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USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

Status Updates - January 2015 #5

Pupils, passwords and privacy. A law that went into effect on January1st has the parents of some Illinois school children asking themselves how much of their children’s privacy they’re willing to forgo to keep cyberbullying...more

First Amendment Protects Use of Third-Party’s Trademark in Video Game

Mil-Spec Monkey, Inc. v. Activision Blizzard, Inc. et al. - Confirming that video games, including customizable multi-player games, qualify as expressive works entitled to First Amendment protection, a California...more

South Carolina Court Upholds Constitutionality of Statutory Limitation on Retail Dealer Licenses

Retail Services & Systems, Inc., dba Total Wine & More v. South Carolina Department of Revenue and ABC Stores of South Carolina - A trial-level court in South Carolina recently issued an opinion upholding the...more

The US Department of Justice Seeks to Intervene in the Washington Redskins’ Trademark Suit to Defend the Constitutionality of the...

The Washington Redskins professional football team will soon not only be battling Native Americans over the registrability of the REDSKINS trademark, but will also have to cross swords with the US Government. Last week, the...more

Valencia v. Universal City Studios LLC

USDC, N.D. Georgia, December 18, 2014 - District court dismisses all claims of hip-hop dancer Honey Rockwell, who alleged that films Honey and Honey 2 violated her privacy rights and trademark rights, holding that some...more

Germany: Online Blackjack Player Found Guilty of Illegal Gambling

The district court Munich found a Munich man guilty of participation in an unlicensed public game of chance due to his participation in online blackjack games. The player was fined under criminal laws and the funds received...more

Tennessee Tax Year in Review

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP’s State and Local Tax Team would like to share our year-end review—revisiting some interesting Tennessee tax developments for 2014 and announcing our annual “Tennessee Tax Issue of the Year.”...more

USA: Do Athletes Have Rights of Publicity in Live Broadcast Footage? Minnesota Court Offers Guidance

U.S. courts have recognized that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Indeed, courts have adopted varying approaches to analyzing right of...more

Sony vs. N. Korea – Let Capitalism Fight Totalitarianism!

Cyber terrorism, North Korea, Sony, extortion, free speech, The Interview, international relations, journalistic ethics, cyber security… can it get any better than this?...more

Did Sony Let the Terrorists Win?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve probably heard about the hoopla caused by the new Seth Rogen and James Franco movie called the interview. The movie follows a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator...more

The Interview: Cyber Attacks and The First Amendment

The fallout from a massive cyber attack on Sony in November escalated tremendously this week. After exposing embarrassing emails and confidential company information, stealing the screenplay for an upcoming James Bond movie,...more

Henley Is Not Taking It Easy

According to music icon Don Henley, intellectual property rights are not a joking matter....more

UK: Freedom of Speech - Unnamed artist to appeal publishing injunction in the Supreme Court

On 9 December a well-known British performing artist was granted permission to take his case to the Supreme Court, where he will appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in OPO v MLA & STL, reported here in October 2014....more

Electronic Arts and its Disrespect for the Game

On September 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the appeal in Davis v. Electronic Arts (Case No. 12-15737), a class action lawsuit brought by three former NFL Players against Electronic Arts (“EA”), the...more

No Break from Prison for General Noriega As Black Ops II Is Cleared by Transformative Use Doctrine

If you were looking forward to regrouping your special forces mission on “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” without any further interference from Pineapple Face, your moment has arrived. The aforesaid Face, as former sword-waving...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

Angry Monkey See, Angry Monkey Sue

Video games have come a long way since I was a kid. I grew up with a pixelated plumber jumping on on turtles with frozen facial expression. Sometimes it is hard to believe how far video games have developed, with games like...more

Vijay v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, October 27, 2014

Vijay v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. - USDC, C.D. California, October 27, 2014: District court declines to find that preemption warrants dismissal of all claims brought by actor in “Titanic,” but grants...more

Litigation Alert: California Superior Court Finds Use of Likeness of Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega in Video Game...

Manuel Noriega v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., No. BC 551747 (Cal Super. Ct. filed October 27, 2014) - In recent years, federal and state courts have wrestled with how to assess right of publicity claims in the video...more

Paul Watler Speaks: Old-School Investigative Sports Reporting: Still Relevant After All These Years

As a young lawyer in 1985, a case came my way that combined several passions: college football, newspaper journalism and the First Amendment. I was the associate attorney assigned to help apply legal muscle in support of our...more

Holy Non-Infringement, Batman!

Fortres Grand Corporation v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - The U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a trademark infringement claim, finding that a real computer software product...more

NFL Films Ruling Blurs Right of Publicity

Earlier this year the Seventh Circuit stated that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 743 F.3d 509, 514...more

Federal Court Limits Tribe’s, Secretary’s Options When States Balk at Gaming Compact

A federal district court in New Mexico has issued a decision finding that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s regulations permitting the Secretary of the Interior to adopt Class III gaming procedures for a tribe lacking a...more

Dryer v. National Football League - USDC, D. Minn., October 10, 2014

Dryer v. National Football League - USDC, D. Minn., October 10, 2014: District court grants summary judgment in favor of NFL and against former professional football players who claimed that NFL’s use of video footage...more

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