CINCINNATI — In a divided Sept. 17 holding, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Tennessee federal judge’s summary judgment that musician Steve Winwood and others did not infringe a copyright covering the song “Ain’t That a Lot of Love” (Willia Dean Parker, et al. v. Steve Winwood, et al., No. 18-5305, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27902).
NEW YORK — In a Sept. 13 holding a federal judge in New York rejected allegations that E*Trade Financial Corp. infringed copyrighted elements of various videos produced and owned by an Italian entrepreneur (Gianluca Vacchi v. E*Trade Financial Corporation, No. 19-3505, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156972).
NEW ORLEANS — A Texas federal judge did not err in rejecting allegations of copyright infringement levied against a geoscience data company, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 13 (Geophysical Services Inc. v. TGS Nopec-Geophysical Services, No. 18-20493, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27807).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government wrote one of the six amicus curiae briefs filed in support of the state of Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 30, urging the high court to find that annotations accompanying written versions of state laws are not exempt from copyright protection under the government edicts doctrine because they were written by a private company, not the government (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — Three months after a jury found that VidAngel Inc.’s online video-filtering service ran afoul of the Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), awarding the plaintiff movie studios $62.4 million, a California federal judge on Sept. 5 granted the studios’ motion for a permanent injunction barring the defendant from any further infringing acts (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152395).
LAS VEGAS — Five months after Oracle USA Inc. was permitted to conduct limited discovery to ensure that Rimini Street Inc. was complying with a permanent injunction against it in a long-running software copyright lawsuit, a Nevada federal magistrate judge on Sept. 6 signed an order setting parameters on that discovery and establishing a schedule for Rimini’s compliance (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
CHICAGO — In a Sept. 4 order, a panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals summarily affirmed an Indiana federal judge’s dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement levied against the Indianapolis Public Schools and two co-defendants in connection with their continued use of an educational program (Angela Brooks-Ngwenya v. Indianapolis Public Schools, et al., No. 18-2349, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 26639).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York did not err in rejecting allegations by a professional photographer that Scholastic Inc. exceeded the terms of its license with a stock photography agency when using his works in its textbooks, nor in denying the photographer leave to amend on grounds of futility, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Aug. 28 (Michael Yamashita, et al. v. Scholastic Inc., No. 17‐1957, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 25958).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Aug. 26 held that a commercial general liability insurance policy’s intellectual property (IP) exclusion bars coverage for an underlying copyright infringement lawsuit against an insured, rejecting the insured’s argument that the exclusion’s “advertising exception” applies (Spandex House, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-8367, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144646).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Filing its opening merits brief in a dispute over whether annotations accompanying published versions of state laws are copyrightable, the state of Georgia on Aug. 23 argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that because the annotations are distinct from the laws themselves, and as such lack the force of law, they are not rendered ineligible for copyright protection under the government edicts doctrine (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — In what it deemed a question of first impression, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 21 found that a Wisconsin federal judge erred in permitting separate awards of statutory damages for works that yielded two certificates of registration from the U.S. Copyright Office (Amy Lee Sullivan v. Flora Inc., Nos. 17-2241 & 18-2534, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24928).
CINCINNATI — A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 21 affirmed dismissal of an unpleaded copyright infringement claim against the publisher of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, based upon a plaintiff’s failure to obtain a copyright registration (Eva A. Webb Wright v. Penguin Random House, No. 18-6323, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24896).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 21 reversed a New York federal judge’s holding that a composer’s authorship rights were extinguished by a series of commissioning agreements he entered into with an affiliate of an assignee (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24880).
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on Aug. 20 found that the Rogers v. Grimaldi test “needs adapting” in view of “legitimate considerations brought out in subsequent cases” in which an alleged infringer claims a First Amendment right to use a disputed trademark (Marty Stouffer, et al. v. National Geographic Partners LLC, et al., No. 18-3127, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140947).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 16 upheld a trial court’s decision on remand to maintain a $28.5 million attorney fees award for Oracle USA Inc. in a long-running software license copyright infringement suit against Rimini Street Inc., finding no abuse of discretion in the ruling (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 18-16554, 9th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — Allegations that Walt Disney Pictures and others committed copyright infringement by copying elements of a screenplay for use in the animated film “Zootopia” were rejected Aug. 19 by a federal judge in California (Brian Neil Hoff v. Walt Disney Pictures, et al., No. 19-665, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140343).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — One week after a videographer filed his opening merits brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting his position that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA) abrogates states’ sovereign immunity in the area of copyright law, 12 amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of the petitioner on Aug. 13 by such parties as the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — A preliminary injunction barring a copyright infringement defendant from selling a banana costume will stand, in light of an Aug. 1 holding by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that, in combination, nonutilitarian, sculptural features are entitled to copyright protection (Silvertop Associates Inc., d/b/a Rasta Imposta v. Kangaroo Manufacturing Inc., No. 18-2266, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22989).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an Aug. 1 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction by an Arizona federal judge of allegations of copyright infringement was in error because it was foreseeable to defendants in the case that their actions would cause economic harm in the United States (Hydentra HLP Int. Ltd., et al. v. Sagan Ltd., et al., No. 17-16637, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23041).
NEW YORK — A finding by a federal judge in New York that 44 articles by film critic Stanley Kauffmann qualify as works for hire was reversed Aug. 1 by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals based on evidence that a letter agreement entered into by Kauffmann and a literary editor for “The New Republic” (TNR) magazine was entered into “long after the works were created” (Estate of Stanley Kauffmann v. Rochester Institute of Technology, No. 18-2404, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22915).