Court Finds Implied License Allowed Cannabis Brand To Use Advertising Materials Created By Freelancer


19 January 2022 by Brian G. Murphy Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz Defendant Pure Spectrum CBD is a cannabis company that (according to its website) was “born in the mountains of Evergreen, Colorado” and is “committed to cultivating and crafting the highest quality hemp-derived products.” In 2016, Pure Spectrum engaged plaintiff, a professional graphic designer, on an independent contractor, per-project basis to design logos, packaging, advertising, and marketing for Pure Spectrum’s products. Plaintiff contends that Pure Spectrum agreed that she would be the “ultimate authority (and would have ultimate say) on issues relating to the use and implementation of her creative work.” Pure Spectrum plaid plaintiff a monthly retainer for her services (beginning at $3,000 and working up to $5,000) and promised her a fully-vested 3% equity stake in the company (either as a “gift” or “in recognition of [her] extensive efforts, work, contributions and loyalty to Pure Spectrum”). Plaintiff never received the equity grant. There was no formal written agreement between the parties. Sigh. (See Sigh. (See this post for another case involving the fallout when a company and a freelancer fail to enter into a written agreement.) You can guess where this is headed. After the parties’ relationship fell apart (the opinion doesn’t specify how or why), the plaintiff sued Pure Spectrum in the Federal District Court in Colorado, alleging that she had retained the copyright in her work product and that Pure Spectrum’s use of that work product infringed upon those copyrights. In defense, Pure Spectrum argued that its use was authorized by dint of an implied-in-fact license that arose from the parties’ conduct. While the Copyright Act requires that a transfer of copyright ownership or an exclusive license be in writing, a non-exclusive  license can be granted verbally or inferred through conduct. See 17 U.S.C. § 204(a) (a “transfer of copyright ownership … is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a…

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Source : Court Finds Implied License Allowed Cannabis Brand To Use Advertising Materials Created By Freelancer

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