SAN FRANCISCO — A service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air for online retransmission to paying subscribers without the consent of a copyright holder is not eligible for the compulsory license for “cable systems” provided for in Section 111 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 21 (Fox Television Stations Inc., et al. v. Aereokiller LLC, No. 15-56420, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4999).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In divided decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 ruled that a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection when the feature can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article and would qualify on its own or in some other tangible medium as a protectable pictorial, graphic or sculptural work (Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., No. 15-866, U.S. Sup.).
OKLAHOMA CITY — Allegations that a licensee exceed the terms of its license to use various photographs of its own equipment and property will proceed, in light of a March 10 ruling by an Oklahoma federal judge which denied, in part, a motion for summary judgment (David McNeese v. Access Midstream Partners LP, No. 14-503, W.D. Okla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34538).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A manufacturer of butterfly valves on March 8 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to answer whether Section 301(a) of the Copyright Act preempts state law claims relating to ideas expressed in tangible media (Ultraflo Corp. v. Pelican Tank Parts Inc., et al., No. 16-1085, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A musician in a Feb. 20 petition for writ of certiorari asks the U.S. Supreme Court to answer if “claim preclusion, a non-statutory defense is available without restriction to bar all remedies for civil copyright claims filed within the three-year statute of limitations prescribed by Congress, [17 U.S. Code Section 507(b)], 17 U.S.C. § 507(b)” (Syl Johnson v. UMG Recordings Inc., et al., No. 16-1052, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Competing motions for summary judgment on whether licensing agreements asserted in a third amended complaint (TAC) establish that disputed software is subject to the first-sale defense to allegations of copyright infringement were denied March 14 by a California federal judge (Microsoft Corp. v. A&S Electronics Inc., No. 15-3570, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36477).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is a split between federal and state courts on whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S. Code Section 512(c), provides for internet service providers also apply to sound recordings from before 1972, record labels argue in their March 7 reply brief with the U.S. Supreme Court (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
CINCINNATI — Even though a copyright holder dismissed its infringement claim against him, a man accused of downloading adult movies tells the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 10 reply brief that his declaratory judgment counterclaim should proceed because a continued threat of liability exists (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — In a ruling issued March 10, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the inapplicability of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq., to extraterritorial conduct bars a contributory infringement claim when it is based upon the domestic authorization of entirely extraterritorial conduct (Geophysical Services Incorporated v. TGS-Nopec Geophysical Services, No. 15-20706, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4286).
SAN FRANCISCO — A decision by jurors to award a sculptor $450,000 in actual damages stemming from the creation of seven knock-off sculptures was reinstated by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 6 (Donald Wakefield v. Igor Olenicoff, No. 15-55649, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3953).
CLEVELAND — A copyright infringement plaintiff’s request that evidence of expenses, deductions or allocations be excluded from the calculation of damages in connection with a defendant’s alleged discovery abuses was denied March 7 by an Ohio federal magistrate judge (Design Basics LLC v. Petros Homes Inc., et al., No. 14-1966, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32066).
NEW YORK — In a Feb. 28 ruling, a New York federal magistrate judge not only found a copyright and trademark defendant’s discovery responses to be noncompliant with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34, he also took the opportunity to criticize attorneys throughout the district for continually failing to comply with December 2015 amendments to the rule (James H. Fischer v. Stephen T. Forrest Jr., et al., No. 1:14-cv-01304 and 1:14-cv-01307, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A video-sharing website argues in a Feb. 16 opposition brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should not decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S. Code Section 512(c), provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972 (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a dispute over an architectural floor plan, amicus curiae filers who are involved in the development, creation and marketing of “architectural works” in a Feb. 6 brief argue in support of the U.S. Supreme Court considering a petition to decide if Intervest Construction Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. should be overruled in light of conflicting precedent from other appellate courts, which hold that architectural works are entitled to the same protection as other copyrightable, original works under the Federal Copyright Act (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc., et al., No. 16-858, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Defending its right to stream “filtered” copies of movies for its customers in a Feb. 22 reply brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, VidAngel Inc. argues that it has not violated any of the movie studio plaintiffs’ exclusive rights under the Copyright Act (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Canadian cloud-based e-commerce platform will not need to respond to a subpoena sought by The Pokémon Company International Inc. in connection with Pokemon’s allegations a retailer committed copyright infringement, a California federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 22 (The Pokémon Company International Inc. v. Shopify Inc., No. 16-80272, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24987).
SALT LAKE CITY — Allegations that a counterclaim defendant interfered with a counterclaimant’s contractual rights and prospective business relations are sufficient to defeat the counterclaim defendant’s effort to invoke copyright preemption, a Utah federal judge ruled Feb. 21 (Advanced Recovery Systems LLC v. American Agencies LLC, No. 13-283, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24001).
SAN FRANCISCO — A decision by a California federal judge to grant, sua sponte, summary judgment on behalf of myriad fashion industry defendants accused of infringing copyrighted textile designs was reversed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 (Acmet Inc. v. The Wet Seal Inc., et al., No. 15-55928, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2682).
NEW YORK — A December 2016 holding by the New York Court of Appeals that there is no right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings under New York common law is determinative of claims that the subscription radio service Sirius XM Radio Inc. committed copyright infringement, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 16 (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 15-1164, 2nd Cir., Court, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2770).
NEW YORK — A request for sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927 by a prevailing copyright and trade dress infringement defendant should be denied, according to a Feb. 13 ruling by a New York federal magistrate judge, who found that plaintiff’s counsel did not commit fraud upon by failing to quickly correct perjured depositions (Crown Awards Inc. v. Trophy Depot Inc., No. 15-1178, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20393).