Communications & Media Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

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Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo LLC - USCA, Second Circuit, June 16, 2016

In copyright infringement suit against user-generated video website Vimeo, Second Circuit holds that DMCA safe harbor protections apply to pre-1972 sound recordings, and that Vimeo is entitled to DMCA protections even though...more

Led Zeppelin Legends Smack Down “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Suit

This morning in a Los Angeles federal court, a unanimous jury exonerated British rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant—two members of the storied Led Zeppelin rock band—from claims of copyright infringement over the iconic...more

Three Point Shot - June 2016

Showtime and Top Rank Slug It out over "Fight of the Century" - Who said boxing was dead? Fight fans still bitter over the May 2015 Floyd Mayweather–Manny Pacquiao bout that was far more mega-bore than mega-brawl...more

Copyright Flash Report: Attorneys' Fees and Pre-1972 Safe Harbor

Objective Reasonableness Must Receive “Substantial Weight” in Copyright Attorney-Fee Shifting Decisions:Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-375 (U.S. June 16, 2016) - Kagan, J. In a unanimous decision, the...more

Second Circuit Extends DMCA Safe-Harbor Protection to Pre-1972 Sound Recordings, Clarifies Scope of Exceptions for Willful...

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, No. 14-1048 (2d Cir. 2016). First, the Second Circuit held that the "safe harbor"...more

Second Circuit Reinforces the Scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Safe Harbor Provision

In Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, the Second Circuit issued a decision clarifying the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) safe harbor provision, which protects certain Internet service providers from liability for...more

Sheeren-nuff: Another Copyright Infringement Suit

English pop musician Ed Sheeran has been sued for copyright infringement in the Central District of California over his recent hit song “Photograph,” which peaked at number ten on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” chart. The two...more

The U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Award of Attorneys’ Fees in Copyright Cases

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important decision regarding when the prevailing party in a copyright lawsuit is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs. The Copyright Act provides that “the...more

Originality in Remastering: CBS Secures Victory in War Over Rights to Play Oldies

CBS recently secured a potential landmark victory that could benefit radio stations, streaming services, and satellite radio providers—many of whom have been mired in litigation for years with owners of sound recordings of...more

Music Sampling Back in “Vogue”

With its decision in VMG Salsoul v. Ciccone, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals created a circuit split that could greatly impact copyright infringement claims based on unlicensed music sampling. For the advertising...more

Till Death Do Us Part? How to Deal With Celebrity Publicity Rights When That Celebrity Passes

The tragic death of renowned recording artist Prince left many reminiscing about his meticulously crafted public image. In life, the law allowed Prince to control the commercial exploitations of his image.  At death, however,...more

German Federal Constitutional Court: Use of short “samples” in music titles does not qualify as infringement of exploitation...

On 31 May 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht – “BVerfG”) issued a judgment in favor of a Hip-Hop artist (“Artist”) who had used a 2-second-sample of Kraftwerk’s song “Metall auf Metall”...more

California District Court Puts Baby In A Corner

In the United States, federal laws take precedence over state law and common law causes of action where there is an overlap. This lesson was recently learned again in Lions Gate Entertainment Inc v TD Ameritrade Services...more

CBS Radio Remasters the Art of Not Paying Artists Royalties

Two years ago, a federal judge rocked the music industry in holding that pre-1972 recordings may be protected under state copyright laws and are protected by California copyright law. This holding, in a case brought against...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Sibling Rivalry, Grilled Meat and Attorneys' Fees

Copyright Opinions - Sixth Circuit Upholds Siblings' Termination of Brother's Copyright Assignment: Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-5429 (6th Cir. May 16, 2016) - Sutton, J. In a declaratory...more

Sorry Beliebers, But Justin Bieber Has Been Sued For Copyright Infringement.

Justin Bieber is headed to the land of the Grand Ole Opry. Not for concertizing, but for plagiarizing. Allegedly. On May 26, 2016, “the Biebs” was sued in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee for...more

Comic-Con, Costumes, and Copyright Concerns

Get ready, nerds! This summer’s Comic-Con season is almost upon us and your costume is not going to make itself. But before you squeeze into your tights and cape, do you need to worry about copyright infringement? This blog...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

Sign O’ the Times: the Right of Publicity Comes to Minnesota

The ability to control the use of one’s name, likeness, voice, and other personal attributes is known as the right of publicity. Unlike trademarks, patents, and copyrights, which are types of intellectual property governed...more

Tenth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling on Meaning of “User” in DMCA §512(c) Safe Harbor

Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) offers safe harbors for qualifying service providers to limit their liability for claims of copyright infringement. To benefit from the Section 512(c) safe harbor, a...more

Is Social Media Sharing of Sports Clips Copyright Infringement? Recent UK Judicial Clarification and International Implications

In our annual review last year “Sports Industry 2015: A Year of Unprecedented Landmark Change”, we predicted that the battle against media piracy would be a key area for rights holders in 2016, highlighting “social media...more

Fair Use Copyright Ruling Stands For Google Books

Last month, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., the long-running copyright case involving Google’s Google Books project. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place the Second...more

Is Evidence of Confusion Really Necessary to Succeed in a Trademark Infringement Case?

It is not every day that a massive international TV hit show is found to infringe a trade mark. A decision of the English High Court, approved recently by the Court of Appeal, held that the popular 20th Century Fox teenage...more

Fowling Proprietor Gets Bonked -- Lessons in Avoiding Loss of Trademark Rights

Will Rogers once said “Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.” While he surely didn’t intend it that way, this is sage advice to incipient trademark owners. Consider, if you will, the...more

Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The March To The Supreme Court

This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc....more

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