SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s dismissal of claims for resale royalties under the California Resale Royalties Act was partly affirmed and partly reversed July 6 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which agreed that the state statute is preempted by the federal Copyright Act except for a single calendar year, in 1977 (Chuck Close, et al. v. Sotheby’s Inc., No. 16-56234; Chuck Close, et al. v. Christies Inc., No. 16-56235; Chuck Close, et al. v. eBay Inc., No. 16-56252, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18407).
RICHMOND, Va. — A North Carolina federal judge erred in rejecting an assertion of sovereign immunity raised by North Carolina in response to allegations of copyright infringement on grounds that immunity was abrogated by the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 10 (Frederick Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 17-1522, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18703).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Washington federal judge did not clearly err in deeming two architectural plans not intrinsically similar, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 27 (YS Built LLC v. Ya Hsing Chiang Huang and Sheng Tan Huang, No. 17-35044, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17636).
DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on June 27 entered final judgment in a breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, ordering that a defendant in the action pay $250 million plus pre- and post-judgment interest after a jury found that several defendants violated the terms of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and engaged in false designation in connection with their use of the companies’ proprietary information to develop certain virtual reality (VR) technology (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107420).
NEW YORK — In a June 5 reply brief, an Italian composer’s assignee tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that Italian copyright law allowed the composer to retain authorship rights in commissioned film scores, arguing that a New York federal court erred in finding the commissioning agreements analogous to U.S. work-for-hire law, extinguishing the composer’s rights (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 27 found that lists of names and addresses compiled by Experian Information Systems Inc. are copyrightable as compilations, but that the lists were not infringed by a competitor; the panel separately found that the same database could be entitled to trade secret protection, upon a showing that the data has economic value and that steps were taken to protect its secrecy (Experian Information Systems Inc. v. Nationwide Marketing Services Inc., No. 16-16987, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17607).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its orders list on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a copyright dispute that could resolve a circuit split over whether copyright applicants may sue for infringement before receiving a registration from the Copyright Office (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a wildlife photographer and a website operator filed supplemental briefs in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals June 15, addressing whether en banc rehearing is merited of a panel’s finding that a monkey lacked statutory standing to sue for infringement of selfie photos he took under the Copyright Act (Naruto. v. David J. Slater, et al., No. 16-15469, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s decision to award actress Elizabeth Banks and others attorney fees in connection with their successful defense of copyright infringement allegations was not erroneous, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 21 (Shame on You Productions Inc. v. Elizabeth Banks, et al., No. 16-55024, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16764).
SAN FRANCISCO — Allegations by two residential real estate photographers that the real estate software provider for a multiple listing service (MLS) violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by removing their copyright management information (CMI) were properly rejected on summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 20 (Robert Stevens, et al. v. CoreLogic Inc., No. 16-56089, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16620).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a June 18 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a Washington federal judge’s decision to award a single statutory damage award in each of five cases involving the same BitTorrent “swarm” upload of the film “London Has Fallen” (LHF Production Inc. v. Doe 1, et al., No. 17-35237, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16360).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a May 31 petition for certiorari, a software support firm argues that a prevailing party can be awarded only taxable, not nontaxable costs, under the Copyright, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve a difference of opinions among the circuit courts of appeal on the issue (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al.., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to a U.S. government amicus curiae brief, a news organization in a June 5 supplemental brief to the U.S. Supreme Court maintains that its petition for certiorari should be granted to resolve a circuit split over whether a copyright applicant is entitled to sue for infringement prior to achieving registration (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on June 12 adopted a New York federal magistrate judge’s recommendation that defendants accused of copyright infringement by the successors in interest to the estates of comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello should be awarded $50,123.04 in attorney fees in connection with the case (TCA Television Corp., et al. v. Kevin McCollum, et al., No. 15-4325, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98551).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nonprofit organizations The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge (PK) were among the interested parties that filed amicus curiae briefs with the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 and 12 in support of Google LLC’s petition for rehearing en banc, arguing that a panel ruling over Google’s use of Java technology in its Android smartphone operating system ignored fair use case law and could have a detrimental impact on technological innovations (Oracle America Inc. v. Google LLC, Nos. 17-1118, -1202, Fed. Cir.).
NEW YORK — In a June 13 letter motion, plaintiffs’ attorneys requested a two-week extension to file objections to a June 8 New York federal magistrate judge’s recommendation that they be awarded a default judgment on just three of seven counts of copyright infringement (Conan Properties International LLC, et al. v. Ricardo Jové Sanchez, No. 17-162, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98631).
MIAMI — A plaintiff was granted leave to amend its copyright infringement complaint on June 11 by a Florida federal magistrate judge, to add various individuals as defendants, but a related request to allege that the individuals are liable for secondary infringement was rejected (43 North Broadway LLC v. Essential Media Group LLC, No. 17-24518, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97497).
OAKLAND, Calif. — One year after a YouTube user was denied certiorari on questions of fair use and good faith surrounding the takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a California federal magistrate judge announced in a June 6 minute entry that the parties in the 11-year old case had “reached in principle” a settlement of the remaining issues (Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., et al., No. 4:07-cv-03783, N.D. Calif.).
LAS VEGAS — A November 2017 order that dismissed with prejudice allegations of copyright misuse, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and false advertising by Oracle International Corp. will not be reconsidered, a Nevada federal judge ruled June 5 (Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle International Corp., No. 14-1699, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94585).
SAN FRANCISCO — Online video-filtering service provider VidAngel Inc. argues in a June 1 reply brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that its antitrust counterclaims in a copyright dispute were wrongly dismissed because it plausibly alleged a conspiracy by the plaintiff movie studios to boycott filtering services despite public demand for such services (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 17-56665, 9th Cir.).