“Sometimes Love Comes Around and It Knocks You Down…”
“You should leave your boyfriend now, I’m a ask him,” would be interesting if Kanye West wrote that line in reference to Kris Humphries.
The whole Kanye, Kim Kardashian, and Kris Humphries love triangle has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Did you know that underCalifornialaw biology does not necessarily determine the paternity of a child? InCalifornia, there is a rebutable presumption that the woman’s husband is the father of any children born into their marriage.
Assuming Kim Kardashian is still legally married to Kris Humphries when she gives birth in June, under Californialaw Kris would be the “presumed father.” Kim K. can overcome this presumption by presenting “clear and convincing evidence, such a as a DNA test, that Kanye is the biological father of the baby. For Kim, Kanye, and Kris sake lets hope the terms of the divorce or annulment gets finalized before June. Otherwise, we may hear Kanye rapping these lines from the Keri Hilson song Knocks You Down, “Woe is me. Baby this is tragic.”
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Eight times USA National Champion, Olympian athlete, motivational speaker and inspiration, Khadevis Robinson is truly the modern day ‘Renaissance Man.’ Last year, J. Paye had the opportunity to speak with the 2012 Olympian while he was in the process of moving into his new home. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions and dished out all the details about qualifying for the United States 2012 Olympic track team, life and his inspirations.
In 2008, Robinson qualified for the Olympic Trails however did not make the team because he placed fourth in a qualifying race when he needed to be in the top three. Nonetheless, he did not let what he described as one of the most disappointing moments of his career get him down. He spent the last three years training just as hard, pushing himself to his limit and made the 2012 Olympic team. Although, once he got to London he did not make the semifinals he states, “There are no failures or mistakes. There are only lessons!”
It is his positive out look on life that makes him a phenomenal motivational speaker. He uses defining moments from his life to uplift others. For instance, while in college Robinson’s stepfather pasted away and it devastated his mother. Devastated her to the point that he believed that he needed to drop out of school and abandon a promising track & field career to take care of her. It was a conversation with his biological father, who was an absent figure in his life that aided him in making his decision. His father told him to pray, and after Khadevis prayed his prayers were clearly answered.
It is his spiritual beliefs that give him his positive outlook on life. He stated, “Everything in life has a purpose, every human has purpose.” He believes we all have an Olympian within and should release our inherited skills. Given that he is a motivational speaker he has to keep himself motivated if he wants to motivate others. He does this by constantly reading books, quotes and poems; he listens to and watches the CD’s andDVD’s of Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Zig Zigler and Tony Robbins. He also watches motivational movies and listens to motivational songs.
Every person wants to leave behind a legacy. The legacy Robinson wants to create is that every person he has crossed paths with says that he made a positive impact or influence on their lives. His legacy, which is rooted in his spiritual belief, is “We are all one.” So, if we are all one, when we are helping another person, we are actually also helping ourselves.
For more information on Khadevis Robinson check out http://www.khadevis.com/. Remember that WE ALL HAVE A STORY! Let’s share it with the world.
“Awaken Your Olympian Within.”
Connect with Khadevis on twitter
J. Paye in Brief
As an attorney and entrepreneur each day is filled with unique challenges that I need to resolve. On the day, that I interviewed KD for the J. Paye in Brief blog I was drafting a complaint for particularly complex client matter. While on the phone, I listened to KD describe his life story and how he overcame many obstacles in his career as a track & field athlete and Olympian. His motivational words gave me renewed energy to tackle the client matter. He is truly a motivating individual.
After each interview for the J. Paye blog, I gain new insight. During our conversation, Khadevis stated that when he first started building his brand he did not copyright the motivational videos and book he produced and published on his website. Prior to meeting me, many of my entertainment clients fail to copyright their song lyrics, screen plays, graphic designs and other materials.
Copyright registration is permissive. A person can still initiate a copyright infringement suit for original works of authorship (material) they created, but have not registered with the copyright office. However, copyright law provides certain incentives for individuals to register their work. An individual who has registered his work can request an award of reasonable attorney fees. Generally, a person involved in litigation can only seek to recover attorney fees if it is provided for by statute or contract. Additionally, having a copyright registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright. As I stated in prior blog posts, an individual can apply for copyright registration electronically by visiting copyright.gov and paying a $35 filing fee.
Contact J. Paye & Associates with specific questions you have pertaining to copyright registration or infringement.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On September 24, the VH1 Reality show Chrissy and Mr. Jones premiered. The show chronicles the lives of hip hop artist Jim Jones, his fiancé Chrissy Lampkin, and his mother Nancy “Mama” Jones. All three originally appeared in the VH1 show, Love and Hip Hop.
In the season premier, as recapped on the VH1 site, “Mama Jones has some drama in her life over the Psychotic Bitch song. [Music producer Freddie Robinson, Jr.,] who produced the song, wants a cut of [Mama Jones] money, but she’s not having it. As far as she’s concerned, she came up with the concept, therefore no one deserves a cut. Freddie begs to differ claiming ownership rights.”
As an intellectual property attorney, I had to laugh during this scene. Mama Jones is not alone in her thinking….I often have to explain to clients that an idea or concept is not entitled to copyright protection. Copyright law only protects, original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
In Mama Jones situation, Freddie has ownership rights to the track he produced for the song. He would also have ownership rights in the lyrics if he wrote them. Mama Jones should have had Freddie sign a work-for-hire agreement prior to producing the song if she wanted sole ownership rights to the Psychotic Bitch song. Additionally, Freddie would not be entitled to revenue generated from the song under a work-for-hire agreement.
A work for hire agreement is a written contract, which essentially says, that the person or company who commissions a work from an author retains actual ownership and is, in fact, considered the legal author of the work. The actual creator of the work has no rights to payment beyond what was promised in the initial work-for-hire agreement.
It appears that Mama Jones may find herself in the same position as Real Housewife of Atlanta star, Kim Zolciak. In 2009, music producer, Don Vito initiated a lawsuit against Kim Zolciak for copyright infringement when she failed to compensate him for producing the song Don’t be Tardy for the Party.
Mama Jones can rid herself of all this drama by having Freddie sign a written agreement transferring all ownership rights to the Psychotic Bitch song over to her. Guess will just have to watch the rest of the season of Chrissy & Mr. Jones to see how this situation pans out for Mama Jones. Today, Yvette, my administrative assistant informed me that in a subsequent episode Jim Jones and Freddie had “an encounter” about the song. Yvette felt sorry for Freddie that he was being disrespected like he was nothing by another man. She wants to know how come both of them can have a close relationship with Mama Jones for all these years and not know each other. I’ll leave that topic for Necole Bitchie and other bloggers to discuss.
Prior to posting this post, I had a conversation with my administrative assistant Yvette.
Contact J. Paye & Associates today to discuss your copyright needs.
Since July 27th, people around the world have been glued to their television screens watching the London Olympics. J.Paye has had the pleasure of chatting with past Olympian, Edward W. Neufville, III, who ran track for Liberia in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Neufville describes himself as a passionate, persistent, and competent immigration and international law attorney and entrepreneur.
Let’s rewind 16 years and 4 Olympic competitions to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Then, 19-year-old Neufville was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) where he ran track. On his collegiate track team were several American and international students who also competed in the Olympics. In the months leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games, the Liberian Olympic track team assembled in Jefferson, Georgia and began training as a team. Each day, they would train from nine in the morning to noon then again during the evening hours perfecting their technique, weight training and sprinting. According to Neufville, “I felt very blessed, honored and fortunate to have competed at the Olympic Games for my country, especially at such a young age. It was a feeling of accomplishment and also a feeling of giving back to Liberia. Liberia was in the midst of a civil crisis in 1996. The opportunity to represent Liberia and provide a positive picture of Liberia was very satisfying. It was out of this world!”
In April of 1996, three months prior to the start of the Olympic Games, a civil conflict reignited in Liberia. The team lost complete contact with their Olympic committee and officials. Together, as a unit, they persevered by serving as their own negotiators. Although they did not make the Olympic finals, the team placed 24th out of 38 teams.
Other than making the Liberian Olympic team, Neufville accomplished much more during his athletic career. From 1991-1995, Neufville won four individual state championships in South Carolina and set the South Carolina high state record in the 400 meters hurdles. His most defining moments as an athlete were when the Liberian national team set records in the 4×100 sprint relays in 1996 Olympics and the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Greece. These were memorable because of the ties and camaraderie that existed between him and his teammates. Another defining moment was running the relay in 1997. Neufville stated that he had a hairline stress fracture in his lower back days leading up to the race and could not walk. However, he persevered because he did not want to disappoint his teammates. The team set a national record that helped to restore the image of Liberia. Another moment he speaks of fondly, was when he placed 3rd in the 55 meters sprint at the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships because he was not expected to make the finals.
In October of 2008, Neufville was inducted into his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in Sumter, South Carolina and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Track and Field & Cross-Country Hall of Fame in January of 2007. Within every profession come highs and lows, Neufville most disappointing moment or moments is how frequently he got injured. As he says, “I ran most of my collegiate years either injured or recovering from an injury.”
Now, let’s fast-forward to today. Neufville expresses that the most memorable moment of the 2012 Olympic games is the opening ceremony or the “Parade of Nations”. He warmheartedly recalls 16 years ago, as a 19 year old, walking into the Atlanta Olympic Stadium as a member of the Liberian Olympic Team. “The feeling you get when your nation is introduced is one of a kind.” Other favorite moments of the 2012 Olympic games thus far is the flawless performance of Gabby Douglas in the all round gymnastics competition and the Men’s’ 10,000 meters race with Great Britain’s Mo Farah and training mate, American Galen Rupp, which was team work at its best.
J.Paye in Brief on Endorsement Contracts for Athletes
Negotiating favorable terms into an endorsement or sponsorship contract is about “The Art of the Deal” The more name recognition or fan base an athlete has gives the greater negotiating power.
Many of the Olympic athletes who will be offered endorsement deals are young adults or in their teens. As such, the morals clause is going to be a big negotiating point for these athletes. A morals clause allows the company to terminate the athlete for an act that significantly devalues the endorsement or embarrasses the company. Here, the athlete will want to make sure the contract stipulates what behavior/conduct is prohibited by the endorser. The last thing an athlete would want is to obtain a multi year endorsement deal that is cancelled because he or she engaged in behavior not specifically defined in the contract. All I can say to this is think Michael Phelps and the infamous bong photos. An athlete will want to make sure the morals clause allows them to terminate the contract when the company engages in immoral behavior. An athlete does not want their brand to be associated with a company that has engaged in consumer fraud or some other unethical activity.
The athlete wants to make sure the contract specifically defines the compensation terms. With good legal representation the athlete can negotiate creative compensation structures. For example, maybe the athlete forgoes a large upfront payment and instead opts for stock or ownership rights in the company. Think Rapper 50 Cent and the Vitamin Water deal. This type of compensation structure works well with start-up companies vs. mature establish companies. Another important provision of endorsement contracts it the exclusivity clause. An athlete does not want this clause to be so narrow preventing them from obtaining other endorsements.
Lastly, Athletes want to remember that they are the brand and should take steps to protect their intellectual property. Athletes may want to trademark unique nicknames they are recognized by in their respective sports.
Most of us know Anthony Frasier as the young tech entrepreneur from Newark, New Jersey, who was featured in CNN’s Black in America 4: Silicon Valley. Many of us do not know that his biggest fear when it comes to being an entrepreneur is poverty. Frasier states, “I dream of not having to…I know what [poverty] looks like…I’ve slept on project floors before. I don’t even want to be at that kind of point again that’s one of the things that strikes fear in me so I work harder.”
Although, Frasier has transcended his humble beginnings he credits his background for making him a strong entrepreneur. He says in business, “you have to have thick skin.” He developed this mentality growing up in a rough area of the Newark, where he had to deal, “with so many characters so many different types of people, so there was really nothing new in terms of the type of characters [he deals] with in business today.” Frasier has never stated this in prior interviews he exclusively tells us at J.Paye, that he credits his experience as a cadet in the ROTC program it helped him develop the leadership skills he needed to become a successful entrepreneur. He said, “learning how to be a leader and those courses and those environments really prepared me.”
As Frasier says “success doesn’t come over night and there is a lot of ground work and time you have to put in.” Frasier took a non-traditional route to becoming a tech entrepreneur, he went to a community college for a year and a half and didn’t like the “vibe” so he dropped out and became a gamer. He realized that he had to turn his passion for video games into a way that he could make money.
In 2008, Frasier created the website Koalition with a friend. IGN a popular website for gamers was their competition. Frasier and his partners decided to differentiate their site from IGN by offering articles and other content for the urban audience. The concept was successful the site gets over 100,000 users a day and also had a content partnership with rapper 50 Cent. Frasier also co-developed Playd a mobile app that allows people to share what games they are playing at the moment.
Although, his business partner wrote the code for Playd, Frasier feels it is important for all technicians to learn how to write codes. He says, “You can build something with a whole lot of users without a whole lot of money…you can be a coder in your basement. Look at Facebook…I use the example everyday…those guys definitely need money for servers and stuff like that, but to start they didn’t need any money.”
Movies such as The Social Network and The Pirates of Silicon Valley depict how the tycoons of Silicon Valley feuded over codes. According to Frasier, you do not hear about this happening much anymore. This is because sites like Open Source makes it okay to use other people’s code. He recommends that if you develop your own code have all third-parties sign a non-disclosure agreement before sharing the code with them.
As an aside, Anthony Frasier’s favorite Platform is the Xbox 360. He recommends indy games, which are video games that are made by start-ups. If he had to choose one Indy Game it would be Limbo a game he is currently playing.
Frasier ended the interview by saying, he “doesn’t feel like [he has] ever had a major success yet. So [he] keeps going. Always looking at the glass half full and [he] has more learning to do.”
J. Paye In Brief…
As an intellectual property lawyer, you can imagine my surprise when Anthony Frasier stated that his company does not have any Intellectual Property. He explained, “In the tech industry…there is a difference…if you have something that you can patent…like the Google search algorithm that is valuable.”
During our conversation, I learned that tech entrepreneurs have a different definition of what qualifies as intellectual property. I can’t say if a trademark is more valuable than a patent, but it is in the interest of all tech start-ups to protect all of their intellectual property whether it is a copyright, patent, or trademark. A developer can copyright a source code by submitting an online application and paying the $35 filing fee. The name of the company can be trademarked electronically as well. It is advisable to consult an intellectual property attorney before filing a trademark or copyright application.
Frasier is correct that developers should have potential investors, outsourcers and other third parties sign non-disclosure agreements before transmitting a copy of the code to them. This will enable developers to maintain the confidentiality of their source code. Again, developers and startups should engage an intellectual property or contract lawyer to draft a non-disclosure agreement. In an earlier blog post To WordPress…or Not to Wordpress I explain the benefits and ramifications of using open source code.
As video games continue to evolve and offer more interactive experiences, the debate about their effects on minors will continue to grow. Currently, the video game industry is self-regulated and numerous states attempt to impose government regulation have been unsuccessful. Last year, the United States Supreme Court held that a California law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to children under 18 was unconstitutional.
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The American Bar Association (ABA) Journal Magazine recently did a profile on J. Paye & Associates Africa Practice. Check out the article entitled Betting on a New Frontier: Solo Sets Sights on Africa. Contact J. Paye & Associates to discuss how we can help you with your Africa related ventures.
Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team gentlemen, and either, we heal as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is. – Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday
Troy Pelshak In Brief
When Troy Pelshak started his rookie year with the St. Louis Rams in 1999, the team had the worst record in the league. The year before his rookie season the Rams won four out of sixteen games. At the start of the 1999 – 2000 season, the Rams had the longest shot at winning Superbowl XXXIV. According to Pelshak, the Rams could not get its team combination correct. Throughout his football career he had never played linebacker or on the defensive line. The Rams coach, Dick Vermeil decided to position Pelshak as an outside linebacker and defensive end.
Vermeil’s coaching decisions proved effective because the Rams started beating teams left and right and putting up amazing numbers. Pelshak said, “the crowning victory [of that season] were they were able to win [the Superbowl] for a great coach.” He described the feeling of winning the Superbowl as “becoming the president” there is no higher achievement that can be met.
The game of football is adversarial at every level. There is the contract negotiation with the player and the team that is seeking to sign the player. The main element of an NFL contract is the money is not guaranteed. The only money that is guaranteed is the money up front. The NFL is the only sport where this is the case. A team can void the player’s contract at any time.
Pelshak’s time in the league taught him many valuable lessons. He recommends that players structure themselves as a business, by forming corporations. He suggests that players conduct all business transactions through their company, including having the NFL sign the corporation rather than the player. Pelshak says this will limit the player’s personal liability on contracts. He also advises players to partner with a good attorney that has the legal acumen to protect the player’s corporation and brand.
The images we see of the NFL portray its glamorous side, but at its core it is a game embedded in risk and uncertainty. Last week, over 2,000 NFL players filed a consolidated master complaint against the NFL. The complaint alleges, “The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result.”
During our phone interview, Pelshak said he does not know who is liable in the NFL head injury lawsuit. He stated the “NFL approves the best equipment out there.” In response to the lawsuit, the NFL stated that, “The league in partnership with the NFL Players Association has spent more than a billion dollars on pensions, medical and disability benefits for retired players.” Pelshak pointed out that retired NFL players have to make monthly payments to maintain certain benefits…it’s similar to COBRA. The issue is that many former players cannot afford to make the payments to continue the long-term disability coverage offered by the League. This is because scores of formers players earned less than $100,000 or have lost most of the money they earned during their time in the league.
J. Paye In Brief
Troy Pelshak offered several ways players can protect themselves during his interview. Forming a corporation does provide certain benefits. A player should talk to a knowledgeable business law attorney to evaluate whether forming a business entity is in his best interest. A player can protect himself by having a lawyer review and negotiate terms into his business contracts that limit his personal liability.
The NFL head injury lawsuit is complicated on many levels. The players will have to show the multiple head blows and concussions they sustained during their NFL career caused their head injuries. This is going to be difficult because, the players in the suit could have experienced head trauma during their high school or college football careers that could have caused the symptoms and illnesses described in the complaint. Additionally, the players could have engaged in activities after their NFL careers, which could be the source of their injuries.
Each team self reports the number of concussions suffered by each player on the team to the League. The problem is not every concussion gets reported to the League. The players in the suit will have to show the law imposes a duty on the League to protect players from unknown concussions and sub-concussions.
In 2010, the NFL earned about $9 billion in revenues. The NFL is facing the possibility of paying billions of dollars in damages to the over 2,000 named plaintiffs, who are growing in number everyday. With this level of liability, the NFL will seek to end this case in the early stages. Both the NFL and Riddell have until August 9, 2012, to file a responsive pleading, which will most likely be a Motion to Dismiss.
Many of the players in the suit sacrificed themselves physically, for their team, the League and fans. The outcome of this lawsuit will determine if the NFL will be able to heal as a team or if players will continue to die as individuals as they struggle with cognitive complications like depression, paranoia, panic attacks and early-onset dementia.
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In my opinion, “If you build something so unique that you need to patent it that is more valuable than the name.”
- Anthony Frasier, Co-Founder of Playd featured on CNN Black in America 4: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley