Michigan State University College of Law, magna cum laude
Berklee College of Music, B.M., summa cum laude
Berklee College of Music, M.A., with distinction
Liesl was born and raised in Michigan. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Michigan State University College of Law, where she was a managing editor for Michigan State Law Review. During her time in law school, she also participated as a student clinician in Michigan State’s First Amendment Law Clinic, where she advocated for free speech rights for high school journalists.
Prior to law school, Liesl received her bachelor's degree in Music and Master of Arts in Music Business from Berklee College of Music and worked as a country music vocalist, playing in venues across the East Coast and the Midwest. Liesl’s primary focus areas are copyright, trademark, and entertainment law.
Liesl is an indoor cycling instructor, an avid reader, and a musician at heart.
Is Your Trademark Distinctive?
Updated: September 30, 2021 Businesses typically want to protect their names, logos, designs, and other indicia of their brands from others trying to profit from their work. Trademark law provides one way to do that. However, not all marks can be trademarked. Under federal law, a trademark cannot be registered unless it is “inherently distinctive,”
What to Know About Bringing a Right of Publicity Case Against Photographers
Updated: September 30, 2021 Celebrities… they’re just like us, right? Under common law and most state statutes, every person, whether they are famous or an average Joe, has a right of publicity. The right of publicity allows individuals to prevent others from commercially exploiting their name and likeness without consent. However, a celebrity’s name and likeness are
Can Marvel Comics Writers and Artists Get Back Their Copyright from Disney?
Long before the successful movie franchise, writers and artists created a host of characters for Marvel Comics. While they gave their copyright to Marvel decades ago, under U.S. copyright law, they may have the chance to terminate the transfer of copyright now. That would give them the ability to negotiate a share in the substantial
What is Copyright Infringement?
If you have created a piece of art, written a story, or composed a song, you do not want someone else to steal, copy or profit from it. The purpose of copyright law is to protect original works of authorship from a third party using your work without your permission. Unlawful use of your copyrighted work constitutes
Trademark Settlement Agreements: Do They Violate Antitrust Laws?
Updated: October 28, 2021 Trademark registrants secured a major victory in the recent 1-800 Contacts v. The Federal Trade Commission decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that trademark settlement agreements do not violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. This decision may be a blanket invitation for more aggressive trademark enforcement. What is the Sherman
A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright
Updated: October 28, 2021 Creating blog content takes hard work and creativity. The last thing you want to worry about is someone republishing your material without permission. While the U.S. Copyright Act provides some federal protection the moment your work is published online, copyright registration is necessary to ensure you can enforce your rights in
What is Trademark Infringement?
Trademark law protects the name, logo, slogan, packaging and other identifying features that brands use to distinguish their goods or services from the goods and services of others. Not all trademarks, however, are entitled to protection. If you believe that another party is using your trademark, or a confusingly similar trademark, without your permission or
How to End a Contract with Your Talent Agent in Florida
Working with a talent agent can be a great experience – but sometimes even the best professional relationships eventually come to end. How can you end your contract with your talent agent in Florida? Are You Working with a Talent Agent or Manager? The first step in addressing any problems with the person you hired
How to File a Claim for Trademark Infringement in Florida
If you are a Florida business owner and someone infringes your trademark, you may be able to sue in federal or state court. To file a claim for trademark infringement in Florida state court, you must meet several requirements, including registering your trademark in the state and establishing the elements of a valid cause of
Matrix 4 Production Company Resurrects Day-and-Date Release Controversy with Lawsuit Against Warner Brothers
Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney last year highlighted the implications of simultaneously releasing films on streaming services and in theaters. Actors and production companies alike have suffered profit losses from such simultaneous release of movies, otherwise known as a “day-and-date release.” In response to Johansson’s lawsuit, Disney temporarily ceased simultaneous releases of its movies, giving
Social Media Influencer Advertising
Updated: May 17, 2022 In recent years, companies have been using social media influencers to market their products and the practice is certainly not going away. In response to the growing trend, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognized the need to shield consumers from falling for predatory marketing disguised as entertaining content. The FTC created
You’re Covered: When to Obtain a Compulsory Mechanical License
Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” are among the most famous covers to have ever hit the airwaves. Performing another musician’s work is a unique way to pay tribute to an artist while putting your own spin on a song you love. If there is a
Life Rights Agreements – What You Need To Know
Updated: May 24, 2022 You are a creative person who has found out about someone with a compelling story and you’d like to develop a book, TV show or film based on his or her life. But in the middle of your excitement and creative rush, it hits you: “Maybe I need to get permission
Do You Need a Music Sub-Publisher?
Updated: June 6, 2022 There are many opportunities for independent songwriters and composers to profit from their music. It is important to understand available opportunities and how best to exploit them. Songwriters can potentially generate revenue from multiple sources. These include: sales of records, downloads and on demand streams (mechanical income) inclusion in TV shows,
Nine Clauses To Include In Your Live Music Agreement
You just booked the gig of a lifetime. You’re getting your merchandise together, rehearsing your show and planning the best setlist, when the promoter calls to tell you she wants a live performance agreement in place. Don’t panic! Live performance agreements are an important way to provide clarity and manage expectations for the artist, promoter
Staying in Sync with Rights Owners: How to Clear Music for TV and Film
Updated: October 5, 2022 Are you creating a video, movie, commercial or video game? Have you ever wondered how to legally include music in your work? To avoid stealing or violating a musician’s copyright, you should obtain a license. There are two copyrights in a song: (1) the master (or sound recording), and (2) the composition (underlying music and lyrics). It may be
Music Sampling Rights: What You Need to Know
Like many forms of creative expression, music is protected by copyright law. That means a license is usually necessary if you create a new work using pre-existing music created by someone else (otherwise known as a “derivative work”). What rights do you need to license for music sampling? MUSIC COPYRIGHT BASICS There are two separate copyrights
Rights for Public Performances of Music
Copyright laws provide authors with a “bundle of rights.” One such right is the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. However, understanding public performance rights in the context of music can be complicated. We first have to understand what constitutes a public performance. WHAT IS A PUBLIC PERFORMANCE? The Copyright Act defines as
Understanding Music Royalties
The music industry is an economic powerhouse, earning an estimated revenue of $8.8 billion in 2021 alone. Despite the industry’s monstrous success, key players such as recording artists, record labels, songwriters, composers and music publishers – the heart and soul of the music industry –often leave a substantial amount of money on the table. The
What You Should Know About Work for Hire
Many people mistakenly believe that if they hire or employ someone to create something for them, the work is automatically considered a “work made for hire.” Whether you own a small business and are engaging a graphic designer to develop website content, or a production company seeking a director for a new feature film, understanding
Key Contract Terms for Musicians and Managers
Most musicians want nothing more than to spend time creating and performing. But being a professional artist also involves running a business – a responsibility that not all musicians can undertake. Hiring an effective manager is one way that artists can ensure they have plenty of time to hone their craft. In addition to handling
Revenge Porn in New York: What is it and What to Do if You’re a Victim
In recent years, many people have been the victims of revenge porn. Revenge porn is not only intrusive, but it can destroy relationships, careers and lives. Due to the destructive and harmful nature of revenge porn, most states (all but two) have enacted laws to provide victims with remedies and protection. What is Revenge Porn?
Should Musicians Register Their Trademarks?
You and your bandmates have been gigging for years and you’ve built up your fanbase. You’re finally offered a coveted spot at a sold-out festival when you learn another band playing the festival has the same name as your band! Unfortunately, this situation is all too common but luckily, it is also completely avoidable. Whether
What is An Office Action?
Whether you’re interested in protecting a well-established brand or you’re starting a new business, filing a trademark application can be a very exciting and positive step toward protecting your intellectual property. While trademark protection is an appealing prospect, the application process can be tricky. There is often the risk that the United States Patent and
Automatic Renewal Provisions May Not Be So Automatic…
Recent developments in New York law may cause you to think twice before placing an automatic renewal provision in your contract. In 2008, Isaac Asimov’s daughter, Robyn Asimov, and widow, Janet Asimov, hired Trident Media Group (TMG) to represent the Asimov’s estate as its exclusive literary agent. TMG was engaged to “maintain, sell, license and otherwise exploit”