Recent News

October 30, 2013

Our local Lipscomb University was recently required to stop using the abbreviation “LU” because Liberty University, owner of a registration in the same mark, complained.  Rick talks about the law behind the dispute in an article appearing on The Washington Post site today.


Liberty University vs. Lipscomb University Trademark Dispute -

Liberty University vs. Lipscomb University Trademark Dispute –

June 20, 2013

Two great years ago today, Rick Sanders and Tara Aaron set foot in the office of Aaron | Sanders PLLC for the first time.  We’re growing up fast – since then we’ve moved into our big new offices at The Trolley Barns, added the help of our incomparable assistant, Lynne Jervis, published articles, signed book contracts, and of course, done our best to put our brilliantly creative and innovative clients on solid legal ground as they start and grow their own businesses.  And wouldn’t you know it, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center has been nice enough to throw a party for us today (and for their own Grand Opening) right next door to us.

We can’t wait to play with our new neighbors – you guys bring the sand, we’ll bring the shovel!

May 7, 2013

The Vanderbilt School of Law’s Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law (“JETLaw” to the cognoscenti) has just published Rick’s article, “Will Professor Nimmer’s Change of Heart Matter?” The article deals with a complete reversal of position in the leading and most influential treatise on copyright law, Nimmer on Copyright, on the issue of whether merely making available for sale or other distribution unauthorized copyrighted goods constitutes infringement of the distribution right. This issue, once very obscure, has risen in prominence in file-sharing cases, where rights holders are usually only able to prove actual distribution of a handful of sometimes thousands of unauthorized files on the alleged file-sharer’s computer. Rights holders would prefer that they need prove only that the unauthorized files were made available for download, but courts have generally (but not exclusively) held that proof of actual distributions is needed. The three leading copyright treatises used to concur with those courts, and were often cited in support of that position.

Nimmer on Copyright, however, in a break with the other two leading treatises, now takes the position that merely making unauthorized copyrighted goods available for distribution does, in fact, infringe on the distribution right. Rick’s article looks into Prof. Nimmer’s reasons for doing so, and concludes that, at a minimum, Prof. Nimmer was very premature to make such a reversal in a treatise (which is marketed as a sober recitation of the law, rather than a position paper).

When he gets a chance, Rick will blog a summary of the issues and his analysis.

April 8, 2013

No, really, he sounds pretty good: Planet Money Episode 449: The Hidden Digital Wealth in Your Pocket. (If you have no patience at all and can’t wait to hear Rick’s mellifluous voice, his on-air quote starts around the 4:40 mark. But you really should listen the whole thing.)

You can read Rick’s blog posts on ReDigi’s attempt to create a market for “used” digital downloads that got Planet Money’s attention, or just cut to the chase with his latest on the district court’s ruling that ReDigi violates copyright in doing so (if you can stand all the mixed cake metaphors).

February 6, 2013

On Thursday, April 4, Rick will be moderating a panel on top-level domain names at the upcoming ABA IP Spring Meeting, titled “Is that Domain .Yours or .Mine?: Coping with the New Top Level Domain Names.” You may have heard that (maybe, we’ll see) the “dot-com” era is over, because from now on, we’ll be able to choose from hundreds, maybe even thousands of new generic top-level domain names (“gTLDs”). But there will be teething pains. Oh, will there be teething pains. Like, what happens if the new gTLD happens to be confusingly similar to your mark? (Um, not very “generic”!) And what if more than one application for a new gTLD? (There can only be ONE!).

Here’s the summary of what we’ll be covering:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published  a list of over 1,900 applications for new top level domains. Some large brand owners applied for domain names, which mirror their trademarks, but many have not. In addition, there were domain names, such as .app and .inc that received multiple applicants. Given these results, the dispute resolution procedure during evaluation is of  vital importance to brand owners. This program will review the status of the ICANN gTLD program, while providing an in-depth look at how the procedures work, what has happened to date, and how the procedures can be used to a rights holder’s advantage.

Exciting stuff, we’re sure you’ll agree! Rick hopes to see some of you there!

February 5, 2013

Tara was interviewed by Joe Mont at Compliance Week for an article in this week’s issue entitled “Terms of Use Agreements Pose New Reputational Risks,” in the wake of the TOU debacle and Tara’s blog post about it.  Tara and two other lawyers from around the country discuss the pitfalls of cutting and pasting Terms of Use from other companies, or not paying careful attention to what your company’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies say.  You can read the article here.


January 15, 2013

atlaw coverYou might recall Rick’s epic 6-part blog about the Oracle v. Google case and what it teaches about copyright protection in software. A formal (and condensed) version of those posts has been published by @Law in its Winter 2012–13 edition as an article: “The Limits of Copyright Protection in Software After Oracle v. Google.” @Law is published by NALS, which is the national association of legal professionals (the “S” is from long-ago when it was an association of legal secretaries, but as responsibilities have drifted from old-style legal secretaries to new-style paralegals and junior associates, that term is under-inclusive now). You might remember @Law by its previous name, The Docket (which is now an e-zine published by NALS). Here’s the first paragraph:

When Oracle sued fellow technology giant Google for using the “structure, sequence and organization” of Oracle’s Java API in Google’s Android mobile operating system, Oracle revived a debate about the proper scope of copyright protection for software as old that protection itself.1 There was no question that Google did not literally copy the API but did copy its organization. There was also no question that generally software’s structure can be copyrighted. The question was when.

Of course, if you’re already a regular reader of our blog (which will be getting Christened pretty soon!), you already know how this works out for Oracle.

November 9, 2012

Super Lawyers® has named Tara Aaron to its list of Mid-South Rising Stars for 2012.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only five percent of attorneys are named to the Mid-South Super Lawyers list each year.


Last month, Rick Sanders was named a Best Lawyer in America® for Copyright and Trademark.  This was Rick’s second award in two years from the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession.

Aaron | Sanders is thrilled to be able to announce these honors!

October 3, 2012

Some of you might remember that, last year, Rick was named a “Best Lawyer” by the Best Lawyers in America folks, in the field of “Litigation—Intellectual Property.” It’s a nice honor, and we appreciate it! Well, this year, Rick was again named a “Best Lawyer,” but this year, it’s not only in the field of “Litigation —Intellectual Property,” but also the fields of “Copyright Law” and “Trademark Law.” So there you go! Congratulations!

September 20, 2012

Last night at the Yazoo Brewery, BarCamp 2012 held its annual Speaker Up! event to encourage members of the technology community to come and present on their latest project or passion at BarCamp, which will be held in Nashville on October 20th at the Tequila Cowboy bar.  (Tequila?  Breweries?  Are we sensing a theme here?)  Tara and her good friends and conference masters Jacques Woodcock and Cal Evans talked to a bar full of potential presenters about what it’s like to present at a Camp.  Developers, designers, techies – watch the video from last night’s event and get inspired to come speak at BarCamp 2012!

Video streaming by Ustream

September 5, 2012

Not long after we opened the firm, Tara got an invitation to co-author a book entitled “Overlapping Intellectual Property Rights,” to be published by Oxford University Press. Two dozen intellectual property practitioners and professors from around the world collaborated on this project. Tara was able to deepen her understanding of U.S. trademark law, and learn a lot about the book industry in the process. We are proud to announce that “Overlapping Intellectual Property Rights” has now been published in the U.K. and will publish very soon in the United States. Tara is thrilled to finally go from being an “almost published” author to the real thing!

The book contains sixteen chapters – each takes a careful look at two aspects of intellectual property (copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets, unfair competition, and all manner of subcategories of each) and explains the intersection of those two aspects, both natural and problematic. It will be an excellent addition to the bookshelf for anyone who regularly practices in or otherwise encounters intellectual property issues, particularly with an international bent. Tara (and certainly all of her co-authors) hope that you will find it to be a useful and even enjoyable addition to your reference materials. And of course, Tara is happy to answer questions about the material in Chapter 16, or field questions to the right experts who authored other portions of the book.

And so, we proudly present:

July 17, 2012

We truly enjoyed our time and our colleagues at the Boardroom in Green Hills, but we could not be more excited about our new space at the Trolley Barns at Rolling Mill Hills!  We finally completed our move on Monday.  Sure, there are still boxes everywhere and we’re still trying to work out fundamentals like mail and trash, but we probably aren’t the first new business in town to suffer these inconveniences.  The space is beautiful and we love our neighbors EMMA, Cell Journalist, and the Arts and Business Council.   We look forward to hosting you here soon.  Plus, our lot is great overflow parking for CREMA.

Our new address, for your records, is 11 Lea Avenue, Suite 606, Nashville, TN 37210.  Rick’s number is 615-734-1188, and Tara’s is 615-734-1122.  Our fax number is 615-250-9807.  Our email addresses and website are still the same –,, and  Keep in touch!

July 10, 2012

Rick was quoted by the Boston Globe in this article about the lawsuit against ReDigi (“Case Could Pave Way for Reselling Digital Music, Other Products”). Unless you want to subscribe to the Boston Globe, you might have to take our word for it, though. Update: Oh, wait, MIT has a PDF copy of the article for free for some reason.

July 9, 2012

Tara’s webinar “Content Wars: A History of the Recent Battles Between Owners and Users of Intellectual Property” is now available.  Tara delivered the webinar to the Tennessee Bar Association on June 27th.  The presentation covers the last fifteen years of the copyright law behind the lawsuits, legislation, and every new online content delivery service to come down the pike, as well as thoughts about where the fight between content owners and users might be headed next.  One hour of general CLE credit is available in Tennessee.  The cost is $45.00 for members of the Tennessee Bar Association and $65.00 for non-members – a great bargain for CLE or for anyone wanting to catch up on what’s been going on in copyright!

June 26, 2012

Starting in August, Rick will be the Vice-Chair of the ABA’s “Trademark and the Internet” committee, which is part of the Intellectual Property Law Section. We’re not sure what this is a promotion from exactly—probably something like “flunky” or “moog”—but we’re very proud of him! But, seriously, the committee keeps tabs on things like developments in UDRP practices, domain name issues (including the new top-level domains), cybersquatting and so forth. Read more about the mission statement right here.

Rick will see some of you at the ABA Annual Conference in Chicago in early August!

Rick has officially been appointed to teach Copyright Law at Vanderbilt University Law School this fall. It’s not a permanent position; Rick’s just filling in until the school can find a permanent replacement. Still, as many of you know, Rick used to teach literature and “Western Civilization” in a previous career, so he’s pretty excited to be combining two of his favorite things, and at his old law school no less! Vanderbilt’s online catalog hasn’t yet been updated for the 2012/2013 school year, so you’ll have to take Rick’s word for it for now. He assures us that he has an actual letter of appointment at home.

Normally, at this point, we’d invite you to attend, but the thing about law school is that you normally need to be paying tuition to attend class…

June 20, 2012


Aaron Sanders PLLC turns one today.  Our young firm has come so far since June 20, 2011 – past walking and crawling, into driving and flying and taking the MegaBus, and trying cases and closing deals and settling matters and generally helping our clients sleep better at night.  Thank you so so much to the clients who had faith in mine and Rick’s ability to deliver the same quality of law practice that we had in our other firms, and chose to come with us and support this venture from Day One.  It would have been a whole lot scarier in those first few months than it already was if it wasn’t for them.  As we grew a bit out of startup/survival mode, we still appreciate those clients and all of our new ones for their continued choice to work with us and for constantly presenting us with new and challenging issues in copyright, trademark, contract, dispute resolution, and corporate matters.  You’re keeping us in business, but you’re helping us be better lawyers too.


Over the past year, we have experienced an incredible level of support from our clients and the community in general, but also from other lawyers in town, including our competitors.  In a city with a less collegial bar, we might have thought a bit harder about whether we truly wanted to start a new law firm.  Here in Nashville, referrals have been one of the major drivers of our success so far, and we hope that we have done our part in returning the favor.  We have learned so much about running a business, and a lot of that knowledge has come from the very entrepreneurs we represent.  That was a benefit I don’t think we saw coming.


In the next year, we plan to see more of the same success, collegiality, and sense of community around us, especially as we move our offices to the Trolley Barns, which is developing quickly into Grand Central for Nashville’s exciting and growing technology sector.  (Did anybody else notice a whole bunch of new faces at Nashcocktail last night?)  We could not be more excited to be in the middle of all that energy (okay, technically we’re on the south end, but close enough), and seriously, you’re going to have to come see our new digs.  We think they will be everything you would expect from a savvy, nimble, forward-thinking and tech-smart law firm!  Rick and I are both excited to continue our mentorship at the Entrepreneur Center, especially when it moves in across the parking lot from us, to participate at the Nashville Technology Council, and hopefully to play a couple ping pong games with Emma, our neighbors.  The move will be good for our clients too, and we think they’ll agree when they see our conference room space.


We look forward to a new year in our new space and the chance to implement all our new plans (we’ll tell you about them later).  And of course, we can’t wait to be working with our clients and colleagues on all their new projects as well.  It’s going to be a great year!

April 17, 2012

Once again, after a hiatus last year (because of the Register interregnum), the Copyright Office is returning to Music City. This year’s program will be on April 26 and will last all day. It’s good for 7.75 CLE credits (.5 more than last time), but the tuition remains at $250 for CLE credit, $100 for those who don’t want CLE or need CLE credit. Once again, the First Amendment Center is hosting the program.

As in the past, members of the Copyright Office will discuss the doings and business of the Copyright Office, provide an update on registration procedures and regulations, and review the year in copyright legislation and litigation. Our luncheon speaker will be Judge Gil Merritt, Senior Judge of the Sixth Circuit. Our afternoon panel will be on developing new business models for the music industry in a post-file-sharing era. Further details may be downloaded here.

Be sure to register soon (here)!

Oh, and Rick is one of the producers.

March 24, 2012

Rick will be presenting on cloud computing and internet privacy at TennBarU’s Scary Things in Intellectual Property, an all-day CLE course on April 13. The other presenters are pretty much an all-star cast of Nashville legal thinkers: Wayne Beavers, Casey Del Casino, Doug Johnson, Nancy Jones, Mark Plotkin, Geoffrey Vickers and Stephen Zralek. The program is good for 5 hours of general credit and at least 1 hour of dual credit*. Sign up here.

*We’re seeing if part of my presentation can be good for dual credit as well.

March 7, 2012

Aaron | Sanders is the March sponsor of the popular Nashcocktail event at the Greenhouse Bar in Green Hills in Nashville.  We are proud to support a night of hanging out with some of the brightest entrepreneurs, developers, social media experts, and all-around geeks in Nashville, and having a cocktail or two with them!  We hope to see you there on March 27th – there will be swag!


Rick and Tara are experienced lawyers who have set out to serve clients in a new way. Rick's roots reach back to his Silicon Valley home, where he first developed his litigation-oriented practice before moving to Nashville in 2004. Tara got her start in the music publishing business in Nashville in 1998 and has used that experience to form the basis of her transactional law practice since graduating from law school in 2004.
Call us -- we want to make your next business or creative project a success!
615.734.1188 (Rick)
615.734.1122 (Tara)

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