Movies

News & Analysis as of

Avatar Wins Against Another Copyright Owner… in an Unusual Manner

A recent decision from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ended the hopes and dreams of a copyright owner from receiving a share of the $2.8 billion earned by James Cameron’s Avatar film. In this...more

These are Not the Trade Secrets You’re Looking For: Star Wars Model Maker Sues Ex-Employees for Misappropriation

In a tale of alleged betrayal and misappropriation of trade secrets in a courtroom (not) far, far away, a pioneering company in the area of special effects has sued its former employees and a vendor, claiming that they...more

Clark v. Dashner - USDC, D. New Mexico, June 30, 2016

District court dismisses author’s claims that film “The Maze Runner” and novel of same name infringed on copyright in his book The Maze, holding that similarities between works, including giant maze and robotic creatures, are...more

Appellate Court Rejects Defamation Lawsuit Targeting Statements Made In American Hustle

Plaintiff Paul Brodeur, a well-known author, filed suit in California state court against the producers and distributors of the motion picture American Hustle, asserting claims for defamation, slander, and false light. The...more

In Landmark Case Utah Jury Decides in Favor of FTC, Against Companies for Violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rules and Do Not...

A Utah federal court jury decided last week that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) claims against Forrest S. Baker, and his film firms, Feature Films for Families, Inc., Corporations for Character, L.C., and Family Firms...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

Screening Room Alone Won’t Save AMC-Carmike

Last month, AMC and Carmike announced plans to merge. They would form the nation’s largest cinema chain with over 8,000 screens. Also last month, Napster founder Sean Parker announced a new product—Screening Room—which will...more

Summary Judgment Upheld In Avatar Creators’ Favor After California Appellate Court Determines That Film Is Not Substantially...

James Cameron’s 2009 box-office hit Avatar is the subject of a California idea submission lawsuit that was decided in Cameron’s favor both at the trial and appellate level, in Eric Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, Inc., et...more

China’s New Film Industry Promotion Law (Draft)

China is now on track to overtake the United States as the world’s largest film market in the next few years. The global box office has grown slowlywith worldwide receipts reaching US$38 billion in 2015, up from US$36.4...more

Foundation for the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan v. Alcon Entertainment (N.D. Georgia, March 23, 2016)

Rarely does one think of copyright issues surrounding how research is conducted for feature films that are based on real life events, but 54 Sudanese refugees are forging that new connection between research and copyright in...more

Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Friend a Bot on Facebook? Messenger Launches Business Chatbots - At Facebook’s annual developers conference F8 this week, Facebook confirmed that Messenger will allow brands and companies to build bots that interact...more

Ninth Circuit Leaves it to Policyholder to Pay Eddie Haskell’s Attorneys’ Fees

Moral hazard lurks around the edges of many disputes about liability coverage. Everyone agrees in principle that insurance shouldn’t help bad actors benefit from their wrongdoing, but parties often clash over where the...more

Shakespeare and Copyright: 5 Things You Should Know

Last year, I made a terrible mistake. When I published Harry Potter Lawsuits and Where to Find Them on this blog, I pronounced that “Ms. Rowling and her works pop up in court more than any author since Charles Dickens.” I...more

Right of Publicity Claim over Straight Outta Compton Gets Kicked Straight Outta Court

In August 2015, the film Straight Outta Compton was released. It’s a biopic about the struggles of several young African American males who formed the musical group “N.W.A.” back in the 1980s. ...more

McElroy Films secures FAA Section 333 exemption

Boston video production company, McElroy Films, LLC (McElroy Films), recently secured its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Section 33 exemption, adding its name (and services) to the list of 22 other commercial drone...more

T.T.A.B. Emphasizes the Fame of the Movie ‘Jaws’ in Its Refusal to Register a Cooking Show’s Mark

On March 16, 2016, the TTAB affirmed the refusals of an applicant’s mark, JAWS DEVOUR YOUR HUNGER, for online streaming cooking shows, holding that it is confusingly similar to the registered mark from the movie JAWS. Though...more

Abdullah v. Walt Disney Co. - USDC, C.D. California, March 14, 2016

District court grants motion to dismiss children’s author’s copyright infringement lawsuit, holding that defendant Walt Disney’s animated film “Frozen” is not substantially similar to plaintiff’s copyrighted children’s story...more

Nobody Puts Trademark Claims in a Corner (Except when Copyright Law Preempts Them)

Nostalgia is a big seller these days. Hollywood continues to produce remakes (and remakes of remakes), politicians lament the better days of yesterday, and companies capitalize on feelings of nostalgia in order to make money....more

Regulatory Update: Movie Captioning and Audio Description Regulations in the Final Stages of Review

As we reported in July of 2014, the DOJ is working on final regulations that would require movie theatres with digital screens to show movies with closed captioning and audio description....more

Chris Rock’s #OscarsSoWhite monologue: Don’t try this at work

The glitz, glamour, and celebratory nature of last night’s Academy Awards were dimmed by the ongoing controversy about the total lack of racial diversity among Oscar contenders for the last two years. In response, Chris Rock...more

Sarver v. Chartier (USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 17, 2016 )

Ninth Circuit affirms district court’s dismissal of Army sergeant’s lawsuit alleging that main character in film “The Hurt Locker” was based on his experiences without his consent, holding that film spoke to issues of public...more

Ninth Circuit Shoots Down Right of Publicity Lawsuit Involving Academy Award Juggernaut The Hurt Locker

As we kick off “Oscar Week” here at TheTMCA.com, it is particularly apropos to discuss a decision just handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the critically acclaimed movie, The Hurt Locker. It is a...more

Don’t matter if you’re black or white

Somewhere between outrage, bewilderment, and comedy falls the news that a U.K. production company has cast very very very white actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a short film about a...more

1 in 5,000: How John Doe Defeated Porn Producer Malibu Media

Litigation-friendly pornography producer Malibu Media has suffered a rare loss, which may spell trouble as it proceeds with more cases. According to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Malibu Media has filed 5,207...more

Film Highlights National Security Need for Renewable Energy

When one thinks of renewable energy and the growing movement to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the US military is not, perhaps, the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, however, the military is tied inextricably to...more

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