Sep 23 2015

Judge Rules “Happy Birthday To You” Now In Public Domain

Oakland, CA (September 23, 2015) – Two years after the lawsuit began, Judge George King of the Central District of California today ruled the copyright for “Happy Birthday to You” is not held by Warner/Chappell Music. The song known worldwide and sung at birthday parties for over 100 years is now in the public domain. […]

Sep 9 2015

Happy Birthday to You

Now the Oakland-based firm Donahue Fitzgerald is involved in what The New York Times calls “a lawsuit for the ages” to prove that “Happy Birthday to You” is no longer under copyright and belongs to the public. The story of “Happy Birthday to You” started in 1893, when Mildred and Patty Hill published Song Stories […]

Sep 4 2015

Are You Ready for the Next Data Breach? The FTC, Privacy Policies, and Data Protection

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, FTC v. Wyndham, affirms the FTC’s authority to take actions against companies that have unfair or deceptive cybersecurity practices. It is more critical than ever that businesses implement measures to adequately protect their customer data, prepare response plans in case the data […]

Nov 24 2014

Napa Earthquake Losses: Insurance Coverage Matters

Early published estimates place earthquake-related losses from the Napa earthquake on August 24, 2014, at over a billion dollars. Northern California residents and businesses can learn from the experiences of insureds who suffered similar losses during the 1995 Northridge earthquake. Those who suffered losses should quickly document their losses and carefully examine their insurance policies […]

Nov 24 2014

Online Privacy Laws Take Effect in California

See generally Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 22575 et seq. Disclosure on How Company Handles Do-Not-Track Signals Operators of commercial websites and services that collect personally identifiable information (“PII”) must disclose in their online privacy policies how they will respond to “Do-Not-Track” signals sent from consumers that reside in California. For purpose of this […]

Oct 27 2014

Why Foreign Companies Should Register Copyrights in the U.S.

The reason for this false sense of confidence is that the plain language of the international copyright treaty called the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the “Berne Convention”) leads many to assume that registering a copyright in the U.S., a signatory to the Berne Convention, is an unnecessary formality. Article […]

Oct 16 2014

Music Clearance

Our music clearance practice includes obtaining rights to use music  recordings and the underlying compositions in television, movies, commercials,  stage productions, and virtually any other use where permission from the  artists and composers is required. It is most important that music clearance  be a part of planning any audio or audiovisual project which will utilize […]

May 14 2014

Insulating Your Business against Twitter Defections

The PhoneDog Suit In October 2010, Noah Kravitz left his position as the editor-in-chief of While employed by PhoneDog, Kravitz became so influential in the sphere of mobile phone reviews that his videos, blogs, and reviews were watched by millions, and he was considered one of the most influential people in the industry. To […]