Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Remedies Intellectual Property

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Performance Rights, Digital Music Services and The Turtles

Intro - In 2013, Flo & Eddie of the 1960s rock band The Turtles filed separate lawsuits in California, Florida and New York, aiming to use state laws to obtain royalties from digital music service providers like...more

Status Updates - April 2015 #5

Photo negative. Daniel Morel, the photojournalist who was awarded $1.2 million in damages from news agencies that distributed his iconic Haiti earthquake pictures without his permission after he posted those pictures on...more

Even In The UK, Think Twice Before Using Celebrity Endorsements

A recent legal case in the UK between singer Rhianna and fashion retailer Topshop has highlighted differences between publicity rights in the UK and some US jurisdictions. Rhianna sued Topshop for its sale of a t-shirt...more

Jury Sees a Clear Line – Pharrell, Thicke Crossed It

Pharrell Williams, famous for singing about how “Happy” he is, might be changing his tune these days. On March 10, a federal jury found him and fellow pop star Robin Thicke liable for copying Marvin Gaye’s popular song “Got...more

Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc. v. Cole - USDC, D. Oregon, March 18, 2015

District court holds defendants willfully infringed plaintiff’s copyright in animated film, finding defendants acted recklessly by manufacturing film without searching Copyright Office’s records, and by concluding that film...more

Tempest Publishing, Inc. v. Hacienda Records and Recording Studio, Inc. - USDC, S.D. Tex., March 18, 2015

Texas district court holds that independent recording studio willfully infringed copyright in plaintiff’s musical composition, finding defendant’s four-year delay in seeking post-recording license did not conform with...more

Allocation of Copyright Damages for Co-Owners - In re Isbell Records, Inc.

Addressing for the first time the issue of whether a partial owner of a copyright can be awarded infringement damages for his co-owner’s share, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit determined that a partial...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

“Blurred Lines” but Clear Verdict: Jury Awards Gaye Estate $7.3 Million in Damages for Copyright Infringement

In a verdict on March 10, a Los Angeles federal jury decided “Blurred Lines,” written by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, substantially borrowed from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 classic “Got To Give It Up” without permission. As a...more

Jury Finds Singers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, Owe $7.4M for Copyright Infringement

On March 10, 2015, a California federal jury awarded Marvin Gaye’s children nearly $7.4 million after deciding that pop stars, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke, copied Gaye’s 1977 song, “Got to Give It Up,” in writing their...more

Three Point Shot - February 2015

Will Johnny Be Good, or Will Name Games Go up in Flames? Johnny Gaudreau, left wing for the Calgary Flames, is attempting to high-stick potential interlopers by locking up rights to his now-popularized nickname – Johnny...more

It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies: YouTube’s Beauty Guru Fights Back Against Ultra Records

Michelle Phan is a YouTube celebrity and beauty guru and has garnered over 7 million subscribers and one billion lifetime views. However, not everyone is a fan of Ms. Phan. On July 16, 2014, Ultra International Music...more

Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 20, 2015

Following jury verdict on Lanham Act claim in favor of entity owned by Bob Marley’s children, Ninth Circuit affirms denial of defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that trial evidence supported jury’s...more

(Un)licensed to Ill: Three Common Sense Lessons Every Marketing Department Should Learn from Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Co.

As reported by several media outlets in the last few weeks, the Beastie Boys are seeking nearly $2.4 million in attorneys’ fees from Monster Energy Co.—the maker of the eponymous Monster energy drinks—after Monster was found...more

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Enforce Your Copyrights!)

The Beastie Boys can look back on 2014 as a year of good copyright outcomes. The preceding years had seen their music used without authorization in two promotional videos, by Goldieblox and Monster Energy, despite the...more

Protecting Polka Dots and Zebra Stripes Through Copyright: Eleventh Circuit Affirms Ruling that Boot Designs are Infringed (But...

A relatively common problem affecting the fashion industry is claims of copyright infringement over designs that appear on clothing and other merchandise. In particular, retailers create product overseas, unaware that a...more

Does the Ebola-free Nurse Doll Raise a Right of Publicity Claim?

In general, a right of publicity is a right to control use of your name, likeness, and other aspects of your identity. Right of publicity laws normally give an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their...more

Truth or Consequences: Sanctions Fly in Telenovela Copyright Infringement Case

The case of Latele Television v. Telemundo Communications Group might have been a simple factual dispute over copyright ownership, but instead it has devolved into a series of accusations — including allegations of willful...more

UK: Freedom of Speech - Unnamed artist to appeal publishing injunction in the Supreme Court

On 9 December a well-known British performing artist was granted permission to take his case to the Supreme Court, where he will appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in OPO v MLA & STL, reported here in October 2014....more

Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Company - USDC, S.D. New York, December 4, 2014

Following jury verdict in favor of Beastie Boys on copyright infringement and Lanham Act claims, district court denies defendant Monster Energy Company’s motions for judgment as matter of law, for new trial, and for reduction...more

UK: Copyright- Music industry seeks review of law allowing fans to copy music

The UK Government is facing a Judicial Review challenge over a failure to include compensation provisions in the recently introduced private copying exception to Copyright....more

On December 15, 2014, The Ninth Circuit En Banc Will Hear Garcia v. Google, Inc./Actors And Producers Await The Result

On Monday, December 15, 2014, the Ninth Circuit en banc will hear argument in Garcia v. Google, Inc. 766 F3d 929 (9th Cir. 2014), amending 743 F.3d 1258 (9th Cir. 2014). A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit previously...more

China Court Ruled Infringement for Ambush Marketing in Film Industry

The term “Ambush Marketing” originally came from inappropriate sport advertisement in western countries. It involves a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a...more

Judge Sweet trims award of attorney’s fees because of block billing and claims for fees for a non-compulsory defense; issues final...

Touchtunes Music Corp. v. Rowe International Corp., Arachnid, Inc., et al. October 21, 2014 - Case Number: 1:07-cv-11450-RWS - Judge Sweet, having previously found this case to be exceptional, awarded...more

Federal Government Wins Trademark Battle to Shut Down “Voice of America” Website with “Undeniable Governmental Aesthetic”

Since its first broadcast on February 1, 1942, the Voice of America radio service (VOA) has aired countless hours of programming in dozens of languages to what is currently an estimated global audience of over 100 million...more

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