Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Procedure Intellectual Property

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CI Games S.A. v. Destination Films - USDC, Central District of California, October 25, 2016

District court denies defendants’ motion to dismiss claim that Sony Pictures’ film “Sniper: Ghost Shooter” infringed trademarked title of plaintiff’s video game “Sniper: Ghost Warrior,” clarifying applicability of Rogers test...more

Stop the Music: $25 Million Verdict Intact Despite Party’s Intentional Spoliation of Evidence

The court entered final judgment, upholding the jury’s findings and denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial, finding that harsher sanctions for the plaintiff’s intentional spoliation of material evidence were not...more

We Shall Overcome Foundation v. The Richmond Organization, Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, November 21, 2016

In dispute over whether civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” is in public domain, district court refuses to dismiss copyright infringement claims on motion to dismiss, holding plaintiffs plausibly alleged (1) defendants’...more

Football Association Premier League Limited v Luxton [2016] EWCA Civ 1097

Sports rights holders and sports broadcasters will be reassured as a result of a recent Court of Appeal (“CoA”) decision, which prevented a pub owner in Swansea from using a foreign-purchased domestic decoder card to show...more

Is Coopting Graffiti's Street Cred a Fair Use?

Estate of Graffiti Artist Sues McDonald’s Over Fast-Food Décor - The estate of Dashiell “Dash” Snow, better known as graffiti artist “Secret Snow”—has sued McDonald’s over allegedly infringing use of Snow’s street art...more

8th Wonder Entertainment, LLC v. Viacom International, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, November 22, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement suit alleging creators of VH1 reality TV show “Love & Hip Hop” copied plaintiffs’ treatment for reality show about women involved with hip hop artists, holding treatment...more

Not All Repeat Infringer Policies Are Sufficient for Safe Harbor Protection

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a grant of summary judgment that a defendant had a reasonably implemented repeat infringer policy and therefore qualified for safe harbor protection under the Digital...more

Termination of Distribution Agreement Does Not Affect Licenses to Cloud-Based Access

After finding that a copyright infringement question analyzed by the district court was more properly a contract interpretation issue, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that...more

“Who’s on First?” Routine in Broadway Play Strikes Out as Transformative Fair Use

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined that a Broadway play’s verbatim use of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello’s “Who’s on First?” comedy routine was not a transformative fair use, but nonetheless...more

9th Circuit opens door to damages against retailers carrying infringing works

One of the attractions of copyright law is that copyright owners can recover substantial damages (which can go up to $150,000 in cases of willful infringement) without having to prove actual losses. But generally these...more

Second Circuit Provides Much-Needed Guidance to ISPs Seeking DMCA Safe Harbors for New Technologies

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit provides ISPs seeking to introduce new technologies much-needed guidance concerning the scope of statutory copyright liability safe harbors. In Capitol...more

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. X One X Productions, dba X One X Movie Archives, Inc. - USCA, Eighth Circuit, November 1, 2016...

In dispute over merchandise with images taken from old posters and lobby cards for “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” Eighth Circuit affirms $2.57 million award to Warner Bros. for copyright infringement and...more

Johnson v. UMG Recordings, Inc. - USCA, Seventh Circuit, October 31, 2016

Seventh Circuit holds musician Syl Johnson cannot bring copyright infringement claims based on alleged sampling of his 1967 song “Different Strokes” after settling similar action in 2015 and failing to reopen original...more

DJ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars Get “Funked” With New Copyright Suit Over “Uptown Funk”

On Friday, October 28, 2016, musicians Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars were hit with a copyright infringement suit based on their wildly popular hit “Uptown Funk.” The plaintiffs, consisting of one living member and the estates...more

Absent Nexus, Radio Station Play and Intermediaries Are Insufficient to Prove Access **WEB ONLY**

Addressing the standard for proving “access” to a copyrighted work, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment due to a lack of admissible evidence showing sufficient...more

ITN Flix v. Univision Holdings - USDC, Utah, November 2, 2016

In Depth - In copyright dispute involving two films starring Danny Trejo as character seeking vengeance for family’s murder, district court dismisses infringement claims against Univision, saying copyright law protects...more

Claims against Cloud Storage Service Hinge on Grant of Rights Clause

In a dispute that touches on the intersection of copyright, contract law and cloud technology, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of copyright claims against Barnes & Noble (“B&N”) related to ebook samples stored on a...more

“I’m With the Band”: Boston Guitarist Can Call Himself “Former Original Member” Without Infringing Trademark

Last week, a federal jury in Boston found that Barry Goudreau, a guitarist who played in an early incarnation of the rock band Boston, did not infringe trademark rights in the band’s name by allowing himself to be identified...more

“Meandering Evening Stroll” Helps Defeat Preliminary Injunction Motion Against AMAZON FIRE TV

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit highlights the perils of delay in filing a motion for a preliminary injunction in a trademark infringement case. In Wreal, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc....more

EMI Christian Music Group, Inc. v. MP3tunes, LLC - USCA, Second Circuit, October 25, 2016

Following $48 million jury verdict in music companies’ long-running copyright action against online service MP3tunes, Second Circuit vacates district court’s pretrial ruling that MP3tunes was eligible for DMCA safe harbor...more

We’ve Got the Copyright, How ‘bout You? Supreme Court Grapples with Cheerleader Uniforms

On Halloween, the highest court in the land heard oral argument on whether cheerleader uniform designs are subject to copyright protection. Varsity Brand, Inc. (“Varsity”), the country’s largest maker of cheerleader uniforms,...more

What's Happening with the Redskins Case?

For the past few years, the first question us trademark lawyers get asked at cocktail parties is, “What’s going to happen to the REDSKINS trademark?” – and now lawyers and football enthusiasts will have to wait until at least...more

Business Litigation Report - October 2016

Structuring Foreign Investment to Ensure Treaty Protection - Although it is common practice for businesses to structure their investments abroad through jurisdictions that maximize tax and other advantages—such as the...more

“Gimme a C!” (for Copyright): Supreme Court to Weigh Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

Are cheerleading outfits functional “useful items” that normally are ineligible for copyright protection? Or do they contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership? ...more

Second Circuit Finds Use of "Who's on First" Routine Not Transformative and Not Fair Use

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a consequential opinion on the meaning and scope of what has become the "transformative use" factor of the fair use defense to copyright...more

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