Photo of Jessica R. Corpuz

Jessica Corpuz is a shareholder at Weintraub Tobin. She represents clients in all aspects of litigation, including in particular the handling of complex business and commercial disputes. Jessica has successfully represented clients in trial, mediation, arbitration, and appeal. She has litigated cases in fields related to licensing and distribution agreements, private equity acquisitions and corporate transactions, international law, breach of contract, fraud, and complex judgment collection, among others.

A recent case in the Southern District of New York calls into serious question the ubiquitous practice of embedding photographs on a content creator’s website.

An embedded photo is one that is not hosted on the website’s own server, but instead is linked to a third-party server like a social media site.  Instead of the photo being permanently available on the website, the website pulls the photo from the third-party site live when the website is accessed by a user.  Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok make it extremely easy for websites to embed user posts, and provide website designers with tools specifically meant to make embedding seamless for the user.

In a recent case (Sinclair v. Ziff Davis, LLC, 1:18-cv-00790, S.D.N.Y.), a professional photographer posted a photo to Instagram that was later embedded by Mashable in an article on its website.  In its original ruling, the court held that Instagram’s terms of service (which every user, including Sinclair, accepts when signing up) permitted the embedding on links on third party websites.  The court ruled that Instagram had the right to relicense Sinclair’s image to Mashable, and granted Mashable a dismissal of Sinclair’s claims.
Continue Reading Recent Case Demonstrates the Need for Caution When Embedding Links to Social Media Posts

Nearly unnoticed in the wrangling over the amount of COVID relief payments, the stimulus bill signed into law on December 27, 2020 also included several interesting intellectual property provisions.  Buried thousands of pages into the bill, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (the “CASE Act”) establishes a small claims court-type system under the U.S. Copyright Office for copyright holders to pursue low-value claims of copyright violations.

As it stands now, copyright infringement litigation is time-consuming and expensive, especially for small copyright holders.  Copyright infringement is rife on social media, leaving content creators with few options short of hiring a lawyer, sending cease-and-desist letters, and filing lawsuits.  The attorney’s fees for such litigation can easily exceed the recovery for copyright infringement, leaving the content creator at a serious disadvantage.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Stimulus Bill also Includes Little-known Provision Creating New Streamlined Tribunal for Copyright Infringement Claims

With live events cancelled during the pandemic, content creators are increasingly dependent on merchandise sales.  Creators from podcasters to YouTubers to musicians are reliant on merch to bolster their revenue and their brands.  Subscribers stuck at home are watching more video and listening to more podcasts and music.  Apart from advertising and sponsorships, merch is the only way for creators to monetize their increased profile during the pandemic.

However, 2020 has seen an explosion of counterfeit products including branded merchandise by content creators.  An analysis from the New York Times in February 2020 found that the sale of counterfeit items represents more than 3 percent of global trade, corresponding to $1.4 billion in value in the U.S. alone.  Reviews on Amazon containing words like “fake” and “counterfeit” have doubled since 2015.
Continue Reading Trademark Protection for Your Brand Merchandise in the Age of Copycats, Counterfeits, and Fakes

In a dramatic Sunday morning hearing (conducted remotely via telephone), lawyers for TikTok and the Trump Administration battled over whether the government’s order banning TikTok from the Apple and Google app stores would take effect that night.

The Trump Administration has argued for months that TikTok is a threat to national security because its corporate owner, ByteDance, is a Chinese company. Most recently, the Commerce Department issued rules, which were to take effect on September 27 at 11:59pm, banning the app from U.S. app stores and prevented any further software updates. TikTok filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the Trump Administration’s actions. On September 23, it filed a motion for preliminary injunction, essentially asking the Court to stop the Commerce Department’s ban from taking effect.
Continue Reading The Courts Step in to Protect TikTok from the Trump Administration