Mealey's Copyright

  • September 26, 2018

    In Copyright Dispute, 2nd Circuit Finds Similarities Unprotectable

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge’s dismissal of copyright infringement allegations was upheld Sept. 21 by a per curiam Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, amid findings that any similarities between a screenplay and a novel that was later made into a movie are unprotectible ideas, scènes à faire or de minimis (Joseph Nobile v. Margot Louise Watts, et al., No. 17-3752, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27068).

  • September 25, 2018

    9th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Copyright Claim Against Joe Arpaio

    SAN FRANCISCO — An Arizona federal judge’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Joe Arpaio on allegations of copyright infringement was affirmed Sept. 21 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (David E. Kelly v. Joe Arpaio, No. 18-15046, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27141).

  • September 20, 2018

    Website Use Did Not Strip Photographer Of Photos’ Copyrights, Judge Rules

    AUSTIN, Texas — The rules and regulations (R&R) of a real estate listing website contained only a license to use uploaded pictures, not an assignment of rights, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 19, denying a homebuilder’s motion for summary judgment on copyright claims brought against it by a photographer (Alexander Stross v. Eugene Rowehl, et al., No. 1:17-cv-00676, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159846).

  • September 20, 2018

    Illinois Federal Judge Rejects Copyright Claims Against Broadcasting Cos.

    CHICAGO — Allegations by two plaintiffs that Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) and CBS Broadcasting Inc.’s “The Guest Book” comedy series infringes upon a YouTube series were dismissed Sept. 18 by an Illinois federal judge on the basis of insufficient evidence of substantial similarity (Diana Meynart-Hanzel, et al. v. Turner Broadcasting System Inc., et al., No. 17-6308, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158764).

  • September 19, 2018

    D.C. Circuit Upholds Copyright Royalty Rates For Digital Recordings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Sept. 18 ruling, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sustained a determination by the Copyright Royalty Board of rates for subscription-based commercial noninteractive webcasters and ad-based commercial noninteractive webcasters for playing recordings over the Internet between 2016 and 2020 under the statutory license provided for in Section 114 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 114(f)(2)(A) (SoundExchange Inc., et al. v. Copyright Royalty Board, No. 16-1159, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 26419).

  • September 19, 2018

    Warner Bros. Wins Dismissal Of Copyright Claims In California

    LOS ANGELES — Allegations that the television series “Stalker” infringed upon the copyrighted semiautobiographical work “Book” were rejected Sept. 17 by a California federal judge in response to a motion to dismiss by Warner Bros. Entertainment (Kathryn Evans v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, No. 18-3951, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158338).

  • September 14, 2018

    3rd Circuit: ‘Empire’ Television Pilot Not Substantially Similar

    PHILADELPHIA — Assertions by an actor and producer that Fox Television and others infringed his copyrighted television pilot with the series “Empire” were properly dismissed for failure to state a claim, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 28 (Clayton Prince Tanksley v. Lee Daniels, et al., No. 17-2023, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 24317).

  • September 14, 2018

    Intervention Denial In Gaye, Sheeran Copyright Suit Appealed To 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — A company that owns an interest in Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit song “Let’s Get It On” tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Aug. 30 appeal brief that a trial court judge erred in declining to permit it to intervene in a copyright infringement suit against pop singer Ed Sheeran brought by other owners of the song’s songwriting interests (Kathryn Townsend Griffin, et al. v. Edward Christopher Sheeran, et al., No. 18-1862, 2nd Cir.).

  • September 13, 2018

    News-Monitoring Service Asks High Court To Consider Copyright Fair-Use Standard

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The provider of an online news-monitoring service tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 12 petition for certiorari that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals applied an incorrect market harm standard in denying its fair-use defense on copyright infringement claims brought by Fox News Network LLC, asking the high court to consider existing standards in light of contemporary digital technology and free speech ramifications (TVEyes Inc. v. Fox News Network LLC, No. 18-321, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 12, 2018

    2nd Circuit Reinstates Copyright Claims Against Associated Press, NFL

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge’s dismissal of copyright infringement claims levied against the National Football League and the Associated Press was vacated, in part, on Sept. 11 by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that certain allegations by seven sports photographers are viable (Paul Spinelli, et al. v. National Football League, et al., No. 17-673, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25670).

  • September 06, 2018

    On Eve Of Retrial, Music Publisher, ISP Stipulate To Dismiss Copyright Suit

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Four days before a scheduled retrial over an internet service provider’s (ISP’s) liability for contributory infringement related to its subscribers’ illegal file sharing, the ISP and the plaintiff filed a notice Aug. 24 informing a Virginia federal court that the four-year old copyright infringement lawsuit had been voluntarily dismissed (BMG Rights Management [US] LLC, et al. v. Cox Communications Inc., et al., No. 1:14-cv-01611, E.D. Va.).

  • August 31, 2018

    Adult Film Firm Asks High Court To Resolve ‘Disarray’ Over DMCA Safe Harbor

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An adult entertainment company filed a petition for certiorari Aug. 20, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that courts’ interpretations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have allowed video-sharing websites to escape liability for massive amounts of infringing user-uploaded content under business models that encourage such behavior and asking the high court to review the standard for when a website operator has knowledge of infringement and when they are entitled to safe harbor under the statute (Ventura Content Ltd. v. Motherless Inc., et al., No. 18-235, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 31, 2018

    Supreme Court Told Copyright Act Does Not Authorize Nontaxable Fees Award

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 14 reply brief supporting its petition for certiorari, a software support service argues that a trial court’s award of nontaxable costs to Oracle USA Inc. in a dispute over software licenses runs counter to the Copyright Act’s provisions and deepens an existing circuit split on the matter (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 30, 2018

    News Group To High Court: Copyright Registration Is Enough For Infringement Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Aug. 27 opening merits brief, a news organization tells the U.S. Supreme Court that initiating a copyright infringement suit requires only that a plaintiff has completed the statutory registration requirements, not the final issuance of a copyright by the U.S. Copyright Office (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 29, 2018

    Federal Circuit Denies Google Rehearing In Java Fair Use Dispute With Oracle

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 28 per curiam ruling, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied without comment Google LLC’s petition to rehear a March 2018 panel decision finding that Google’s use of certain Java code in creating its Android smartphone operating system was not fair use and infringed copyrights belonging to Oracle America Inc. (Oracle America Inc. v. Google LLC, Nos. 17-1118, -1202, Fed. Cir.).

  • August 27, 2018

    2nd Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Copyright Claims By Ghostwriter

    NEW YORK — In an Aug. 24 per curiam ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a New York federal judge’s dismissal of federal copyright infringement claims stemming from the book “Tied Up in Knots” on grounds of failure to state a claim and diversity jurisdiction (Michael Krechmer v. Andrea Tantaros, et al., No. 17-4061, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23956).

  • August 24, 2018

    2nd Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Copyright Dispute Over Muppet Song

    NEW YORK — In an Aug. 23 per curiam ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that allegations of copyright infringement by an Italian music publisher were properly rejected by a New York federal judge (Creazioni Artistiche Musicali, S.r.l. v. Carlin America Inc. et al., No. 17-266, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23765).

  • August 24, 2018

    9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of VidAngel’s UCL, Antitrust Claims Against Studios

    SAN FRANCISCO — A video-filtering service provider failed to establish its counterclaims under the Sherman Act or California’s unfair competition law (UCL) against the studios suing it for copyright infringement, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 17, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of the counterclaims (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 17-56665, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22986).

  • August 22, 2018

    Michigan Federal Judge Says Blogger Entitled To Maintain Anonymity

    DETROIT — On remand from the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Michigan federal judge on Aug. 21 again found that a John Doe copyright infringement defendant should not be unmasked (Signature Management Team LLC v. John Doe, No. 13-14005, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141459).

  • August 22, 2018

    9th Circuit: Remastered Pre-1972 Recordings Not Sufficiently Original

    SAN FRANCISCO — A grant of summary judgment in favor of two defendants accused of  violating state law protections for sound recordings originally fixed before 1972 was reversed Aug. 20 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found — among other things — that the remastered recordings do not qualify as derivative works and that a California local rule for class action certification conflicts with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (ABS Entertainment Inc., et al. v. CBS Corporation, et al., No. 16-55917, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 23097).

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