Media Law Bulletin - December 2011 - 'Cheese'-y Comedy Product Not an Advertising Idea

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The case of The Oglio Entertainment Group, Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Ins. Co., 200 Cal. App. 4th 573 (2011), analyzes the distinction between copying an advertising idea and copying a product that is advertised in the context of liability insurance coverage for "personal and advertising injury."

The underlying lawsuit was filed by a recording artist against his recording company, Oglio Entertainment Group, Inc. The artist records and performs music under the name "Richard Cheese." Cheese is described in the underlying pleadings as "a comedy character...who performs 'lounge' or 'swing-style' versions of current and popular rock, hip-hop and pop songs." On August 1, 2001, the artist entered into a recording contract with Oglio that provided that Cheese would record an album of lounge-style recordings of popular songs, tentatively titled "Lounge Against the Machine" (LATM). The recording agreement was for three years.

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