese In Your Contracts, Live A Happier Life. I don't know how any lawyer can stand to read or write legalese. There's just no need for it. Next to the civil disobedience piece, this is a crystal clear window into me.

  10. Why Experts Are Necessary. In the aftermath of the Robin Thicke v. Marvin Gaye lawsuit, a large outcry rose up from the internet. Some people thought their two songs were nearly identical. Others (like me) thought the similarities didn't outweigh the differences. It's important for there to be expert testimony for precisely this reason... when two reasonable people can't agree on a thing. This came out of a twitter discussion I had and I think it's one of my favorite pieces this year. 

  11. When It Comes to Fighting The Commoditization of Art, Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit. When Wu-Tang Clan came out with their single-album concept, I was inspired. Some people (including some of Wu-Tang's members) think the whole thing is a publicity stunt, but even if that's all it is, what a stunt! When I heard about this, I just HAD to write about it. The copyright angle - an 88-year license - is particularly interesting.

  12. Sony and Marvel Play Nice Over Spider-Man Film Rights. Being nice is kind of my mantra. Here's what can happen when people play nice and realize that both parties can mutually benefit.

  13. The Poor Man’s Copyright Does and Does Not Exist. An important piece that I'm glad I wrote and seemed to have been widely appreciated by the readers because I think it helped clarify a pretty confusing topic. Many more like these to come in Year Four.

That's it everyone. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for much much more!

Greg Kanaan

The [Legal] Artist, Boston, MA, USA