Intellectual Property Art, Entertainment & Sports Constitutional Law

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Second Circuit to Weigh In on Copyright Owner-Digital Broadcaster Dispute Over Pre-1972 Sound Recording Performance Rights

On April 15, 2015, the Second Circuit granted digital broadcaster Sirius XM Radio, Inc.'s (Sirius XM) petition for interlocutory appeal of U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon's November 2014 ruling that New York state law...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015

TufAmerica v. Diamond - USDC, S.D. New York, March 24, 2015 - District court awards summary judgment to defendants, members of the Beastie Boys, holding that plaintiff did not have standing to file suit for...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

Court Finds Misappropriation Claims Arising From Licensing of Copyrighted Photographs Are Preempted

Judge André Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed a lawsuit brought by former college athletes alleging that the licensing of copyrighted photographs from their NCAA...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Can Taylor Swift Shake Off Accusations of Trademark Greed?

Had enough of Taylor Swift yet? For those of you who hate to love her, you might consider Swiftamine, because she is not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, her media foot print continues to grow. And while one...more

Trademark use within an expressive work must only pass the Rogers test, not a likelihood of confusion analysis: Mil-Spec Monkey v....

The likelihood of confusion test is often called the “cornerstone” of trademark infringement law. It may be in many circumstances, but it does not apply to allegations of infringement within expressive works, as the recent...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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