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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

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

Governor Brown Is Not CEQA “Public Agency,” Holds Third District In Indian Casino Case

In a published decision filed September 24, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal (per Justice Robie) held that CEQA’s definition of a “public agency” that is subject to its requirements (see Pub. Resources Code, § 21063)...more

Executing Noriega?

As some of you may recall, I posted about a lawsuit Manuel Noriega brought against purveyors of the Call of Duty video game franchise arising from his depiction in the game. In essence, I suggested that Noriega’s lawsuit was...more

Texas High Court Rules Improper Photography Law Unconsitutional; Or, Why You Care a Creepy Dude Is Not Guilty

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a 8-1 decision yesterday that the “Improper Photography and Visual Recording Act” is facially unconstitutional. The case involved a guy who allegedly took pictures of kids at a...more

Considering the Eminent Domain of Sports Franchises

In a thought-provoking article, Anthony F. Della Pelle considers the interesting question of whether the City of Los Angeles could simply “take” the LA Clippers via eminent domain. One might typically associate California’s...more

Midwest Gaming Win Reinforces Division Between Police and Taxing Powers

In United States v. Doremus, 249 U.S. 86 (1919) the Supreme Court held that a tax law “may not be declared unconstitutional, because its effect may be to accomplish another purpose as well as the raising of revenue.” That...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: Video Game Makers Strike Out In College Athlete Cases – Coaching Tips For The Virtual World

Over the past several years, I have written about a series of decisions in suits brought by former collegiate athletes against EA Sports and the NCAA, seeking compensation for the use of their likenesses and those of...more

Washington Redskins Challenge the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act

The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term...more

Per Second Circuit: Full Text Searchable Database Is Fair Use

Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. HathiTrust, et al. - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, affirming a district court summary judgment ruling in favor of a consortium of authors, ruled that the unauthorized...more

Defeating “Libel Tourism” under Mississippi law and the SPEECH Act

In Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v. Handshoe, 729 F.3d 481 (5th Cir. 2013), the Fifth Circuit became the first appellate court in the country to interpret the Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional...more

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