Blogs

SECOND CIRCUIT AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF SCREENPLAY INFRINGEMENT INVOLVING “LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS”

On September 18, 2018, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit that accused Dreamworks and Simon & Schuster of stealing a screenplay that was used for “Light Between Oceans.” The Second Circuit found that there were not enough similarities between the screenplay written by Joseph Nobile (“Nobile”) entitled “The Rootcutter,” and the best-selling…

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ASHLEY JUDD’S SUIT AGAINST HARVEY WEINSTEIN SET TO PROCEED

On September 19, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez issued a 15-page order that dismissed a sexual harassment claim filed by Ashley Judd (“Judd”) against Harvey Weinstein (“Weinstein”), but allowed her to maintain her intentional interference and defamation claims claim based upon a smear campaign launched by Weinstein after she rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances….

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COUSTEAU SOCIETY FILES TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT SUIT AGAINST COUSTEAU’S GRANDDAUGHTER

On September 14, 2018, the Cousteau Society filed a suit in New York federal court against Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter, Celine Cousteau (“Celine”), over the use of Cousteau’s name and signature red cap to promote her 10-part television series that will be broadcasted in early 2019 on the Science Channel. The Cousteau Society is also accusing…

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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…

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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”…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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