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UHLC 3Ls Marget and Pruitt spearhead Entertainment Law Clinic’s first Copyright Claims Board action

Main Street Marquee in downtown Houston formerly showcased the artwork Commute by artist Sarah Welch.

Main Street Marquee in downtown Houston formerly showcased the artwork “Commute” by artist Sarah Welch.

UHLC 3L Jordan Marget

UHLC 3L Jordan Marget

UHLC 3L Bailey Pruitt

UHLC 3L Bailey Pruitt

UHLC Entertainment Law Clinic Director Justen S. Barks (J.D. ’13)

UHLC Entertainment Law Clinic Director Justen S. Barks (J.D. ’13)

Jan. 03, 2023 — University of Houston Law Center’s Entertainment Law Clinic filed its first Copyright Claims Board (CCB) action this fall. Led by 3Ls Jordan Marget and Bailey Pruitt, the team assisted a local artist in protecting her creative work.

“I am very proud of them, of their commitment, drive and grind to succeed,” said Justen S. Barks (J.D. ’13), UHLC Entertainment Law Clinic Director. “Their passion for entertainment law is heartfelt, and to get this opportunity is the perfect jumpstart of our entertainment law clinic litigation program.”

UHLC students Marget and Pruitt have gained hands-on experience with a local public artist Sarah Welch, whose billboard-sized vinyl art piece had been used to demonstrate Houston’s vibrant downtown life by a reality television show that never sought to license her work.

“Without the help of the UH Entertainment Law Clinic, I would not have the time or resources to pursue this copyright case,” Welch, client and MFA student at UH, said. “They have taken great care to help me understand the process and prepare for the future.”

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright infringement occurs “when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.”

“We helped this client file a copyright for her amazing artwork when we found out that her work was infringed upon by someone who did not have any rights to use it, nor did they ask her to use her work,” Pruitt said. “We decided to file with the Copyright Claims Board because it is a faster process than litigation.”

The CCB is a specialized tribunal established in 2020 within the U.S. Copyright Office to offer copyright owners and users a streamlined, cost-effective alternative to resolve copyright infringement disputes.

“The ELC is an extremely diverse clinic,” Pruitt said. “I think most people think of film and music when thinking of entertainment law, but we cover a wide range of intellectual property topics, including copyright, trademark, contract and licensing, all on top of traditional entertainment law topics.”

Marget and Pruitt have partnered with the Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, a nonprofit organization providing legal assistance and resources to the creative community. They are also co-founders of the sports and entertainment law organization.

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