Communications & Media Art, Entertainment & Sports Civil Procedure

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Advertising Law - April 2015 #2

Red Light! Cab Companies Claim Uber Falsely Claims to Be Safer Service: What’s safer—riding in a cab or riding in an Uber car? - A new false advertising lawsuit raised that question when a coalition of 19...more

Penalty! The California Court of Appeal Calls Foul on the NCAA’s Attempt to Seal Records of the USC/Reggie Bush Investigation

In a significant victory for open court filings, the California Court of Appeal rejected an effort by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) to seal 400 pages of documents in a dispute between the NCAA and a...more

Screenwriter SLAPPs Down Libel-in-Fiction Claim

In a victory for all authors of fiction, a screenwriter of the film “What Maisie Knew” has successfully defended a lawsuit that sought to hold him liable for defamation based on the portrayal of a character drawn from an 1897...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

Game Over: Plain and Ordinary Construction Results in Summary Judgment

Claim Construction Order and Order Granting Summary Judgment, Segan LLC v. Zynga Inc., 14-cv-01315 (Judge Vince Chhabria) - It is ordinary in patent cases for the patentee to ascribe “plain and ordinary” meaning to...more

Even In The UK, Think Twice Before Using Celebrity Endorsements

A recent legal case in the UK between singer Rhianna and fashion retailer Topshop has highlighted differences between publicity rights in the UK and some US jurisdictions. Rhianna sued Topshop for its sale of a t-shirt...more

Move Over Vanna White, Here Comes Marion Barry’s Kidney

In 2008, former Mayor of Washington, D.C., and then council member Marion Barry became ill with a kidney disease. To survive the illness, Mr. Barry required a kidney transplant, and one of his friends, Ms. Kim Dickens, came...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...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

Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer

In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. To commemorate Jordan’s career, Time Inc. published a special Sports Illustrated Presents issue that included congratulatory “advertisements” from several...more

It’s a Complete Red Haring: Court Dismisses Wide Ranging Art-Authentication Lawsuit against Keith Haring Foundation

Art is no stranger to great controversy, although the arbiters of art world disputes are usually critics and artists rather than federal judges. Nevertheless, in early March, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New...more

It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies: YouTube’s Beauty Guru Fights Back Against Ultra Records

Michelle Phan is a YouTube celebrity and beauty guru and has garnered over 7 million subscribers and one billion lifetime views. However, not everyone is a fan of Ms. Phan. On July 16, 2014, Ultra International Music...more

Summary Judgment Denied On “Fair Use” Defense In 9/11 Photograph Case

On February 10, 2015, the Southern District of New York denied Fox News’ motion for summary judgment in a copyright lawsuit involving the posting of a copyrighted image on its Facebook page. North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v....more

Business Round-Up: Eponymous companies and use of the designer’s personal name: Mr. Alviero Martini vs. Alviero Martini S.p.A.

Alviero Martini recently decided to bring an appeal against the decision of the Court of Milan, in the proceedings brought against Alviero Martini S.p.A., which acquired the trademark “Alviero Martini Prima Classe”....more

YouTube Kills Viral Video for Being Too Popular, Six Year Old Sues

Sure, there are lots of viral YouTube videos.  There’s Katy Perry’s left shark, the owls dance off  and of course the kitten sup-purr bowl, but it might surprise you to learn that YouTube removed a video for being too...more

Trademark use within an expressive work must only pass the Rogers test, not a likelihood of confusion analysis: Mil-Spec Monkey v....

The likelihood of confusion test is often called the “cornerstone” of trademark infringement law. It may be in many circumstances, but it does not apply to allegations of infringement within expressive works, as the recent...more

Australia: What is and is not a “royalty” for withholding tax purposes? Latest key court decision

By Jock McCormack, James Newnham, Matthew Cridland and Eddie Ahn Introduction The taxpayer, Seven Network Limited, has won a recent decision (22 December 2014) in the Australian Federal Court, Seven Network Limited v Federal...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

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Enforce Your Copyrights!)

The Beastie Boys can look back on 2014 as a year of good copyright outcomes. The preceding years had seen their music used without authorization in two promotional videos, by Goldieblox and Monster Energy, despite the...more

Davis: Electronic Arts Gets a New Set of Downs and Still Can’t Score

Just over a month ago I wrote about the Davis v. Electronic Arts matter that was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Specifically, I opined that the matter was ripe for Supreme Court review in light of the...more

Stan Lee Media, Inc. v. The Walt Disney Company

USCA, Tenth Circuit, December 23, 2014 - Tenth Circuit dismisses Stan Lee Media’s copyright infringement claim against Disney, finding that plaintiff was collaterally estopped from asserting copyright infringement...more

Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Company - USDC, S.D. New York, December 4, 2014

Following jury verdict in favor of Beastie Boys on copyright infringement and Lanham Act claims, district court denies defendant Monster Energy Company’s motions for judgment as matter of law, for new trial, and for reduction...more

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. - USDC, N.D. California, November 24, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of publisher of military-action video game Call of Duty: Ghosts on trademark...more

The Sum of All Parts: Second and Ninth Circuits Poised to Address Movie “Authorship”

“There are no small parts, only small actors.” So says the film and theater maxim most frequently attributed to Russian actor and director Constantin Stanislavski. But how small a contribution is enough for an actor or...more

On December 15, 2014, The Ninth Circuit En Banc Will Hear Garcia v. Google, Inc./Actors And Producers Await The Result

On Monday, December 15, 2014, the Ninth Circuit en banc will hear argument in Garcia v. Google, Inc. 766 F3d 929 (9th Cir. 2014), amending 743 F.3d 1258 (9th Cir. 2014). A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit previously...more

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