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Avatar Wins Against Another Copyright Owner… in an Unusual Manner

A recent decision from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ended the hopes and dreams of a copyright owner from receiving a share of the $2.8 billion earned by James Cameron’s Avatar film. In this...more

Brumley Heirs Win Fight over Rights to Old Gospel Song *WEB ONLY**

Addressing the termination right given to authors and their heirs under the Copyright Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that four siblings could use their right to terminate the transfer their...more

Court Rejects City’s Anti-SLAPP Claim Regarding Would-Be NFL Stadium in Carson

The location of several National Football League franchises have been in flux for years, with teams such as the Chargers, Raiders, and Rams seeking modern, amenity-laden stadiums they have been unable to attain in their...more

Nike Voluntarily Dismisses Closely Watched Lawsuit Against Olympic Hopeful

Nike has voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit it had filed against middle-distance runner and Olympic hopeful Boris Berian. At issue was whether Berian breached an endorsement agreement with Nike when—after the agreement’s...more

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

Arbitrators Have The Right To Be Wrong: The Second Circuit Speaks About “Deflategate” (And What’s Next)

When we last wrote about “Deflategate”, Tom Brady, the National Football League Players Association [“NFLPA”] and New England Patriots fans were basking in the glory of the reversal of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s...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

Brady's Benching Gives Lesson in Court Review of Arbitration Decisions

Earlier this week, Bills and Jets fans (and at least one Packer fan) rejoiced as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady based on a finding...more

Legal Lessons from Tom Brady

The state of Massachusetts collectively groaned last week as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflate-Gate” saga. A brief recap of this strange...more

Labor and Employment News: Deflategate: Limited Ability to Appeal Arbitration Awards

Nearly all collective bargaining agreements have an arbitration clause for deciding any disputes under the agreement. Beyond the labor arena, employers have increasingly mandated arbitration as the designated forum for...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

The Beat Goes On: D.C. Circuit Upholds NLRB View That Orchestra Musicians Are Employees

Last week, a federal appeals court enforced a ruling by the NLRB that orchestra musicians are employees, not independent contractors. The import of the decision in Lancaster Symphony Orchestra v. NLRB is sure to reverberate...more

Tom Brady’s suspension reinstated, so what are the potential Massachusetts tax consequences?

Deflategate and the NFL’s suspension of quarterback Tom Brady for 4 games has been the NFL’s biggest news story of the past two years. On April 25, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in...more

Contracts and Unfair Trade Practices, Redux

A recent decision by the North Carolina Business Court underscores the challenges faced by a party who tries to convert a breach of contract into a violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1. A breach of contract alone, even...more

California Court Gives Two Thumbs Down and Voids Non-Compete in Actor’s Agreement

Seyfarth Synopsis: Limitation on an actor’s ability to work in certain films struck down as an unlawful restraint of trade. California, mecca of the film and media production industries in the U.S., is notorious for...more

Foundation for the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan v. Alcon Entertainment (N.D. Georgia, March 23, 2016)

Rarely does one think of copyright issues surrounding how research is conducted for feature films that are based on real life events, but 54 Sudanese refugees are forging that new connection between research and copyright in...more

Ninth Circuit Leaves it to Policyholder to Pay Eddie Haskell’s Attorneys’ Fees

Moral hazard lurks around the edges of many disputes about liability coverage. Everyone agrees in principle that insurance shouldn’t help bad actors benefit from their wrongdoing, but parties often clash over where the...more

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

In copyright infringement action over iconic Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” filed more than 40 years after song was first released, district court partially denies defendants’ motion for summary judgment, allowing...more

Three Point Shot - March 2016

California Court to PGA Tour Caddies: You'll Get Nothing and Like It! As the full swing of the PGA season rounds the corner, and with the azaleas blooming at Augusta, the trusted confidants of golf's premier players...more

Trustwave Case Highlights Cyber-Risk to Professional Service Providers

In a case that we believe reflects a real future trend in the cyber-risk industry, Las Vegas casino operator Affinity Gaming (“Affinity”) is suing Chicago-based IT security firm Trustwave Holdings, Inc. (“Trustwave”) for...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: FLANAX, Fishing Tackle, Football Players and More

Summaries of Recent Precedential and Informative Appellate Opinions - Trademark Opinions - Owners of Foreign Marks May Sue Under Lanham Act Without Using Marks in the US: Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG,...more

Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc., et al. - California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, March 25,...

California Court of Appeal affirms summary judgment in favor of James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment in idea submission case, finding plaintiff unable to prove that defendants used any of plaintiff’s ideas in...more

Atlantique Productions S.A. v. ION Media Networks Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, March 18, 2016

Ninth Circuit affirms ruling in favor of defendant ION Media Networks on French television producer’s claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel and fraud, finding no contract existed because parties agreed to be...more

Playboy Enterprises International Inc. v. Mediatakeout.com LLC - USDC, S.D. N.Y., March 8, 2016

In dispute over Playboy photos of rapper Azealia Banks, district court denies motion to dismiss copyright infringement and Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims stemming from website’s unauthorized addition of its own...more

Jay Z’s Breach of Contract Throws Off the Beat

Jay Z, real name Shawn Carter, is being sued by Parlux Fragrances for allegedly failing to promote a fragrance line that Carter launched in 2013 in a partnership with Parlux. The signature fragrance, called Gold Jay Z, was...more

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