Mealey's Copyright

  • March 22, 2017

    TV Networks Prevail Before 9th Circuit In Copyright Case

    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).

  • March 22, 2017

    Divided Supreme Court Clarifies Separability Test In Copyright Case

    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.).

  • March 17, 2017

    Oklahoma Federal Judge Weighs In Copyright Dispute Over Registrations

    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).

  • March 16, 2017

    Manufacturer Asks Supreme Court To Decide If Copyright Act Preempts State Law Claim

    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.).

  • March 16, 2017

    Musician Asks High Court To Decide Claim Preclusion Use In Copyright Lawsuit

    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.).

  • March 16, 2017

    California Federal Judge Denies Cross-Motions On Copyright First-Sale Defense

    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).

  • March 16, 2017

    Record Labels Says Split Exists On If DMCA Immunity Applies For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

    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.).

  • March 15, 2017

    Accused File-Sharer Calls Declaratory Judgment Counterclaim Useful

    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.).

  • March 13, 2017

    5th Circuit: Contributory Copyright Claim Barred In Seismic Data Dispute

    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).

  • March 9, 2017

    9th Circuit Reinstates $450,000 Damage Award For Copyright Plaintiff

    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).

  • March 9, 2017

    Ohio Magistrate Won’t Exclude Evidence As Sanction In Copyright Case

    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).

  • March 3, 2017

    Magistrate Criticizes Discovery Responses In Copyright Case, Scolds Entire District

    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).

  • March 2, 2017

    Video-Sharing Site Opposes Review On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

    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.).

  • March 1, 2017

    Amicus Curiae Filers Support Supreme Court Review Of Intervest In Copyright Suit

    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.).

  • February 24, 2017

    VidAngel Tells 9th Circuit Studios Do Not Have Exclusive Streaming Rights

    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.).

  • February 24, 2017

    California Federal Magistrate Denies Motion To Compel In Pokemon Copyright Case

    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).

  • February 23, 2017

    Utah Federal Judge: No Copyright Preemption On Conspiracy Claim

    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).

  • February 21, 2017

    Sua Sponte Rejection Of Copyright Claims Reversed By 9th Circuit

    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).

  • February 17, 2017

    2nd Circuit Remands Dispute Over Pre-1972 Works, Orders Dismissal

    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).

  • February 16, 2017

    New York Magistrate Judge: Deny Sanctions In Copyright, Trademark Case

    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).