Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

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

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

The Unfortunate Renaming of U.S. Cellular Field

I grew up with the White Sox playing in Comiskey Park, then after they tore that down, New Comiskey Park. In 2003 that changed to U.S. Cellular Field. Now, it’s undergoing another name change – Guaranteed Rate Field. Now I...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

Liability of an internet subscriber for acts of copyright infringement over the internet

A United States film studio, Dallas Buyers Club LLC, made news last year for commencing legal proceedings against internet subscribers for copyright infringement for downloading the movie “Dallas Buyers Club”. ...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

It Is Not “Easy Like Sunday Morning” To Use Commodore As A Trademark

The band’s song “Easy” does not reflect Commodores’ founder Thomas McClary’s court battle to use the trademark “COMMODORES founder Thomas McClary” for his solo career. As I dug further into the meaning of the song, it is...more

Former Member of The Commodores Sued For Using Band’s Name to Promote Solo Career

A Florida federal court enjoined Thomas McClary, an original member of famed Motown band the Commodores, from branding himself as “COMMODORES’ Founder Thomas McClary” in his booking advertisements for solo gigs. McClary left...more

Food Fight: America’s Test Kitchen v. Chris Kimball

If, like me, you’re a fan of PBS and its soothing, soft-focus, food-related shows (ahem, Great British Bake-off), you were probably devastated when you heard that longtime host Chris Kimball, was leaving America’s Test...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

The Song Remains the Same

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that there would be no modifications to the 1941 ASCAP and BMI antitrust consent decrees. The main thrust of the DOJ decision was a confirmation that each consent decree...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2016

Mean Girls v. The Right of Publicity: Lessons Learned From the Lohan and Gravano Lawsuits - On September 1, 2016, a New York appellate court ended two closely watched right of publicity lawsuits brought by Lindsay...more

You Just Used My Picture Without Permission?

Artist Richard Prince’s exhibit entitled “New Portraits’’ was displayed at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery and Frieze New York during the summer of 2015. This exhibit featured screenshots of other people’s Instagram photos....more

Some Like It Infringed? Monroe Estate Continues Intellectual Property Battles Despite Lack of Publicity Rights

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016 the estate of Marilyn Monroe filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Fashion Central. The Monroe Estate claims that Fashion Central infringes its intellectual property...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

‘Lovable losers’ no more: Cubs set for marketing blitz

It only took 108 years. Last week, the Chicago Cubs became the World Series Champions, winning Game 7 — a blood pressure-busting contest with the Cleveland Indians that went 10 innings and included back and forth scoring,...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

Three Point Shot - November 2016

Who's First in Ownership of the "Sweet Spot" Remains Unclear - Baseball is often called a "game of inches," whether one is describing the strike zone, a close play at the plate, or a liner past third base that just kicks...more

Ninth Circuit Says Oui to French Copyright-Infringement Award

Addressing whether federal courts may go outside the pleadings when ruling on a motion to dismiss premised on foreign law, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit clarified that the content of foreign law is a “question...more

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