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Brandon W. Clark

Brandon W. Clark is an intellectual property attorney whose primary focus is on music industry transactions, copyrights, and entertainment law. Brandon’s practice also includes work in the areas of trademarks, licensing, contracts, multimedia law, sponsorship and endorsements, and right of privacy/publicity issues.

Brandon’s clients include artists, songwriters, producers, record labels, publishing companies, recording studios, actors, authors, visual artists, clothing companies, film production companies, multimedia creators, auto racing entities, and a broad range of other individuals and organizations. He is an avid musician that has played hundreds of shows in at least eight different countries. Brandon worked at both record labels and music publishing companies before joining McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC in 2015 as Chair of the firm’s Copyright, Entertainment, and Media Law Practice Group.

Brandon teaches Copyright Law at Drake University Law School and is an Adjunct Professor of Music Business at Drake University. Additionally, he is a member of The Recording Academy and serves on the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Social Club, the Iowa Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and Station 1 Records, a non-profit record label.

In his own words, Brandon likes weekends with nothing to do, southern accents, art, confidence, old cars, horn sections, motorcycles, ping pong, people that have a passion for something, big families, march madness, open minds, sushi, childhood innocence, go-karts, and a couple of other things.

  • Copyright and Media Law
  • Licensing
  • Litigation
  • Trademarks
  • Copyright, Media, Entertainment, And Branding


Drake University Law School, J.D., 2010

University of Northern Iowa, B.A., Business Management, 2006


“Copyright Ownership, Transfers, and NFTs,” The Licensing Journal, March 2020, Wolters Kluwer, IPAA_0322_Clark

“Can I Use This Song in My Podcast? It Depends.”, The Licensing Journal, April 2019, Wolters Kluwer

Panels and Presentations

“What is all the Fuss About NIL???,” Licensing Executives Society Iowa Chapter, October 4, 2021

“Copyright, Trademarks, and Social Media,” Iowa Corporate Counsel Law Seminar, January 31, 2020

“Trademarks in Social Media,” Licensing Executives Society, November 4, 2019

“Online Enforcement Procedures: What to do when a C&D letter isn’t a good option.”, ISBA eCommerce and Intellectual Property Law Seminar, November 30, 2019

“Copyright Law and Recent Updates”, ISBA Live Webinar, May 16, 2018

“Copyright/Entertainment Law Update,” ISBA Live Webinar, May 7, 2017

“Artist Legal Workshop,” Music University, October 1, 2016

“Run It Like A Business,” Music University, October 19, 2013

Bar & Court Admissions

Iowa State Bar, 2010

U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, 2016

Awards & Recognition

The Best Lawyers in America®, 2024

In the Media

“Most Interesting Attorney in Iowa? Copyright Lawyer’s Unique Background Helps Him Carve Out Music Industry Niche (Cover Story),” Iowa Lawyer Magazine, December/January 2018. Link.

“Leaving his Mark (Cover Story),” Business Record, June 1, 2018. Link.

“YP Spotlight: Brandon Clark, Music Lawyer”, Des Moines Register, Aug 12, 2014. Link.

“Leading Senators Introduce AMP Act”,, March 26, 2018. Link.

“Does Frank Ocean Stand A Chance in His Lawsuit Against Longtime Producer Om’Mas Keith?”, Pitchfork, February 22, 2018. Link.

“EDM After The Drop: What A Wounded Corporate Giant Means For Dance Music Culture, NPR, October 6, 2015. Link.

“Charges against Burlesque Dancers Dropped,” Des Moines Register, February 8, 2012. Link. Smoking Gun Article.

Copyright Law Tips for In-House Counsel

Copyright law can be complex. Issues are usually fact specific, require significant interpretation and a case-by-case analysis. The answer to most copyright law related questions is some iteration of “it depends” but some simple education is often the best tool to avoiding issues and combating copyright myths and misinformation. 1. Copyright Law Does Not Protect […]

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Who Owns the Copyright in A Tattoo?

17 U.S.C § 201. Ownership of a Copyright. (a) Initial Ownership. — Copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a joint work are coowners of copyright in the work. The ownership of the copyright in a tattoo has long been the […]

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Peace of Mind for Trademark Rebranding

Whether you are a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, rebranding a business or product can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be. While there is always going to be risk involved when undertaking a rebranding or choosing a name, there are some small steps that you can take […]

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Copyright, Fair Use, and the Internet

In the most general sense, copyright infringement is copying, or using, a work protected by copyright without permission from the copyright owner. Almost inevitably, soon after you hear the words “copyright infringement,” you will also hear the words “fair use.” Fair use is one of the most frequently discussed defenses to copyright infringement but it […]

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Copyright Ownership, Transfers, and NFTs

Twitter recently went ablaze after Spice DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, won an auction for 2.66 million euros (a little over $3 million USD) for an unpublished manuscript of Frank Herbert and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never completed film Dune. The viral reaction wasn’t due to the purchase of the manuscript, rather it occurred after the organization […]

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Can I Copyright My Logo?

Yes, logos are copyrightable, assuming, that the logo was independently created and possesses a sufficient level of creativity. First, to be clear, copyrights and trademarks are very distinct. Generally, copyrights protect original works of authorship (e.g., music, books, art, movies, etc.), and trademarks serve as source identifiers to convey the origin of goods or services […]

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Increase in Trademark Applications Means Delays at the USPTO

Commissioner for Trademarks, David Gooder, recently announced that a surge of trademark application filings at the USPTO has created significantly longer processing times. Gooder stated that as of June 17, 2021, new trademark applications have increased roughly 63%, or about 211,000 more applications, over the previous year. In December 2020 alone, the USPTO received 92,608 […]

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Supreme Court Sides with Google in Major Copyright Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed Google a win in a long-standing copyright dispute over the software used in the Android mobile operating system. The case dates back to 2005, when Google included roughly 11,500 lines of code from an Application Programming Interface (API), a tool that allows software applications to more easily communicate by […]

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Mitigating Copyright Issues in Remote Learning

Remote learning raises important questions related to how copyright protected materials can be used in an online learning environment. One of the more frequent myths that we hear is that copyright law does not apply to a situation because that situation is educational in nature. However, just because a use is educational in nature, does […]

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USPTO to Increase Trademark Fees in 2021

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently announced increases to certain trademark fees beginning on January 2, 2021. The fees will increase for trademark applications, post-registration maintenance filings, and certain filings with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). Below are some of the more significant and noteworthy fee increases: The fee […]

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Political Campaigns and Unauthorized Music

As the 2020 presidential election approaches so does the opportunity for political candidates to end up in the headlines for using unauthorized music in their campaigns. In nearly every campaign cycle you hear about a recording artist or songwriter upset that a politician or campaign used the artist’s music without authorization. In fact, Tom Petty’s […]

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Who Owns the Copyright? Work-Made-For-Hire Edition

One of the questions we regularly receive tends to be something along the lines of, “If I pay someone to build a website/take a picture/make a video/create marketing content/design a t-shirt/etc., don’t I own the copyright in that work?” The short answer is, probably not unless you have a written agreement with them. The more […]

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Notable Works Entering the Public Domain in 2020

The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. Currently, a copyright’s term […]

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Halloween Edition: Copyright for Banana Costume is upheld on A-Peel

The Third Circuit recently held that a banana costume qualified for copyright protection as Rasta Imposta, a retail wholesaler of Halloween costumes, sued Kangaroo Manufacturing, a costume manufacturer, for copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition after Rasta discovered Kangaroo selling a banana costume that resembled one of Rasta’s costumes without a license. The […]

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IP Legal Considerations for Live Streaming

If you’re one of the millions of people that log into a social media platform each day, it’s highly likely that you have encountered a rapidly growing number of live streams. Now that live streaming is available to anyone with a smartphone, the potential legal issues and concerns are much more relevant to the average […]

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Can I Use This Song In My Podcast? It Depends.

According to Podcast Insights, there are currently over 660,000 podcasts in existence and over 28 million episodes available to listen to. This number is certainly growing as are the legal concerns and issues associated with hosting or producing a podcast. This article will provide some general guidelines and outline some of the rules around using […]

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Jury Orders Mongols Motorcycle Club to Forfeit Trademark

The Mongols Nation motorcycle club was recently convicted of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) resulting in a California federal jury ordering the motorcycle club to forfeit its trademarked logo based on links between the image and the criminal activities carried out by the group. The imagine incorporates the motorcycle club’s […]

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Music Modernization Act Signed Into Law

Earlier today, the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law. The MMA is a sweeping reform to music licensing and copyright related royalty payments and marks the first significant copyright legislation passed in decades. The House unanimously approved the bill in April followed by the Senate unanimously approving the legislation in September. The MMA […]

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Copyright Office Proposes New Fee Schedule

The Copyright Office recently announced a new proposed fee schedule that would increase the majority of fees associated with filings at the Copyright Office. The proposal comes after an extensive assessment performed by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton. The proposed fee increase would help the Copyright Office offset regular costs, while also providing the Copyright Office […]

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Federal Judge Rules Embedded Tweet Violated Copyright

In a surprising ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest, recently ruled that several news organizations and publishers violated a photographer’s copyright when they “embedded” a photo from Twitter on their websites without permission. Judge Forrest’s decision to grant the plaintiff’s motion for partial Summary Judgement is sure to be controversial and could prove […]

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Music Publishing Company Sues Spotify for $1.6 Billion

Spotify has a growing copyright problem and as previously discussed on this blog (here and here) they are no stranger to copyright infringement lawsuits. Wixen Music Publishing Inc. recently filed a complaint seeking $1.6 billion in damages alleging copyright infringement. On December 29th, Wixen filed suit in California federal court claiming Spotify has repeatedly failed […]

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