Blogs

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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“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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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