Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Remedies Intellectual Property

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Jay Z Awarded Attorneys’ Fees After Routing Plaintiff In Copyright Lawsuit: Now Plaintiff Has $253,409.99 Problems For Bringing...

On July 17, 2015, Judge Schofield sitting in the Southern District of New York awarded defendants Shawn Carter (a/k/a Jay Z), Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation, LLC (collectively, “Roc-A-Fella”) $253,409.99 in attorneys’...more

Redskins Trademark Decision

On July 8, 2015, a Virginia District Court ordered the cancellation of six NFL Redskins trademark registrations, under a Lanham Act prohibition against registering marks that “may disparage” a referenced class at the time of...more

What’s in a Name? District Court’s Trademark Cancellation Order Casts Further Doubt on “Redskins” Moniker

Taking big hits is quite familiar to professional football teams.  The hit laid down by a federal District Court on July 8, 2015, however, is one that Washington’s professional football franchise will remember for a long...more

16 Casa Duse, LLC v. Merkin - USCA, Second Circuit, June 29, 2015

In matter of first impression, Second Circuit affirms ruling that director does not own copyright interest in film that he directed, because his creative contributions were inseparable from and integrated into...more

Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, June 24, 2015

District Court allows screenwriter’s suit alleging feature film The Purge was based on his screenplay, Settler’s Day, to proceed, denying defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion because acts supporting plaintiff’s implied contract...more

Corporate Espionage: Not Your Typical Sports-“Gate”

Generally when one refers to “competitors” in the context of protecting trade secrets, it is in regard to business competitors, not competing sports teams. And usually when the talking heads on sports radio and television...more

Sirius Wins One in Florida, Florida, Florida!

On June 22, 2015, the Southern District of Florida held that artists have no public performance rights in their pre-1972 sound recordings under Florida law, in contrast to decisions from California and New York in related...more

“Desert Warrior” Vanquished: Google Defeats Cindy Lee Garcia’s Copyright Claims

Cindy Lee Garcia thought she was playing a bit part in “Desert Warrior,” an adventure film being made by an amateur film maker. The film was never completed. Instead, Ms. Garcia’s performance was re-purposed, and her physical...more

Spain: National Court suspends the strike of La Liga

The Spanish National Court has ruled in favour of the Spanish Football League (LFP), and suspended the proposed strike called by the Spanish Football Players’ Union for the final two rounds of the Spanish top-tier football...more

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

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