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

Education

Drake University Law School, J.D., 2010

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

Publications

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

Panels and Presentations

“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

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”, Grammy.com, 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.

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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