Communications & Media Civil Remedies

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.
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Garcia v. Google Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, May 18, 2015

Ninth Circuit sitting en banc reverses 2-1 panel decision that required Google to remove anti-Islam video from YouTube based on actor’s claim of copyright in her five-second appearance, holding that “a weak copyright claim...more

Apple v. Samsung: Trade Dress Functionality and Total Profits without Apportionment

The highly publicized Apple v. Samsung litigation saga began in April 2011 when Samsung alleged various infringements of patents and trade dress related to Apple’s iPhone. A jury awarded more than $1 billion in damages. In a...more

Supreme Court to Determine if Offer of Relief to Named Plaintiff Moots Class Action

Over the past several years, employers defending wage and other class action lawsuits have increasingly used a procedural move intended to defeat the class claim. In these cases, the employer offers complete financial and...more

Intellectual Property Alert: Apple v. Samsung: The Federal Circuit Clarifies Design Patent Principles Law

In a much anticipated opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Apple v. Samsung on May 18, the design patent law with respect to remedies and the infringement test remains robust. Notably, and...more

“Age Defying” Make-up Case Only Partially Defies Preemption

Coco Chanel said that nature gives you your face at 20, but you earn your face at 50. Perhaps that is not so different from Mark Twain’s theory that one’s wrinkles should merely be monuments to smiles. Those platitudes do...more

Diversified Consultants, Inc. Successfully Strikes Fail-Safe Class Definitions In Putative TCPA Class Action

Kenneth Boyer filed a putative class action against Diversified Consultants, Inc. (“DCI”) and LiveVox, Inc., in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, alleging that DCI, through LiveVox, initiated...more

Fourth Circuit Cleans Up Damages Award in Paper Towel Dispute and Sets Standard for the Award of Fees in Trademark Cases

In Georgia-Pac. Consumer Products LP v. von Drehle Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2015 WL 1404765 (4th Cir. Mar. 30, 2015), as amended (Apr. 15, 2015), the Fourth Circuit reversed a damages award and clarified the standard for damages...more

Recent Decisions Narrow Scope of Liability under Video Privacy Protection Act

Two significant decisions under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) in recent weeks have provided new defenses to companies alleged to have run afoul of the statute. Bringing the long-running litigation against Hulu to a...more

Scope for damages for data protection violations in the UK widened by the Court of Appeal

The English Court of Appeal recently gave judgement in a case arising out of the tracking of Internet behaviour via a web browser. In Vidal-Hall v Google1, the Court of Appeal found that...more

The Bermuda Triangle of Online Defamation: Copyright, Clickwrap and the CDA

We have written many times about attempts to use copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. Because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) prevents a defamation plaintiff...more

Status Updates - April 2015 #5

Photo negative. Daniel Morel, the photojournalist who was awarded $1.2 million in damages from news agencies that distributed his iconic Haiti earthquake pictures without his permission after he posted those pictures on...more

The New Wave of Data Breach Settlements

4.8 million. 10 million. 15 million. 25 million. Before 2014, these large numbers were likely to represent the number of individuals affected by a data breach. Today, they are the dollar figures that companies must spend to...more

Jury awards plaintiff $12,000 for Dish Network’s TCPA violations

On April 2, 2015, Ohio U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman ruled for the plaintiff, Benjamin Maraan, in his Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case against Dish Network LLC (Dish). Maraan was awarded $12,000 for...more

Seller Beware: Collecting Sales Tax When Coupons Are Involved Is Not So Cut and Dried

If you are a retailer or a business that accepts or issues coupons, a slew of class action lawsuits should have you double-checking your sales tax collection practices. Recent lawsuits filed by consumers have accused...more

TCPA Connect - April 2015

User Choice to Send Solicitations Refutes ATDS Allegations - Following a growing precedent in the California federal district courts, a judge recently concluded that a defendant in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act...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

A New Weapon to Combat Cybersquatting: File Suit against Domain Registrars and Hosting Companies

Cybersquatting, under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), is registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a...more

TracFone Files Supplement to Emergency Petition for FCC Preemption on 911 Fees

As noted in our prior update, in November 2014, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice requesting industry comment on a Petition filed by TracFone Wireless regarding 911 fees charged to Lifeline...more

FCC Enforcement Bureau Stays Pole Attachment Complaint Proceeding Pending Completion of Arbitration

In a March 16, 2015 Letter Ruling, the Market Disputes Resolution Division of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau granted a request by Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (“Duke”) for a stay in a pole attachment complaint proceeding brought...more

Bob Marley’s Heirs Lanham Act Win Upheld - Fifty-Six Hope Road Music v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc.

Addressing the issue of when the use of a celebrity’s likeness or persona in connection with a product constitutes a false endorsement that is actionable under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Don't Underestimate the Importance of TTAB Proceedings

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., heightens the importance of often-neglected trademark conflict administrative proceedings in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board....more

Court Rules On Post-Trial Motions Following Willful Infringement Verdict

Stark, C.J. Plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees is denied. Defendant’s motion for JMOL is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Argument...more

Court Grants Summary Judgment to Plaintiff Class in Blast Fax Case, Awards More Than $22 Million in Statutory Damages

In September, we reported that a court in the District ofNew Jersey denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in a “fax blast” class action, concluding that the defendants could be directly liable under the TCPA for...more

Media Companies Snipe at Potential Expansion of Defamation Risk in Ventura v. Kyle

“A Navy SEAL and a professional wrestler walk into a bar and begin to argue politics …” sounds like the beginning of a pretty good bar fight story. The story only gets more promising when you learn that the SEAL was the...more

Plaintiff Must Show Defendant’s Knowledge of TCPA Violation To Get Treble Damages, 11th Circuit Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has ruled that a plaintiff must show that the defendant knew its conduct violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to establish a willful or knowing TCPA violation....more

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