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).
SEATTLE — Following an eight-day trial, a Washington federal jury on Feb. 9 deemed Zillow Inc. a direct and contributory infringer of 28,125 images belonging to a photography studio (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., No. 15-1096, W.D. Wash.).
DETROIT— A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 13 granted a motion filed by the CEO of an electronic company and a Chinese corporation to dismiss claims for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction over them because their conduct did not constitute purposeful availment (Ford Motor Co., et al. v. Autel Us Inc., et al., No. 14-13760, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19595).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a December ruling that Poland’s national public television broadcasting company committed copyright infringement, a District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 14 ordered the defendant to pay $3.06 million in damages (Spanski Enterprises Inc. v. Telewizja Polska S.A., No. 12-957, D. D.C, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20465).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Feb. 10 appellant brief in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Oracle America Inc. asserts error in a trial court’s finding that Google Inc.’s copying of certain elements of its Java technology constituted fair use, arguing that the court failed to consider Google’s misrepresentations and harm to the Java market (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 17-1118 and 17-1202, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a dispute over an architectural floor plan, home builders in a Feb. 6 brief respond that the U.S. Supreme Court should not consider whether Intervest Construction Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. should be overruled because architectural works are protectable under the Copyright Act but that protection is limited by statute (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc., et al., No. 16-858, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Several movie studios tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 8 appellee brief that a video-streaming service provider blatantly violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the technological protection measures (TPMs) on DVD and Blu-ray copies of their movies to offer edited versions to customers, also arguing that the defendant’s defenses under the Family Movie Act (FMA) are incompatible with that statute’s purposes (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge properly rejected claims by the owner of a copyrighted computer-aided design (CAD) program that its copyright extends to images and files produced by the program, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 9 (Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enterprise Inc., et al., Nos. 14-16701, No. 14-17317, 9th. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2333).
ATLANTA — On the second appeal regarding the alleged copyright infringement of educational materials by electronic posting of their excerpts by Georgia State University (GSU) faculty, the university argues in a Feb. 6 appellee brief that a trial court judge correctly determined fair use of the works at issue by finding that the postings had not led to market substitution of the works (Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Georgia State University, et al., No. 16-15726, 11th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — A defense motion in limine seeking to prevent a plaintiff from referring to an allegedly infringing jewelry line as “similar” to a jewelry line made by the plaintiff was denied Feb. 6 by a California federal judge (Brighton Collectibles LLC v. Believe Production Inc., No. 15-579, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16594).
NEW YORK — International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. on Feb. 6 won summary judgment on allegations that it committed breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing; in the same ruling, a New York federal judge agreed with a New York federal magistrate judge that the plaintiff in the case should not be granted leave to add a claim of copyright infringement against IBM (MPI Tech A/S v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 15-4891, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16432).
ATLANTA — A Georgia federal judge’s March 2016 grant of a motion by Tyler Perry for judgment on the pleadings with regard to allegations the filmmaker infringed a copyrighted book was not erroneous, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 19 (Terri Strickland v. Tyler Perry, No. 16-11601, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 959).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A seller of nutritional supplement products on Jan. 24 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if an appellate court improperly held “that indirect influence is sufficient to demonstrate the required control for vicarious liability and that no proof is needed that the claimed infringements act as a draw for customers” (Stemtech International Inc. f/k/a Stemtech Healthsciences Inc. v. Andrew Paul Leonard d/b/a APL Microscopic, No. 16-928, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Music industry groups argue in a Jan. 17 amicus curiae brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should take up a petition from a group of record labels asking for a review on whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
DALLAS — A Texas federal jury on Feb. 1 ordered four defendants — including Facebook Inc. — to pay a combined $500 million in actual damages to two virtual reality (VR) technology companies for copyright and trademark infringement, conversion, violations of a nondisclosure agreement and false designation (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 31 refused to decide the question of whether inclusion of an altered, copyrighted song in a 30-second advertisement critical of former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold qualifies as a fair use under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107, deeming such a determination inappropriate in response to a motion to dismiss (Roger Nichols, et al. v. Club for Growth Action, No. 16-220, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12820).
SAN FRANCISCO — Appealing a trial court injunction preventing it from providing content-filtered copies of four movie studios’ films to its customers, a video-on-demand (VOD) provider told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 27 brief that its services constitute fair use under the Copyright Act and are specifically protected by the Family Home Movie Act (FMA) (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).