Category Archives: Copyrights

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Ninth Circuit En Banc Reverses Injunction Against YouTube Display of “Innocence of Muslims”

In Garcia v. Google,  No. 12-57302 (9th Cir. May 18, 2015), the en banc  Ninth Circuit reversed a prior panel decision and held that an actress was not entitled to a preliminary injunction removing all copies of a film from YouTube because she held no copyright in her individual performance. In July 2011, Cindy Lee Garcia (“Garcia”) responded … Continue Reading

The Low Bar For Copyright Protection Shown By Flooring

In Home Legend, LLC v. Mannington Mills, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit recently reversed a grant of summary judgment and held that a two dimensional laminate flooring design was eligible for copyright protection because it reflected sufficient creativity, was severable from the flooring to which it was applied and was directed at a design and not an idea or process. … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Victory for Pandora On Music Streaming Rights

On May 6, 2015, in Pandora Media, Inc. v. American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Second Circuit held that composers and music publishers cannot partially withdraw from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”) licensing scheme to attempt to negotiate or coerce direct deals with new media companies and also affirmed the royalty rate found … Continue Reading

In Mardi Gras Tradition, Fifth Circuit Tosses IP Rights in Bead Dog

In Nola Spice Designs L.L.C. v. Haydel Enterprises, Inc., the Fifth Circuit recently cancelled a New Orleans bakery’s word and design trademarks for “Mardi Gras Bead Dog” – the bakery’s mascot based on the Mardi Gras tradition of parade-goers twisting their plastic beads into the shape of a dog. The appellate court also affirmed the Eastern District of Louisiana’s … Continue Reading

Slep-Tone and Karaoke Redux: Under Dastar, Bar Must Face the Music For Trademark Infringement

The Northern District of Illinois recently held that the Supreme Court’s decision in Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003), did not protect a karaoke bar from claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition based on the bar’s knowing use of unauthorized recreations of karaoke tracks. In Slep-Tone Entertainment Corp. v. Sellis Enterprises, … Continue Reading

California Court SLAPPs Down Pandora’s Motion to Strike Copyright Lawsuit, But Finds that Free Music Furthers Free Speech

In Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Pandora Media, Inc., the Central District of California recently refused to apply California’s anti-SLAPP statute to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit against Pandora, a leading operator of internet radio service. Although the court found that Pandora was furthering its First Amendment right to free speech by streaming the plaintiff’s music to Pandora’s internet … Continue Reading

The Hopper Isn’t Aereo

Last year, the Supreme Court held, in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, that a distributor of copyrighted programming over the internet was liable for copyright infringement.  Recently, the Central District of California distinguished Aereo in Fox Broadcasting Co. v. DISH Network LLC, holding that certain internet-based services of a satellite television provider did not infringe a content … Continue Reading

“First Sale” in Foreign Jurisdiction Leaves Omega Watch Out of Time for Copyright Claim

In Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., a global luxury watch company sued an American discount warehouse club based on the defendant’s importation into the United States of a line of the plaintiff’s luxury watches without the permission of the plaintiff copyright holder. Applying the Supreme Court’s decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the Ninth … Continue Reading

Volitional Acts and Control: Copyright Infringement Liability of Online Sellers

The issue of whether a party has engaged in a volitional act, or has the ability to control an infringer, sufficient to result in liability for copyright infringement, either as a direct infringer or through vicarious copyright infringement, has taken on new significance due to the rise of online sellers providing goods and services.  In the recent case Gardner v. Continue Reading

“‘Cause You Can’t, You Won’t and You Don’t Stop” the Statutory Damage Award for the Beastie Boys

In Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Company, 2014 WL 6845860 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 2014), the Southern District of New York found that the jury’s award of $1.2 million in statutory damages to the plaintiff group on their copyright infringement claim was “not so high as to ‘shock the conscience.’”  The court, therefore, rejected the defendant beverage company’s request to … Continue Reading

Are State Law Claims Preempted by the Copyright Act?

Recently, district courts in Virginia and Illinois applied similar two-prong tests to determine whether state law claims were preempted by the Copyright Act. In Maxient, LLC v. Symplicity Corp., 2014 WL 5422195 (E.D. Va. Oct. 23, 2014), a number of Symplicity’s customers left Symplicity for its competitor, Maxient. Symplicity decrypted these former customers’ passwords, used them to access Maxient’s … Continue Reading

Key Factors in Proving the Fair Use Defense

The recent decision in Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, No. 13-3004, 2014 WL 4494835 (7th Cir. Sept. 15, 2014) suggests that the Seventh Circuit is at odds with the Second Circuit as to which factor is most important for determining when the fair use defense to copyright infringement should apply, and as to the appropriate analysis for certain fair … Continue Reading