Copyright, Memes, and Politics

When: October 22, 2019 at 12:00pm - 2:00pm EDT - This event has passed

About the Program:

Is using a character in a “meme” format fair use for copyright purposes? When a copyright owner makes public statements that he wants everyone to share his work does he give up his right to sue for infringement?  And when a character becomes associated with views dismaying to the copyright owner, is there a fair use or other defense against infringement lawsuits? 

Join the Northern California chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA for a panel discussion of these and other questions in the context of the recent lawsuit between Matt Furie, creator of the Pepe the Frog character, and Infowars.

Program will satisfy 1.5 CA CLE credits pending approval by the State Bar of California.


Marc J. Randazza is a prominent First Amendment and intellectual property attorney. His practice includes cutting-edge intellectual property litigation and transactions as well as a wide array of free speech matters. He has over a dozen law review articles under his belt as well as a CNN legal column, and is frequently called on to consult the press on free speech matters.

Mr. Randazza served as lead counsel to Alex Jones in the fair-use case involving “Pepe the Frog.”



Marta Belcher is an attorney in Ropes & Gray’s intellectual property litigation and data practice groups, and a leader in the area of blockchain law. She represents companies, industry associations, and civil liberties organizations in matters related to blockchain and public policy.  Marta serves as outside general counsel for one of the largest blockchain projects, defended one of the first patent litigations against a blockchain company, and was recognized by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer awards for her pioneering work on the first blockchain-transferable software license.

Marta has experience working on complex copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, false advertising, and privacy matters in the Supreme Court, federal appeals courts, and federal district courts, as well as proceedings in the International Trade Commission, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and the World Intellectual Property Association.




Tyler T. Ochoa
is a Professor with the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California. He was a clerk for the Hon. Cecil F. Poole of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked in private practice, where he specialized in copyright and trade secret litigation involving computer software.

Professor Ochoa has co-authored a leading copyright casebook, a celebrity rights casebook, a student hornbook on intellectual property law, and a comprehensive treatise on copyright law. His article, Patent and Copyright Term Extension and the Constitu­tion: A Historical Perspective, 49 J. Copyr. Soc’y U.S.A. 19 (2001), was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ash­croft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003).   





Ethan Jacobs (Moderator) is a partner at Holland Law, where he represents clients on a variety of intellectual property matters and business disputes. His copyright practice includes representing the author of the parody stage play Point Break LIVE! in a jury trial on fair use issues. Ethan’s clients include software developers, book publishers, online marketplaces, developers of workplace training content, individual artists, and developers of virtual currencies, technologies in the cannabis industry, and LIDAR systems.





Members: $20

All are welcome! Lunch will be served.

This event has passed