IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update For Motion Picture Studios And Television Networks - April 21, 2011


Table of Contents

• Trademark Properties Inc. v. A&E Television Networks

• Arista Records LLC v. Lime Group LLC

Trademark Properties Inc. v. A&E Television Networks, USCA Fourth Circuit, April 11, 2011 (unpublished)

• Fourth Circuit upholds jury verdict in Flip This House contract case, holding that evidence could support the jury’s finding that parties formed an oral contract over distribution of revenue.

Plaintiff Richard Davis and his company filed suit against A&E Television Networks and other entertainment entities, alleging defendants breached an oral contract to split revenues from the reality television series Flip This House, which airs on A&E. In the district court, a jury found for the plaintiffs and awarded them $4 million (representing roughly half of the net revenues of the show from its first season).

The defendants appealed, arguing, among other things, that the evidence could not have supported the jury’s finding that an oral contract to split revenues had been reached. In a 2-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the jury’s verdict, finding that the evidentiary record could support the jury’s finding that Davis and A&E formed an oral contract under New York law.

Arista Records LLC v. Lime Group LLC, USDC S.D. New York, April 7, 2011

• In copyright infringement litigation against peer-to-peer network, court denies defendants’ motion that would have precluded plaintiffs from recovering a statutory damage award from defendants for sound recordings for which plaintiffs have already recovered a statutory damage award from an individual direct infringer with whom defendants are jointly and severally liable.

On May 11, 2010, the court granted summary judgment to plaintiff record companies on their claims against defendants for secondary copyright infringement. Defendants were affiliated with the LimeWire online file-sharing network, and the court found that they had induced hundreds if not thousands of users of LimeWire to use the system to infringe plaintiffs’ copyrights. The litigation is now in the damages phase, with a trial on damages scheduled for May 2, 2011.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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