NEW YORK — A New York federal magistrate judge on April 21 recommended that a photographer be awarded $10,000 for each of five images infringed by web host Lycos Inc. — far less than the statutory maximum of $150,000 per infringed work originally sought in the case (Leif Skoogfors v. Lycos Inc., No. 16-2742, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61926).
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on April 17 substantially denied a motion to dismiss filed by defendants in a copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, ruling that a company has properly pleaded its claims against a majority of the defendants in the action (Jorgensen & Co. v. Gary Sutherland, et al., No. 15-7373, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59108).
MADISON, Wis. — An infringement plaintiff’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on a defendant’s assertion that two sets of copyrighted illustrations constitute a joint work was denied April 18 by a Wisconsin federal judge (Amy Lee Sullivan v. Flora Inc., No. 15-298, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58774).
NEW YORK — In an April 17 ruling, a New York federal judge rejected a request by a plaintiff for intentional interference with contractual relations damages in connection with enforcement efforts by the agent for BMG Rights Management US LLC (Windstream Services LLC v. BMG Rights Management US LLC and Rightscorp Inc., No. 16-5015, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58204).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 7 petition for certiorari, former executives with now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments over the U.S. government’s application of laws governing the forfeiture of foreign-held assets by those deemed to be fugitives avoiding prosecution, arguing that their assets were wrongly seized in conjunction with a novel, untested theory of criminal copyright infringement (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States of America, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).
CLEVELAND — A declaratory judgment plaintiff-franchisee prevailed in part on its request for summary judgment on April 12, when an Ohio federal judge agreed that there is no direct evidence that it infringed copyrighted architectural works and that the copyright owner failed to demonstrate substantial similarity (Robert L. Stark Enterprises Inc. v. Neptune Design Group LLC, No. 16-264, N.D. Ohio; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55951).
ST. LOUIS — An artist known for light installations and a one-time potential client have filed briefs in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, debating whether a trial court properly dismissed the artist’s trade dress and trademark claims over a purported lookalike, and similarly-named, display as preempted by copyright law (Bruce Munro, et al. v. Lucy Activewear Inc., et al., No. 16-4483, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on April 5 introduced a bill aimed at restoring broadcasting rights to copyright owners whose songs are transmitted by terrestrial radio stations.
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel correctly found that it was not liable for its users’ posting of copyrighted adult pictures, a usenet service provider asserts in an April 10 brief opposing an adult entertainment firm’s petition for rehearing, arguing that the panel applied the correct standard for determining vicarious liability (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15—55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Citing the views of the U.S. Copyright Office, a New York federal judge on April 8 found that if a plaintiff’s ambient songs are ultimately adjudged to be the same musical works as non-ambient songs, Amazon.com Inc. is not required to serve a copyright owner with additional notices of intent (NOIs) to obtain compulsory licenses (Yesh Music LLC, et al. v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 16-1406, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54417).
SAN FRANCISCO — Findings by a California federal judge that a copyright infringement defendant social media platform is entitled to safe-harbor immunity under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), were reversed and remanded April 7 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Mavrix Photographs LLC v. LiveJournal Inc., No. 14-56956, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6028).
SAN FRANCISCO — Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and others connected with the television show “Ballers” argue in an April 3 Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals appellee brief that the series is not substantially similar to a copyrighted work of two California writers, seeking affirmance of a trial court order dismissing the infringement suit (Everette Silas, et al. v. Home Box Office Inc., et al., No. 16-56215, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An order that granted a special motion to strike a common-law right of publicity claim pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute was not erroneous because the claims are preempted by Section 301 of the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5 (Patrick Maloney, et al. v. T3Media Inc., No. 15-55630, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5894).
LOS ANGELES — Pop singer Katy Perry on April 3 prevailed in a dispute over her song “Dark Horse,” when a California federal judge agreed that Perry’s public performance of the work at concerts during her “Prismatic World Tour” cannot, at the summary judgment stage, form the basis of a copyright infringement claim (Marcus Gray, et al. v. Katy Perry, et al., No. 15-5642, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50803).
SAN FRANCISCO — Where two works share an extrinsic similarity so strong that the works are near duplicates, district courts may properly conclude that no reasonable juror could find a lack of substantial similarity in the works’ overall concept and feel, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 3 (Unicolors Inc. v. Urban Outfitters Inc., No. 15-55507, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5675).
LOS ANGELES — On the heels of a March 9 recommendation by a California federal magistrate judge that a copyright infringement plaintiff should be sanctioned for failure to comply with a discovery order, a California federal judge on March 31 granted a defendant partial summary judgment with regard to 11 of 12 allegedly infringing fabric designs (Urban Textile v. Rue 21 Inc. and Mark Edwards Apparel Inc., No. 14-8285, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49573).
SAN FRANCISCO — Appealing a $41.2 million jury verdict in a copyright infringement suit, a software support company argues in a March 10 reply brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that licenses by Oracle USA Inc. “expressly authorize third-party support and the copies necessary to provide it” and that it was authorized access to download support materials (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc. and Seth Ravin, Nos. 16-16-832 & 16-16905, 9th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Texas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on the question of direct copyright infringement because the judge properly found an absence of volitional conduct, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (BWP Media USA, et al. v. T&S Software Associates, No. 16-10510, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5340).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe-harbor provisions apply to pre-1972 recordings will stand, as the U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 denied a group of record labels’ petition for certiorari in their dispute with an online video-sharing service that they accused of infringing their copyrighted works (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2055).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 24 denied an architect’s appeal seeking to reverse a ruling in favor of a home builder's insurer in a breach of contract dispute arising from an underlying $63,471,000 copyright infringement dispute, rejecting the architect’s argument that an unobjected-to proof of claim in a bankruptcy case should be allowed and should become a final judgment when the bankruptcy case is closed (Kipp Flores Architects, LLC v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 16-20255, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5241).