Blogs

JUDGE DENIES COACHELLA’S REQUEST FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

On September 10, 2018, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner issued an 11-page ruling that denied Coachella partial summary judgment on its trademark infringement claims against Trevor Simms (“Simms”)- organizer of “Filmchella,” a three-day film festival held in Joshua Tree, California- by deciding a reasonable jury could find the two festivals are not similar enough…

Read More...

MULTIPLE CLAIMS AGAINST UNIVERSAL DISMISSED IN THE SPINAL TAP CASE

On August 28, 2018, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee dismissed fraud and breach of contract claims that “This Is Spinal Tap” creators had asserted against Universal Music Group, Inc. (“Universal”) and others. The initial lawsuit brought by Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner (the four co-creators of the Spinal Tap “mockumentary”…

Read More...

PERMANENT INJUNCTION ISSUED TO COMIC-CON

On August 23, 2018, U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia granted a permanent injunction preventing a Utah comic convention from using the name “Salt Lake Comic Con.” Judge Battaglia found for the well-known San Diego Comic Convention (“SDCC”), and awarded the SDCC nearly $4 million in attorneys’ fees. Judge Battaglia explained, “SDCC has demonstrated that…

Read More...

LED ZEPPELIN MUST FACE NEW TRIAL OVER “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”

On September 28, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ordered a new trial in a copyright lawsuit that accused Led Zeppelin of stealing the intro to their hit song “Stairway to Heaven,” from a 1967 instrumental ballad called “Taurus” by the band Spirit. A three-judge panel overturned a 2016 verdict in favor of Led Zeppelin deciding the…

Read More...

NINTH CIRCUIT ASKED TO REVIVE DISNEY’S “INSIDE OUT” LAWSUIT

As previously reported in “In The Know” on March 15, 2018, the plaintiff Denise Daniels (“Daniels”) lost the case involving the Disney movie “Inside Out” on a motion to dismiss. On August 24, 2018, Daniels filed her opening brief asking the Ninth Circuit to revive her copyright infringement lawsuit, warning that the case will set…

Read More...

MUSIC INDUSTRY PEACE TREATY KNOWN AS THE “MUSIC MODERNIZATION ACT” APPROVED BY BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE

On September 18, 2018, the Orrin G. Hatch “Music Modernization Act” (“MMA”) was passed unanimously by the Senate, after already being approved by the House earlier this year. This bill is considered a “music peace treaty” between artists, performance rights organizations, music publishers and tech companies including Spotify, Amazon, and SiriusXM. Spotify is a digital…

Read More...

PRINCE’S ESTATE FILES WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT

On August 24, 2018, the family of late pop star Prince sued Walgreens, a doctor (Michael Schulenberg) and other health care professionals claiming in a Minnesota state wrongful death suit that the aforementioned parties failed to treat the late star for opiate addiction. The Complaint states Prince received professional health care services from all the…

Read More...

NINTH CIRCUIT REVIVES PRE-1972 SOUND RECORDINGS CASE AGAINST CBS

On August 20, 2018, the Ninth Circuit revived a lawsuit against CBS concerning radio broadcasts of pre-1972 recordings by overturning a ruling by a California District Court Judge in CBS’s favor. That ruling held that “remastered” versions of old songs are entirely new sound recordings. If they are new sound recordings, then the California Civil Code§980…

Read More...

FALSE CLAIMS OF AUTHENTICITY BY SONY AND MICHAEL JACKSON’S ESTATE FOUND TO BE PROTECTED BY FIRST AMENDMENT

On August 28, 2018, a California appellate court ruled that a posthumously released Michael Jackson album that featured a “soundalike” vocalist on three tracks did not give rise to claims against Sony Music and the Jackson estate even though they had impliedly and expressly represented that Jackson sang all 10 songs, on both the album…

Read More...

NETFLIX’S NARCOS SERIES SUED FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Virgina Vallejo, a former Columbian journalist living in asylum in the United States, filed a lawsuit on August 24, 2018, claiming that the producers of the series “Narcos” infringed copyrights covering her best-selling memoir in which she narrated her romantic relationship with former drug lord Pablo Escobar. Vallejo’s complaint claims the series depicted her through…

Read More...