WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 23 that a 1990 statute that abrogated sovereign immunity for states accused of copyright infringement fails (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — An artist won the right to amend her complaint on March 19, when a New York federal magistrate judge approved the addition of two defendants accused of contributory copyright infringement (Annamarie Trombetta v. Marie Novocin, et al., No. 18-993, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47816).
SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 upheld dismissal by a California federal judge of allegations that the Walt Disney Co. movie “Inside Out” is a copyright infringement (Denise Daniels v. The Walt Disney Company, et al., No. 18-55635, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8238).
BOSTON — In what it deemed a case of first impression, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 13 concluded that copyright licensees who are given the unrestricted right to grant sublicenses “may do so without using express language” (Photographic Illustrators Corp. v. Orgill Inc., No. 19-1452, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8099).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With oral arguments approaching in its long-running copyright infringement dispute with Oracle America Inc. over its use of certain Java code elements, Google LLC filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on March 11, maintaining that its utilization of Java interfaces was permissible fair use under the Copyright Act (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal magistrate judge correctly found that certain technical documents that it declined to produce in post-injunction discovery to Oracle USA Inc. were protected by attorney-client privilege, Rimini Street Inc. says in a Feb. 26 brief, arguing that the communications with its counsel were for the purpose of ensuring that it did not violate the injunction in the decade-old software copyright infringement suit (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its March 9 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that declared invalid various design copyrights on the basis of inaccuracies in the underlying copyright applications (Gold Value International Textile Inc. v. Sanctuary Clothing LLC, et al., No. 19-708, U.S. Sup.).
GREENBELT, Md. — A John Doe defendant who is accused of sharing copyrighted adult films online cannot escape a subpoena that will provide his identity to the plaintiff movie studio, a Maryland federal judge ruled Feb. 25, finding no expectation of privacy in the requested information and denying the plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoena (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 3:19-cv-00396, D. Md.).
ATLANTA — In her third ruling in a 12-year old, twice-remanded copyright dispute over the online posting of textbook passages by Georgia State University (GSU) professors, a Georgia federal judge on March 2 issued a detailed, 241-page ruling in which she considered the Copyright Act’s four fair use factors for each of the 48 alleged incidents of infringement, concluding that 37 of them were noninfringing fair use (Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Georgia State University, et al., No. 1:08-cv-01425, N.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35134).
SAN FRANCISCO — The identity of an anonymous Jehovah’s Witness user of Reddit Inc. can remain unknown, a California federal judge ruled March 2, finding that his posting of two purportedly copyrighted items constituted fair use in the form of criticism and commentary, leading the judge to grant the user’s motion to quash a subpoena to identify him for the purpose of pursuing copyright infringement claims (In re DMCA Subpoena to Reddit Inc., No. 3:19-mc-80005, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its March 2 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion by the United States to participate in March 24 oral arguments as amicus curiae on behalf of respondent Oracle America Inc. in its dispute with Google LLC over whether the copying of Java computer code for use in the Android operating system (OS) constituted fair use under the Copyright Act (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
SEATTLE — In supplemental remand briefing in a dispute over online use of real estate photos, Zillow Group Inc. on Feb. 14 filed a reply in Washington federal court, defending its motion seeking judgment as a matter of law on an infringement ruling against it in light of an intervening U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires a copyright registration prior to the filing of an infringement lawsuit (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01096, W.D. Wash.).
WACO, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 19 awarded $3.6 million to a franchise company of home services brands and one of its subsidiaries in their trademark and copyright dispute with an employment company (ProTradeNet LLC v. Predictive Profiles, Inc., c/w Predictive Profiles, Inc. v. ProTradeNet LLC, et al., No. 18-38, W.D. Texas).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 20 upheld a New York federal judge’s determination that temporary artwork may achieve recognized stature so as to be protected from destruction by the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) and that appellants who whitewashed 45 aerosol artworks willfully violated the statute (Maria Castillo, et al. v. G&M Realty L.P., et al., No. 18-538, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 5228).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States was among a large, diverse group of amici curiae filing briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 19 in support of Oracle America Inc., with technology executives, songwriters, entertainment industry organizations and professors also among those opposing Google LLC’s position that its copying of Java computer code was noninfringing fair use (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A request by a musician and songwriter for a declaratory judgment that Sony Music Entertainment’s rights to the 1983 album “Juicy Fruit” are terminable under Section 203 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 203, was dismissed Feb. 20, when a New York federal judge found that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute (James Mtume v. Sony Music Entertainment, No. 18-117447, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29133).
HOUSTON — Following a recent affirmance by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a federal judge in Texas on Feb. 19 awarded a prevailing copyright infringement defendant $878,314 in attorney fees (Geophysical Services Inc. v. TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, No. 14-1368, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27865).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Feb. 14 holding, a federal judge in the District of Columbia rejected efforts by a digital music provider to transfer to New York allegations that it failed to make timely payments to the royalty collector for the Copyright Royalty Board (SoundExchange Inc. v. Music Choice, No. 19-999, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25922).
CHICAGO — In a verdict rendered Feb. 14 in Illinois federal court, Motorola Solutions Inc. was awarded $764.6 million in an intellectual property dispute with a Chinese firm accused of trade secret theft and copyright infringement; a docket entry in the case indicates that the jury found in favor of Motorola in full (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill.).
LAS VEGAS — More than a year after it was granted an injunction in a long-running software copyright dispute with Rimini Street Inc., Oracle USA Inc. filed an objection to a Nevada federal magistrate judge’s discovery ruling on Feb. 12, asserting that the defendant is using the attorney-client privilege to shield continued infringement (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).