Song Rights

When do we own what we create? It depends. For Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, hit albums controlled by record companies might soon become theirs again. During the mid-1970s, the Congress decided that after 35 years, a musician could regain…

A Bow Tie Patent

Having said that jackets and dresses cannot be patented or copyrighted, I was fascinated to learn that a bow tie once had one. During the 1950s, the clothing retailer Brooks Brothers had patented their bow tie technology. A recent WSJ…

More Fashion Rules

Are fashion copycats good or bad for the industry? N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer says, “Bad” and is proposing legislation that would provide a 3 year period during which, with certain exceptions, knock-offs would represent copyright infringement. Others, though, say that…

Fashion Rules

If Miuccia Prada sees a vintage designer jacket that she likes, she can copy it. She can even replicate it exactly and call it a Prada. Illegal? No. And yet, if Michael Lewis included a page from another writer’s book,…

J.D. Salinger and the Estate Tax

Reading J.D. Salinger’s obituary, I thought about the estate tax and then beyond to a Mark Helprin interview last June. Have you wondered, with the 2010 suspension of the estate tax (called by some the “Throw Momma From the Train…