News & Analysis as of

Copyright Litigation

Ninth Circuit Has Whale Of A Time Affirming Summary Judgment In Copyright Case Of Crossing Dolphins

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

The Ninth Circuit issued an opinion last Friday that seems second nature. The court affirmed summary judgment for Wyland Galleries against marine wildlife artist Pieter A. Folkens, who claimed Wyland copied Folkens’s drawing...more

Copyright in the Digital Age: Cisco v. Arista and the Scènes à Faire Doctrine

Imagine producing a classic Western without cowboys, saloons, or standoffs. This seems almost inconceivable because these elements are deeply integral to the genre – so much so, in fact, that they are essentially necessary...more

How Grumpy is Your Cat?

by Revision Legal on

Stone sculptures of jewelry-adorned cats dating back to at least 500 BC have been discovered in Egypt. Feline goddesses were recorded in texts dated thousands of years earlier. In 1888, a farmer in Egypt stumbled upon a tomb...more

Grumpy Cat still grumpy despite big copyright verdict

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

As the old saying goes, “If you mess with the bull, you get the horns.” And if you mess with the Grumpy Cat, or more specifically, if you exceed the scope of the IP license to use Grumpy Cat’s image and trademarks as...more

Exclusive license stymies copyright owner's infringement suit

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

The current wave of copyright litigation continues to highlight the complexities of copyright ownership, as apparent infringers defend claims on the simple basis that the plaintiff doesn't own or control the infringed...more

“Sleevey Wonders” are “Arm Tight” in California Lawsuit

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

The women’s hosiery powerhouse, Spanx, is being sued for allegedly copying designs of a small shapewear company (R and A Synergy, LLC, v. Spanx, Inc., (C.D. Cal. 2017)). In the Complaint filed on December 21, 2017 in the...more

Nevada Screenwriter Claims Gone Girl Was Her Idea

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

On January 17, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (“Twentieth Century”) argued that a copyright infringement claim relating to the hit novel and film, Gone Girl, should be thrown out. ...more

Heavy jail sentence handed down on illegal set-top boxes sellers in Hong Kong

by Hogan Lovells on

On 28 December 2017, the District Court of Hong Kong handed down sentences varying from 21 to 27 months’ imprisonment against 3 individuals who took part in a scheme that enabled users of the “Maige Set Top Box” (the “Maige...more

2018: Predictions From Socially Aware’s Editors and Contributors

Happy 2018 to our readers! It has become a Socially Aware tradition to start the New Year with some predictions from our editors and contributors. With smart contracts on the horizon, the Internet of Things and...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2018

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Crowdsourced Content in Video Games: How Ownership Issues Almost “Ganked” a Copyright Case - In Blizzard Entertainment v. Lilith Games (Shanghai) Company, a federal court denied a motion for partial summary judgment for...more

Newsletter Sent to US Customers Insufficient to Establish Personal Jurisdiction

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Addressing whether to exercise personal jurisdiction over defendants whose only tie to the forum was an allegedly infringing newsletter sent to 10 California residents, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the...more

You can transfer a copyright without saying “copyright”

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

You may think there is one simple hard-and-fast rule of copyright law: you cannot transfer a copyright without a written instrument signed by the copyright owner. It’s right there in section 204 of the Copyright Act...more

Dr. Dre Wins Partial Summary Judgment in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

Andre Romelle Young, a.k.a Dr. Dre, was awarded partial summary judgement after a Kentucky federal judge found the hip-hop mogul and NWA member not liable for copyright infringement of plaintiff’s sound recording. ...more

A Christmastime Copyright Tale Featuring A (Very) Grown Up Cindy-Lou Who

Are you sick and tired of the Christmas spirit? Apparently, you are not alone. Meet Matthew Lombardo, the author of a comedic play called Who’s Holiday! Billed as “the show Dr. Seuss doesn’t want you to see,” Who’s...more

Textile Design Similarity In The Eye Of The Beholder (The Jury): H&M Found Liable For Copyright Infringement

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

On December 7, a federal jury in Los Angeles awarded $846,720 in damages to Unicolors, Inc. in its suit against H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP for copyright infringement of a textile design. Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz...more

Choosing the Ideal Venue for IP Disputes: Recent Developments in Federal Case Law

by Burns & Levinson LLP on

The venue of a lawsuit can be a crucial, even dispositive, decision in managing the strategy of a successful outcome in an IP dispute. Defending a lawsuit on your home turf is often easier than in a distant state – defendants...more

Copyright Claim from Out of the Blue

Leslie Weller has sued Gillian Flynn, author of the book Gone Girl and a host of others, for infringing Wellers’s copyright in a novel titled Out of the Blue. What is interesting about this case (aside from the fact that...more

The World In U.S. Courts - Fall 2017

FSIA Does Not Exempt US Bank from Subpoena for Production of Records of Accounts Maintained by Central Bank of Nigeria - The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2017 - Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA)/Political Question Doctrine....more

When is a Copyright “Registered” for Purposes of Filing Suit?

On May 18, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a copyright infringement complaint and added further to a circuit split on when copyright “registration” occurs for purpose of filing a copyright infringement...more

Sixth Circuit Suggests Liability for Copyright Infringement May Justify Reduced First Amendment Protection for Anonymous Speech,...

by Reed Smith on

Ruling on what it characterized as an issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suggested that a judgment of liability in a copyright infringement case may be a tipping point justifying the...more

CJEU rules on Cloud Recorder: Transmission constitutes a communication to the public that requires the right holders consent

by Hogan Lovells on

On 29 November 2017, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision on a video recording service that stores TV programmes online in a cloud (C-265/16 – VCAST). ...more

Demi Lovato, Idina Menzel, and Disney Sued Over Frozen Song “Let It Go”

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

Demi Lovato, Idina Menzel, and Disney are amongst the defendants who were sued over the hit song, “Let It Go,” featured in the popular 2013 Disney film, Frozen....more

Can a Software Developer Copyright the Output of Its Software?

As technology becomes increasingly advanced and complex, it seems that a new software emerges every day to perform some novel function. Whether it is computer generated imagery (CGI) or deciphering a code in a bible, software...more

Call It What You Want. Just Don’t Call It Copyright Infringement.

by Weintraub Tobin on

A demand letter is a formal way of telling someone, “now we got bad blood.” Recently, a Northern California blogger received a demand letter in which Taylor Swift threatened to sue the blogger. In so many words, the blogger...more

Journalism Organization Petitions for Resolution of the Copyright Application v. Registration Debate

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

The registration requirement in the Copyright Act is a well-known subject of debate, and the Eleventh Circuit recently joined the fray by siding with the registration approach camp. ...more

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