News & Analysis as of

The Biggest Fear in Hollywood: Video on Demand

Usually, horror movies scare the audience, but the latest installment of Paranormal Activity gave theater houses something to fear: a new distribution model. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is the sixth installment...more

Parody Writers Take Note: Fair Use Parody + New Elements = Copyright Protection

On October 30, 2015 the Second Circuit held that an unauthorized parody that makes “fair use” of its source material is eligible for copyright protection and that copyright protection may extend to a work that exhibits the...more

Never Say Never to Lone Pine Orders

After our last two posts, we received emails blasting us for being insensitive to the plight of injured plaintiffs. That struck us as unfair, given that the posts pertained to the technical issues of choice of law and choice...more

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Ads

Where are we going? The future. Well, 1985’s future, as predicted in 1989. And technically, it’s not the future anymore; it’s the present (and soon, the past). You see, in the movie series Back to the Future, today, October...more

#damonsplaining — Matt Damon can do it, but you can’t

Actor Matt Damon sure has had an up and down past few weeks. First, Damon made some questionable comments on HBO’s Project Greenlight, a documentary developed by Damon himself (along with some famous friends including buddy...more

Second Circuit Rules That Movie Directors Generally Don’t Have A Copyright Interest In Their Individual Contributions To A Movie

The Second Circuit was recently asked to decide whether a contributor to a creative work, whose contributions are inseparable from and integrated into the work, can maintain a copyright interest in his or her contributions. ...more

Creative Use Of The California Anti-SLAPP Statute To Idea Submission Claims: Stay Tuned

The Purge is a motion picture in which a fictional U.S. government has established an annual twelve hour period called “the purge” in which all crime is legalized and no emergency services are available. And, for the last...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

“Black Swan” Internship Case Creates New Obstacles For Employers In California

In California, internships have always been viewed as a trade-off between prestigious employers and young students looking to get a foot in the proverbial door. College students and graduates looking for highly-coveted...more

Gerritsen v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, June 12, 201

District court dismisses breach of contract and breach of guaranty claims in first amended complaint against Warner Bros. based on Oscar-winning motion picture "Gravity," holding that plaintiff Terry Gerritsen, author of...more

The Creation of San Fransokyo

Some of the most fantastical buildings and urban environments started off on paper and, these days, on computer screens. Think Babylon or even Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s Washington, D.C.. Most of those structures and...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

“Hollywood Circuit” Court Issues En Banc Decision in Garcia v. Google: No Copyright Protection for Fleeting Dramatic Performance

On May 18, 2015, the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc vacated its prior decision in Garcia v. Google. The prior decision, authored by Judge Alex Kozinksi, controversially held that an actress had standing to issue a DMCA...more

Let It Go… To Trial: Disney Frozen Out of Summary Judgment In Copyright Infringment Case

Elsa and Anna are going to trial. Well, Olaf and Sven are headed there, at any rate. The sanguine snowman and his reindeer buddy were featured in a trailer for the Disney hit Frozen that is now the subject of a lawsuit...more

Does Hollywood Encourage Illegal Speed Racing?

Despite its glorification in Hollywood films such as the “Fast and the Furious” series and “Need for Speed,” street racing (or drag racing) has been blamed for causing many accidents — and with good reason. Drivers often lose...more

Wilson v. The Walt Disney Company - USDC, N.D. California, April 16, 2015

In copyright infringement action concerning trailer for Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen court denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment, finding that plaintiff established genuine factual dispute as to Disney’s...more

The “Up” House is “Up” for Sale

You might remember the 2009 Pixar/Disney 3-D animated movie “Up,” about an aging widower, Carl Frederickson, who learns to let go of his past and live his dream of moving he and his beloved late wife’s “clubhouse” to a cliff...more

Screenwriter SLAPPs Down Libel-in-Fiction Claim

In a victory for all authors of fiction, a screenwriter of the film “What Maisie Knew” has successfully defended a lawsuit that sought to hold him liable for defamation based on the portrayal of a character drawn from an 1897...more

“Raging Bull” Settles but Its Repercussions Persist

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., et al., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (U.S. 2014) delivered a clear message to copyright holders and those who wish to capitalize on those copyrights. The...more

Australia: Dallas Buyers Club LLC obtains customer identities from ISPs in landmark piracy ruling

On Tuesday 7 April 2015, a single Federal Court Judge ordered six internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over the names and identities corresponding to approximately 4,700 unique IP addresses, which have allegedly...more

Media Companies Snipe at Potential Expansion of Defamation Risk in Ventura v. Kyle

“A Navy SEAL and a professional wrestler walk into a bar and begin to argue politics …” sounds like the beginning of a pretty good bar fight story. The story only gets more promising when you learn that the SEAL was the...more

Status Updates - March 2015 #2

Out with the inbox? The overwhelming popularity of workplace-specific platforms that facilitate coworker communication—commonly referred to as “enterprise social media”—is undeniable. But are these platforms poised to someday...more

Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc. v. Cole - USDC, D. Oregon, March 18, 2015

District court holds defendants willfully infringed plaintiff’s copyright in animated film, finding defendants acted recklessly by manufacturing film without searching Copyright Office’s records, and by concluding that film...more

Spain: Mr. Grey or Mr. Koldo - Profiling Spain’s cinema-goers

One year ago a modest, soft romantic comedy with a great dose of humour and references to countryside life and open mock of controversial political issues (“Ocho Apellidos Vascos“) saw its theatrical release in Spain. It...more

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