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Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2014

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie - “Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the...more

Can a selfie change the rules of the commercial speech game?

David Ortiz, known affectionately as “Big Papi,” is larger than life. As a clutch hitter for the Boston Red Sox, Ortiz’s swing is only matched by his big, friendly personality — both of which have served him well. With...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - May 2014 (Global)

UK: London's IP anti-crime unit shuts down leading sports file sharing site - The City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has successfully shut down the Sports Torrent Network, a leading sports...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

California Federal Court Finds that the First Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants from Asserting...

On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s...more

Risks Of Tribute Advertisements Are Focus Of Seventh Circuit Decision

Think the First Amendment protects your business from liability for running an ad congratulating a celebrity or other public figure? Better think again. ...more

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie

“Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the shot using his Samsung smartphone during a visit to the...more

Cyberlaw: Of Athletes And Video Games

Can a video game company use an athlete’s likeness in a game without his or her permission? The answer is maybe. The Ninth Circuit recently rejected Jim Brown’s Lanham Act Section 43 claim against Electronic Arts, Inc....more

Publicity rights vs. the First Amendment

The right of publicity continues to emerge as a significant intellectual property right of which businesses must be aware—not only in the context of advertising and marketing, but in the context of a company’s product itself....more

“Hustlin’” to a Legal Victory: Rick Ross and the Right of Publicity

California gives you the right to profit from your own identity. But what if you assume somebody else’s? Rick Ross is famous for rapping about cocaine. Ricky D. Ross is famous for selling it. Ross (the cocaine...more

Leggo My Likeness Part V: Grand Theft Right of Publicity?

This year, several important video game lawsuits helped clarify the parameters for using a celebrity’s likeness in video games. Generally speaking, courts have found that, unless you get permission, you can’t put a celebrity...more

NCAA’s Battle Continues in the Fight Over Who Should Pay for the Use of Student-Athlete Likenesses

Since 2009, former student-athletes have been litigating the issue of whether the apparent commodification of student-athlete likenesses in video games entitles the athletes to compensation. Defendants in these lawsuits...more

When Does the Right of Publicity Trump a Video Game Maker’s First Amendment Rights?

On September 24, 2013, Electronic Arts, Inc. (“EA”) reached a $40 million dollar settlement of lawsuits over the use of college athletes’ likenesses in EA’s popular college football video game series NCAA Football. EA also...more

Balancing Freedom Of Expression And The Right Of Publicity: Implications For The Future Of Interactive Entertainment

Freedom of expression bowed to the right of publicity on July 31, 2013, when a divided panel at the Ninth Circuit ruled that college athletes could proceed in litigation against Electronic Arts (“EA”) for making sports-based...more

October 2013: Sports Litigation Update - Athletes Prevail in Right of Publicity Suits Against Video Game Designer

Two federal appellate courts held this summer that the First Amendment does not insulate video game maker Electronic Arts (“EA”) from right of publicity suits brought by football players whose likenesses it used as part of...more

Advertising Law -- Sep 26, 2013

Julia Child Foundation Whips Up Lawsuit Against Williams-Sonoma - Williams-Sonoma illegally used the name and likeness of the late Julia Child more than 100 times in advertising, marketing, and promotional materials...more

Ninth Circuit Fumbles The Ball In Videogame Likeness Cases

Creating a new rule that gives videogames much more limited protection than other expressive works, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that realistically depicting college athletes in videogames showing them doing what they became...more

The right of publicity in college sports

The sports-media industry has recently experienced a proliferation of litigation involving right-of-publicity claims asserted by student-athletes for the unauthorized use of their names, images and likenesses. The most highly...more

Evolving Case Law on the Fair Use of Famous Trademarks in Video Games

A recent spate of cases has generally upheld, on First Amendment grounds, a developer’s right to include unlicensed trademarks in video games. However, until the body of case law becomes so prevalent that trademark owners...more

Advertising Law -- Aug 15, 2013

FTC Updates COPPA Guidance - As promised, the Federal Trade Commission has provided additional updates to its Frequently Asked Questions guidance regarding the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule which took...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- August 9, 2013

Brown v. Electronic Arts, Inc., USCA, Ninth Circuit, July 31, 2013 - Ninth Circuit affirms dismissal of NFL great Jim Brown’s Lanham Act claim against video game developer Electronic Arts, Inc., concluding that Rogers...more

Litigation Alert: Ninth Circuit Assesses Use of Player Likenesses in Video Games

On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the Ninth Circuit issued two opinions assessing the parameters of use of individual player likenesses in video games in two highly watched cases...more

Jim Brown's Right Of Publicity Claim Revived By Keller Victory On Appeal

A Ninth Circuit panel decision issued on July 31, 2013, has revived NFL legend Jim Brown's state law right of publicity claims against video game maker Electronic Arts, Inc. ("EA"). Back in March 2009, Brown filed an action...more

Football & Free Speech: Third Circuit Vidgame Decision Has Broader Implications for Reality-Based Works

42, 127 Hours, Act of Valor, Argo, Dolphin Tale, Fair Game, Green Zone, I Love You Philip Morris, Moneyball, People Like Us, Sanctum, Secretariat, Soul Surfer, The Bling Ring, The Fighter, The Runaways, The Whistleblower,...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- May 31, 2013

Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc., U.S.C.A., Third Circuit, May 21, 2013 - Third Circuit reverses district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing claim of plaintiff, former college football player, for violating his...more

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