Blogs

The Weeknd Clears Two Copyright Hurdles

On July 22, 2020, in what has become a busy summer of copyright litigation for pop artist, The Weeknd, Judge Percy Anderson of the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by three UK songwriters over The Weeknd’s 2016 song, “A Lonely Night.”   On April…

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Full 9th Circ. Denies Disney’s Bid To Undo ‘Pirates’ IP Ruling – By Kevin Stawicki

Law360 (August 31, 2020, 8:58 PM EDT) — The Ninth Circuit has left in place a ruling that revived a copyright lawsuit claiming the Walt Disney Co. stole an unproduced screenplay to create the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise.   The en banc court on Friday denied the Hollywood powerhouse’s request to undo a…

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Ed Sheeran Lawsuit Resumed Following Wake of Zeppelin Decision

In a March 24, 2020 ruling, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York decided that the court will probably bar jurors from listening to Marvin Gaye’s classic recording of “Let’s Get It On” during an ongoing copyright infringement case against Ed Sheeran concerning his song, “Thinking Out Loud.”   In their 2016…

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Ninth Circuit Revives Playwright’s IP Suit Against Producers of “Shape of Water”

In a rare victory for screenwriters, on June 22, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the United States District Court for the Central District of California’s dismissal of a copyright infringement suit which alleged that Director Guillermo del Toro plagiarized Paul Zindel’s play, “Let Me Hear You Whisper,” in…

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“Comic-Con” Wins Again

On April 20, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit fended off an attack on the validity of the “Comic-Con” trademark owned by the San Diego Comic Convention (“SDCC”). Back in 2017, a California federal jury found that Dan Farr Productions, the company behind a Utah event called “Salt Lake Comic…

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Professional Photographer Gets Second Shot at Copyright Victory

On June 24, 2020, Judge Kimba M. Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a rare motion for reconsideration regarding a professional photographer’s copyright infringement suit against the media website, Mashable. Around two years ago, on January 29, 2018, Stephanie Sinclair, a professional photographer whose work has…

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Fortnite Game Developer Doesn’t Miss A Beat in “Running Man” Dance IP Victory

On May 29, 2020, Judge Paul W. Grimm of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed a lawsuit that accused the creators behind the popular video game, “Fortnite,” of appropriating the “running man” dance without permission from the former University of Maryland students who came up with the viral trend. In…

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Live Nation Can’t Shake Lawsuit Over Female Artist Country Music Festival

On May 14, 2020, Live Nation failed to convince a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to dismiss a $25 million-dollar lawsuit in which concert organizers claimed that Live Nation stole their idea for a country music festival with an all-female lineup. In a complaint filed in…

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Jay-Z, Timbaland, and Numerous Record Labels Obtain a Technical Triumph in Copyright Suit

On April 16, 2020, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissed a musician’s lawsuit against artists Jay-Z and Timbaland for unlawfully using parts of the plaintiff’s soul song, finding fatal flaws in the complaint. In the lawsuit filed on May 18, 2019, musician Ernie…

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Steinbeck Family Battle Appealed to Supreme Court

On March 10, 2020, John Steinbeck’s heirs filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court concerning a decades-long battle over creative rights to the author’s literary works. In taking up the fight, the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers (“CSEL”), a non-profit organization of attorneys representing creative professionals in the entertainment industry, also submitted an amicus…

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