“Goodbye Copyright? The Rise of Trademark and Publicity Rights in the Hip-Hop Music Space”

    • October 12, 2021
    150 150 The California Copyright Conference

    Date(s) -


    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm



    Trademark and publicity rights in the hip-hop music arena are of increasing importance to artists…

    As the lopsided digital streaming model and “360”-style contracts reduce copyright revenue sources for artists, the ancillary rights of trademark and publicity have become more vital than ever for successful artists.

    Two dynamics result from this phenomenon: First, musical artistry becomes less important than marketing savvy, and second, hyper-aggressive litigation postures are becoming the norm in the hip-hop space.

    The model of commercialization through ancillary rights was pioneered by hip-hop artists from the inception of the art form, as illustrated by Run-DMC’s landmark Adidas deal in the ’80s.

    Today, rap artists including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Cardi B, RZA and Jay-Z aggressively pursue ancillary revenue, and equally aggressively pursue litigation strategies for those who infringe on their brands.



    Garrett M. Johnson, Esq. | Attorney at Law


    Special Presenter:

    Professor Kevin J. Greene | John J. Schumacher Chair, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School


    Advance Registration

    CCC Members $0 per person | Non-members $5 per person

    The registration deadline for this webinar is Tuesday, October 12th at 1:30pm PDT. 

    *** Please note: Zoom webinar links for this webinar will be emailed to you separately after registration.


    Register for this webinar below! 

    Questions? Email is at questions@theccc.org


    Garrett M. Johnson, Esq. | Attorney at Law

    Garrett Johnson is a member of the Bars of New York and the District of Columbia specializing in entertainment and tax law.  Currently representing a cross spectrum of creative talent and industry participants including musicians, authors, recording artists, composers, screenwriters, playwrights, record producers, artist management companies, independent television production entities and record labels, Mr. Johnson is also active in the provision of music publishing administration services and the facilitation of Trademark applications, as well as general business formation.  Active with the Entertainment Law Forum of the American Bar Association, California Copyright Conference (CCC), Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) and the Independent Gospel Artists Alliance (IGAA), Mr. Johnson speaks regularly on legal and business issues in the entertainment industry in a variety of venues.  Prior to entering private practice he was an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., providing counsel to agency staff in legislative, personnel and intellectual property matters.  He received his A.B. in economics from Columbia University and J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.


    Professor Kevin J. Greene | John J. Schumacher Chair, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School

    Kevin J. Greene, Esq. joined Southwestern’s faculty in 2020. He is a nationally recognized entertainment and intellectual property law scholar and an expert witness consultant for copyright, trademark, publicity rights, and entertainment contract disputes. He is a highly committed, outstanding teacher as well as a passionate leader and an intellectual property law influencer.

    Professor Greene was most recently a tenured Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. In addition to Contracts and Copyright, he has taught Intellectual Property, Entertainment Law, Music Law, Publicity Rights, International Entertainment Law, and Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry.

    Before becoming a law professor, Professor Greene practiced law in New York at the premier law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he represented high profile companies such as Time Warner and HBO in litigation matters. He later joined New York’s top entertainment law boutique firm, where he represented clients such as film production companies, including director Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule film company, iconic music artists including Harry Connick, Jr., Bobby Brown, and the seminal rap group Public Enemy.

    Professor Greene’s scholarship has garnered national and international recognition in the area of intellectual property law, particularly his pioneering work on African-American music and inequality in copyright law. His article on abusive trademark litigation, published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, has been the centerpiece of law conferences at Syracuse Law School and NYU. His copyright scholarship is cited in numerous legal publications and in Congressional hearings. His current project explores intellectual property in the context of hip-hop music.

    He has presented his work on IP issues and Contracts across the United States and abroad to organizations such as the American Bar Association’s section on IP, the International Trademark Association, the American Association of Law Schools, Law and Society, Practising Law Institute, the annual South-by-Southwest conference, the Beverly Hills Bar Association and at law schools and universities including Yale, Georgetown, UCLA, and many others.

    Professor Greene served as an expert witness consultant for funk music legend George Clinton in a copyright case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has also worked as an expert in copyright matters in the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York. He recently served as the lead IP expert in a landmark $9.5 million right of publicity case in California state court between the heirs of the Hansen Juice and Soda Company and Coca-Cola. In 2016, the government of Taiwan hosted Professor Greene to present a seminar on copyright issues in the context of hip-hop music.

    Additional accolades for Professor Greene include: the first law professor voted a Top Ten attorney by the San Diego Bar in the field of IP in 2005, the Intellectual Property Institute of the State Bar of California selected him as its Vanguard Award 2016, winner in the category of Academics, the highest award given by the Bar. In 2018, the American Bar Foundation selected him as a fellow. And in 2020, he was selected by the National Bar Association as a “Top 100” attorney in California and was named an Honorary Advisor/Law Scholar at USIA United Sigma Intelligence Association, an international think tank.


    Attention Attorneys: This virtual activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education Credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one (1) hour. The CCC certifies that this activity confirms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education. Attorneys who wish to register for MCLE Credit must include their State Bar number with their reservation. Following this virtual webinar, we will verify your attendance via Zoom reporting and email your certificate of attendance to the email provided at registration. 


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