Civil Procedure Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

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McRo decision gives software/computer-based patents a big boost

On September 13, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held as patent-eligible patent claims directed to automated lip-synching for animated characters. This holding builds upon the few decisions thus far...more

Pay Now or Pay Later – Challenges Facing Spotify, Tidal, and Other Media Streaming Services Following a Series of Copyright...

Spotify USA Inc. (“Spotify”), the popular music streaming service with over 100 million active users and 30 million paying subscribers, continues to grow as an industry leader. Spotify launched in 2006 and reached over 20...more

Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and Gravano v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. - New York Supreme Court, Appellate...

New York appeals court overturns lower court decision, dismissing claims by actress Lindsay Lohan and former “Mob Wives” star Karen Gravano against “Grand Theft Auto V” video game makers for misappropriating their likenesses,...more

Led Zeppelin Prevails in Copyright Infringement Case: Now on Appeal in Ninth Circuit

In May 2014, the Trust acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe (a/k/a Randy California) of the rock group Spirit filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin related to the first chords in the band’s most...more

ITC Declines to File Petition for Certiorari – CAFC Holding that ITC Does Not Have Jurisdiction over Digital Imports Stands

The deadline has come and gone for the ITC and patentee Align to file petitions for certiorari seeking review by the Supreme Court of the Federal Circuit’s decision in ClearCorrect. On November 10, 2015, a panel of the...more

Rams v. Def Jam Recordings Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, August 16, 2016

In action brought by photographer and subject alleging unauthorized use of photo on recording artist Jeremih’s album cover, district court denies motion to dismiss contributory and vicarious copyright infringement claims,...more

Bowen v. Paisley - USDC, M.D. Tennessee, August 25, 2016

District court grants summary judgment dismissing copyright infringement suit against country music stars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and others involved in producing the 2011 hit song “Remind Me,” holding that it was...more

Student Athletes Fight to Keep Fantasy Sports-Related Right of Publicity Claims Alive

Last week, the plaintiff collegiate athletes in a putative class action lawsuit pending in the Southern District Court of Indiana filed their opposition to FanDuel and DraftKings’ respective motions to dismiss. The...more

Friedman v. Live Nation Merchandise, Inc. - USCA Ninth Circuit, August 18, 2016

Ninth Circuit revives photographers claims of willful copyright infringement against Live Nation Merchandise over Run DMC photograph it used without permission, concluding lower court incorrectly dismissed willful copyright...more

Eggleston v. Daniels - USDC, E.D. Michigan, August 16, 2016

District court refused to dismiss infringement claims alleging creators of TV show “Empire” copied Cookie Lyon character from plaintiff’s memoir, concluding, among other things, that stories with female, African-American...more

Making Sense of the Peter Doig Trial and the Authentication Fallout

As was reported in detail by the New York Times and others earlier this week, artist Peter Doig prevailed in what most agree was the strangest art related trial in many years. In a nutshell, Doig was accused by a former...more

All That Glitters is Not Gold For Led Zeppelin’s Claim For Attorneys’ Fees

Legendary rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are probably still flying high over their defense verdict earlier this summer in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement trial. They may be slightly coming down, though,...more

DeVito Artworks LLC v. Legendary Pictures LLC - California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, August 5, 2016

In dispute over pitch for television series about origins of King Kong, Superior Court holds that plaintiff’s implied contract with makers of “Kong: Skull Island” film not to use ideas without compensation was not barred by...more

Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin - USDC, C.D. California, August 8, 2016

District court rejects music publisher’s request for nearly $800,000 in attorney’s fees and costs as prevailing party in copyright dispute over Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven,” concluding lawsuit alleging infringement...more

BMI Redux: BMI Seeks To Move To “Clarify” The DOJ Position On Partial Licenses

As we have previously blogged, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) rejected proposed modifications to the existing Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) consent...more

Solid Oak Sketches LLC v. 2K Games Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, August 2, 2016

In copyright dispute over depictions of NBA players’ tattoos in “NBA 2K” video game series, district court dismisses tattoo licensing company’s claim for statutory damages and attorneys’ fees because copyrighted tattoo...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - August 2016

Supreme Court Abolished Federal Circuit's Test for Willfulness - On June 13, 2016, in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 579 U.S. ___ (2016), the Supreme Court unanimously abrogated the Federal Circuit’s...more

Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, August 1, 2016

District court grants motion for reconsideration, reviving Lions Gate’s claim of trademark dilution in dispute over advertising campaign that used modified version of famous line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” from movie...more

Second Circuit Revives Copyright Claims Against Sony and Ghostface Killah

In Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 15-1778, the Second Circuit recently revived claims against Sony and Ghostface Killah, holding that although third parties may raise a work for hire defense, here there were factual...more

“Dirty Dancing” Trademark Dilution Claims Reinstated

This March, we reported on a California federal court’s dismissal of Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.’s (“Lions Gate”) trademark and unfair competition claims against TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, a number of its...more

Silas v. Home Box Office, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, July 26, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement claim against creators of HBO’s television show “Ballers,” finding no substantial similarity between HBO’s show about retired football player who advises current players on...more

DMCA Safe Harbor Protection Includes Pre-1972 Recordings

Vacating a district court’s decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit explained that the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects material posted on websites of online hosts...more

Newt v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, July 27, 2016

District court dismisses copyright infringement claim against creators of Fox’s television show “Empire,” finding no substantial similarity between Fox’s show about struggle for control of music company and plaintiff’s...more

Court’s Reconsideration Gives “Lift” to Dirty Dancing Trademark Dilution Claim

It’s been almost 30 years since we were introduced to bad boy dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and sweet daddy’s girl Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey). This star-crossed duo shimmied their way to...more

Burning Man Bus Not a Protected Work of Visual Art Under VARA

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of a Nevada district court when it determined that the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) of the US Copyright Act did not apply to a used school bus that had...more

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