Protecting Your Business Trademark - Interview with Texas Trademark Lawyer Tamera Bennett

How Do I Protect My Business Trademark #trademark #intellectualproperty#createprotect Attorney Tamera H. Bennett

Whether you're a big or small business, you need to know how to protect your brand. Texas trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett was interviewed for Insureon to help business owners answer the following questions:

  1. Why do I have to defend my trademark?
  2. How can I protect my business from a trademark lawsuit?
  3. What do I do if my business is accused of trademark infringement?

Click here to read the full article and trademark attorney Tamera Bennett's responses.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 73 Tamera Bennett & Gordon Firemark

entertainment law update podcast episode 73 - tamera bennett - gordon firemark #podcast #musiclaw #filmlaw #copyright #trademark

Click the arrow to listen to Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 73 or subscribe in iTunes.

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

In Episode 73 Tamera and Gordon ponder:

These topics and more are available by clicking the arrow in the bar above or by subscribing to the podcast in iTunes.  Please leave us a review in the iTunes store.

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Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 72 - Tamera Bennett & Gordon Firemark

entertainemnt law update podcast - Tamera Bennett - Gordon Firemark #podcast #copyright #trademark #musiclaw #filmlaw

Click the arrow below to listen to the Entertainment Law Update Podcast or subscribe in iTunes.

Join Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark as they discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

In Episode 72 Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news on "fractional" licensing of public performance rights, the Batmobile and copyright protection, who owns the Klingon language, and much more.

These topics and more are available by clicking the arrow in the bar above or subscribing in iTunes.

We love listener feedback. Thank you to Kurt for his kind words in the Apple iTunes Podcast store:

I’ve only just discovered Gordon [Firemark] and Tamera’s [Bennett] podcast (and their great blogs). They convey a lot of information in an accessible and engaging way. As a young lawyer realizing there’s so much more to learn in the great post-law-school beyond, it’s nice not only to get introduced to new concepts, but also to stay up to date on those already familiar to me. Hit the subscribe button already; it’s worth your time.

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Drone Law - Special Edition of Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 74

Tamera-Bennett-Entertainment-Law-Update-Podcast-Texas-Media-Lawyer #dronelaw #entertainmentlaw #medialawyer

Click the arrow in the box below to listen to Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 74.

Attorney Enrico Shaffer from Traverse Legal joins media lawyer Tamera Bennett and film lawyer Gordon Firemark on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast to discuss the latest developments and regulations in the area of Drone Law. After the special conversation with Enrico, please keep listening for the latest on Prince's estate and more.

This informative conversation provides the basic "do's and don'ts" for operating a drone for commercial purposes. Enrico answers questions like, "Could I be fined if I don't have a 333 Exemption?" "Can the FAA regulate drone operations?" "Why can't I fly over a crowd or fly at night?" "What's the difference between a commercial purpose and recreational use of a drone?" "Will Tinkerbell be flying on a drone at Disneyland?"

Below is a partial checklist for compliance with Drone FAA regs (and some common sense). The checklist doesn’t cover everything but is a good place to start. Please review all FAA rules and regulations on commercial operation for drones.

Practice pointer: Have the drone pilot or the camera operator (if it is someone different than the drone pilot) sign a work for hire agreement and/or copyright assignment to make sure the drone pilot cannot claim a copyright interest in the images captured by the camera on the drone.
— Media lawyer Tamera Bennett
  • Maintain a valid Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration with the FAA;
  • Drone is physically marked with the sUAS registration number (N-number);
  • Comply with all rules, regulations, and applicable laws whether local, state, or federal for the operation of an Unmanned Aircraft System;
  • Secure an approved FAA Exemption under Section 333 (it could be months or longer before the new Part 107 - which will replace Section 333 - is approved and implemented);
  • Airworthiness certification from the FAA for the drone;
  • Fly the drone below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles;
  • Keep the drone within visual line of sight at all times;
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations;
  • Do not fly within 5 miles of an airport;
  • Do not fly near people or stadiums (500 feet or the equivalent to a city block away from people or structures);
  • Do not fly a drone that weighs more than 55 pounds;
  • Do not fly at night;
  • The operator of the drone holds a valid airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate;
  • Operator of drone will not be  negligent, careless, or reckless in the operation of the drone;
  • Confirm there are no airspace restrictions where the drone will be flown;
  • Maintain a commercial drone liability insurance policy (this will most likely be a rider to a commercial insurance policy).

You can find comprehensive information on drone law issues and FAA regulations at Enrico's website at 

We love listener feedback. Michael posted this comment in the Apple iTunes podcast store:

EntLaw Update does a phenomenal job of keeping you current on issues of interest to anyone working at the intersection of law and media. Hosts Gordon Firemark and Tamara Bennett are personable and engaging, presenting stories in well-organized fashion that often leaves room for humor. As an avid consumer of law podcasts, I have to say this one is my favorite — if you need a reminder that the law isn’t *always* boring, Entertainment Law Update is what the doctor ordered!



Tamera H. Bennett - Mediation, Trademark, Copyright Spring 2016 Newsletter

Here's the latest news from Denton County trademark and music lawyer Tamera Bennett. Click the link to see updates from Tamera on her news interview on Prince's estate, walking the Cowtown Half Marathon, and protecting your band name as a trademark.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 71 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 71 -Tamera Bennett - Gordon Firemark #podcast #trademark #copyright #law

Click the arrow below to listen to Episode 71

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

In Episode 71 Tamera and Gordon give the final wrap in the Happy Birthday class action lawsuit, answer questions about trademarks and copyrights in video games, and discuss player tattoos in video games.

These topics and more are available by clicking the arrow in the bar above.

Texas Music Lawyer Tamera Bennett Interviewed On Prince Estate Issues

Lesson Learned From Prince Make an Estate Plan attorney Tamera Bennett interviewed on KRLD. #princerip #rightofpublicity #estateplan #copyright

Dallas copyright and music attorney Tamera H. Bennett was interviewed today by KRLD Radio News Anchor Mitch Carr regarding what happens now to the assets in Prince's estate.

The death of music icon Prince shook the music world . . . but it's also causing headlines in the legal world. Prince's sister Teeka Nelson has gone to court to ask that someone be named to take over her brother's multimillion-dollar estate . . . and says there is NO WILL.

Click the arrow below to hear Mitch Carr and Tamera Bennett's conversation recorded on April 27, 2016.

Transcript of interview with Texas Music Lawyer Tamera Bennett on Prince Estate:

Mitch Carr -- The death of music icon Prince shook the music world . . . but it's also causing headlines in the legal world. Prince's sister Tyka Nelson has gone to court to ask that someone be named to take over her brother's multimillion-dollar estate . . . and says there is NO WILL.

Tamera Bennett -- So two different things were talking about.  Dying intestate means he died without a will.  

Mitch Carr -- Okay.

Tamera Bennett -- So he didn't have a written document saying this is how I wish for my assets to be disbursed upon my death.  So he dies intestate which means the state of Minnesota, just like every other state, has statutes that say who will get what upon his death.  It will go to his siblings.  And, under Minnesota law his half-siblings are treated as equal to his -- I believe he has one sister who is a full sibling.

Mitch Carr -- Right. I think what's important here is this can be a life lesson for all of us.

Tamera Bennett -- It sure can. Because we want to -- I think most of us want to control what happens to what we own whether it be small or large-- at the end of the day. And, even more than that do we really want to put our family into a position of having to figure out our wishes? And, sometimes these kind of disputes can not be fun.  So, I'm hopeful that their family will not have a lot of disputes. But, they might. We've seen it with other estates as they've passed away -- Ray Charles, James Brown.  And, in those cases they actually did do a plan.

Mitch Carr --  The fact that there can be fights either way, what does that tell us about how we should do our estate plan? How can we draw something up that won't end up in a legal battle?

Tamera Bennett --  There's nothing that's ever foolproof because it depends on the people who are left.

Mitch Carr -- Alright.

Tamera Bennett -- So, one of the recommendations we often have for people is to spell out why you're leaving them what you're leaving them. And, you don't fully disinherit people.

Mitch Carr -- The bottom line here from a legal aspect is do what you can but nothing's foolproof.

Tamera Bennett -- Exactly right and I think what's interesting partly about Prince is that there are some assets that he has that are very valuable that under Minnesota law it's going to be difficult to figure out who gets them. And one one of that is his right of publicity. So his name and likeness is obviously very valuable. In Texas we actually have a statute that says if -- pretty much -- if you're a famous person and you take value from your name or your likeness or you license that, for fifty years after your death, your heirs can benefit and control how your name and likeness is used. Minnesota doesn't have that law saying that it's inherited.

Mitch Carr -- It's unclear how much Prince's estate is worth. But during his career, he made hundreds of millions of dollars for record companies, concert venues and others . . . and he owned $27 million in property near Minneapolis.

Follow Tamera on Twitter @tamerabennett and Mitch on Twitter @mitchcarrnews.

The clip is used by permission of KRLD-CBS Dallas.

Texas Music Lawyer Tamera Bennett Speaks at SXSW 2016


Texas music and trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett is honored to join her colleagues Paul Bezilla, Lynn Morrow and Kelly Vallon presenting "Developing An Indie Artist's Career Using Their Money on Others'" on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the SXSW Music Conference.

Here's a link to the materials for the presentation. And you can click the slideshow to the right of this post.

Recording Artist and Songwriter Checklist - What Do I Do Next With My Music Career? #musiclaw

Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett put together the go-to checklist for every musician, artist, band or songwriter. This list helps you organize the business side of your music career.

Click this link for the Recording Artist and Songwriter Checklist as a downloadable file.

Here's a summary of the things every artist, musician, or producer needs to consider in launching a music career.

  • Join as songwriter with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (pick one)
  • Join as music publisher with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (pick the same one as you did for writer)
  • Make a list of all completed songs with co-writer/co-publisher splits and contact information and date of creation
  • Submit titles and songwriter "splits" to ASCAP, BMI or SESAC (just to the one you joined)
  • Determine if collaboration agreement(s) needed for co-writers on songs
  • Make a list of all completed sound recordings and co-owners, if any
  • Determine songs and sound recordings to file for Copyright
  • File Copyright Applications before release or within 90 days of release
  • Secure ISRC codes for sound recordings that will be released ( and provide to anyone who releases your sound recordings
  • Embed metadata into digital tracks
  • Join Sound Exchange as an Artist (for collection of digital performance artist royalties)
  • Join Sound Exchange as a Copyright Owner (for collection of digital performance sound recording owner royalties)
  • Determine if work for hire agreements are needed for any talent, producers, engineers, side musicians on sound recordings
  • Determine aggregator to upload tracks for digital and streaming
  • Determine distributor, if any, for physical product
  • Secure domain name
  • Secure social networking fan and business sites (not just personal)
  • Consider if you need to file a trademark application for band name
  • If you are in a band, do you need a band agreement?  Are the band members hired?
  • Do you need a formal business entity?  Are you touring?
  • Do you have a manager?  Is this formalized in writing?
  • Do you have someone loaning you money or fronting expenses/recording costs/living expenses for your career?  Is this relationship in writing?
  • Create Electronic Press Kit
  • Secure work for hire/copyright assignment for any photos, video/footage filmed by others on your behalf

Books Recommended by Texas Music and Media Lawyer Tamera Bennett:

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Real Trademarks in Virtual Game Worlds - VIRAG

Video games have become so realistic sometimes I struggle to tell the difference on a computer or TV screen between what's real and what's virtual. Game developers include familiar trademarks and brands to bring authenticity to the game.

First Amendment v. Trademark

In the United States, creative works are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.  Because of that protection for the whole work, a balancing act must occur between the rights of the trademark owner and the First Amendment rights that arise in the creative work.  Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994 (2d Cir. 1989).  If the court determines there is a likelihood of consumer confusion, it will then balance the trademark rights against the freedom of expression rights.

The standard test is is the two-prong Rogers test:  1) whether the use of the third-party trademark has artistic relevance; and 2) if so, is it deliberately misleading as to the source or content of the work.  Rogers and the cases adopting its holding have consistently framed the applicable standard in terms of confusion as to the defendant's artistic work as a whole and not solely the alleged use of the defendant’s trademark.

It would probably be helpful to jump over to Tamera's article Is That Fair (Use)? Third Party Trademarks in Film, Print, Video Games and other Media for some basics on the topic of fair use and trademarks and more background on application to video games.

Virag, S.R.L. v. Sony Computer Ent. America LLC

Race cars don’t seem to bring any new twists to the Rogers test. In Virag, S.R.L. v. Sony Computer Ent. America LLC, 3:15-cv-01729 (N.D. Calif. 2015), Virag, a flooring manufacturer, sponsors the Rally of Monza Track in Formula 1 racing. This means their trademark is visual around the track. And, one of their owners, Mirco Virag is a Formula 1 race car driver.  In 2010, Sony released the race car driving simulation game Gran Turismo 5 including a simulation of the Monza Track and the VIRAG trademark on a bridge in the game. The VIRAG mark was also used in Gran Turismo 6.

The court applied the Roger’s test on a Motion to Dismiss holding: 1) Since the game is focused on having a realistic race experience, using the VIRAG mark has some artistic relevance to the video game; and, under prong 2) there was no intentional misleading of consumers as to sponsorship. Gran Turismo 5 and 6 are race car simulation games. Because the VIRAG mark was used on the track and not on a race car, the court found the use was not intentionally misleading to consumers. Compare the holding and discussion in Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Textron, Inc., No. C 12-0018 (N.D. Cal. July 25, 2012).

The result of each video game case is fact-determined. What does that mean? Simply, the facts of the case determine the outcome. There's not a clear yes or no answer as to whether or not it's fair use to use a trademark you don't own in your video game.

Texas trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett will share even more of her thoughts on this topic at the TexasBarCLE Advanced IP Conference on February 18, 2016.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 70 - Tamera Bennett - Gordon Firemark

2015 Top Cases from Entertainment Law Update Podcast


Click the arrow below to listen to Episode 69.

California film/TV lawyer Gordon Firemark and Dallas music/trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett, wrap up and count down the top entertainment law cases of 2015 on Episode 69 of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

The countdown includes:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Copyright Grant Termination ruling
Happy Birthday Copyright - Case Settled
Lenz v. Universal - Dancing Baby - Must Make Fair Use Determination
Blurred Lines Case - on Appeal
Innocence of Muslims Ruling (and possible  en banc review)
Pre ‘72 Copyrights – Turtles - Class Action claimants settle without the Turtles
Copyright Office Music Licensing Study – the history and the future
Point Break Live ruling - stage performance (not the new movie)
Monkey Selfies