Intellectual Property Civil Procedure Art, Entertainment & Sports

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Right of Publicity Claims by Athletes Nearly Shut Out in 2015

When we published our Sue-per Bowl post, 2015 looked like it would be a good year for right of publicity claims brought by athletes. On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit in Davis v. Electronic Arts held that the First...more

Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, June 24, 2015

District Court allows screenwriter’s suit alleging feature film The Purge was based on his screenplay, Settler’s Day, to proceed, denying defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion because acts supporting plaintiff’s implied contract...more

Three Point Shot - June 2015

Jockeying for Dollars: Kentucky Downs Faces Two Lawsuits over Betting Machines - And they're off ... to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. One of the country's premier racetracks,...more

Trademark Review | June 2015

Is PRETZEL CRISPS a Generic Term? Federal Circuit Resets Standard for Genericness - In an earlier precedential decision, the TTAB held there was a dichotomy in the standard for determining whether an applied-for mark...more

Sirius Wins One in Florida, Florida, Florida!

On June 22, 2015, the Southern District of Florida held that artists have no public performance rights in their pre-1972 sound recordings under Florida law, in contrast to decisions from California and New York in related...more

Copeland v. Bieber - USCA Fourth Circuit, June 18, 2015

Fourth Circuit vacates district court dismissal of copyright infringement claim against defendants Usher and Justin Bieber, finding that choruses in songs were sufficiently similar to withstand motion to dismiss, as...more

State Law Claims Suffer “Awfully Big Adventure”: New York Court Finds Federal Copyright Preemption in Dispute over Peter Pan...

On June 8, 2015, the New York County Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice eight of twelve state law claims brought by a producer seeking damages for the purportedly unauthorized use of his music in a world-wide production...more

Supreme Court Leaves Post-Patent Expiration Royalty Rule in Place

The U.S. Supreme Court today in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC upheld the longstanding Brulotte rule that a patent owner cannot continue to receive royalties for sales made after its patent expires. In a 6-3 decision,...more

Richard Prince Once Again Pushes The Limits Of Fair Use

Richard Prince is either on the very edge of fair use or is engaging in blatant copyright infringement. Unlike most however, Prince has been down this road before; accused of infringement and a defense based entirely on fair...more

Power to the People: EU Court Rules LEGO’s “Minifigs” Are Protectable Trademarks

In our previous post, LEGO Tries New Angle To Guard Its IP Against Upstart MEGA BLOKS, we wrote about LEGO’s efforts to protect its IP against alleged knock-off brick makers. LEGO has now scored a victory in its ongoing...more

In re Tam – Federal Circuit Orders En Banc Review of Trademark Act’s Ban Against Registration of Disparaging Marks

The Slants is a Portland-based band composed of musicians of Asian-American descent who characterize their genre as “Chinatown Dance Rock.” The band’s bassist, Simon Tam, filed a trademark application for THE SLANTS for...more

Connecticut Court Possesses Personal Jurisdiction Over “Demonologist” Publisher

In the District of Connecticut, an out of state publisher with no alleged direct contacts with Connecticut recently lost its bid to have a case against it dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Gerald Brittle sued...more

Michael Jordan Defends His Right to Remain in Court to Protect His Likeness

On March 19, 2015, Wilson Elser published “Michael Jordan Denied Summary Judgment on His Right of Publicity Claim against Illinois Grocer,” an Alert concerning a case in which Michael Jordan was denied summary judgment on his...more

Who’s on First? Depends if Fair Use is on Second and Public Domain is on Third

Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” brings back memories of my seventh-grade talent show where I performed the routine with Brandon Berry at Atascocita Middle School. I can’t remember if we won second or third place —...more

Led Zeppelin is Going to California

On May 31, 2014, members of the band Led Zeppelin and its publishers were sued for copyright infringement by Randy California, the former guitarist and front man of the band Spirit. The lawsuit, filed in the State of...more

“Desert Warrior” Vanquished: Google Defeats Cindy Lee Garcia’s Copyright Claims

Cindy Lee Garcia thought she was playing a bit part in “Desert Warrior,” an adventure film being made by an amateur film maker. The film was never completed. Instead, Ms. Garcia’s performance was re-purposed, and her physical...more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

Richard Prince’s Instagram Art: Do You Know Where Your Face Is?

Social media, it seems, has turned us all into photographers. Anyone with a Facebook page, an Instagram account or any of the other methods for socializing on the web, can post original photos for all the world to see,...more

“Blurred Lines” Artists Lose Multi-million Dollar Copyright Lawsuit

Pop artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” song was the most popular single in 2013, topping the U.S. and international music charts. The song has sold over 6 million copies and its accompanying video has...more

Ninth Circuit En Banc Reverses Injunction Against YouTube Display of “Innocence of Muslims”

In Garcia v. Google, No. 12-57302 (9th Cir. May 18, 2015), the en banc Ninth Circuit reversed a prior panel decision and held that an actress was not entitled to a preliminary injunction removing all copies of a film from...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Ninth Circuit Reverses Takedown of Controversial Trailer from YouTube

After an en banc review, the Ninth Circuit reversed a preliminary injunction against YouTube requiring the takedown of the controversial trailer of the film “Innocence of Muslims.” The preliminary injunction was granted by a...more

Garcia v. Google: Ninth Circuit En Banc Denies Actor’s Copyright Claim In Her Performance

This blog previously discussed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in Garcia v. Google, Inc., (9th Cir. 2014) 766 F.3d 929, reversing a decision of the district court. On Monday, the Ninth Circuit, en banc, in Garcia...more

I Didn’t Say That – The Ability of Actors to Control Their Performances Under Canadian Copyright Law

When the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its 2014 opinion in Garcia v Google, its tentative conclusion that actors might enjoy copyright protection in their on-screen performances was met with vociferous...more

BMI Wins Summary Judgment of Copyright Infringement After Restaurant Owner Fails to Respond to Requests for Admission

Plaintiff Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), a music rights management organization that offers licenses to a massive catalogue of popular songs on behalf of copyright owners, brought suit for copyright infringement against the...more

Full Ninth Circuit Nixes Controversial Copyright Decision

On Monday, May 18, 2015, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, overturned a highly-controversial opinion in Garcia v. Google, Inc., in which a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed the trial court and held that an...more

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