Art, Entertainment & Sports Personal Injury Intellectual Property

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If it Ain’t Broke?…Ninth Circuit Announces Curious Test of “Applied Art” Under VARA

The Ninth Circuit has ruled against two artists in a long-running dispute about a hybrid school bus creation at Burning Man more than ten years ago, a “galleon” named La Contessa. In announcing a test that focuses on whether...more

The Ink Isn’t Dry

What rights based in copyright law does a tattoo artist have in a tattoo itself, and to what extent can an artist use those rights to restrict the rights of others, including the people whose skin has been inked?...more

Eighth Circuit Tells Former NFL Players: Your Right Of Publicity Claims Are Preempted By The Copyright Act

The Eighth Circuit recently rejected three former NFL players’ appeal of a district court’s dismissal of their right of publicity claims, among other claims. John Frederick Dryer, Elvin Lamont Bethea, and Edward Alvin White...more

8th Circuit Finds Copyright Act Preempts State Right Of Publicity Of Professional Athletes

In a recent case, Dryer v. Nat’l Football League, No. 14-3428, 2016 WL 761178 (8th Cir. Feb. 26, 2016), former National Football League (“NFL”) players (the “Players”) sued the NFL over the use of their name, image, voice,...more

Dryer v. The National Football League (USCA, Eighth Circuit, February 26, 2016 )

In action involving films produced by NFL containing historical game footage, Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in favor of NFL, holding that former players’ right of publicity claims are pre-empted by Copyright Act,...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Who Owns Marilyn Monroe’s Image? – Right of Publicity vs. Trademark Rights

In her posthumously published autobiography, My Story, screen legend Marilyn Monroe wrote: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to...more

Reality Check: Fantasy Sports Sites Facing Serious New Challenges

Fantasy sports, especially Daily fantasy sports (“DFS”), are big business in the United States. Two DFS sites in particular, FanDuel and DraftKings, are the most dominant players in this industry (they control 95% of the DFS...more

Never Say Never to Lone Pine Orders

After our last two posts, we received emails blasting us for being insensitive to the plight of injured plaintiffs. That struck us as unfair, given that the posts pertained to the technical issues of choice of law and choice...more

Michael Jordan Testifies He Doesn’t Do Deals For Less Than $10 Million: Jury Awards Him $8.9 Million In Lawsuit Over Use Of His...

A jury awarded Michael Jordan $8.9 million this week after he testified he doesn’t do deals for less than $10 million and he would never have done a deal with the grocery store chain Dominick’s Finer Foods, LLC, as it wasn’t...more

Jordan $8.9M – Dominick’s 0: Star Wins Over Unauthorized Use of Name

For years, Michael Jordan dominated opponents on the basketball court. Now, he seems to be doing the same in legal courts. Last week, a jury ordered Chicago grocery chain Dominick’s (now owned by Safeway) to pay the former...more

Right of Publicity Claims by Athletes Nearly Shut Out in 2015

When we published our Sue-per Bowl post, 2015 looked like it would be a good year for right of publicity claims brought by athletes. On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit in Davis v. Electronic Arts held that the First...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

Trump Goes A Rockin’: Neil Young Comes A Knockin’

Donald Trump, the New York real estate mogul and self-proclaimed business genius, just kicked off his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination at Trump Tower in Manhattan to the tune of Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The...more

Three Point Shot - May 2015

"Wild Thing" Forced to Tap Out in Battle against ESPN - Last month, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals forced former professional wrestler Steve "Wild Thing" Ray to tap out in his battle against ESPN by dismissing the...more

Richard Prince’s Instagram Art: Do You Know Where Your Face Is?

Social media, it seems, has turned us all into photographers. Anyone with a Facebook page, an Instagram account or any of the other methods for socializing on the web, can post original photos for all the world to see,...more

Instagram for Sale: Artist Richard Prince’s New Portraits Sparks Controversy

In the past week, several news outlets and social media channels have been buzzing about artist Richard Prince’s exhibit New Portraits, which first debuted at the Gagosian Gallery on September 19, 2014 and was reborn with...more

Ray v. ESPN, Inc. - USCA, Eighth Circuit, April 22, 2015

Eighth Circuit affirms dismissal of professional wrestler’s state-law right of publicity claims arising from ESPN’s re-telecast of wrestling match footage as preempted by Copyright Act....more

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...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

And the Lawsuit Goes to . . . An Oscar-Time Guide to “Best Picture” Intellectual Property Litigation

The film that wins the Best Picture Oscar this year is certain to attract more viewers and more box office receipts than it had before receiving the award. But Best Picture winners also tend to attract more lawsuits,...more

UK: Passing Off – How Rihanna “found love” in the Court of Appeal

On 22 January 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision in a claim for passing off brought by global superstar Rihanna against Topshop. The dispute centered on a t-shirt which was sold by Topshop in its...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

Electronic Arts and its Disrespect for the Game

On September 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the appeal in Davis v. Electronic Arts (Case No. 12-15737), a class action lawsuit brought by three former NFL Players against Electronic Arts (“EA”), the...more

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