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Racial Tensions and IP: Creativity in Artwork

Artists work hard to create pieces that are original, meaningful, and creative. Fortunately, the United States provides artists with a means to protect their works from being copied. But does every piece of original work obtain copyright protection? Offensive imagery depicted in works of art is something to talk about. Unlike trademark protection, copyright protection does not necessarily need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to protect the original creator’s IP. Therefore, controversial art is not uncommon in any form.

Copyrighted material can easily cause rifts between communities and more relevantly, raise racial tensions by expressing a specific message. In January 2017, a number of Republican lawmakers disagreed with a piece of art that was showcased by a local high school. The painting, created by a high school student, was one of the hundreds of winners in the annual Congressional Arts Competition, but drew the attention of the lawmakers due to its depiction of police officers with animal heads.

Terrorism, Privacy, and IP: Privacy Law Spotlight

Would you sacrifice your privacy as an attempt to feel safer from foreign and domestic threats? After the events of September 11, 2001, this was the exact question that was raised by Congress. If we have the ability to access a person’s private information, then we may be able to preemptively stop any planned acts of terrorism. This ideal birthed the USA Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement and intelligence-gathering services unprecedented authority to mine data and wiretap persons of interest.

But under constant surveillance, do U.S. citizens have privacy? The implementation of the USA Patriot Act back in 2001 put the protection of people’s privacy in jeopardy. Is it acceptable for the government intelligence agencies to have access to every American’s phone and internet records? Not only do intelligence agencies have accesc to your records, they have access to your assets, including IP as well, which may be seized if deemed a threat. In 2015, changes were made to set limitations and ensure that the American people’s right to privacy was upheld. Yet, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was still in effect, giving NSA the ability to access telephone, email, and other electronic communications without a warrant or probable cause. In December 2017, Section 702 will be under the microscope of Congress to determine whether privacy or intelligence is more vital to the U.S. Government.

Looking Ahead to the 2020 Campaign

During the 2016 elections, there was one slogan that was making the rounds, and making an impact on the American people. This slogan came from the Trump-Pence campaign, and claimed to “Make America Great Again.” Needless to say the slogan helped bring Trump into the Oval Office for at least four years.

President Trump, through his professional career, is no stranger to registered trademarks. The Trump organization, as a whole, owns a number of registered trademarks for use with their businesses, campaigns, products, and basically anything else related to the Trump brand. Trump owns about 818 marks registered through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Despite the impressive portfolio of trademarks, the Trump brand shows no signs of stopping. President Trump has already filed for a mark for his reelection campaign in 2020. The slogan? “Keep America Great.”

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