Blogs

TAKE-TWO CONTINUES TO PREVAIL IN MULTIPLE RIGHT OF PUBLICITY CASES

On May 13, 2019, video game developer Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (“Take-Two”) defeated yet another lawsuit, this time claiming its “NBA 2K” games featured a street basketball star known as “Hot Sauce.” New York state Judge Frances A. Kahn ruled that a character in Take-Two’s 2018 NBA 2K is not “recognizable” as Philip Champion (“Champion”),…

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DISNEY BEATS ANOTHER COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT, THIS TIME FOR “PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN”

On May 13, 2019, U.S. District Judge Consuelo Bland Marshall granted Disney’s motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims brought by screenwriters Lee Alfred II (“Alfred”) and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. (“Martinez”) with respect to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” “Treasure maps, skeletons and mutinies are par for the course in pirate movies,” Judge Marshall explained, “there…

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T.I. AND KEVIN HART FEELING THE HEAT IN CASE BY INVESTORS IN A COIN OFFERING

On May 10, 2019, investors in an initial coin offering being backed by rapper T.I. (whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) filed a lawsuit in Georgia federal court alleging that the offering was a scam. A similar lawsuit was also filed against comedian actor Kevin Hart (“Hart”). Investor Kenneth Fedance (“Fedance”) filed a…

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How can the new EU Copyright Directive affect copyright matters in the U.S.?

On March 25, 2019, the European Parliament approved a major set of changes to its copyright laws. These changes could force many companies to be legally responsible for any content that users upload to their websites. This means that Internet companies will have to take a much more active role in regulating content posted by…

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Copyright Infringement, Spotify, Songwriters, & Appeals: an Update

Spotify is a very popular product with U.S. music listeners but has also been the subject of repeated lawsuits, appeals, and copyright infringement cases. One of the recent major changes in the world of Spotify and copyright law has to do with the ruling of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, which boosted the royalty rate that…

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“BONES” CAST ARBITRATION AWARD GETS SHAVED $128 MILLION

Following up on our March 4, 2019 article entitled “$174 Million Awarded to “Bones” Cast From Fox”: On May 2, 2019, a Los Angeles County court granted 21st Century Fox Inc.’s (“Fox”) request to shave off $128 million from a $179 million arbitration award granted to “Bones” cast members against Fox. Judge Richard Rico ruled…

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FOURTH CIRCUIT REJECTS “GOOD FAITH” DEFENSE

On April 26, 2019, the Fourth Circuit overturned a ruling that a Virginia film festival could use a copyrighted image for free because it did so in “good faith,” saying such an outcome would “frustrate copyright’s central goal.” The Fourth Circuit reversed a ruling in favor of defendant in connection with a case brought by…

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ADVERTISING AGENCY ATTEMPTS TO FIGHT OFF PEPSI’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

On May 1, 2019, ad agency, Betty Inc. (“Betty”), which sued Pepsi for stealing its idea for a Super Bowl commercial starring actress Janelle Monae, urged a New York federal court to reject Pepsi’s Motion For Summary Judgment saying the distinct elements of Betty’s pitch ended up being used as Pepsi’s “The Joy of Dance”…

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“THE BIG LEBOWSKI” HOME OWNER WILL HAVE TO FACE ANOTHER TRIAL OVER PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

On April 25, 2019, the Appellate Court for the Second District reversed a win for a homeowner of a midcentury home- the Sheats-Goldstein residence- featured in the movie “The Big Lebowski,” forcing him to now face another trial with a man who fell onto a hillside while working at a party at the house. The…

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COPYRIGHT “SMALL CLAIMS COURT” BILL GETS REINTRODUCED

On May 1, 2019, Representative Hakeem Jeffries (“Jeffries”), a Democrat from the State of New York, and Representative Doug Collins, a Republican from the State of Georgia, introduced a bill that would make it easier for writers, musicians and artists to sue for copyright infringement by establishing a small claims court for copyright law. The…

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