Mealey's Copyright

  • January 11, 2021

    Limitations Period Wrongly Calculated In Copyright Case, 3rd Circuit Says

    PHILADELPHIA — In a ruling issued Dec. 24, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a New Jersey federal judge’s determination that the three-year statute of limitations for copyright infringement is tolled from the date of injury.

  • January 11, 2021

    Divided 9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Copyright Allegations

    SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 24 agreed with a federal judge in California that a Texas man cannot face copyright infringement claims in California because personal jurisdiction over him is lacking there.

  • January 11, 2021

    9th Circuit Reinstates Copyright Claims By Dr. Seuss Enterprises

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 18 reversed a California federal judge’s finding that a book that combines the works of Dr. Seuss with the Star Trek science fiction series qualifies as a fair use under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107.

  • January 06, 2021

    Federal Judge Stays Coverage Suit Pending Resolution Of Underlying Copyright Action

    SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Dec. 22 stayed an insurer’s lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying copyright infringement and trade secret appropriation action, finding that the three factors in Landis v. N. Am. Co. weigh in favor of a stay pending resolution of the underlying action.

  • December 18, 2020

    Dismissal Of Copyright, Trade Dress Claims Affirmed By 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a Dec. 16 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a California federal judge’s dismissal of copyright and trade dress infringement allegations levied in connection with decorative wood products (Crafty Productions Inc. v. Fuqing Sanxing Crafts Co. Ltd., et al., No. 20-55010, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 39494).

  • December 15, 2020

    Inclusion Of Drone Photo In Sinkhole Story Was Fair Use, Court Finds

    GREENVILLE, Tenn. — Allegations of copyright infringement leveled against a news organization were rejected Dec. 14 by a federal judge in Tennessee, who found that the defendant’s use of a photograph taken by a drone and distributed at a public meeting qualifies as a fair use (Brian Castle v. Kingsport Publishing Company, No. 19-92, E.D. Tenn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233919).

  • December 14, 2020

    Requests Largely Denied In Copyright, Trademark Row Between Ex-Partners

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a Dec. 11 order, a federal judge in New Mexico granted partial summary judgment on counterclaims by a husband and wife that their former business partners are liable for copyright and trademark infringement (Volker Strobel, et al. v. Uwe Rusch, et al., No. 18-656, D. N.M., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233676).

  • December 11, 2020

    Judge Finds No UCL Violation, Orders 3 Defendants To Pay $8M For Infringements

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 17 ordered an attorney and two entities to pay a doctor and his practice $7.9 million in damages and statutory damages of $150,000 after finding them jointly and severally liable for patent infringement and copyright infringement of the plaintiff doctor’s pulsed insulin diabetes treatment method but found that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence of damages under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) (Thomas Aoki, et al. v. Gregory Ford Gilbert, et al., No. 11-2797, E.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215130).

  • December 10, 2020

    California Federal Judge Remands Copyright Allegations To State Court

    LOS ANGELES — In a Dec. 7 in-chambers order, a federal judge in California agreed with a plaintiff that its breach of contract and copyright claims against Netflix Inc. and others should remain in state court (Arclight Films International v. Animal Crackers Movie LTD, et al., No. 20-9917, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 230430).

  • December 10, 2020

    Labels Defend Jurisdiction Over Russian Stream-Ripping Site Owner To High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Russian man who operates two stream-ripping websites was well aware of his many users in Virginia and, therefore, purposefully availed himself of jurisdiction in the state, a group of record labels tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a Dec. 8 brief opposing his petition for certiorari, calling a jurisdictional ruling against him in a copyright infringement suit “unremarkable” and not worthy of high court review (Tofig Kurbanov v. UMG Recordings Inc., et al., No. 20-503, U.S. Sup.).

  • December 09, 2020

    Polar Bear Footage Infringed, Plaintiffs Assert In New York Complaint

    NEW YORK — Myriad media outlets were accused Dec. 7 of copyright infringement, in connection with their display of a video and photograph depicting a polar bear dying in the wild (Paul Nicklen, et al. v. Mashable Inc., et al., No. 20-10300, S.D. N.Y.).

  • December 09, 2020

    In Copyright Suit, Record Labels Accuse ISP Of Cherry-Picking Discovery

    DENVER — A motion by Charter Communications Inc. to shield certain documents from discovery as privileged under Federal Rule of Evidence 502(d) while permitting others to be disclosed to the record labels suing it for vicarious copyright infringement may have “a patina of reasonable compromise,” the labels say in a Nov. 25 motion in Colorado federal court, suggesting that the motion is actually an improper ploy to cherry-pick the documents over which the internet service provider (ISP) seeks to maintain privilege despite having waived any such privilege (Warner Records Inc., et al. v. Charter Communications Inc., No. 19-874, D. Colo.).

  • December 09, 2020

    In California, Common-Law Copyright Claim Dismissed As Preempted

    SAN DIEGO — In a Nov. 25 order, a federal judge in California dismissed allegations of common-law copyright infringement and violations of the state unfair competition law (UCL) because the UCL claim is not qualitatively different from the copyright claim and because the defendants’ alleged fraud does not satisfy the “extra element” test, rendering the copyright claim preempted (Hemlock Hat Company Inc. v. Diesel Power Gear LLC, et al., No. 19-2422, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 222516).

  • December 08, 2020

    Conversion Claim Is Preempted By Copyright Act, California Court Rules

    LOS ANGELES — Allegations by actress Rose McGowan that disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein and his associates conspired to “obtain” as much of her book “Brave” as possible before its publication in an effort to interfere with her possession of the confidential manuscript were dismissed Dec. 7 by a federal judge in California (Rose McGowan v. Harvey Weinstein, et al., No. 19-9105, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 229408).

  • December 07, 2020

    High Court Won’t Revisit Denial Of Certiorari In ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Dec. 7 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court again refused to take on a dispute over alleged copying by Led Zeppelin of the song “Taurus” for incorporation into the iconic “Stairway to Heaven” (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 20-142, U.S. Sup.).

  • December 03, 2020

    De Minimis, License Defenses Rejected In N.C. Copyright Case

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a Dec. 2 order, a federal judge in North Carolina found that two defendants are liable for direct copyright infringement in connection with their use of a photograph to promote a corn hole tournament (David Oppenheimer v. ACL LLC, et al., No. 19-24, W.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 226248).

  • December 03, 2020

    9th Circuit Reverses, Remands Dismissal Of Copyright Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — Allegations that a digital media company used a photographer’s images of “The X-Files” actors Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny without permission were reinstated Nov. 25 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Michael Grecco Productions Inc. v. Ziff Davis LLC, No. 19-56465, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 37192).

  • November 25, 2020

    In New Jersey Lanham Act, Copyright Squabble, Dismissal Denied

    TRENTON, N.J. — In a Nov. 24 holding, a federal judge in New Jersey said allegations that a corporate defendant infringed the copyrighted table pad protectors and piano covers of a competing family business should proceed (Internet Products LLC, et al. v. LLJ Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 18-15421, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220090).

  • November 24, 2020

    Trademark, Copyright Infringement Defendant Wins Fees In Colorado

    DENVER — In a Nov. 23 order, a federal judge in Colorado deemed a defendant entitled to $75,413.50 in attorney fees, despite a July jury verdict that it infringed the “Altigen” trademark (Altigen Communications Inc. v. CTI Communications LLC, et al., No. 19-488, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218616).

  • November 20, 2020

    Judge: Insured Not Owed Reimbursement For Costs Related To Copyright Disputes

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 17 found that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to reimburse an electric company insured for costs associated with its underlying copyright disputes, granting the insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in finding that the alleged underlying copyright infringement is not a covered “Personal and Advertising Injury” under the CGL policy (Hurricane Electric, LLC v. National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, No. 20-05840, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215049).

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