Blogs

A 28-Year-Old Arbitration Clause Haunts HBO, Forcing the Michael Jackson Case to Arbitration

Much like the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, a 28-year-old arbitration clause has risen from the dead. After HBO aired the 2019 controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, which chronicled, in extreme detail, Michael Jackson’s alleged sexual misconduct against young boys, the Estate of Michael Jackson (the “Estate”) forcefully denied any accusations of wrongdoing by…

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Court Strikes Defamation Claims Against Netflix for The Laundromat

On December 23, 2020, a California federal judge granted Netflix’s motion to strike the defamation claims from the lawsuit brought by the attorneys of the defunct law firm, Mossack Fonseca, for their depiction in “The Laundromat” (the “Film”). The film starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas is a black comedy about the Panama…

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Judge Dismisses Magazine’s Trademark Claims Against Netflix’s Tiger King Docuseries

On December 9, 2020, Judge Mark C. Scarsi of the U.S. District Court of California threw out trademark claims brought by a magazine against the producers of Netflix’s hit documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. Hollywood Weekly Magazine and its founder and publisher claimed that the publication coined the mark “Tiger King” in…

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Judge Grapples with the Copyright Complexities of Tom Clancy’s Literary Legacy

On December 9, 2020, Judge Ellen L. Hollander of the U.S. District Court of Maryland issued a lengthy opinion designed to sort out the complex copyright considerations regarding the ownership of Tom Clancy’s literary works, but the decision ultimately did not resolve who owned the Jack Ryan character at the center of Clancy’s books. Tom…

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The Future of Embedding is in Question After Mashable Settles Copyright Fight

On February 9, 2021, a settlement was reached by the parties in an important copyright case that has been closely followed since 2018 for its impact on the practice of “embedding.” Embedding entails integrating images, links, videos, or other digital media onto web pages. This common practice is made easy on social media platforms, such…

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2nd Circuit Panel Awards Partial Victory to Models Over Strip Club Ads

In October 2015, multiple models, including “Baywatch” actress Carmen Electra (“Electra”) (collectively the “models”), filed suit against various New York strip clubs alleging that such clubs used their likeness in intentionally misleading advertisements without permission or payment. As a result of this misuse, the models claimed that they were substantially damaged because the success of…

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11th Circuit Determines that Stephen King Did Not Copy Comic Hero

On February 23, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court held that Stephen King’s protagonist in “The Dark Tower” book series did not copy the hero in late comic book writer William B. DuBay’s “The Rook” series. Benjamin DuBay, the nephew of William DuBay, filed a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that fictional character Roland Deschain of “The…

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Lawsuit Bought by ‘The Walking Dead’ Creator Proceeds to Trial

On December 31, 2020, New York County Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen delivered an opinion partially denying the motion of summary judgment that AMC Network Entertainment LLC sought in regard to Frank Darabont’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit for breach of contract. Frank Darabont (“Darabont”), the creator of AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead,” served as the…

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The Ninth Circuit Disallows Fair Use Defense for Dr. Seuss-Star Trek “Mashup”

On December 18, 2020, the Ninth Circuit ruled that ComicMix’s comic book mashup of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek was not protected by the “fair use” doctrine in copyright law. A mashup is a work created by combining elements from two or more sources. ComicMix had created a comic book called “Oh, the Places You’ll…

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Sugar Daddy Dating Sites Battle It Out in Trademark Lawsuit

Seeking Arrangement (Seeking.com), a popular dating service that connects men and women who are looking for an arrangement, filed a lawsuit against a competing dating site—Successful Match (SuccessfulMatch.com). Seeking Arrangement alleges that Successful Match appropriated trademarked phrases that the dating service has used on its website for years. The targeted phrases include “mutually beneficial relationships”…

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