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UK: Passing Off – How Rihanna “found love” in the Court of Appeal

On 22 January 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision in a claim for passing off brought by global superstar Rihanna against Topshop. The dispute centered on a t-shirt which was sold by Topshop in its...more

Davis: Electronic Arts Gets a New Set of Downs and Still Can’t Score

Just over a month ago I wrote about the Davis v. Electronic Arts matter that was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Specifically, I opined that the matter was ripe for Supreme Court review in light of the...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

Status Updates - January 2015 #3

A Craigslist conviction. The highest court in Massachusetts upheld the conviction under the Bay State’s anti-harassment statute of a couple who posted fake Craigslist advertisements that caused a great deal of trouble for...more

Does the Ebola-free Nurse Doll Raise a Right of Publicity Claim?

In general, a right of publicity is a right to control use of your name, likeness, and other aspects of your identity. Right of publicity laws normally give an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their...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

An Update On The Legal Implications Of User-Generated Content: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, And Instagram

Traditionally, media companies (as well as non-media companies) almost exclusively utilized their own content. However, because of the exponential growth in the public’s desire and ability to interconnect through social media...more

Rossi v. Photoglou - California Court of Appeals, 4th Appellate Div., September 29, 2014

Rossi v. Photoglou - California Court of Appeals, 4th Appellate Div., September 29, 2014: California appellate court reverses summary judgment in favor of Real Housewife of Orange County Gretchen Rossi against "friend"...more

September 2014: Entertainment Litigation Update

ABC v. Aereo: Supreme Court Holds that Aereo’s System of Streaming Television Broadcasts via the Internet Infringes Copyrights in Programs Broadcast. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the...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

Status Updates - September 2014

..We can work it out. Actress Katherine Heigl and the Duane Reade chain of drugstores have settled a $6 million federal suit filed by Heigl this past April in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. ...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

How far can companies leverage the name and image of celebrities when promoting their brand?

It is common to see celebrities, which have captivated the public for decades, photographed using a company product or wearing a branded garment. Using such photos for promoting a company’s brand can be problematic especially...more

Imputations- jury decides whether ‘the antidote has overcome the bane.’

The New South Wales Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in the matter of Corby v Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd. In this case Rosleigh Jill Rose, Michael Corby Junior and Mercedes Pearl Esma Corby (‘the Appellants’)...more

Protecting High Profile Reputations - Brownstein's $19 Million Verdict Stands After Appeal

In the modern age of the Internet where “news”—whether or not it’s true—spreads worldwide in an instant, high-profile corporate and individual reputations are under attack every day from business adversaries, disgruntled...more

Defamation Claim Against HBO Sports Documentary Proceeds; International Sporting Goods Supplier Not a Public Figure

On May 16, 2014, in Mitre Sports v. HBO, the Southern District of New York allowed a defamation claim brought by a UK company against HBO to proceed to trial. In doing so, the Court ruled that Mitre Sports International, one...more

Advertising Law - May 2014

Schwarzenegger Sues Over Publicity Rights - The Governator has filed a $10 million suit alleging that Nevada-based Arnold Nutrition Group “brazenly stole[] and exploited” his likeness to market its products in...more

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Those Rights of Publicity

Earlier this month, Katherine Heigl sued Duane Reade for $6,000,000 for tweeting a paparazzi photo of her leaving a Duane Reade drugstore, together with the caption “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even KatieHeigle can’t resist...more

Capturing Tiger Woods at The Masters

My second favorite golf major, The Masters, starts tomorrow in Augusta, Georgia. And as much as I dislike its history of racism, misogyny, and banning an announcer because he used the terms “bikini-waxed” and “body bags”...more

Does The First Amendment Allow Journalists To Lie To Their Subjects? U.S. Senator Accuses Documentary Film Makers Of Fraud

On April 1, 2014, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin issued a press release accusing Adroit Films of fraud. Manchin had agreed to be interviewed by the media company for a documentary about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster,...more

Cyberlaw: Of Athletes And Video Games

Can a video game company use an athlete’s likeness in a game without his or her permission? The answer is maybe. The Ninth Circuit recently rejected Jim Brown’s Lanham Act Section 43 claim against Electronic Arts, Inc....more

Liability Insurer May Have to Cover Knockoff Jewelry Site for Allegedly Violating Reese Witherspoon’s Right of Publicity

Have you always wanted to own “The One Ring to Rule Them All” of Lord of the Rings fame? Do you dream of an engagement ring just like Kate Middleton’s? Your dreams can come true with a visit to Emitations.com, a website...more

Spanish Supreme Court orders Le Monde to pay damages to Real Madrid and FC Barcelona

The Spanish Supreme Court has ordered French daily newspaper Le Monde to pay damages of €300,000 to Real Madrid and €15,000 to FC Barcelona for linking the Spanish football clubs to a doping plot....more

Top questions fashion brands should consider before conducting social media marketing

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…the list of social media tools for the promotion of your fashion brand is ever increasing. While social media is an effective and immediate way to reach your customers, there are some...more

NCAA’s Battle Continues in the Fight Over Who Should Pay for the Use of Student-Athlete Likenesses

Since 2009, former student-athletes have been litigating the issue of whether the apparent commodification of student-athlete likenesses in video games entitles the athletes to compensation. Defendants in these lawsuits...more

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