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Google Flexes Its Muscles for the Court in an Attempt to Dodge Claims that It Sold Pirated Master Recordings

Google Flexes Its Muscles for the Court in an Attempt to Dodge Claims that It Sold Pirated Master Recordings

On May 13, 2021, Google reached a tentative settlement to resolve three copyright lawsuits in which the owners of a variety of master recordings (“the owners”) alleged that Google sold pirated versions of over 270 of their master recordings. Two of the three suits involved the rights to Harry Arlen’s music. Arlen’s works have been performed by some of history’s most talented musicians, including...

Pepsi Finally Prevails in the 2016 Copyright Lawsuit Over Superbowl 50 Ad “The Joy of Dance”

Pepsi Finally Prevails in the 2016 Copyright Lawsuit Over Superbowl 50 Ad “The Joy of Dance”

On May 21st, 2021, a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that PepsiCo (“Pepsi”) did not steal an advertising firm’s idea for a Super Bowl ad that aired in 2016. During Superbowl 50, Pepsi aired an ad entitled “The Joy of Dance,” which featured singer Janelle Monae dancing to a trio of pop hits in period-appropriate costumes. After the ad aired during...

Copyright Lawsuit Against Netflix Hit Series “Outer Banks” Tossed by Federal Judge in Georgia

Copyright Lawsuit Against Netflix Hit Series “Outer Banks” Tossed by Federal Judge in Georgia

On May 25th, 2021, Chief U.S. Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. of the Northern District of Georgia tossed a copyright infringement suit against Netflix and the creators of its hit television show “Outer Banks.” “Outer Banks” is a mystery adventure series where a group of teenage friends searches for treasure after the disappearance of the protagonist’s father. Netflix released the first season of...

Ice Cube’s Endorsement Lawsuit Against Robinhood Melts Away

Ice Cube’s Endorsement Lawsuit Against Robinhood Melts Away

On June 15th, 2021, a federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of California dismissed Ice Cube’s lawsuit against investment app “Robinhood.” O'Shea Jackson Sr., known professionally as “Ice Cube,” filed a lawsuit against Robinhood in March 2021 after Robinhood mentioned the rapper in a newsletter. In the newsletter, Robinhood used an image from the movie “Are We Done Yet?” with the...

“Jesus and Mary Chain” Fight to Reclaim Their Copyrights

“Jesus and Mary Chain” Fight to Reclaim Their Copyrights

On June 14th, 2021, James and William Reid, brothers and founding members of the Scottish alternative rock band Jesus and Mary Chain, hit Warner Music Group Corp. (“Warners”) with a $2.5 million copyright infringement suit. The Reid brothers allege that Warner refuses to acknowledge and accept the band’s notice of termination of Warners’ ownership rights to its music under the Copyright Act, 17...

The Battle of the Interlocking Os: Kool Cigarettes vs. Bloom Marijuana

The Battle of the Interlocking Os: Kool Cigarettes vs. Bloom Marijuana

On June 3rd, 2021, a California federal judge rejected a cannabis company’s attempt to escape a trademark infringement suit brought by the manufacturer of Kool Cigarettes. Judge Otis D. Wright II ruled against Capna Intellectual (“Capana”) a Los Angeles- Based cannabis company, holding that the interlocking Os at the heart of Capana’s “Bloom” logo presented on its products was similar enough to...

Kanye West Faces Sanctions Bid After Blasphemous Behavior During a Deposition

Kanye West Faces Sanctions Bid After Blasphemous Behavior During a Deposition

In a motion filed on June 9th, 2021, MyChannel asked the Court in California to require Kanye West to sit down for an in-person deposition after Mr. West “insulted and abused” the company’s attorney in a video deposition that only lasted 15 minutes before West stormed out. MyChannel also urged the judge to punish the artist for “thumbing his nose” at the court’s authority and skipping out early...

Dershowitz’s Defamation Lawsuit Survives CNN’s Motion to Dismiss

Dershowitz’s Defamation Lawsuit Survives CNN’s Motion to Dismiss

On May 25th, 2021, U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal of the Southern District of Florida held that Alan Dershowitz’s $300 million defamation suit against CNN could proceed. Dershowitz, a famous lawyer known for helping Trump and other far-right politicians, filed the $300 million defamation suit against CNN on September 15th, 2020. The complaint concerned CNN’s coverage of his legal...

Facebook Dodges Data Scraping Suit After District Court Chooses Not to Follow Recent Ninth Circuit Decisions

Facebook Dodges Data Scraping Suit After District Court Chooses Not to Follow Recent Ninth Circuit Decisions

On May 14, 2021, the United States District Court in the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss in favor of Facebook in a class-action suit. The lawsuit alleged that Facebook used “data scraping” to collect Android users’ call and text logs and later sold that information to advertisers. The District Court granted the motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs alleged that...

Country-Rock Star Don Everly Granted Declaratory Judgement Against Late Brother’s Heirs

Country-Rock Star Don Everly Granted Declaratory Judgement Against Late Brother’s Heirs

On May 4, 2021, a United States District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee granted declaratory judgment in a dispute over the rights to the 1960s hit song “Cathy’s Clown.” This was the culmination of a longstanding dispute between Don Everly (“Don”) and his late brother Phil Everly’s (“Phil”) heirs. The Everly Brothers performed together for over a decade before splitting in the early...

Amazon May Be Unlawfully Using Its Facial Recognition Technology

Amazon May Be Unlawfully Using Its Facial Recognition Technology

On May 12, 2021, a class-action suit was filed in an Illinois Circuit Court against the tech giant Amazon. The lawsuit alleged that Amazon violated multiple provisions of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) by collecting, storing, and analyzing “biometric identifiers” of Amazon Photos users and those appearing in their photos. “Biometric identifiers” are distinctive...

Prince Photographer Triumphs Against Warhol Foundation

Prince Photographer Triumphs Against Warhol Foundation

On March 26th, 2021, the Second Circuit (i.e., the Court of Appeals for federal courts located in New York and surrounding areas) ruled that a series of Andy Warhol’s prints created from photographs of “Prince” infringed upon the copyright of the author of the original pictures (i.e., the photographer). In doing so, the Second Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that Warhol’s prints...

So-Called ‘Golden Rule’ Leads to Reversal of $1.1 Million Judgement Against Fetty Wap’s Record Label

So-Called ‘Golden Rule’ Leads to Reversal of $1.1 Million Judgement Against Fetty Wap’s Record Label

On April 22nd, 2021, a State of New Jersey appeals court tossed a $1.1 million judgment against a record label in a breach of contract and defamation lawsuit. The record label, RGF Productions Inc., was sued by a former RGF employee. After an RGF press release stated that former employee Shawna Morgan wrongly collected extra fees when booking gigs for the rapper Fetty Wap, Ms. Morgan filed this...

Co-Creator of Hit Netflix Series ‘Ozark’ Sued for Breach of Contract

Co-Creator of Hit Netflix Series ‘Ozark’ Sued for Breach of Contract

On March 15th, 2021, Ozark co-creator Mark Williams (“Williams”) was hit with a breach of contract suit. In a complaint filed by Nick May (“May”), the first-time screenwriter claims that Williams eliminated his authorship of the film he wrote. After May agreed to “option” his screenplay for the upcoming film, “Blacklight,” to Williams, the “Ozark” co-creator allegedly denied May writing credits....

Music Producer Dr. Luke is not a “Public Figure” for the Purpose of Libel Law

Music Producer Dr. Luke is not a “Public Figure” for the Purpose of Libel Law

On April 22nd, 2021, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision that music producer Lukasz Gottwald, professionally known as Dr. Luke, is not a “public figure.” The decision was affirmed just in time for an upcoming trial over claims that pop-star singer Kesha slandered him by falsely accusing him of drugging and raping her. Dr. Luke initially filed the case in 2014,...

Destruction of Wall Mural Leads to Lawsuit Against San Diego Unified School District

Destruction of Wall Mural Leads to Lawsuit Against San Diego Unified School District

On February 25th, 2021, Artist and Chicano-rights activist Salvador Torres filed a lawsuit against San Diego Unified School District and Balfour Beatty Construction. The suit arises from the destruction of a mural Torres painted for the school district back in 1988. According to the complaint, the San Diego School District and Balfour Beatty’s demolition of his mural violated federal copyright...

Daughter to Marvel Mastermind, Stan Lee, Disputes Preposterous’ $1 Million Legal Penalty

Daughter to Marvel Mastermind, Stan Lee, Disputes Preposterous’ $1 Million Legal Penalty

On April 14th, 2021, Joan Celia Lee, otherwise known as “JC” Lee, asked the Ninth Circuit to reopen her lawsuit against her father’s former partners for control of the late comic book legend’s publicity rights. In June of 2020, Judge Otis Wright threw out the lawsuit and fined JC Lee 1 million dollars for frivolous and improper filings, $250,000 of which her attorneys were responsible for...

Bilzerian ‘Ignites’ Copyright Suit Against Himself After Major Social Media Marketing Blast

Bilzerian ‘Ignites’ Copyright Suit Against Himself After Major Social Media Marketing Blast

  On April 12th, 2021, Florida-based marketing agency Creative Klick Agency LLC (“Creative Klick”) filed a copyright infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against social media celebrity Dan Bilzerian and his beverage company, Ignite Spirits Inc. (“Ignite”) The lawsuit follows a major social media marketing blast by Bilzerian and Ignite to promote...

Another Day, Another Defamation Suit: Civil Rights Attorney Faces Defamation Suit Brought by Billionaire, Steve Wynn

Another Day, Another Defamation Suit: Civil Rights Attorney Faces Defamation Suit Brought by Billionaire, Steve Wynn

On March 25th, 2021, the Ninth Circuit ruled on billionaire resort and casino developer Steve Wynn’s defamation suit against well-known civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom. According to the court documents, Wynn brought the defamation suit against Bloom after she published a press release claiming Wynn forced casino dancers to strip for him. The slanderous press release was published in March of...

Producers of ‘American Idol’ Prevail in Damaged Ear Lawsuit

Producers of ‘American Idol’ Prevail in Damaged Ear Lawsuit

On April 20th, 2021, a California Appellate Court in the Second District affirmed summary judgment in favor of the producers of the hit show “American Idol.” Ruling against the plaintiff and former American Idol contestant, Michael Simeon Smith (“Smith”), the Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that the language of the American Idol contestant agreement bars Smith’s...

A Not So Sweet ‘Sweetheart’ Deal: “Key & Peele” Showrunner Jay Martel Sues Writers Guild of America

A Not So Sweet ‘Sweetheart’ Deal: “Key & Peele” Showrunner Jay Martel Sues Writers Guild of America

On March 17th, 2021, a class action suit led by “Key & Peele” showrunner, Jay Martel, was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. After years of failing to pay streaming royalties to writers on dozens of television shows, including “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” “Tosh.0,” and “Key & Peele,” the Writers Guild of America West reached a...

$49 Million Damage Award Falls Short for Famed Pop Artist Peter Max

$49 Million Damage Award Falls Short for Famed Pop Artist Peter Max

On March 11th, 2021, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a bid from artist Peter Max to modify a $49 million arbitration award against Great American Security Co. and Interested Underwriters at Lloyds (“The Insurers”) in an insurance dispute. The insurance dispute results from Superstorm Sandy, where the 2012 hurricane led to the damage of millions of dollars worth of his famous...

‘Let’s Get It On . . .’ Again: Ed Sheeran Faces New Copyright Suit for Marvin Gaye Classic

‘Let’s Get It On . . .’ Again: Ed Sheeran Faces New Copyright Suit for Marvin Gaye Classic

On March 31st, 2021, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams denied a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit against singer-songwriter sensation Ed Sheeran over his hit song “Thinking Out Loud.” Structured Asset Sales, who owns the recording of “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, filed the suit on June 8th, 2020, alleging (again) that Sheeran’s song infringes upon the Marvin Gaye classic....

‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ Remake Suit Lives to See Another Day in Federal Court

‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ Remake Suit Lives to See Another Day in Federal Court

On February 26th, 2021, a California federal judge decided that the lawsuit over a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” remake will not be sent back to state court after concluding that the suit contains copyright violations only a federal court can decide. Filed on December 18th, 2020, the trust of Truman Capote, author of the 1958 novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” is based upon filed a lawsuit in state...

North Carolina Teacher Alleges Netflix is Liable for Copyright Infringement After Release of Young Adult Series “Outer Banks”

North Carolina Teacher Alleges Netflix is Liable for Copyright Infringement After Release of Young Adult Series “Outer Banks”

Kevin Wooten is a high school English teacher from North Carolina that has written the adventure novel Pennywise: The Hunt for Blackbeard’s Treasure. Within Wooten’s novel, a group of teenagers living in the Outer Banks region of the North Carolina coast finds hidden treasure. After Wooten published his novel in 2016, Netflix released the first season of their show Outer Banks in 2020, a mystery...

Media Company Takes Brave Step in Saving the Newspaper Industry in Filing Suit Against Facebook and Google

Media Company Takes Brave Step in Saving the Newspaper Industry in Filing Suit Against Facebook and Google

HD Media Company, a West Virginia newspaper company, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google and Facebook on Friday, January 29, 2021, as a result of the decline in the company’s ability to effectively monetize its content. The complaint charges the two tech giants with monopolizing the digital advertising market and decimating local newspapers nationwide while profiting at the expense...

Country Star Yoakam Sues After Warner Holds Copyrights Hostage

Country Star Yoakam Sues After Warner Holds Copyrights Hostage

Two-time Grammy Award-winning country music singer Dwight Yoakam filed suit against Warner Music Group and its subsidiaries in California federal court on February 8, 2021, alleging willful copyright infringement and conversion. The facts alleged are as follows: Yoakam first entered into a contract with Warner in 1985, and this claim arises from Yoakam’s attempt to terminate his 35-year...

British Songwriters Allege that The Weeknd Copied Melody for ‘Lonely Night’

British Songwriters Allege that The Weeknd Copied Melody for ‘Lonely Night’

On January 27, 2021, British songwriters Brian Clover and Scott McCulloch filed an appellate brief urging the Ninth Circuit to revive their copyright infringement suit accusing Canadian R&B singer “The Weeknd” of ripping off their 2005 song “I Need to Love” to record his 2016 song “A Lonely Night,” arguing that the “identical” melodies are sufficient to show that the song was copied. Clover...

Is it Worth Suing for Idea Theft/Breach of implied in fact Contract?

Is it Worth Suing for Idea Theft/Breach of implied in fact Contract?

Have you ever pitched a fantastic idea for a movie or television show just to have it taken from you? If so, you may have a cause of action for what is referred to as “idea theft”. As entertainment lawyers who specialize in these claims, we are often approached by potential clients and asked: “What can I do if I believe someone stole my idea?”   In this article, we will address the issue of...

Right-Wing News Network OAN Must Pay Attorney Fees to Rachel Maddow and MSNBC

Right-Wing News Network OAN Must Pay Attorney Fees to Rachel Maddow and MSNBC

On or about February 5, 2021, right-wing news organization OAN was ordered to pay Defendants Rachel Maddow and MSNBC approximately $250,000 in attorney’s fees. In this case, OAN filed a defamation claim against Rachel Maddow and MSNBC after the news anchor stated on air that OAN “literally is paid Russian propaganda.” In response, the Defendants filed a motion to throw out the case in what is...

Disney Seeks to Dismiss ‘Muppet Babies’ Reboot Suit

Disney Seeks to Dismiss ‘Muppet Babies’ Reboot Suit

On January 27, 2021, the Walt Disney Company filed a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by television writer Jeffrey Scott in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  According to the complaint, Disney “interpolated” the ideas Scott shared with them from his 1984 “Muppet Babies” production bible for their 2018 reboot and then breached his 1984...

Diddy Brings Right of Publicity Lawsuit Against Retailers

Diddy Brings Right of Publicity Lawsuit Against Retailers

On February 4, 2021, Hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs filed a right of publicity lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against apparel company Global Brands Group and retailer Misguided. According to the complaint, Global Brands Group created and circulated a number of falsified statements and a 40-second advertisement “using and exploiting Mr. Combs’s name,...

Astronomer’s False Endorsement Claim Against Mattel, American Girl Will Move Forward

Astronomer’s False Endorsement Claim Against Mattel, American Girl Will Move Forward

Lucianne Walkowicz, an accomplished astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, filed suit against Mattel and its American Girl brand alleging that the companies stole their likeness to create an astronaut doll named “Luciana Vega.” On Thursday, February 11, 2021, a Wisconsin federal judge trimmed the suit down to a false endorsement claim. A false endorsement is when there is unauthorized...

“Florence Foster Jenkins” Screenwriter Hits a Sour Note When a London Judge Ruled that His Ex-Girlfriend Was a Co-Author

“Florence Foster Jenkins” Screenwriter Hits a Sour Note When a London Judge Ruled that His Ex-Girlfriend Was a Co-Author

The Oscar-nominated biopic Florence Foster Jenkins about the notoriously awful yet well-intentioned opera singer was released in 2016 to great critical acclaim. Screenwriter Nicholas Martin enjoyed the praise, but his opera singer ex-girlfriend Julia Kogan was less thrilled because she claimed to be Martin’s co-author and deserves credit for the film. Since the movie was a British production,...

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

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 the late...

Court Strikes Defamation Claims Against Netflix for The Laundromat

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 Papers, a 2016 scandal involving a law firm in Panama...

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

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 its 2013 profile of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the...

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

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 Clancy, during his successful and prolific career as an...

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

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 as Instagram and Twitter. In the 2018 lawsuit, the...

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

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 their...

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

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 Dark Tower” books by noted author Stephen King (first released in...

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

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 showrunner from the show’s...

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

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 Boldly Go!" that combined Dr. Seuss’ classic illustrated book entitled "Oh, the Places...

Sugar Daddy Dating Sites Battle It Out in Trademark Lawsuit

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...

Investors in Genius Brands, An Entertainment Company, Assert They Were Duped By Pump-And-Dump Scheme

Investors in Genius Brands, An Entertainment Company, Assert They Were Duped By Pump-And-Dump Scheme

In a complaint filed on August 18, 2020, in the Central District of California, plaintiff Salvador Verdin, individually and on behalf of all investors who purchased Genius stock between March 17 and July 5, 2020, accused defendants Genius Brands and its CEO, Andy Heyward, of violating Federal Securities Law. In the complaint, Plaintiffs claim that, by issuing press releases emphasizing its...

Trump Hit With Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Trump Hit With Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Just weeks after Neil Diamond filed suit over Trump’s use of his "Rockin' in the Free World" at rallies, singer-songwriter, and producer Eddy Grant filed suit against Trump and his campaign on September 1, 2020, alleging copyright infringement over the use of Grant’s 1983 hit “Electric Avenue”  in a campaign video posted to Trump’s Twitter account in August 2020. The tweet, now disabled by...

Tattoo Artist Granted Summary Judgment on Copyright Infringement Claim Against WWE

Tattoo Artist Granted Summary Judgment on Copyright Infringement Claim Against WWE

On September 26, 2020, Judge Yandle for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois granted tattoo artist Catherine Alexander’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in her copyright infringement lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (“WWE”) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (“Take-Two”). Alexander claimed WWE and Take-Two copied the tattoos she inked...

Playboy Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Fashion Company Over Iconic Bunny Costume

Playboy Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Fashion Company Over Iconic Bunny Costume

On October 27, 2020, Playboy Enterprises filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Fashion Nova, an online retail company, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. According to the complaint, Fashion Nova created and sold a replica of Playboy’s iconic bunny costume “throughout the peak of the Halloween costume season.” In the complaint, Playboy provides a...

Lawsuit Against Post Malone Going in ‘Circles’ After Rapper is Accused of Denying Credit to Alleged Co-Writer

Lawsuit Against Post Malone Going in ‘Circles’ After Rapper is Accused of Denying Credit to Alleged Co-Writer

On October 19, 2020, Judge Otis Wright III for the United States District Court for the Central District of California refused to dismiss musician and producer Tyler Armes’ lawsuit against Post Malone for co-writer credit and publishing royalties on Malone’s song “Circles.” Armes alleged he co-authored the hit composition/sound recording performed by recording artist Post Malone, entitled...

California Court of Appeal Affirms Continuation of Defamation Lawsuit Against Real Housewives of Orange County Star

California Court of Appeal Affirms Continuation of Defamation Lawsuit Against Real Housewives of Orange County Star

On October 23, 2020, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District affirmed the Superior Court of Orange County’s ruling that James Bellino, the ex-husband of former Real Housewives of Orange County (“RHOC”) star Alexis Bellino, can continue with his claims for defamation and the false light in his lawsuit against current RHOC star Tamara Judge. Bellino filed a defamation lawsuit...

Author of Notorious ‘Game of Thrones’ Series Files Suit Over Rights to His Werewolf Novella

Author of Notorious ‘Game of Thrones’ Series Files Suit Over Rights to His Werewolf Novella

On August 20, 2020, “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin (“Martin”) filed a lawsuit in California state court against Blackstone Manor LLC over the film rights to his werewolf novella entitled “The Skin Trade.” Martin said Blackstone lost its rights to turn his novella into a film when the company took too long to pursue the project. Martin published the fantasy horror novella in 1988 as...

Huffington Post Did Not Infringe Upon Photograph of Jon Hamm

Huffington Post Did Not Infringe Upon Photograph of Jon Hamm

On September 10, 2020, Photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the owner of the Huffington Post, for posting an edited version of the viral photograph Schwartzwald had taken of Mad Men star Jon Hamm in 2013.   The photograph was taken by Schwartzwald prominently depicted the outline of Hamm’s genitals through his pants as he strolled down a crowded...

Michigan Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Michigan Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With the Presidential General Election rapidly approaching, every Michigan voter should have a plan to vote. Developing a plan to vote increases the likelihood that your ballot will be counted. While this firm cannot and is not providing legal advice, we do offer the following information for Michigan residents.   In the midst of a pandemic,...

Wisconsin Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Wisconsin Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With the Presidential General Election rapidly approaching, every Wisconsin voter should have a plan to vote. Developing a plan to vote increases the likelihood that your ballot will be counted. While this firm cannot and is not providing legal advice, we do offer the following information for Wisconsin residents.   In the midst of a pandemic,...

Florida Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Florida Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With arguably the most important election in our nation's history taking place this November, it is increasingly important that voters develop a plan to ensure their votes count. While this firm cannot and is not providing legal advice, we do offer the following information for Florida residents.   In the midst of a pandemic, voting at the...

Ohio Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Ohio Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With the Presidential General Election rapidly approaching, Ohio residents should be aware of the voting options available to them. Developing a plan to vote increases the likelihood of your ballot being counted. While this firm cannot and is not providing legal advice, we do offer the following information for Ohio residents.   In the midst...

California Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

California Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With the Presidential General Election rapidly approaching, every California voter should have a plan to vote.   In the midst of a pandemic, voting at the polls may not be a viable option for many Californians. Fortunately, the state of California offers alternative ways for its residents to cast their vote. Under Executive Order N-64-20, all...

Pennsylvania Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Pennsylvania Residents: Do This to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Vote early and use dropbox. Instructions below. With the Presidential General Election rapidly approaching, Pennsylvania residents should be aware of the voting options available to them. Developing a plan to vote increases the likelihood that your ballot will be counted. While this firm cannot and is not providing legal advice, we do offer the following information for Pennsylvania residents....

The Weeknd Clears Two Copyright Hurdles

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 3, 2019, plaintiffs William Smith, Brian Clover, and Scott...

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

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 three-judge panel's July ruling that a trial judge acted too hastily when...

Ed Sheeran Lawsuit Resumed Following Wake of Zeppelin Decision

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 complaint, Katheryn Townsend and other heirs of Ed Townsend, who...

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

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 his film, “The Shape of Water.” In a complaint...

“Comic-Con” Wins Again

“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 Con,” infringed upon SDCC's “Comic-Con” trademark. Shortly thereafter, Judge...

Professional Photographer Gets Second Shot at Copyright Victory

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 been featured in The New York...

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

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 a complaint originally filed in February of 2019, plaintiffs...

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

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 May 2019, plaintiff East Hallows LLC accused defendant Live Nation...

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

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 Hines alleged that Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) and Timothy Mosely...

Steinbeck Family Battle Appealed to Supreme Court

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...

Sweet James is Anything But In Accusing Rival Firm of Brand Theft.

Sweet James is Anything But In Accusing Rival Firm of Brand Theft.

On April 24, 2020, a leading personal injury law firm in Southern California brought a suit against a rival firm based in Beverly Hills for stealing and misusing its registered “Sweet James” trademark online. In the complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Central District of California, plaintiff Sweet James LLP accused the Lalezary Law Firm LLP of trademark...

No Justice For Filmmaker in Copyright Clash with Apple

No Justice For Filmmaker in Copyright Clash with Apple

In yet another casualty for creative professionals in 2020, on May 28, 2020, United States District Court Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California dismissed a filmmaker's copyright infringement lawsuit against Apple and M. Night Shyamalan in connection with the Apple TV+ series, “Servant.” Notwithstanding overwhelming similarities between the two works at issue, Judge Walter...

Ex-Met Strikes Out in New York Court

Ex-Met Strikes Out in New York Court

On May 29, 2020, New York State Court Judge, Robert D. Kalish, tossed retired professional baseball star Lenny Dykstra's defamation suit against former teammate, Ron Darling, finding that an unsavory depiction of Dykstra in Darling's recent book couldn't further besmirch Dykstra's “already tarnished reputation.” In July 2019, Dykstra filed and in September 2019, later amended a complaint with...

Nike and Footlocker Swept Up in Surf Documentarian’s Lawsuit

Nike and Footlocker Swept Up in Surf Documentarian’s Lawsuit

Bruce Brown, the distinguished filmmaker known for capturing the sport of surfing, is suing Footlocker and Nike for infringing upon trademarks he holds in connection with his seminal surf documentary, “The Endless Summer.” In a complaint filed on March 17, 2020, in the United District Court of the Central District of California, Bruce Brown Films LLC has alleged that Foot Locker Inc. and Nike...

Free Speech Protects “Call of Duty” Game Makers in Humvee Case

Free Speech Protects “Call of Duty” Game Makers in Humvee Case

On March 31, 2020 a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York delivered a ruling in favor of Activision Blizzard, holding that automaker AM General cannot sue for trademark infringement for incorporating Humvees into the gameplay of the popular video game, “Call of Duty.” Back in November of 2017, plaintiff AM General LLC filed a complaint against defendants Activision...

The Inside Out of Character Copyrights

The Inside Out of Character Copyrights

On May 4, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Plaintiff's petition for rehearing and amended and superseded their March 16, 2020 decision in the case of Daniels v. Walt Disney Co., No. 18-55635, 2020 WL 2119396 (9th Cir. May 4, 2020). Denise Daniels claimed that her characters, The Moodsters, were infringed by Disney and used to create the characters in the movie Inside...

The Rights To Your Own Body

The Rights To Your Own Body

On February 1, 2016, Solid Oak Sketches LLC filed a copyright lawsuit in Manhattan against 2K Games, Inc. and Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., the companies responsible for creating the NBA2K video game franchise, for allegedly infringing tattoo artists copyrights in the tattoos they tattooed on LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe, and Kenyon Martin in versions 2K14, 2K15, and 2K16. On Thursday,...

Megan Thee Stallion Clears The Hurdle of Arbitration

Megan Thee Stallion Clears The Hurdle of Arbitration

On April 13, 2020, Harris County District Judge Robert K. Schaffer in Houston ruled in favor of rapper Megan Thee Stallion in a dispute with her record label 1501 Certified Entertainment LLC (“1501”). In a one sentence order, Judge Schaffer denied the Defendants' request to compel arbitration. Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Pete, filed the lawsuit on March 2, 2020, against her label and...

The Aftershock of Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin: The “Dark Horse” case

The Aftershock of Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin: The “Dark Horse” case

There is already an extremely slim chance that any copyright infringement case against the Hollywood power structure ever makes it to trial; even if this occurs and you miraculously win your case against the finest lawyers that the entertainment industry can buy, judges can and will exercise their right to overturn your hard-earned verdict. That is what happened on March 17, 2020 in the “Dark...

The Led Zeppelin Decision: A Mixed Bag

The Led Zeppelin Decision: A Mixed Bag

The March 9, 2020 decision of the eleven Justices of the en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin is not all bad for creators. Plaintiff Michael Skidmore, the Trustee of the Estate of deceased songwriter, Randy Wolfe, a member of the rock band Spirit, sued Led Zeppelin in 2014, claiming the iconic song Stairway to Heaven infringed upon Spirit's song Taurus....

Paramount, BET hit with Copyright Infringement Suit

On September 25, 2019, Screenwriter Joe Gregory Carlini filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Paramount and BET, claiming the Los Angeles-based studio and television network stole the plot from his 2014 screenplay "What The F Is He Thinking?" and used it in the film “What Men Want" starring Taraji Henson. According to Carlini, Paramount claims the film is a “loose remake” of the...

Taylor Swift Can’t Shake Off the “Playas Gonna Play” Copyright Lawsuit

On October 28, 2019, the Ninth Circuit of California reversed the dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit against Taylor Swift in connection with the song “Shake it off”. Swift and the songwriters of “Shake it off” were accused of copying the lyrics from the song “Players Gon' Play” by girl group “3LW,” written by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler. The 3LW song features the lines...

Is it Worth Suing for Defamation?

Is it Worth Suing for Defamation?

Defamation is a civil cause of action that creates a great amount of stir when a case is filed. Defamation occurs when a person: makes a false statement of fact about you or your business; the statement was published (made to a third party); the person who made the statement did so negligently, recklessly, or intentionally; and as a result of the statement, your reputation was damaged. The...

DEFAMATION CLAIMS NOT REQUIRED FOR PRESUIT NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR BOOKS AND MOVIES

DEFAMATION CLAIMS NOT REQUIRED FOR PRESUIT NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR BOOKS AND MOVIES

On July 10, 2019, a Florida appeals court found that defamation contained in books and movies are not covered by a presuit retraction requirement for defamation suits; refusing to dismiss the claims of the grandson of former Columbian President Mariano Ospina Perez Francisco Javier Ospina Baraya's (“Ospina”), that claimed that the book “The Infiltrator” and its Hollywood movie adaptation falsely...

AYKROYD’S CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA LITIGATING AGAIN

AYKROYD’S CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA LITIGATING AGAIN

On July 8, 2019, Dan Aykroyd's company, Globefill Inc. (“Globefill”), has filed another lawsuit against a liquor company for infringing the Crystal Head trademark. Globefill filed the lawsuit against a Mexican tequila maker, Matatena Spirits S.A. de C.V. (“Matatena”), alleging that it knocked off the Crystal Head iconic head-shaped bottle. In the complaint, Globefill claims Matatena had applied...

CASE AGAINST ED SHEERAN WILL WAIT FOR ZEPPELIN DECISION BEFORE GOING TO TRIAL

CASE AGAINST ED SHEERAN WILL WAIT FOR ZEPPELIN DECISION BEFORE GOING TO TRIAL

Following up on our July 15, 2018 article entitled “Sheeran/Gaye Lawsuit Headed To Jury Trial”: On July 2, 2019, U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, Louis L. Stanton, continued the jury trial scheduled for September 11, 2019, over whether Ed Sheeran's “Thinking Out Loud” infringes Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On,” in order to find out the Marvin Gaye decision by the Ninth...

THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION PREVAILS IN “PRINCE” COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT

THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION PREVAILS IN “PRINCE” COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT

On July 1, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge of the Southern District of New York, John G. Koeltl, held that an Andy Warhol series of prints featuring legendary pop artist, Prince, does not infringe upon the copyright of the photographer who originally took the photograph. Judge Koeltl ruled that the Warhol series is “transformative” of the original photo and “adds something new to the world of...

COLOR ME BADD STILL TOURING DESPITE CONTINUED CONFLICTS, INCLUDING TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT CLAIMS BETWEEN ITS OWN MEMBERS

COLOR ME BADD STILL TOURING DESPITE CONTINUED CONFLICTS, INCLUDING TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT CLAIMS BETWEEN ITS OWN MEMBERS

On July 1, 2019, a member of well-known ‘90s R&B group, Color Me Badd, filed a lawsuit in Indiana federal court against another member alleging he misappropriated the band's trademark while trying to pursue his solo career. CMB Entertainment LLC (“CMB”) and lead singer of Color Me Badd, Bryan Abrams (“Abrams”), are seeking to stop former group member Marc Calderon (“Calderon”) and Pyramid...

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIM AGAINST MILEY CYRUS WILL HAVE ITS DAY IN COURT

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CLAIM AGAINST MILEY CYRUS WILL HAVE ITS DAY IN COURT

Following up on our February 25, 2019, article entitled “Miley Cyrus Will Face Lawsuit Over Copyright Infringement Claims Over ‘We Can't Stop'”: On June 28, 2019, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, Lewis Kaplan, ruled that copyright infringement claims against Miley Cyrus over her 2013 hit song “We Can't Stop” will proceed. Judge Kaplan rejected an effort to end a case...

“EMPIRE” COPYRIGHT CASE AGAINST FOX REJECTED BY U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THIRD TIME AFTER THE 9TH CIRCUIT REVERSED A PREVIOUS DECISION FOR DEFENDANT FOX

“EMPIRE” COPYRIGHT CASE AGAINST FOX REJECTED BY U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THIRD TIME AFTER THE 9TH CIRCUIT REVERSED A PREVIOUS DECISION FOR DEFENDANT FOX

Following up on our August 8, 2018 article entitled “Ninth Circuit Revives Lawsuit Against Fox Regarding ‘Empire'”: On June 14, 2019, U.S. District Judge of the Central District of California, Percy Anderson, again tossed the lawsuit against Fox Television which claimed that plaintiffs' unproduced “treatment” was the basis of the television show “Empire.” This recent development comes a year...

AUTHOR OF TOMMY DEVITO AUTOBIOGRAPHY WANTS NINTH CIRCUIT TO RE-INSTATE JURY VERDICT IN HER FAVOR

AUTHOR OF TOMMY DEVITO AUTOBIOGRAPHY WANTS NINTH CIRCUIT TO RE-INSTATE JURY VERDICT IN HER FAVOR

On June 11, 2019, author Donna Corbello (“Corbello”) urged the Ninth Circuit to revive a jury verdict finding the creators of the hit Broadway musical “Jersey Boys” stole material from her husband's unpublished book. Even though the jury found in her favor and issued her an award in June of 2017, the judge thereafter issued a “judgment as a matter of law” in favor of the defendants on the fair...

NINTH CIRCUIT TO TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT ITS RULING CONCERNING THE CASE AGAINST LED ZEPPELIN

NINTH CIRCUIT TO TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT ITS RULING CONCERNING THE CASE AGAINST LED ZEPPELIN

On June 10, 2019, the Ninth Circuit decided that all of the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would “rehear” the previous panel's decision reversing a lower court verdict in favor of Led Zeppelin. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2014 by Michael Skidmore (“Skidmore”), the trustee for the lead singer of a group called “Spirit.” Skidmore claimed Zeppelin used the introduction from...

PEPE THE FROG CREATOR AND INFOWARS REACH SETTLEMENT

PEPE THE FROG CREATOR AND INFOWARS REACH SETTLEMENT

Following up on our March 15, 2018 article entitled “Pepe The Frog Creator Fires Back”: On June 10, 2019, the creator of Pepe the Frog, Matt Furie (“Furie”), reached a settlement to end a copyright lawsuit he filed against the far-right website, “Infowars.” A month after U.S. District Court Judge, Michael Fitzgerald, of the Central District of California refused to rule that Infowars was...

PHILADELPHIA ATTORNEY WHO THOUGHT HE WAS “OFF THE RECORD” CANNOT STOP DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS FROM INCLUDING THE FOOTAGE

PHILADELPHIA ATTORNEY WHO THOUGHT HE WAS “OFF THE RECORD” CANNOT STOP DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS FROM INCLUDING THE FOOTAGE

On June 11, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge, Gerald McHugh, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted documentary filmmakers summary judgment holding that prominent Philadelphia attorney, A. Charles Peruto (“Peruto”), did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when he was caught on tape criticizing city Judge Genece Brinkley. Peruto was looking to block critical comments he made...

HOUSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT REQUIRED TO PAY $9 MILLION AFTER LOSING COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT OVER LEARNING MATERIALS

HOUSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT REQUIRED TO PAY $9 MILLION AFTER LOSING COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT OVER LEARNING MATERIALS

On May 24, 2019, after a seven-day trial, a Texas federal jury ordered the Houston Independent School District (“District”) to pay $9.2 million to an educational publishing company, DynaStudy, Inc. (“DynaStudy”), after finding its employees willfully infringed the company's rights. The verdict comes just approximately three years to the date since the lawsuit was filed on May 23, 2016. The jury...

COURT FINDS USE OF “SUPERBOWL SHUFFLE” IN DOCUMENTARY WAS “FAIR USE”

COURT FINDS USE OF “SUPERBOWL SHUFFLE” IN DOCUMENTARY WAS “FAIR USE”

Following up on our December 13, 2018 article entitled “Claim Filed On Behalf of Writers of Song ‘Super Bowl Shuffle'”: On May 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge of the Northern District of Illinois, Virginia M. Kendall, ruled that the owners of the “Super Bowl Shuffle”- a song made famous by the 1985 Chicago Bears (the “song”)- are barred from recovering against documentary filmmakers for including...

“LOVING PABLO” AUTHOR’S CASE AGAINST NETFLIX SURVIVES A MOTION TO DISMISS

“LOVING PABLO” AUTHOR’S CASE AGAINST NETFLIX SURVIVES A MOTION TO DISMISS

In a follow-up to our article about this case posted on September 14, 2018, the following is an update in the case: Netflix and producers of the Netflix original series “Narcos” (“Netflix”) cannot escape copyright infringement claims brought against them by Columbian journalist Virginia Vallejo (“Vallejo”). Vallejo, a former lover of Pablo Escobar and author of her best-selling memoir- “Loving...

What Can the Right Operating Agreement Do for Your LLC?

When people are starting a limited liability corporation (LLC) in California, most members (owners) of the LLC are often more focused on getting the business off the ground and building a successful customer base than they are with sorting out legal issues. That is a big mistake. An operating agreement can contain the legal provisions necessary to establish the relationships, duties, and...

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

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”), a longtime member of a traveling basketball...

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

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 is little in...

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

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 proposed class action against T.I. alleging violations of federal...

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 ordinary users and consumers. Supporters of the new law say the new...

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 Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and other music streaming services must...

“BONES” CAST ARBITRATION AWARD GETS SHAVED $128 MILLION

“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 that the $128 million in punitive damages would be set aside, while...