September 22, 2020
3L Suna Izgi and the Amicus Project at Southwestern File a Brief Before the U.S. Supreme Court
Congratulations to 3L Suna Izgi and The Amicus Project at Southwestern on filing their brief before the United States Supreme Court! Their amicus brief for The Moodsters Company, Petitioner v. The Walt Disney Company, et al. represents the academic work-product of Suna Izgi, a Biederman Scholar at Southwestern.
Suna was supervised by the Director of the Amicus Project at Southwestern, Professor Michael Epstein, Director of the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, Professor Orly Ravid, and Professor Emeritus Robert Lind.
The brief discusses the issue of character copyrightability, highlighting the inconsistencies across the circuit courts when it comes to evaluating whether a character is copyrightable. The brief argues that the appropriate standard for evaluating a character is originality, just as it is for any other work, and that the current approaches in the circuits deprives creators of their copyright in gross. Read the full brief here.
"Preparing this amicus brief was both a challenging and an extremely rewarding experience. In the span of four weeks, I went from only having a superficial understanding of character copyrightability to being able to make a detailed and persuasive argument to support independent creators. The possibility that my brief could help change the landscape of copyright law with respect to characters makes all the long days and late nights of research and writing worth it. Writing this brief was an invaluable part of my law school experience, and I am grateful for the mentorship of Professors Ravid, Epstein, and Lind."
This year's Amicus Project was particularly meaningful since Professor Orly Ravid, who was the first student to enroll in the Amicus Project's inaugural class in 2013, returned in the supervisor's role. She was also the one who brought this case to the Amicus Project and to recommend Suna for the project.
She says, "The opportunity to prepare a brief for the United States Supreme Court was incredible as a law student, and it was a true honor, privilege, and joy to later help supervise Suna Izgi in her great work for such an important copyright issue."
The Amicus Project at Southwestern Law School is a first-of-its-kind professional outreach program, enabling Southwestern law students to gain practical experience by preparing amicus - or "friend of the court" - briefs on a pro bono basis for cases in which one is needed. Case selection is based on a variety of considerations, including legal significance, social significance, inquiry by an interested party (including students), jurisdiction, service to the profession, as well as faculty interest and expertise. Since the Amicus Project was founded in 2013, Southwestern students have prepared briefs for the Appellate Division of the California courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
In the words of Professor Epstein, "This brief is truly a point of pride for Suna Izgi—and for Southwestern!"
We could not agree more. Please join us in congratulating Suna Izgi and her supervisors on this amazing accomplishment!