Mealey's Copyright

  • December 02, 2019

    Supreme Court Hears Dispute Over Copyright Protection For Annotations

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An attorney for the state of Georgia argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 2 that the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in finding that annotations to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) are categorically ineligible for copyright protection (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 27, 2019

    Viacom, Penguin Waive Response To Certiorari Bid Over Children’s Book Copyright

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 12, Viacom International Inc. and Penguin Random House LLC filed a notice in the U.S. Supreme Court indicating that they waived their right to respond to a petition for certiorari brought by the children’s book author who claims that her copyright infringement suit against the companies was dismissed because the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals wrongly excluded scènes à faire when deciding whether an accused book was substantially similar to hers (Jennie Nicassio v. Viacom International Inc., et al., No. 19-560, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 27, 2019

    2nd Circuit Affirms: Copyright Plaintiff Authorized Publication

    NEW YORK — In a Nov. 25 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a New York federal judge’s dismissal of copyright infringement allegations against Buffalo News Inc., publisher of “The Buffalo News” newspaper (Joel Joseph v. Buffalo News Inc., No. 18-2793, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35105).

  • November 26, 2019

    Copyright, Trade Secret Claims Against Facebook, Princeton Deemed Insufficient

    SAN FRANCISCO — Dismissal of state and federal trade secret law claims brought against Facebook and one of its affiliates and the trustees of Princeton University is warranted because a home design website developer has failed to sufficiently show that it took reasonable steps to protect secrecy of its data files, which were publicly available on the website, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 21 (UAB “Planner 5D” v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 19-3132, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203618).

  • November 22, 2019

    9th Circuit Reinstates Full Damage Award In Copyright Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — An appellee’s reckless handling of 35 copyrighted photographs justified a jury’s award of enhanced damages for willful infringement, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 20 (Greg Young Publishing Inc. v. Zazzle Inc., No. 18-55522, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34526).

  • November 18, 2019

    YouTube Critic Denied Certiorari In Malicious Copyright Infringement Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A woman who filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit against a church that she criticized in her YouTube channel was denied certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 18, leaving questions about the church’s motives for filing a copyright infringement suit and about purported misconduct by the trial court unaddressed by the high court (Shirley Jn Johnson v. New Destiny Christian Center Church Inc., et al., No. 19-279, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 7017).

  • November 15, 2019

    Supreme Court To Take On Google, Oracle Software Copyright Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its orders list today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a longstanding dispute over fair use and the copyrightability of a software interface (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 15, 2019

    Georgia Defends Originality, Copyrightability Of Statute Annotations To High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — With oral arguments fast approaching in a dispute over whether annotations accompanying state laws are copyrightable, Georgia tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Nov. 8 reply brief that the Copyright Act and high court precedent support a finding that the annotations are sufficiently original and protectable (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 15, 2019

    Defendant In Washington Copyright Case Wins $1.6M Fee Award

    SEATTLE — In a Nov. 14 ruling, a federal judge in Washington deemed “meritless” allegations of copyright infringement levied against an art studio and held that a $1.6 million attorney fees award is warranted given the “need to deter the type of unsupported and fatally-flawed copyright claims asserted” (Michael Moi v. Chihuly Studio Inc., No. 17-853, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197837).

  • November 15, 2019

    Nirvana Lawsuit Over ‘Happy Face’ To Proceed In California Court

    LOS ANGELES — A request by Marc Jacobs International LLC for dismissal of allegations that it infringed the copyrighted “Happy Face” smiley face design and logo made famous by the rock band Nirvana was denied Nov. 8 by a California federal judge, in an in-chambers ruling entered Nov. 12 (Nirvana LLC v. Mark Jacobs International LLC, et al., No. 18-10743, C.D. Calif.).

  • November 14, 2019

    Tennessee Federal Judge Lifts TRO In Copyright, Trade Secret Row

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a Nov. 13 decision memorializing her Nov. 7 bench ruling, a federal judge in Tennessee lifted a temporary restraining order (TRO) entered in October against various parties accused of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation in connection with an upcoming Christmas show (Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market Ltd. v. Glowco LLC, et al., No. 19-966, M.D. Tenn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196660).

  • November 13, 2019

    New York Federal Judge Tosses Copyright Case Over ‘Walk It Talk It’

    NEW YORK — A musical artist’s failure to properly register his song “Walk It Like I Talk It” proves fatal to his copyright infringement allegation against Capitol Records LLC and others, a  New York federal judge ruled Nov. 12 (Leander C. Pickett v. Migos Touring Inc., et al., No. 18-9775, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196106).

  • November 13, 2019

    ‘Hot News,’ Infringement Claims Against Bloomberg Dismissed In D.C.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allegations by an internet-based subscription news and research service that Bloomberg L.P. misappropriated proprietary information under the common-law “hot news” doctrine were dismissed without prejudice on Nov. 12 by a federal judge in the District of Columbia (DBW Partners LLC d/b/a The Capitol Forum v. Bloomberg L.P., et al., No. 19-311, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195725).

  • November 11, 2019

    Texas Federal Judge: No Registration Needed For DMCA Claims

    FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Nov. 7 denied a motion to dismiss allegations that a defendant violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1202(b), when it removed copyright management information (CMI), rejecting the defendant’s position that the claim cannot proceed because the technical drawings in dispute are unregistered (Diamondback Industries Inc. v. Repeat Precision, et al., No. 18-902, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193637).

  • November 08, 2019

    In 2nd Certiorari Bid, Rimini Questions Injunction In Oracle Copyright Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 5 petition, Rimini Street Inc. seeks a second grant of certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court in a long-running software license copyright infringement dispute with Oracle USA Inc., this time asking the high court to find that an infringer’s mental state needs to be considered when deciding whether to grant injunctive relief related to an innocent infringer (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 19-589, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 05, 2019

    Oral Arguments Held In Dispute Over Abrogation Of State Copyright Law

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Counsel for a videographer who asserted claims of copyright infringement against the state of North Carolina argued Nov. 5 before the U.S. Supreme Court that the case was erroneously rejected by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on grounds of sovereign immunity (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 04, 2019

    Panel Affirms Rejection Of Copyright, Trademark Row Between Freemasons

    RICHMOND, Va. — In an Oct. 30 ruling, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a Virginia federal judge’s determination that allegations of copyright and trademark infringement against a spinoff masonic organization fail as a matter of law (United Supreme Council v. United Supreme Council, No. 18-2034, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32478).

  • November 01, 2019

    YouTube Critic To High Court:  Malicious Copyright Suit Merited Punitive Damages

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A YouTube user who pursued malicious prosecution claims against a Florida church that was the target of her critical videos and was sued for copyright infringement by the church tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Oct. 23 reply brief that her petition for certiorari properly presented questions regarding due process and her entitlement to punitive damages (Shirley Jn Johnson v. New Destiny Christian Center Church Inc., et al., No. 19-279, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 01, 2019

    Videographer To High Court:  Copyright Law Abrogating State Law Is Constitutional

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress acted within its constitutional authority in enacting the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), a videographer tells the U.S. Supreme Court in his Oct. 18 merits reply brief, arguing that the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in finding that sovereign immunity prevented the statute from being enforced against North Carolina in a copyright dispute over vessel salvage footage (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 30, 2019

    9th Circuit Reinstates Copyright Claims Over ‘Shake It Off’

    SAN FRANCISCO — A decision by a federal judge in California to dismiss allegations of copyright infringement against Taylor Swift and others was reversed and remanded Oct. 28 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Sean Hall and Nathan Butler v. Taylor Swift, et al., No. 18-55426, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32272).