Graffiti Counts 2: Why Freedom of Speech Doesn’t Save Katy Perry’s MET Gala Dress

Back in August, we covered the outrage surrounding Katy Perry’s attire to the Annual Met Gala. The scandal was twofold, first, Perry’s gown featured an avant-garde graffiti design when the Gala theme was clearly “Chinese exhibition,” and secondly, the graffiti design was taken and used without the artist’s permission, constituting copyright infringement. Ergo; our last post focused on the legality of graffiti, as a clearly copyrightable work, framed in terms of the public sphere versus the public domain, and moral rights. Rime, who created the stolen work, sued Italian luxury fashion house Moschino, and now Moschino has formally responded.

Yeesh.

Katy Perry in the gown at the 2015 Met Gala with the Moschino Creative Director

What did the Five Fingers Say to the Face? SLAPP!

On December 7, 2015, Moschino filed a motion to strike the entire complaint pursuant to California’s Anti-SLAPP statute. SLAPP stands for Continue reading

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No Sweat, Yoga Poses aren’t Copyrightable

Yoga is “a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.” When he was four years old, Bikram Choudhury studied yoga in Calcutta, India. In 1971, when he was twenty-five years old, he introduced yoga to Beverly Hills. In 1979, Choudhury published Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, a book including descriptions, designs, and photographs of how to perform his now-famous, ninety minute sequence of twenty-six hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises in a studio kept at 104°F (to mimic the Indian climate). Choudhury always emphasized, “If you follow my instruction and do my yoga postures Sequence to the best of your ability, you will live a better, healthier and more peaceful life.” By 1994, he started the “Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Course,” and in 2011 sued two of his former students for starting a yoga studio featuring “hot yoga,” which includes twenty-six postures and two breathing exercises done for ninety minutes in a 105°F room. Continue reading

This Is How She Do: Katy Perry Threatens Copyright Suit Over “Left Shark”

The Super Bowl halftime show is nearly as big an event as the Super Bowl itself. Millions of people – many who are less than enthusiastic about football – tune in every year, so it is no surprise that the Left Shark during Perry’s “California Gurls” number received much recognition.

Perry had two dancing sharks behind her while she sang, and unfortunately, the Left Shark, found on “stage right,” seemed to have no idea what was going on, dancing off-tempo and making up its own moves in the background. Left Shark became an instant internet sensation, dancing into jokes, memes, and .gifs. And because the internet is a wonderful medium for the entrepreneurial spirit, Left Shark merchandise began appearing almost immediately afterward. Continue reading