News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Copyright Protection for Illegally Created Graffiti Art?

In his recently published article, “Art Crimes? Theoretical Perspectives on Copyright Protection for Illegally-Created Graffiti Art” in the Maine Law Review, Jamison Davies explores the boundaries of intellectual property law as it applies to this form of urban public art. Courts have faced the issue of copyright protection for illegal graffiti head on only once, in Villa v. Pearson Education, Inc. 2003 WL 22922178 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 9, 2003). The Villa court decided against copyright protection for graffiti that was illegally created.  Despite this precedent, Davies examines several theories that might question this holding. He looks at economic theories that incentivize the production of art, personhood theories that promote the personal development of the artist, and theories of political dissent and democracy that view graffiti as a vehicle of self-expression for disadvantaged groups. You can access this article, 65 Maine L. Rev. 28, both electronically and in print in the library.

Derby Girls: When Roller Derby and IP Collide

Roller derby is a predominantly female, all-American contact sport that combines fierceness and speed with elements of punk rock and camp.  In Talk Derby to Me: Intellectual Property Norms Governing Roller Derby Pseudonyms [90 Texas Law Review 1093 (April 2012)], author David Fagundes looks at the formal and informal mechanisms used to protect the skaters’ handles. Derby names or pseudonyms are creative and colorful nicknames competitors use in the sport. Fagundes provides some great examples  – Killo Kitty, Venus de Maul’r, Axles of Evil, Madame Ovary, Paris Troika, and Tae Kwon Ho are just a few. Derby names are regulated through informal registration systems and through formal trademark law.  The author applies the example of derby names to wider IP law and legal theory.

Northeast Ohio’s own all-female fast-track derby league is the Burning River Roller Girls, which consists of over 100 players organized into seven teams. Teams complete at Cleveland State University, in the Wolstein Center.  Local derby girls likewise sport rockin’ pseudonyms, like Dita Von Bitch, DomiKnitrix, Moltov Hot-Tail, and Morbid Cherub.

Image source:

More 2012 Nutshells

Back in December, we previewed the 2012 nutshells that had already arrived in the library [2012 Nutshells Arrive]. Figured it was time to update our list of the most current nutshells:

Nutshells can be checked out from room AO66. Second copies are located in the reference stacks.


Patent Attorneys’ Work Increases Due to Changes in Law

A recent article in Crain’s Cleveland Business interviews some local patent attorneys whose business will be affected by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which was signed into law in September.  As mandated by the Act, in March 2013 there will be a switch from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system.  This makes the turn around time for completion of legal work more critical.  The Act makes other far-reaching changes including changes to what is required to obtain a patent.    Some local attorneys are adding associates to help.  You can read the article on Lexis: Michell Park, Patent Work Gears Up, Crain’s Cleveland Business 10/31/2011.

If you are interested in a career in patent law, check out the library’s Intellectual Property Career Research Guide and/or talk to the friendly and knowledgable folks at C|M|LAW’s Office of Career Planning.

(Picture is U.S. Patent No. 6,009,566 (Head and Neck Support for Racing))

Dramatic Readings of Apple Software Licenses

Who knew that tedious licensing language could be so entertaining?  Take a listen to these very short dramatic readings of Apple licensing software by actor Richard Dreyfus, brought to you by

Thanks to Professor Karin Mika for the tip.