It’s February 2020.

SaVonne just resigned from her full-time job to finally dedicate her time to growing her business, Aya Paper Co., an eco-friendly card company. She would rush from one event to another, hopes still intact, completely oblivious to what the next month would bring.

Quetzal, 3,000 miles away in California, had his whole year planned out. The formally trained violinist and musician — with the stage name QVLN — had a west coast tour lined up and international gigs scheduled for Europe and northern Africa.

Jason was in the zone, creating the world of Andromeda, where freedom is…

On October 7, 2020, the Supreme Court will hear a pivotal copyright battle between Google and Oracle. The outcome is all the more uncertain following the sad and unsettling news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing.

At the heart of the debate, the court must answer two key questions (1) do copyright protections include software interfaces, specifically application programming interfaces or APIs? and (2) is Google’s use of APIs to create a new program considered fair use?

How does this impact artists and other creators? Their decision will ultimately be about when, how, and how much creators can build on…

A Look at What Black People Have to Lose At the Hands of the EARN IT Act

We are living history: a pandemic that has disproportionately killed Black people, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the racial reckoning across this country that soon followed. All this in the final months of a presidential election. There has never been a more important time to fight for free speech online than now.

This Administration’s position on this moment in history was made clear during the White House’s July 4th celebrations. Standing in a packed amphitheater in front…

Sampling May Never Be the Same

This month, Drake and his producers won a key battle in the fight for fair use. But what exactly is fair use? And what does it mean for artists and producers moving forward?

As artists and creators, we constantly take inspiration from our peers and our idols. But do you ever wonder, where is the line? How much is too much? Samples and mashups are commonplace in music and especially in hip-hop. Chuck D. once said: “We thought sampling was just a way of arranging sounds […] to blend sound. Just as visual artists…

When industry recognition finally knocks, it doesn’t come bearing a manual on how a musician should make smart choices. But for artists, making smart choices and deals early is critical to ensuring the integrity of their work and securing future earnings.

Mase claims that Diddy treated him unfairly with an early publishing deal made when Mase was 19.

This past week, rapper Mase took to social media to call out his former label head, Diddy. His concerns centered around ownership of his masters — the recordings from which all licensing and royalty agreements flow: “You bought it (Mase’ master publishings) for about 20k & I offered you 2m in cash. This is not black excellence at all…

How Actions Taken By DOJ Will Stifle Diversity In the Movie Industry

Before we return to work slightly hungover from too much turkey and sweet potato pie, let us give thanks for the visual feast, powerful perspective, and beautiful blackness of “Queen & Slim.” A story that is equally glorious as it is defiant, reminded us of the importance of black autonomy in creative expression.

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in “Queen & Slim.”Andre D. Wagner / Universal Pictures

But as moviegoers rushed to see “Queen & Slim,” the Department of Justice took actions that could undo the diversity in storytelling we now celebrate. This past week, the Justice Department filed a motion in federal court to terminate the Paramount consent decrees, the agreements that have…

Kimberly Tignor

Kimberly is the Executive Director for the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice and the founder of Take Creative Control.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store