Communications & Media Business Torts

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CFPB Files Proposed Consent Orders Related to Wireless Billing Practices

On May 12, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”) filed proposed consent orders in federal courts that would settle allegations that two wireless carriers unfairly permitted their customers to be charged...more

SEC Files Offering Fraud Action Against Radio Show Hosts

The SEC filed another offering fraud action, a staple of Enforcement. This action centers on two recidivist radio talk show hosts selling interest in life settlements based on enhancements of their investment credentials,...more

CFPB Targets Another Mortgage Lender for Deceptive Advertising

The CFPB has announced the settlement of an enforcement action against a California-based mortgage lender for alleged deceptive advertising practices, including the use of advertisements that the CFPB claimed falsely led...more

Carta de Error! Copyright Takedown Notice To iTunes May Give Rise to Misrepresentation Liability

Section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes parties who issue copyright takedown notices liable for any “knowing” misrepresentations in those notices. However, the Ninth Circuit in Rossi v. Motion Picture...more

Laughter: It's The Best Medicine, But Not The Cure For False Advertising

Couch potatoes everywhere have had a chuckle over DirecTV’s campaign featuring Rob Lowe’s “cool” and creepy/awkward/dorky personas, wherein “cool Rob” is equated to DirecTV, and the less fortunate Rob is equated to a...more

SEC Files Fraud Action Tied To Sale of Cellular Licensing

The sale of spectrum to operate cell phones can yield millions of dollars in profits. This notion was at the center of an action brought by the SEC against six individuals and eleven entities. Investors who purchased...more

Liability for Commercial Speech: A Guide to False Advertising, Commercial Disparagement, and Related Claims

This volume summarizes related bodies of law – false advertising, commercial disparagement, and defamation – that govern the conduct of business communications. It sets forth elements, damages, and related defenses for each...more

First-Ever Award of “Any Damages” for Fraudulent DMCA Takedowns Under Section 512(f)

Under section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyright owners are liable for “any damages” stemming from knowingly false accusations of infringement that result in removal of the accused online...more

Incentivized Reviews Without Disclosure Get Panned by FTC

In the latest iteration of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approach to testimonials and endorsements in the context of online advertising, the Commission alleged that AmeriFreight, a company that arranges the shipment of...more

Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 20, 2015

Following jury verdict on Lanham Act claim in favor of entity owned by Bob Marley’s children, Ninth Circuit affirms denial of defendants’ motion for judgment as matter of law, finding that trial evidence supported jury’s...more

Generic top-level domains – the evolution of trademark protection

In early 2012 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) received over 1,900 applications for unlimited generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Since then, over 325 new TLDs have launched with a total of...more

Fraudulent Procurement Claim Dismissed: No Evidence Trademark Attorney Knew Statement Was False

It is not easy to cancel a federal trademark by way of a fraud claim. Investment services firm Navigator Investments (“NI”) found this out recently when the Rhode Island district court dismissed its fraudulent procurement...more

(Un)licensed to Ill: Three Common Sense Lessons Every Marketing Department Should Learn from Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Co.

As reported by several media outlets in the last few weeks, the Beastie Boys are seeking nearly $2.4 million in attorneys’ fees from Monster Energy Co.—the maker of the eponymous Monster energy drinks—after Monster was found...more

Copyright Alert: Fox v Dish Summary Judgment Rulings

Mixed Outcomes on Copyright and Contract Issues Re: Volition, Time- and Space-Shifting, Intermediate Copying and Commercials-Skipping - In a complex opinion addressing intermingled copyright and contract issues, a...more

District Court Rules Online Agreement Does Not Bind Customers to Unknown Future Contract Terms

On December 10, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment in a class action suit filed against a large grocery chain. Plaintiff claims that the...more

Advertiser Jumps the Gun With Brochure Touting Tests; Fifth Circuit Brushes Off First Amendment Challenge to Lanham Act Claims

Like claims for defamation or commercial disparagement, Lanham Act claims are viable only if they involve statements of fact, rather than opinion. But what happens if an advertising statement concerns an issue that is a...more

Unicorns and Beer: A Match Made in Portland

Hipsters and Portland go together like…. hipsters and Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). So naturally, when PBR decided to host a music festival, they chose Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately for PBR, some of their choices along the way...more

Reflections and Gratitude

We started this blog about eight months ago. We did so because of the prevalence of section 75-1.1 claims in North Carolina business disputes. Indeed, it’s the unusual business dispute in North Carolina that does not include...more

Temperatures Rise in Mann Libel Suit

It has been a few months since I wrote about Michael Mann’s libel suit against National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and two contributors. During that time, the parties have been very busy in both the...more

QVC Sues Shopping App for Web Scraping That Allegedly Triggered Site Outage

Operators of public-facing websites are typically concerned about the unauthorized, technology-based extraction of large volumes of information from their sites, often by competitors or others in related businesses. The...more

Investor Claims NetTALK Executives Took Control of Board

On November 5, Telestrata, LLC brought a derivative shareholder action and direct action against NetTALK.com, Inc., a publicly traded telecommunication company, and NetTALK’s directors and officers, alleging that the...more

Trademark Review: Nationstar, L.A.M.B., and Cinderella (November 2014)

Post Bose: The TTAB Cancels a Registration on the Ground of Fraud - Nationstar opposed an application for NATIONSTAR filed by an individual named Mujahid Ahmad. Nationstar claimed Mr. Ahmad committed fraud on the U.S....more

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Sustains Opposition on the Basis of Fraud

Nationstar Mortgage LLC v. Mujahid Ahmad - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) sustained an opposition on the basis of fraud, finding that Ahmad’s...more

Digital Insights & Trends: "Digital Assets"...or Liabilities?

Delaware’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act (H.B. 345) makes Delaware the latest state to regulate access to “digital assets” after death. Unless the account-holder instructs otherwise, legally...more

The FTC’s Thoughts on Why “Unlimited Data” Shouldn’t Need Scare Quotes

On October 28, 2014, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued AT&T’s mobile division in the Northern District of California (F.T.C. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, Case No._ [N.D. Cal., Oct. 28, 2014] “AT&T Mobility”). The...more

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