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Mealey's Copyright

  • August 17, 2018

    Oracle Again Wins $28.5 Million In Fees, Relief In Copyright Case

    LAS VEGAS — Rimini Street Inc. on Aug. 16 sought an emergency stay of a Nevada federal judge’s order two days earlier that permanently enjoined the software support firm from preparing or distributing derivative works based upon Oracle USA Inc.’s copyrighted software and awarded Oracle $28.5 million in attorney fees (Oracle USA Inc. v. Rimini Street Inc., No. 10-106, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137311).

  • August 15, 2018

    Oracle Defends Nontaxable Costs Awards In Copyright Cases To High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly found that it was entitled to an award of nontaxable costs in a software copyright infringement suit, Oracle USA Inc. tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Aug. 1 brief opposing a software support firm’s petition for certiorari, citing the Copyright Act’s provision for a discretionary award of “all costs” to a prevailing party (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 13, 2018

    Divided 9th Circuit: Leave To Amend Copyright Claims Improperly Denied

    SAN FRANCISCO — In an Aug. 1 per curiam holding, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that although a pro se copyright infringement plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to withstand a motion to dismiss, a California federal judge abused his discretion by denying leave to amend (Jon Astor-White v. Daniel William Strong, et al., No. 16-55565, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21359).

  • August 10, 2018

    8th Circuit: Proposed, Amended Trademark Claim May Not Be Futile

    ST. LOUIS — In an Aug. 9 holding, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal on copyright preemption grounds of trade dress and tortious interference claims levied in a dispute over a light installation, but found that a proposed, amended trademark infringement claim should be allowed to proceed (Bruce Munro, et al. v. Lucy Activewear Inc., et al., No. 16-4483, 8th Cir.).

  • August 7, 2018

    In Amended Decision, 9th Circuit Adds To ‘Mental State’ Standard

    SAN FRANCISCO — Although denying panel rehearing or rehearing en banc, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 6 amended its June ruling in favor of a software provider to further clarify the pleading standards for a plaintiff asserting violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (Robert Stevens, et al. v. CoreLogic Inc., No. 16-56089, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21732.).

  • July 26, 2018

    New York Federal Judge: Photographer’s Heirs Own Rights To Marilyn Monroe Images

    NEW YORK — Although finding that the heirs of photographer Bert Stern are the rightful owners of images taken of Marilyn Monroe shortly before her death, a New York federal judge on June 20 found that genuine disputes of material fact preclude summary judgment in favor of the heirs on their allegations of copyright infringement and false and misleading representations (Shannah Laumeister Stern, et al. v. Lisa Lavender, et al., No. 16-9886, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121405).

  • July 25, 2018

    Denial Of Fees In Copyright Case Reversed By 9th Circuit Panel

    SAN FRANCISCO — An Oregon federal magistrate judge abused her discretion when focusing on a generally unfavorable view of BitTorrent litigation as the basis for denying a copyright infringement plaintiff reimbursement of its attorney fees, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded July 24 (Glacier Films [USA] Inc., et al. v. Andrey Turchin, No. 16-35688, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20521).

  • July 18, 2018

    Fair Use Defense May Be Available For Reproduced Standards, D.C. Circuit Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although avoiding the “far thornier question” of whether written standards for commercial and industrial endeavors retain intellectual property protection after they are incorporated by reference into law, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 reversed and remanded a grant of summary judgment in favor of several private organizations that allege that their standards were infringed (American Society for Testing and Materials, et al. v. Public.Resource.org Inc., No. 17-7035, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19603).

  • July 18, 2018

    D.C. Circuit Affirms: Jurisdiction Lacking In Video-Streaming Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Upon de novo review, the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 17 upheld a District of Columbia federal judge’s determination that isolated internet-based contacts with the United States are insufficient grounds to support specific personal jurisdiction in a dispute over streamed movies (Triple Up Ltd. v. Youku Tudou Inc., No. 17-7033, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19699).

  • July 13, 2018

    11th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Copyright Claims Against Apple

    ATLANTA — Allegations by a purported inventor of an electronic reading device that Apple Inc. copied the “non-functional aesthetic look and feel” of his technical drawings submitted in conjunction with a patent application were properly dismissed by a Florida federal judge, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 12 (Thomas S. Ross v. Apple Inc., No. 17-13712, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18991).

  • July 13, 2018

    9th Circuit Rejects Rehearing Request In ‘Blurred Lines’ Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — Efforts by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and others to overturn a March ruling that upheld a $5.3 million damage award for copyright infringement stemming from the hit song “Blurred Lines” failed July 11, when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied panel and en banc rehearing (Pharrell Williams, et al. v. Frankie Christian Gaye, et al., No. 15-56880, 16-55089 and 16-55626, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18954).

  • July 12, 2018

    Music Publisher Appeals Judgment, Fees Award In Beastie Boys Sampling Suit

    NEW YORK — A music publishing firm tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 18 brief that a trial court erred in dismissing its copyright infringement claims related to several songs the Beastie Boys purportedly sampled without permission, asserting its standing to sue as licensor of the sampled songs (TufAmerica Inc. v. Michael Diamond, et al., No. 18-321, 2nd Cir.).

  • July 12, 2018

    2nd Circuit Affirms Copyright, Trademark Holdings In Seuss Parody Case

    NEW YORK — In a July 6 summary order, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a New York federal judge’s determination that a New York playwright’s use of elements from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” was parodic and thus a fair use of Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) L.P.’s copyright (Matthew Lombardo, et al. v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., No. 17-2952, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18367).

  • July 12, 2018

    9th Circuit: State Copyright Royalty Statute Largely Preempted

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s dismissal of claims for resale royalties under the California Resale Royalties Act was partly affirmed and partly reversed July 6 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which agreed that the state statute is preempted by the federal Copyright Act except for a single calendar year, in 1977 (Chuck Close, et al. v. Sotheby’s Inc., No. 16-56234; Chuck Close, et al. v. Christies Inc., No. 16-56235; Chuck Close, et al. v. eBay Inc., No. 16-56252, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18407).

  • July 11, 2018

    4th Circuit: Immunity Protects State From Copyright Infringement Claim

    RICHMOND, Va. — A North Carolina federal judge erred in rejecting an assertion of sovereign immunity raised by North Carolina in response to allegations of copyright infringement on grounds that immunity was abrogated by the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 10 (Frederick Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 17-1522, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18703).

  • July 2, 2018

    9th Circuit Affirms Fee Award In Dispute Over Home Designs

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Washington federal judge did not clearly err in deeming two architectural plans not intrinsically similar, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 27 (YS Built LLC v. Ya Hsing Chiang Huang and Sheng Tan Huang, No. 17-35044, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17636).

  • June 29, 2018

    $250M Judgment Issued In Trade Secrets, Copyright Infringement Trademark Suit

    DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on June 27 entered final judgment in a breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, ordering that a defendant in the action pay $250 million plus pre- and post-judgment interest after a jury found that several defendants violated the terms of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and engaged in false designation in connection with their use of the companies’ proprietary information to develop certain virtual reality (VR) technology (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107420).

  • June 29, 2018

    Composer Says Italian Film Scores Were Not Works For Hire

    NEW YORK — In a June 5 reply brief, an Italian composer’s assignee tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that Italian copyright law allowed the composer to retain authorship rights in commissioned film scores, arguing that a New York federal court erred in finding the commissioning agreements analogous to U.S. work-for-hire law, extinguishing the composer’s rights (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir.).

  • June 29, 2018

    Name, Address Pairings Are Copyrightable, But Not Infringed, 9th Circuit Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 27 found that lists of names and addresses compiled by Experian Information Systems Inc. are copyrightable as compilations, but that the lists were not infringed by a competitor; the panel separately found that the same database could be entitled to trade secret protection, upon a showing that the data has economic value and that steps were taken to protect its secrecy (Experian Information Systems Inc. v. Nationwide Marketing Services Inc., No. 16-16987, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17607).

  • June 28, 2018

    Certiorari Granted In Deep Circuit Split Over Copyright Registration Requirement

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its orders list on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a copyright dispute that could resolve a circuit split over whether copyright applicants may sue for infringement before receiving a registration from the Copyright Office (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).