Art, Entertainment & Sports Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Art, Entertainment & Sports issues written by leading professionals.
News & Analysis as of

Rupa Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music Inc. - USDC, Central District of California, September 23, 2015

District court grants plaintiffs summary judgment, holding that defendants never acquired rights in and do not own valid copyright to lyrics of “Happy Birthday to You.” In 1893, the Hills assigned their rights to the...more

The NCAA Ruling : How Far Should Courts Go In Redefining Market Rules?

In O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, Case No. 14-16601 (9th Cir. Sept. 30, 2015), the Ninth Circuit applied the Rule of Reason to the NCAA’s amateurism rules, and concluded that while the NCAA can ban cash...more

The Return of The King

PokerStars, the innovative online poker industry leader with a deeply loyal U.S. fan base, is making its highly anticipated return to the United States online gaming market. New Jersey regulators have approved PokerStars’...more

Ninth Circuit Disallows Additional Compensation for College Athletes

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit ruled in the long awaited O’Bannon v. NCAA case, which challenged NCAA rules that bar student-athletes from “being paid for the use of their names, images, and likenesses” (NILs) – part of the...more

DC Comics v. Towle d/b/a Garage Gotham - USCA, Ninth Circuit, September 23, 2015

Ninth Circuit affirms that Batmobile is “character” entitled to copyright protection. In May 2011, DC Comics sued Towle in a California federal district court, alleging, among other things, causes of action for copyright...more

Rights of Publicity: A Potentially Catastrophic Pitfall for the Unwary Marketer as told by Jordan v. Dominick’s Finer Foods

Most marketing departments for large companies have at least a basic understanding, if not a proficient grasp, of the type of legal vetting that needs to be conducted before using an image in an ad or marketing piece. They...more

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Payments To College Athletes

This morning, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NCAA is subject to antitrust laws and that its payment rules are too restrictive in attempting to maintain amateurism. However, in what can only be deemed a...more

NCAA Play for Pay? Ninth Circuit Rules Antitrust Rule of Reason Does Not Require Payments for ‘Name, Image, or Likeness’

On September 30, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that the amateurism rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) violate federal antitrust laws. The Ninth Circuit panel...more

Holy Copyrightability Batman! The Batmobile Is Still A Superhero…

In the spring of 2013, this author reported on the then-recent decision, DC Comics v. Towle, 989 F. Supp. 2d 948 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2013), where Judge Ronald Lew determined that the Batmobile is a comic book character...more

Divided Ninth Circuit Splits the O’Bannon Baby

In a two to one decision, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in part and reversed in part the district court injunction that prohibited universities from denying certain forms of compensation to Division I...more

Ninth Circuit Rules on NCAA’s Appeal in O’Bannon

After a lengthy discussion in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that the NCAA’s compensation rules are subject to scrutiny under antitrust laws, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court’s...more

Court Rules NCAA Can Block Colleges from Paying Student-Athletes, But Allows Scholarships for “Full Cost of Attendance”

In a partial victory for the NCAA, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned in part a permanent injunction issued by the District Court for the Northern District of California, which had required the NCAA to allow...more

The New Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sports

The Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is expected to become fully operational in October 2015. The CAS will have mandatory jurisdiction over all administrative disputes arising in relation to sports federations,...more

Crime Doesn’t Pay (as much as it used to) – FBI Cracks Down on Trade of Looted Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Artifacts

In support of the international crackdown on the black market trade of looted cultural artifacts, the FBI recently announced that art dealers may be prosecuted for engaging in the trade of stolen Iraqi and Syrian antiquities....more

Status Updates: Court nixes VPPA claim; lawyer suspended over blog posts; Facebook ‘unfriending’ cited in bullying decision

Tale of the tape. The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which requires video service providers to destroy personally identifiable information after a specified time, doesn’t provide a private right of action for plaintiffs...more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US: Court Rules That Happy Birthday to You is In the Public Domain

In a prior blawg post, I wrote about the then-recently filed case of Good Morning To You Productions Corp. v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., in which the issue was whether or not the song, Happy Birthday To You, is still...more

Copyright Protection Goes ‘To the Batmobile!’ says the Ninth Circuit

While the Caped Crusader drives around in his Batmobile protecting Gotham from its fringe, copyright law protects the Batmobile from infringers—this, according to the Ninth Circuit in DC Comics v. Towle. The Batmobile is more...more

Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to Alleged Horizontal Adoption of Minimum Advertised Prices

In what has been described as the latest opinion on the use of hub and spoke theories to allege conspiracies in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the plaintiffs took the position that the viability of their claims...more

Ninth Circuit: “Holy Copyright Law, Batman!” The Batmobile Is Copyrightable

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Batmobile is a copyrightable character. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion explaining its ruling begins with the sentence “Holy copyright law, Batman!,” and goes on to quote Adam West...more

Are You Sure This Isn’t About Copyright? Chicken Sandwiches, Monkey Selfies and the Boundaries of Copyright Law

Last week, a wild crested macaque named Naruto (but really People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against photographer David John Slater in the Northern District of California. The...more

The Case of Prince, a Dancing Baby and the DMCA Takedown Notice

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her baby dancing in the kitchen with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” playing in the background. Claiming use of their song amounted to copyright infringement, Universal...more

It’s The World Series Of Discrimination Trials! Catch It!

T.J. Simers, a notorious well-known former sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, has sued the owners of the Times, contending that he was let go in 2013 because of his age (then in his early 60s, now 65) and because of...more

THIS IS JUST BANANAS: PETA Files Suit Over Monkey Selfie

In a prior blawg post, I discussed the strange case involving British nature photographer, David Slater, and his claims of ownership over a photo “selfie” that had been “taken” by a monkey (the “Monkey Selfie”) and were...more

FCC Brings “Contest Rule” into 21st Century with Update

The FCC “Contest Rule,” requires broadcast licensees to disclose on air the material terms of contests that they broadcast. In September, 2015, the FCC updated that rule to permit broadcast licensees to comply with their...more

Gaming Legal News: Volume 8, Number 17: Enterprise Rancheria Ready To Construct Class II Casino

California’s Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe, also known as Enterprise Rancheria, has said it will begin construction of a scaled-down Class II gaming facility in Yuba County, instead of the Class III facility that has been opposed...more

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