News & Analysis as of

Fair Use

October 2017: Entertainment Litigation

New Frontiers in Fan Fiction? Among the most common trends in modern entertainment are “fan art” and “fan fiction.” From movies like Star Wars, to book series like Harry Potter, to epic television shows like Game of Thrones,...more

Classic Trademark Fair Use of Google Mark?

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

North Memorial Health must be spending significant advertising dollars at the moment, with a variety of ads appearing all over the Minneapolis skyway system, above is one current example....more

“The Cosby Show” Producer Demands BBC Foot The Bill For Using Show Clips In Documentary Exposé

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Former American icon Bill Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting at least sixty women over five decades, according to Time Magazine. But the Carsey-Werner Company, which produced Cosby’s hit sitcom “The Cosby Show”,...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

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

Copyright Fair Use in the Land of Famous Potatoes

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

It isn’t all that often that copyright decisions get handed down by the federal district court in the great state of Idaho, so the recent decision in James Castle Collection v. Scholastic, Inc. caught our attention. The...more

Posner On Copyright: 10 Cases To Remember

When Judge Richard Allen Posner abruptly retired from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last month, we were so caught off guard that it took a few weeks to get our tribute machine up and running. Why a tribute to Posner...more

Judge Agrees – YouTube Mockery Protected By Fair Use

by Reed Smith on

Readers may be aware of YouTube celebrity couple Ethan and Hila Klein, better known by their social media moniker @h3h3productions. They rose to Internet fame producing comedic “reaction” videos that ridicule and comment upon...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

No Free Ride for Copycat Perfume Company – Fair Use Rejected, False Advertising Found, Accounting of Profits Awarded

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Well-known perfume marketer Coty Inc. had a big win in New York federal district court, obtaining injunctive relief and $6.5 million dollars in an accounting of profits from copycat perfume seller Excell Brands, LLC. In an...more

Fair use is never simple

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

To secure evidence for an anticipated lawsuit against TV host Dr. Phil McGraw, a producer for the show, Leah Rothman, recorded nine seconds of the show’s unaired archive footage onto her cellphone....more

Making Fair Use of the Super Bowl Trademark

Over the weekend, the Star Tribune continued the growing drum beat of understandable excitement for Super Bowl LII, as it steadily approaches U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis....more

The Grinch loses and protection of parody wins

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

Someone once said make sure your words are sweet as you may have to eat them. In the attached decision, the Judge finds the play "Who’s Holiday" is a parody entitled to fair use. He grants Plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on...more

The IP Cons of Fan Conventions

Pop culture fan conventions are huge in the new millennium. “Cons,” as they are often called, have sprung up all over the country and grown into a massive cultural phenomenon. There are Cons for comics, movie and television...more

Joy in Who-Ville? Playwright Wins Fair Use Copyright Dispute in Parody of “Grinch”

by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on

It’s not quite what Dr. Seuss envisioned: Kind-hearted and cheerful Cindy-Lou Who from the childhood classic “The Grinch That Stole Christmas” becomes a cynical adult who was thrown in prison after murdering her abusive...more

Taking His Talents To The Southern District Of New York: Are LeBron James’ Tattoos Subject To Copyright?

by Weintraub Tobin on

With nearly 30% of Americans sporting at least one tattoo (up from 20% just four years ago), tattoos are becoming commonplace. This is even clearer among younger Americans, with nearly half of Millennials sporting ink. ...more

“Let’s Play:” DMCA Takedown Notices and Game Developer Acquiescence

There is an entire gaming sub-culture developed around watching others play video games. I’m not talking about gathering around the Game Cube in your friend’s basement and passing the only controller. “Let’s Play” videos...more

Dr. Phil and His Texas-Sized Copyright Victory in the Lone Star State: Is This “EDTX 2.0” After TC Heartland?

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

And just like that, it was over. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group sun-setted the reign of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as the country’s busiest (and arguably,...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

Out-of-CTRL C

CTRL C and CTRL V (copy/paste) are widely used keyboard commands to add interesting content to emails, newsletters and slide decks. Everyone does it, so it must be okay, right? Not quite....more

Dr. Phil Serves Bitter Pill To Woman Who Stole Nine Seconds Of Footage

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Television host and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw got just what the doctor ordered when a district court in Texas awarded summary judgment on Dr. Phil’s copyright claim against the woman who sued him in 2015 for alleged false...more

Summary Judgment “Disfavored” for Resolving Fair Use Trademark Defense

by McDermott Will & Emery on

Examining the issue of trademark fair use, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court grant of summary judgment in favor of a promotional products company and remanded the case for reconsideration...more

A Copyright Fable: Debunking The “Seven-Second Rule”

If you are a television news producer or documentary filmmaker, you have almost certainly faced this issue: You are putting together a story about a past event, and you want to make the point that this past event was once the...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

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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