General Business Intellectual Property Art, Entertainment & Sports

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A Trap For Santa: The First Santa Claus IP Fight

At this time of year, you may be wondering about the first intellectual property case involving Santa Claus. And even if you are not, we are going to tell you....more

Searching High and Low: The Licensing of Orphan Works

Subject to a limited number of statutory exceptions, copyright works may be used only with the consent of those who hold the rights in them. Yet in some instances, rights holders cannot be identified or traced, leaving these...more

Running Interference: S.D.N.Y. Lays Out Standards for Tortious Interference in Dispute Between Watchmaker and Former Employees

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently cleared the way for a Michigan watchmaker to pursue claims for trade secret misappropriation, among other things, against two former employees who left to...more

Three Point Shot - November 2014

Florida Broker Denied Assist in Argentine Soccer Media Rights Deal - 2014 has been a decent year for soccer – ahem, fútbol – in Argentina. An Argentine club team (San Lorenzo) won the 2014 Copa Libertadores, South...more

Aereo Loses Bid to Resume Operations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Aereo, Inc., an online streaming service, was violating copyrights by retransmitting television broadcasts without the networks’ permission. The Court’s decision was based upon its...more

Warner Bros.’ Super Victory: U.S. Supreme Court Effectively Ends Lengthy Superman Copyright Dispute

Warner Bros. and its DC Comics subsidiary can now breathe a bit easier, as the U.S. Supreme Court has recently declined to intervene in the ongoing dispute over the ownership rights to Superman. And so ends (at least for...more

UK: New Licensing Scheme for use of Orphan Works

On 29 October 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a new licensing scheme which aims to give wider access to millions of culturally valuable creative ‘orphan’ works....more

Counts v. Meriwether - U.S.D.C., C.D. California, October 14, 2014

District court dismisses plaintiffs’ claim that Fox’s popular television show New Girl infringes their copyrighted screenplay because complaint did not adequately identify works at issue, and dismisses claims for breach of...more

Superman Dodges a Bullet: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Heirs’ Bid to Reclaim Character Copyright

Close on the heels of the settlement between Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby’s heirs, which ended their dispute over copyright in a number of iconic comic book characters, the heirs to one of Superman’s co-creators, artist...more

Star Wars: Redefining Trademark and Copyright Law Since A Long Time Ago

The Star Wars series is truly an exceptional franchise, having broken box office records, creating legions of fans, and bringing the idea of collateral merchandise licensing to an unprecedented level. Also, how many other...more

Freelancers’ Articles Are Not Free

The U.S. Supreme Court has given a victory to freelance authors of newspaper and magazine articles, and a defeat to some major publishers of their work. The publishers hired the authors as independent contractors who would...more

Gilligan’s Island Remake Awash with Copyright Controversy

Travis P. Dunson (“Dunson”) filed suit for copyright infringement, money damages, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees, as well as damages for breach of implied contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, and quantum meruit...more

“Free Sherlock” Litigation Raises Specter of Antitrust Liability for Distributors Cooperating With Intellectual Property Owners

Leslie Klinger, noted Sherlock Holmes scholar and lawyer, has waged a nearly all-out legal offensive against the Estate of Arthur Conan Doyle over the Estate’s assertion of a copyright in connection with certain works...more

Three Point Shot

Female Football Player Throws Flag at LFL over Bare Wages - The three-year championship run of the Los Angeles Temptation was snapped in 2013 when the upstart Chicago Bliss, led by the quarterback and two-time league...more

Copyright and performance rights in an online video world

We can chalk up another Internet-prompted intellectual property frontier: performance rights. People have been performing for one another for centuries. But suddenly courts are grappling with performance copyright claims,...more

Funkadelic Master Sound Recordings Can Be Involuntarily Transferred to a Court-Appointed Receiver to Satisfy Judgment

Hendricks & Lewis PLLC v. Clinton - Addressing the issue of whether a lower court abused its discretion by appointing a receiver and authorizing the sale of master sound recordings to satisfy monetary judgments, the...more

Adam Sandler Is Not Laughing

A beloved childhood game is at the heart of an intellectual property dispute. Landmark Entertainment Group, LLC (“Landmark”) sued Hasbro Studios (“Hasbro”) over the contractual and intellectual property rights in original...more

Curtis v. Illumination Arts, Inc.

Curtis v. Illumination Arts, Inc. - USDC, W.D. Wa., July 17, 2014 - District court grants default judgment in copyright action and awards $50,000 in statutory damages against defendant publishers per book...more

The World Cup of Non-Competes

Can you imagine if FIFA allowed or enforced non-compete agreements that limited the ability of a player to hold dual citizenship and play for either country? Would the World Cup have suffered if brothers representing Ghana...more

Are Internet TV Providers Cable Companies Now?

Last month, in American Broadcasting Companies Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo’s service of streaming broadcast TV over the Internet violated copyrights in the streamed TV shows. Although this ruling...more

At the Crossroads - Brand integration deals involve copyright, trademark, and insurance considerations

At the crossroads of Hollywood Boulevard and Madison Avenue, a variety of legal and business issues must be considered and addressed in order to set the stage for a successful brand integration deal. In the historical...more

Laches, Statutes of Limitations and Raging Bull: The Supreme Court Re-Emphasizes The Pitfalls Of Delay In Copyright Cases

In Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 U.S. __ (2014), the United States Supreme Court addressed the role that the equitable defense of laches – i.e., a plaintiff’s unreasonable and prejudicial delay in commencing suit...more

Leuthold v CBC: “Industry Practice” in Interpreting Contracts

When, if ever, can “industry practice” be used in interpreting contracts? That question is of particular relevance in the entertainment industries, as each facet of those industries (such as film, TV, music, book publishing,...more

“Raging Bull” Decision Highlights Importance of ADR in Entertainment Disputes

“Raging Bull” is a classic 1980 motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta. In the case of Petrella v. Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., the United States Supreme Court recently...more

The Saga Ends

In the last few lines of To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout tells Atticus that “he was real nice.” Atticus responds, “most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” I wonder if Harper Lee can now say that about the people...more

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