Intellectual Property Civil Procedure Art, Entertainment & Sports

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EA Sports won’t be beaten at its own game – Escaping potential liability through successful § 101 motion to dismiss

It has been a long-standing business practice in the video game industry to update sports video game parameters to reflect real-world developments. Who would want to play NBA Live 95 if it didn’t incorporate Michael Jordan’s...more

Mayimba Music Inc. v. Sony/ATV Latin Music Publishing LLC - USDC, S.D. New York, June 9, 2016

District court awards defendants $400,000 in legal fees in copyright infringement suit over Shakira’s hit song “Loca,” in which plaintiff’s claims were shown to be based on fabricated evidence. In 2012, Mayimba Music...more

Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo LLC - USCA, Second Circuit, June 16, 2016

In copyright infringement suit against user-generated video website Vimeo, Second Circuit holds that DMCA safe harbor protections apply to pre-1972 sound recordings, and that Vimeo is entitled to DMCA protections even though...more

Led Zeppelin Legends Smack Down “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Suit

This morning in a Los Angeles federal court, a unanimous jury exonerated British rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant—two members of the storied Led Zeppelin rock band—from claims of copyright infringement over the iconic...more

Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Discretionary Fee-Shifting in Copyright Cases

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified how courts should exercise their discretion to award attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in copyright cases. The Court unanimously held that courts should give...more

Copyright Flash Report: Attorneys' Fees and Pre-1972 Safe Harbor

Objective Reasonableness Must Receive “Substantial Weight” in Copyright Attorney-Fee Shifting Decisions:Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-375 (U.S. June 16, 2016) - Kagan, J. In a unanimous decision, the...more

The Importance of Being Earnest and Objectively Reasonable

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. continues to make controlling copyright law, visiting the U.S. Supreme Court for the second time on an issue of great importance to copyright owners and litigants. This time, the issued...more

Second Circuit Reinforces the Scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Safe Harbor Provision

In Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, the Second Circuit issued a decision clarifying the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) safe harbor provision, which protects certain Internet service providers from liability for...more

Sheeren-nuff: Another Copyright Infringement Suit

English pop musician Ed Sheeran has been sued for copyright infringement in the Central District of California over his recent hit song “Photograph,” which peaked at number ten on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” chart. The two...more

Intellectual Property Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-375, that it is appropriate for a court to give substantial weight to the reasonableness of a losing party’s position when...more

The U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Award of Attorneys’ Fees in Copyright Cases

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important decision regarding when the prevailing party in a copyright lawsuit is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs. The Copyright Act provides that “the...more

VMG Salsoul LLC v. Ciccone - USCA, Ninth Circuit, June 2, 2016

Ninth Circuit breaks from Sixth Circuit in music copyright infringement case over a 0.23-second horn segment in Madonna’s pop hit “Vogue,” holding that de minimis copying exception applies to copyrighted sound...more

ABS Entertainment Inc. v. CBS Corp.- USDC, C.D. California, May 30, 2016

CBS defeats claims that it infringed copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings by performing recordings on radio broadcasts, successfully arguing that it performed only post-1972 remastered versions of recordings and that those...more

Short Samplings of Songs May Not Be Considered Copyright Infringement After All

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just decided that sampling a song without permission does not necessarily infringe the copyright. Many artists have built careers by sampling an old song to create a new work. Until now,...more

Broadcasters obtain injunction in bid to stem “emerging trend” of pre-loaded set-top boxes

The Federal Court of Canada recently granted three large broadcasters an order for an injunction* against retailers of pre-loaded “plug-and-play” set-top boxes.  The apps pre-loaded on the boxes allow consumers to access TV...more

Ninth Circuit “Strikes A Pose” For Madonna And Music Sampling In “Vogue” Copyright Dispute

In a copyright decision that rocks the music industry and splits from the Sixth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit recently held that Madonna’s mega-hit “Vogue” did not violate copyright rights by sampling a 0.23-second horns segment...more

California District Court Puts Baby In A Corner

In the United States, federal laws take precedence over state law and common law causes of action where there is an overlap. This lesson was recently learned again in Lions Gate Entertainment Inc v TD Ameritrade Services...more

‘The Autumn Wind’ and the Right of Publicity

As a child of the 60’s and 70’s and an insatiable NFL football fan, I can still hear the swaggering voice of narrator John Facenda in the now-iconic 1974 NFL Films production “The Autumn Wind,” which has been dubbed The...more

Jimi Hendrix Portrait Denied Copyright Protection For Lack of Originality

France is often presented as a country which is quite protective of IP owners, especially in the field of trademarks and copyright.? However, a recent decision rendered by the Paris District Court in relation to a portrait of...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Sibling Rivalry, Grilled Meat and Attorneys' Fees

Copyright Opinions - Sixth Circuit Upholds Siblings' Termination of Brother's Copyright Assignment: Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-5429 (6th Cir. May 16, 2016) - Sutton, J. In a declaratory...more

Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons Inc. - USCA, Sixth Circuit, May 16, 2016

Sixth Circuit concludes that author’s 1975 assignment of gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” was subject to 2008 termination notice, notwithstanding subsequent 1979 assignment of rights by late composer’s wife....more

Star Trek Fan Film: Yes, It WILL Boldly Go

As I reported in a recent blawg post, a Federal court in Los Angeles was set to decide just how far the Star Trek universe’s copyright reach extends. In the case of Paramount Pictures Corporation v. Axanar Productions, Inc.,...more

Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Axanar Productions, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, May 9, 2016

District court denies motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims against producers of unauthorized “Star Trek” films that incorporate numerous elements of famous motion picture and television franchise, including Klingon...more

News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

Is Graffiti Ineligible for Copyright Protection Just Because the Act of Tagging is Illegal?

After reports of a settlement proved premature, designer Moschino S.p.A. and its creative director Jeremy Scott have moved for summary judgment on the copyright claims filed last year by street artist Joseph Tierney, better...more

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