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CWSL Faculty and Staff Inspire 3L Student’s Scholarly Publications

Derek Diemer

How well do we know the artists we love?

With today’s internet, it seems that every aspect of a celebrity’s life is on view to the public, both good and bad.

In a second scholarly article, recently published in American University Intellectual Property Brief, California Western 3L student Derek Diemer explores some recent allegations against various artists, the public’s reaction, and the resulting implications.

“The idea for the article arose from the Me Too movement, the documentaries about Michael Jackson and R. Kelley, and how people have responded to the scandalous conduct of many artists by protesting their art,” said Diemer.

The article, Hiding Actualities: Whether Art Should Exist Independent Of The Artist, explores recent allegations against various artists, notably R. Kelly’s conduct over the last three decades, how the music industry has reacted to the artist’s behavior, and the greater issues those reactions raised for the entertainment industry as a whole.

Part II presents a solution to the economic problem that arises when art is censored based on the artist. Part III delves into the metaphysical issue of when we can and should disconnect the art from the artist.

“If the art embodies and perpetuates the artist’s harmful conduct, it should be protested,” wrote Diemer, who will be graduating in December 2020. “However, if the music in itself is not problematic, but was only created by a problematic individual, the music should exist independently.”

Diemer’s internship with California Western’s New Media Rights (NMR) program was one of the motivators for him to write the article and he credits NMR’s Executive Director Art Neill and Assistant Director Shaun Spalding for encouraging and guiding him through the project.

“It was a great experience that I recommend to anyone interested in entertainment, intellectual property law, or even transactional work in general,” said Diemer. “As a New Media Rights intern, I had the responsibility of drafting real-world contracts and applying my entertainment law knowledge in a ‘learn by doing’ scenario.”

“I also had the opportunity to expand my existing knowledge with the weekly classes where Shaun and Art taught us everything we needed to know about copyright, trademarks, patents, and drafting contracts with both formal lectures and interactive exercises,” continued Diemer. “I am so thankful for my experience at New Media Rights and credit this second publication to Art and Shaun for everything I learned from them.”

Last year Diemer had an article related to the entertainment industry published in Taylor & Francis’ Information & Communications Technology Law Journal. Once again, he credits a California Western faculty member for inspiring him to write.

“I credit Professor Nancy Kim for inspiring me to keep writing and publishing,” said Diemer. “I worked with her on the Taylor & Francis article, and I am currently working with her on a piece that will be published in California Western Law Review’s journal entitled Destroying Ourselves: Is it Time to Find an Alternative to the Gas Tax? As a prolific writer herself, Professor Kim is a great inspiration, especially because I am considering becoming a professor one day.”

Right now, however, Diemer has set his sights firmly on the entertainment industry in one way or another. He remains open-minded about his future job prospects, but his dream is to work as in-house counsel for Netflix, Amazon Studios, or one of the major production companies like Warner Brothers.

“After I graduate law school, I am also considering going to film school or getting an LLM in Taxation,” said Diemer.

“Nothing is set in stone as of now, but I am excited for what the future will bring.”