NEW YORK — In an April 16 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld findings by a New York federal judge that efforts by a third party to intervene in a copyright infringement action over the Ed Sheeran song “Thinking Out Loud” are untimely (Kathryn Townsend Griffin, et al. v. Edward Christopher Sheeran, et al., No. 18-1862, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11053).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge erred in instructing jurors in a copyright infringement case that they could find willfulness if a defendant “should have known” that his acts were infringing, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 16 (Erickson Productions Inc., et al. v. Kraig Kast, No. 15-16801, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11037).
NEW YORK — In an April 11 holding, a New York federal judge refused to dismiss allegations of infringement against a defendant that purchased the assets of a company accused of continued use of a copyrighted software program after defaulting on a license agreement (New London Associates LLC v. Kinetic Social LLC, et al., No. 18-7963, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62731).
NEW ORLEANS — A musicologist’s expert report and testimony on the similarities between copyrighted New Orleans jazz songs and accused infringing hip-hop works was stricken April 10 by a Louisiana federal judge, who said the plaintiff’s expert admitted that the jazz songwriter actually performed the analyses for the report, not the expert (Paul Batiste v. Ryan Lewis, et al., No. 17-4435, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61605).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In what it calls “the copyright case of the decade,” Google LLC filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court April 10, arguing that a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in which the court found the copying of certain Java software interface code to be infringement conflicts with longstanding precedent and industry practices, thus meriting high court review despite the lack of a circuit split (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A sound engineer’s assertion that an arbitrator erred in finding that copyright law does not preempt breach of contract claims by Paisley Park Enterprises Inc., the recording label of the late artist Prince, was rejected April 8 by a Minnesota federal judge (Paisley Park Enterprises Inc., et al. v. George Ian Boxill, et al., No. 17-1212, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59673).
SAN FRANCISCO — A franchisor saw its intentional interference with contractual relations counterclaim dismissed April 4 by a California federal judge who rejected the counterclaimant’s challenge to the naming of its franchisees as defendants in a copyright infringement lawsuit (Fotohaus LLC v. PFG Ventures L.P., No. 18-1827, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58641).
LAS VEGAS — At an April 4 hearing, a Nevada federal magistrate judge granted a motion by Oracle USA Inc. to conduct limited discovery into whether Rimini Street Inc. is complying with an injunction in a long-running software copyright infringement lawsuit (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
DENVER — Removal to federal court by a defendant of an action seeking a declaration of ownership of various written reports was improper because the underlying dispute involves rights that are not equivalent to rights within the scope of copyright law, a Colorado federal judge ruled April 3 (Joe Nieusma, Ph.D. v. Affygility Solutions LLC, No. 18-2515, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56941).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An aspiring television writer who claims that the television show “Empire” copied an idea he created filed a petition for rehearing on March 18, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its previous denial of certiorari and to grant, vacate and remand the lawsuit for further proceedings in light of a recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that he says will directly impact the issues in the present case (Clayton Prince Tanksley v. Lee Daniels, et al., No. 18-701, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — After a second reversal and remand by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a group of publishers and Georgia State University (GSU) filed briefs in Georgia federal court on March 22, arguing as to whether the university’s electronic posting of excerpts from textbooks constituted copyright infringement or was protected as fair use (Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Georgia State University, et al., No. 1:08-cv-01425, N.D. Ga.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citing a previous petition for certiorari filed by Google LLC more than four years earlier, Oracle America Inc. filed a brief March 27 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the company’s newly filed petition in the long-running dispute over the copyrightability of Java computer code, arguing that Google raises previously rejected arguments without identifying a circuit split that needs to be resolved (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — Arguing that defendant VidAngel Inc. has been uncooperative in efforts to compile a list of copyrighted movies and programs that were part of its online streaming and filtering service, a group of plaintiff movie studios asks a California federal court in a March 22 motion to require the defendant to comply with the procedure prior to a scheduled June 11 trial on damages for copyright infringement for which VidAngel has already been found liable (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari March 25 in a copyright dispute involving an iconic photograph of Michael Jordan (Jacobus Rentmeester v. Nike Inc., No. 18-728, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a March 21 unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a California federal judge’s determination that inclusion of 11 fabric designs in a catalogue constituted publication under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, thereby rendering their later copyright registrations as unpublished works invalid (Urban Textile Inc. v. Rue 21 Inc., et al., No. 17-56749, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 8332).
SHERMAN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on March 11 ruled that defendants in a trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit have failed to show that certain claims are preempted by either the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act (TUTSA) or, alternatively, the federal Copyright Act or Patent Act (Performance Pulsation Control Inc. v. Sigma Drilling Technologies LLC, et al., No. 17-0450, E.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38035).
BOSTON — In a March 19 decision, a Massachusetts federal judge dismissed allegations of copyright infringement by the photographer of a stained-glass wall pursuant to a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (Cynthia Foss d/b/a Hunter Foss Design v. Spencer Brewery, et al., No. 18-40125, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44408).
TRENTON, N.J. — A dispute between collaborators on a nonfiction book detailing the life of a former sex trafficking victim will proceed in New York federal court, a New Jersey federal judge ruled March 15 (Lockey Maisonneuve v. Benedict Caiola, No. 18-13955, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43260).
SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 15 vacated a Washington federal jury’s verdict that Zillow Group Inc. is a willful copyright infringer (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 17-35587 and 17-35588, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7671).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Appealing a ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that deemed the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) not copyrightable, the state of Georgia on March 1 filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the ruling improperly expanded the scope of the government edicts doctrine and deepened an already existing circuit split over whether annotations accompanying laws can be copyrighted (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).