Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Procedure

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Art, Entertainment & Sports issues written by leading professionals.
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DeVito Artworks LLC v. Legendary Pictures LLC - California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, August 5, 2016

In dispute over pitch for television series about origins of King Kong, Superior Court holds that plaintiff’s implied contract with makers of “Kong: Skull Island” film not to use ideas without compensation was not barred by...more

Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin - USDC, C.D. California, August 8, 2016

District court rejects music publisher’s request for nearly $800,000 in attorney’s fees and costs as prevailing party in copyright dispute over Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven,” concluding lawsuit alleging infringement...more

WWE Misclassification Lawsuit Claims Performers’ Status as Independent Contractors Caused Long-Term Brain Injuries

Another major sports organization has been hit on the head with a concussion lawsuit. Most recently, former WWE performers claim that they suffered concussions and other head injuries that have resulted in long-term brain...more

Norton Simon Museum Prevails Against Von Saher Claim to Cranachs Looted by the Nazis

Just as it appeared that the first trial in years would begin next month on a claim of Nazi-looted art, the much publicized Von Saher case has come to an end with a judgment that entered yesterday. The U.S. District Court...more

Northern District of California “Shuts Out” Minor League Ballplayers’ Experts

Minor league baseball players took a swing at class certification, and they missed—badly. In Senne v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., et al., minor league baseball players across the country asserted wage and hour...more

BMI Redux: BMI Seeks To Move To “Clarify” The DOJ Position On Partial Licenses

As we have previously blogged, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) rejected proposed modifications to the existing Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) consent...more

Solid Oak Sketches LLC v. 2K Games Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, August 2, 2016

In copyright dispute over depictions of NBA players’ tattoos in “NBA 2K” video game series, district court dismisses tattoo licensing company’s claim for statutory damages and attorneys’ fees because copyrighted tattoo...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - August 2016

Supreme Court Abolished Federal Circuit's Test for Willfulness - On June 13, 2016, in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 579 U.S. ___ (2016), the Supreme Court unanimously abrogated the Federal Circuit’s...more

Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, August 1, 2016

District court grants motion for reconsideration, reviving Lions Gate’s claim of trademark dilution in dispute over advertising campaign that used modified version of famous line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” from movie...more

The New Jersey Supreme Court Will Consider Related Questions on Appeal in Two TCCWNA Class Actions

By now, many retailers have heard of New Jersey’s Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act, N.J.S.A. §56:12-18 (“TCCWNA”), which is the basis for several class action lawsuits filed in New Jersey state and federal...more

Court Decisions Define the Future for Tribal Gaming

Definitions and syntax. Not only on middle school quizzes, but also what determined the fate of the Mashpee Wampanoag and Cowlitz tribal casinos in Massachusetts and Washington, respectively. Two federal court decisions...more

Pokemon Go Away: Monsters Creating Nuisance Problems

This game has been all the rage since July. Engadget reports over 100 million downloads of Pokemon Go, racking up $10 million each day in revenue for game makers Niantic, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo. It’s a beast. ...more

In Florida, a Fine Line Between Arcade Games and Illegal Gambling

After being featured prominently at last year’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, skill-based slot machines—think Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or Guitar Hero, but played for cash—have been heralded as the heir apparent to the...more

Bad Faith Actions for Excess Judgments….is There Trouble Brewing for Recalcitrant Primary Insurers

Can an excess carrier go ahead and fund an excess primary limits settlement and then assert a claim for bad faith against the primary insurer who previously refused to accept and fund a prior in-limits policy demand? On...more

DOJ Rejects Modifications of ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees

On August 4, 2016, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) rejected changes to the 1941 consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI. These decrees have been in place since 1941, when the DOJ settled antitrust claims with ASCAP and BMI...more

Second Circuit Revives Copyright Claims Against Sony and Ghostface Killah

In Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 15-1778, the Second Circuit recently revived claims against Sony and Ghostface Killah, holding that although third parties may raise a work for hire defense, here there were factual...more

“Dirty Dancing” Trademark Dilution Claims Reinstated

This March, we reported on a California federal court’s dismissal of Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.’s (“Lions Gate”) trademark and unfair competition claims against TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, a number of its...more

Silas v. Home Box Office, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, July 26, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement claim against creators of HBO’s television show “Ballers,” finding no substantial similarity between HBO’s show about retired football player who advises current players on...more

DMCA Safe Harbor Protection Includes Pre-1972 Recordings

Vacating a district court’s decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit explained that the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects material posted on websites of online hosts...more

Newt v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, July 27, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement claim against creators of Fox’s television show “Empire,” finding no substantial similarity between Fox’s show about struggle for control of music company and plaintiff’s...more

Pokémon Go…es To Court!

Hugely successful games attract lawsuits. Pokémon Go has been hugely successful and, predictably, has attracted a lawsuit. In a recently filed class action, a plaintiff has alleged that a number of the GPS coordinates...more

All or Nothing: Nevada Supreme Court Refuses to Adopt “Blue Pencil” Doctrine for Non-Compete Agreements

In a recent opinion, the Supreme Court of Nevada refused to adopt the “blue pencil” doctrine when it ruled that an unreasonable provision in a non-compete agreement rendered the entire agreement unenforceable. “Blue...more

Court’s Reconsideration Gives “Lift” to Dirty Dancing Trademark Dilution Claim

It’s been almost 30 years since we were introduced to bad boy dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and sweet daddy’s girl Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey). This star-crossed duo shimmied their way to...more

Burning Man Bus Not a Protected Work of Visual Art Under VARA

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of a Nevada district court when it determined that the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) of the US Copyright Act did not apply to a used school bus that had...more

“Gossip Cop” Held To Willfully Infringe Copyrighted Photos

In BWP Media USA v. Gossip Cop Media, a case sure to bring cheer to paparazzi and tabloid publishers everywhere, a judge in the Southern District of New York has found after a bench trial that a gossip website willfully...more

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