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

Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons Inc. - USCA, Sixth Circuit, May 16, 2016

Sixth Circuit concludes that author’s 1975 assignment of gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” was subject to 2008 termination notice, notwithstanding subsequent 1979 assignment of rights by late composer’s wife....more

Star Trek Fan Film: Yes, It WILL Boldly Go

As I reported in a recent blawg post, a Federal court in Los Angeles was set to decide just how far the Star Trek universe’s copyright reach extends. In the case of Paramount Pictures Corporation v. Axanar Productions, Inc.,...more

Comic-Con, Costumes, and Copyright Concerns

Get ready, nerds! This summer’s Comic-Con season is almost upon us and your costume is not going to make itself. But before you squeeze into your tights and cape, do you need to worry about copyright infringement? This blog...more

U.S. Trade Representative Issues 2016 Special 301 Report

On April 27th, Ambassador Michael B.G. Froman, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), issued the 2016 Special 301 Report. According to the USTR website, "[i]ntellectual property is a critical source of economic growth and...more

Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, May 9, 2016

District court denies motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims against producers of unauthorized “Star Trek” films that incorporate numerous elements of famous motion picture and television franchise, including Klingon...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

PRINCE Act Shelved by Minnesota Legislator

Last week we reported on the right of publicity bill being considered by the Minnesota legislature in light of the passing of musical icon, Prince. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on May 18, 2016, State...more

Feyoncé . . . he put a ring on it

Beyoncé recently filed suit against a company for trademark infringement based on their use of the term “Feyoncé” on apparel. They’ve even got this nice mug...more

Does Copyright Protect Facts?

By Richard Stobbe A documentary film is, by its nature, a work of non-fiction. It expresses a set of facts, arranged and portrayed in a particular way. If a fictional novel is written, based on a documentary film, is...more

Is Graffiti Ineligible for Copyright Protection Just Because the Act of Tagging is Illegal?

After reports of a settlement proved premature, designer Moschino S.p.A. and its creative director Jeremy Scott have moved for summary judgment on the copyright claims filed last year by street artist Joseph Tierney, better...more

Death Knell for Knockoffs and Counterfeits?

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Define the Test for Copyrightability of Designs on Useful Articles - The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the question that, as one Appellate Court characterized, has had the...more

USPTO Drops 11th Circuit Appeal of ND Alabama Order In Houndstooth Case

We previously blogged on Judge Proctor’s (ND Ala.) order directing the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “Board”) to comply with the Court’s prior order, approving a settlement agreement between the University of...more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 1 - May 2015

THEY CAN’T REGISTER THAT AS A TRADEMARK -- CAN THEY? Ronda Rousey, the famous Mixed Martial Arts fighter has filed several applications to register a trademark that presumably reflects her feelings about her detractors....more

Protecting Fashion through Copyrights: The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Cheer Uniform Designs Are Protectable

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will address the issue whether apparel can be protected by copyright law—a question described by the petitioners in the case as “the single most vexing, unresolved question...more

Sign O’ the Times: the Right of Publicity Comes to Minnesota

The ability to control the use of one’s name, likeness, voice, and other personal attributes is known as the right of publicity. Unlike trademarks, patents, and copyrights, which are types of intellectual property governed...more

Tenth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling on Meaning of “User” in DMCA §512(c) Safe Harbor

Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) offers safe harbors for qualifying service providers to limit their liability for claims of copyright infringement. To benefit from the Section 512(c) safe harbor, a...more

Rah! Rah! Sis Boom Bah! Supreme Court to Decide Whether Copyright Act Protects Cheerleader Uniform Designs

In August 2015, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Varsity Brands, Inc.. v. Star Athletica, LLC, 799 F.3d 468 (6th Cir. 2015), that the stripes, chevrons and other visual elements that appear on a...more

Forget That Prince Had No Will, What About the Estate Tax Problems?

There has been a fair amount of buzz in the days after Prince’s death about his estate plan, whether he has a Will, whether he did or did not do any planning. Time will see this out. Prince’s heirs at law appear at this time...more

A Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court? Owner of REDSKINS Marks Petitions for Hearing on Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the...

Pro-Football, Inc., the owner of multiple U.S. service mark registrations for REDSKINS, REDSKINETTES, and WASHINGTON REDSKINS, took the somewhat unusual step last week of petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of...more

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

The issue the Supreme Court has agreed to decide involves how to separate the artistic elements of a product’s design from the useful or “utilitarian” elements. That distinction matters for copyright purposes, because to...more

Is Social Media Sharing of Sports Clips Copyright Infringement? Recent UK Judicial Clarification and International Implications

In our annual review last year “Sports Industry 2015: A Year of Unprecedented Landmark Change”, we predicted that the battle against media piracy would be a key area for rights holders in 2016, highlighting “social media...more

Fair Use Copyright Ruling Stands For Google Books

Last month, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright case involving Google’s Google Books project. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place the Second...more

TVEyes on the Prize: Clarifying the Law of Copyright Fair Use

TVEyes is a media monitoring service, claiming, “to organize the world’s TV and radio broadcasts and make them universally searchable by the spoken word.” Founded in 1999, the service uses innovative “audio mining”...more

Summary Judgment Upheld In Avatar Creators’ Favor After California Appellate Court Determines That Film Is Not Substantially...

James Cameron’s 2009 box-office hit Avatar is the subject of a California idea submission lawsuit that was decided in Cameron’s favor both at the trial and appellate level, in Eric Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc., et...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016

The Supreme Court of the United States issued one decision on May 2, 2016: Ocasio v. United States, No. 14-361: Petitioner Samuel Ocasio, a former police officer, was tried and convicted under the Hobbs Act for...more

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