News & Analysis as of

Iron Man Composer Battles Tech Giant Sony and Ghostface Killah

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of the composer of the 1960s Iron Man theme song, finding material facts in dispute as to whether the song was commissioned as a work for hire. Jack Urbont v. Sony...more

Music Played by Karaoke Machine Is Not “Tangible Good” for Purpose of Trademark Infringement **WEB ONLY**

Addressing the “tangible good” requirement of trademark infringement, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the district court’s decision to dismiss a case because defendants’ playing of unauthorized copies...more

Supreme Court Rejects Effort By Redskins to Join Slants

The Supreme Court rejected the effort by the Washington Redskins to skip the 4th Circuit and Join the hearing of the USPTO appeal of the SLANTS case....more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 2 - October 2016

Supreme Court Review of “Disparagement” Trademark Case May – or May Not – Implicate First Amendment, Impact Washington Redskins Case - The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear one of two high-profile cases that...more

Supreme Court Grants Cert. in USPTO Appeal of Slants Decision: Whether The Ban On Offensive Trademarks Violates The First...

The Supreme Court granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s petition for certiorari in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1101 (Fed. Cir. 2016). In that case, the USPTO denied registration of an application to register the...more

3D Printing: What it Means To Manufacturers Who Want To Sell Replacement Parts in a Digital Ecosystem

Among the next generation of 3D printing patents that will soon expire are key patents for metal-based printing processes. The patents’ expiration will almost certainly result in significant price reductions for 3D printers...more

Pay Now or Pay Later – Challenges Facing Spotify, Tidal, and Other Media Streaming Services Following a Series of Copyright...

Spotify USA Inc. (“Spotify”), the popular music streaming service with over 100 million active users and 30 million paying subscribers, continues to grow as an industry leader. Spotify launched in 2006 and reached over 20...more

Loomis v. Cornish - USCA, Ninth Circuit, September 2, 2016

Ninth Circuit affirms ruling in favor of Jessie J in a copyright dispute, finding plaintiff Will Loomis failed to establish the recording artist or songwriters of the hit song “Domino” had requisite access to his song “Bright...more

Led Zeppelin Prevails in Copyright Infringement Case: Now on Appeal in Ninth Circuit

In May 2014, the Trust acting on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe (a/k/a Randy California) of the rock group Spirit filed a copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin related to the first chords in the band’s most...more

Music and the Blockchain

The promise of blockchain technology for the music industry is its ability to solve the problem of “shared facts” and to provide transparency in real time or near-real time....more

Bowen v. Paisley - USDC, M.D. Tennessee, August 25, 2016

District court grants summary judgment dismissing copyright infringement suit against country music stars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and others involved in producing the 2011 hit song “Remind Me,” holding that it was...more

All That Glitters is Not Gold For Led Zeppelin’s Claim For Attorneys’ Fees

Legendary rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are probably still flying high over their defense verdict earlier this summer in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement trial. They may be slightly coming down, though,...more

Ed Sheeran Gears up to “Get it On” in Another Copyright Lawsuit

English pop musician Ed Sheeran once again finds himself in the crosshairs of a high-profile copyright infringement lawsuit, this time in the Southern District of New York over alleged similarities between his smash hit...more

Second Circuit Revives Copyright Claims Against Sony and Ghostface Killah

In Urbont v. Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 15-1778, the Second Circuit recently revived claims against Sony and Ghostface Killah, holding that although third parties may raise a work for hire defense, here there were factual...more

European Court of Justice Strengthens Rights of Authors, Performers and Phonogram Producers

A new judgement issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) requires a business offering television or radio programs in its facilities to pay license fees to national collecting societies if the programming...more

Political campaigns face copyright and robocall liabilities

Though it seems to come as a surprise to many of them, politicians — even presidential candidates — have to live with the same intellectual property and communications laws that bedevil the rest of us....more

Medina v. Dash Films Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, July 14, 2016

District court dismisses trademark infringement action against Kanye West and others, finding that defendants’ film series title “Loisaidas” is protected by First Amendment because it has artistic relevance, title is not...more

Florida Jury Finds Former Pinochet Lieutenant Living in Deltona Liable for Murder and Torture of Chilean Folksinger, Víctor Jara

Forty three long and painful years have passed since Víctor Jara, the famous Chilean folk singer whom Rolling Stone Magazine called one of the top 15 protest artists of all time, was found dead covered with dozens of bullet...more

All That Glitters Is Not Copyright Infringement

It’s been widely reported in the news and on this blog—a jury in a Federal copyright infringement case has reached a verdict favoring legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, finding that it did not plagiarize the iconic guitar riff...more

Led Zeppelin Legends Smack Down “Stairway to Heaven” Copyright Suit

This morning in a Los Angeles federal court, a unanimous jury exonerated British rockers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant—two members of the storied Led Zeppelin rock band—from claims of copyright infringement over the iconic...more

Jury Hands Zeppelin a Heavenly Victory

In Robert Plant’s world, all that glitters is not gold, and all that sounds like another artist’s work is not stolen from that artist. Fortunately for Plant and his Led Zeppelin bandmates, a Los Angeles jury agreed. That jury...more

Whole Lotta Love for Zeppelin in Jury Verdict On Stairway Copyright Trial

After less than a day of deliberation, a California jury has found the members of the legendary group Led Zeppelin (and their record label) did not copy the famous opening riff of Stairway to Heaven from an earlier song by...more

Second Circuit Reinforces the Scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s Safe Harbor Provision

In Capitol Records LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, the Second Circuit issued a decision clarifying the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) safe harbor provision, which protects certain Internet service providers from liability for...more

Sheeren-nuff: Another Copyright Infringement Suit

English pop musician Ed Sheeran has been sued for copyright infringement in the Central District of California over his recent hit song “Photograph,” which peaked at number ten on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” chart. The two...more

VMG Salsoul LLC v. Ciccone - USCA, Ninth Circuit, June 2, 2016

Ninth Circuit breaks from Sixth Circuit in music copyright infringement case over a 0.23-second horn segment in Madonna’s pop hit “Vogue,” holding that de minimis copying exception applies to copyrighted sound...more

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