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Communications & Media Art, Entertainment & Sports Intellectual Property

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.

Copyright Does Not Protect Ideas, Only Expression

On December 6, 2107, Judge Louis Stanton dismissed Randy Brown’s copyright law suit against Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting, Cartoon Network and others, based upon the claim that the television series Black Jesus infringed...more

After Schiano: Lessons For Athletic Directors from Tennessee’s Coaching Search

The vetting and hiring of a new coach is one of the most critical responsibilities athletic directors face. Athletic directors work to identify coaching candidates that will give the university’s teams an opportunity to win...more

Good News for Game Developers: Court Extends Protections for Using Others’ Trademarks in the Advertising of Artistic Works

by Fenwick & West LLP on

In a move that will likely benefit game developers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explicitly held that First Amendment protection extends to use of third-party trademarks in the commercial promotion of an...more

Key Considerations in Maximizing a Celebrity Brand

A celebrity should maximize the value of their brand by strategically monetizing every aspect of it. For example, one who becomes famous through the recording industry would consider a career in front of and behind a...more

When Names become Brand Names

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

Naming things is a fundamentally personal, human act that sometimes – in a profession all about brand names – we take for granted. It’s easy to forget when we are clearing, registering, and protecting names, that at a basic...more

Is the Reproduction of a Branded Product in a Depiction of Real Life an Infringement?

AM General LLC, maker of HUMVEE®-branded vehicles, has sued Activision Blizzard, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., and Major League Gaming Corp. in the Southern District of New York for using AM General’s trademarks and...more

Jay-Z Pleads Court to Remove Him from the Spotlight

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

Jay-Z does not want to be in the spotlight- at least not the spotlight of a New York federal judge. This past April, the hip-hop tycoon and Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment company, were sued by Iconix Brand Group, Inc....more

He Who Lives by the Suit, Dies by the Suit

CBS Broadcasting Inc. has sued photographer Jon Tannen for posting still images from the Gunsmoke episode “Dooley Surrenders,” first aired on March 8, 1958. Online postings of images from classic television is fairly common,...more

Fleeing The Swarm

by Orrick - IP Landscape on

Order Adopting in Part Report and Recommendation, Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims, Denying Motion for Default Judgment, and Denying Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Claims, LHF Productions,...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Fall 2017

by Fenwick & West LLP on

In the Winter 2017 edition of the Intellectual Property Bulletin, we reported on IP-related changes expected with the incoming Trump administration and the new Congress. Here we look at two such changes currently underway:...more

Not-So-Golden Oldies - Florida’s Top Court Denies Turtles' pre-1972 Copyright Claim

In a unanimous October 26, 2017, decision, the Supreme Court of Florida concluded that Florida common law does not recognize an exclusive right of public performance in pre-1972 sound recordings. Thus, members of the band,...more

The Southern District of New York Finds “Work Made For Hire” Under Italian Copyright Law

Musical scores incorporated into films are usually produced with the specific film in mind. In the U.S., we call such works “works made for hire,” meaning that the artist does not retain authorship rights to the music....more

Former Rutgers Player Sues Alma Mater Over Nickname

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

Moving along from Steve’s post on our alma mater of the University of Iowa, a former Rutgers football player has a more negative view of his former school. A few years ago, the Rutgers football program started allowing...more

No Fairytale Ending for Unauthorized Movie Streaming

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction against an online video streaming service, finding that the movie studio plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits for violations under the...more

Sorry, Will – I AM Refused Registrations

by McDermott Will & Emery on

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a refusal to register the mark I AM for various goods based on a likelihood of confusion with registered marks, concluding that the pseudo applicant’s trade moniker was...more

Utility Patents in Fashion Design? Nike & Huzu Innovate The Way

by Knobbe Martens on

Edited by Catherine Holland   What is a Utility Patent? Utility patents cover a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.  Design patents are much more common in the fashion industry since design...more

9th Circuit’s VidAngel decision vindicates lawful video filtering service

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Some have cast the Disney v. VidAngel proceeding, decided August 24 by the 9th Circuit, as the “big studios” versus the “little guy”; the movie studios’ collective effort to kill filtering. This is far from the truth....more

The importance of intellectual property notices

by McAfee & Taft on

So you have a patent, trademark, or copyright that you want the public to know you have rights in? How do you provide such notice? The answer is marking your intellectual property (IP) with symbols such as Pat., Pat. Pending,...more

Gavel to Gavel: Scandalous and immoral (trademarks)

by McAfee & Taft on

Since 1946, federal law has prohibited registration of scandalous, immoral and disparaging trademarks. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court found the prohibition on disparaging trademarks to be unconstitutional, creating...more

The Washington Redskins Win Their Trademark Battle in Overtime

by Garvey Schubert Barer on

Simon Tam of the Asian rock band, The Slants, probably was not envisioning an 8-year-long legal battle when he chose the group’s name. Slant is known as a racial slur for Asians. Tam hoped to strip the term of its derogatory...more

Red Wings vs Right Wings: Copyright Tarnishment and Other Lessons

by Revision Legal on

We wrote recently about our outrage at white nationalists modifying and using the Detroit Red Wing’s famous “winged wheel” logo. Our outrage continues and we take a closer look at the potential lawsuit that might be in order....more

Tatcha v. Too Faced: What Shade is your Trade Dress?

by Knobbe Martens on

Newcomer to the luxury cosmetics marketplace, Tatcha LLC (“Tatcha”), recently made a splash by filing a trade dress infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Too Faced Cosmetics LLC (“Too Faced”), a...more

Ninth Circuit Construes Family Movie Act and Affirms Injunction Against Streaming Service

by Snell & Wilmer on

In December 2016, a California federal court issued a preliminary injunction against VidAngel, Inc.’s custom-filtered video streaming service. Thursday, in Hollywood Studios v. VidAngel, Inc., a Ninth Circuit panel affirmed...more

Coming Into Focus: Recent Decisions Help Define the Scope of Right of Publicity Claims

by Jackson Walker on

When it comes to the right of publicity, it helps to keep tabs on California law. The right to prevent the unauthorized commercial use of a person’s name, likeness or other indicia of identity may vary from state-to-state....more

A Bold Victory for Copyright Fair Use

Get your webcams ready: the reaction video genre got a huge shot in the arm from the Southern District of New York this week. h3h3 Productions, a popular YouTube channel with well over four million subscribers, has been...more

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