Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

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Boldly Going Where no Fanfic has Gone Before

Fanfiction refers to the art of creating fiction using another author’s characters or universe. I was first introduced to the concept in high school, when a friend began writing Harry Potter fanfiction. (Side note: this is...more

Does Louis Vuitton Lack A Sense Of Humor? The Parody Defense Is No Laughing Matter For Brand Owners

On December 22, 2016, the Second Circuit gave tote bag manufacturer My Other Bag an early Christmas present by tossing out luxury giant Louis Vuitton’s claims of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and trademark...more

Charles Dickens And Copyright Law: Five Things You Should Know

One hundred and seventy five years ago, on January 22, 1842, Charles Dickens first set foot in America, specifically in Boston, after a twenty day steamship voyage from Liverpool. Dickens, only a few days shy of his thirtieth...more

Of Klingons and Copyrights: Trekkie Fan Film Hits Fair Use Flameout

A Star-Trek fan-film is boldly headed to a jury trial to determine whether Axanar Productions—the company behind the fan-film—is liable for copyright infringement. Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios sued Axanar Productions...more

Fake News, Fake Art?  Richard Prince Disavows Work Depicting Ivanka Trump

There has been much discussion about the impact of the Presidential election on the art market, amidst much generalized anxiety about "fake news." What about "fake art?" Never one to be behind the curve, artist Richard...more

For the Time Being, Tech Companies Remain Shielded from Liability for Users’ Uploaded Content

Thanks to recent decisions by the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals, tech companies will remain protected from liability for some of their users’ uploaded content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and...more

Another IP Lesson from Bikini Bottom: What “The Krusty Krab” Teaches Us About Trademark Protection for Fictional Places

In a previous post we discussed what SpongeBob SquarePants can teach us about trademark licensing. Now, more IP lessons are bubbling up from the fathoms below thanks to our absorbent, yellow and porous friend. ...more

UK, US, HK and China – Access denied: an international perspective on ISP blocking injunctions

While the UK Court of Appeal has opened the door for broadband ISP blocking to combat trademark or copyright-infringing activities, the picture in the United States, China and Hong Kong is more complex. Please see full...more

Canadian IP law and practice in 2016: reviewing the highlights

As the calendar turns the page from 2016 to 2017, we take the opportunity to review Canadian IP law and practice highlights from the past year....more

The Chargers leave San Diego, but will they leave the brand too?

According to recent reports, the Chargers will announce this week that they are leaving sunny San Diego for also sunny Los Angeles. Over a short two year span, Los Angeles will have gone from zero NFL teams to two NFL teams,...more

What’s in a name? Registration obtained for “Johnny Hockey”

Applying for a federal trademark registration for a name or nickname can be tricky business. For example, the registration of a mark is prohibited if it is “primarily merely a surname,” meaning that the primary significance...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on January 18, 2017 in “The Slants” Case.

As we reported to you last September, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case involving the constitutionality of the provisions of the Lanham Act upon which the U.S. Trademark Office relied to deny registration of the...more

It’s a Game Winning Shot but Far from a Slam Dunk: Michael Jordan Obtains Partial Victory in Chinese Courts over Use of His Name

In December 2016, China’s Supreme Court held that a Chinese manufacturer named Qiaodan Sports Company, could not continue to produce athletic shoes, clothing and gear bearing the trademark (see article), which is the Chinese...more

Failure to Introduce Source Code of Original Work Fatal to Claim Against Alleged Derivative Work

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed an order dismissing a breach of contract action, finding that the plaintiff failed as a matter of law to establish copyright infringement under the copyright law—upon...more

Surrender Dorothy: Court Upholds Damages, Injunction for Movie Content Infringement

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment and permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from licensing images from movies owned by the plaintiff. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., et al....more

Phish Snared in Trademark Office’s Net Due to Phan Products

Ask any fan of the American improvisatory rock band Phish to explain the significance of the following pattern and you will invariably receive the same answer:         It’s of course the pattern of drummer Jon...more

Court Allows Copyright Infringement Claims to Live Long and Prosper Against Trekkie

A federal judge recently held that an unauthorized “Star Trek” fan film created by Axanar Productions was “objectively substantially similar” to Star Trek. The court found that Axanar sought to make a “professional...more

The Spotify Settlement With NMPA: What It Means for Music Publishers

In March 2016, the popular music streaming service, Spotify, reached a settlement with the National Music Publishers Association (“NMPA”) to cover billions of unlicensed streams from member publishers dating back to the...more

UPDATE: BOSTON’S Founder and a Former Bandmate Still Seek Peace of Mind

We have written previously about Scholz v. Goudreau, No. 13-CV-10951 (D. Mass.); the case recently went to trial on the parties’ surviving claims, and they are now immersed in post-trial briefing....more

NY Common Law Does Not Provide Creators With Control Over Public Performances of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On December 20, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) issued a landmark state copyright law decision, holding in response to a certified question from the Second Circuit in Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius...more

New York Court of Appeals Says No Common Law Public Performance Right For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

On December 20, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, held that no common law public performance right exists for pre-1972 sound recordings. The issue of whether a common law public performance...more

Wake Forest Leaks Scandal May Offer “Playbook” For Businesses Seeking Trade Secret Protection

After a long political season that took many twists and turns due in part to revelations from WikiLeaks, the holiday season finally arrived. For many, that meant family traditions, time away from work, and massive amounts of...more

Usher’s Still in the Clear in Copyright Suit

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the dismissal on summary judgment of copyright infringement claims brought by Daniel Marino (not that Dan Marino) against Usher and nineteen other defendants in Marino v....more

Louis Vuitton Left Holding the Bag

In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag, Inc., [16-241-cv] (December 22, 2016), the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for My Other Bag that its parody bag did not infringe or dilute Louis Vuitton’s trademark...more

The Avant-Garde Nun Who Created The World’s Largest Copyrighted Work Of Visual Art

We are approaching the end of holiday travel season and you have likely been a visitor or had visitors over the past several weeks. If in your travels you’ve had cause to drive along interstate Route 93 just south of Boston,...more

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