NEW YORK — Online news and entertainment publisher BuzzFeed Inc. argues in a June 21 appellant brief filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that its use of a copyrighted picture that did not include copyright management information (CMI) was not done willfully and, as such, did not constitute a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Gregory Mango v. BuzzFeed Inc., No. 19-0446, 2nd Cir.).
HARTFORD, Conn. — In a July 25 ruling, a federal judge in Connecticut deemed valid copyrights owned by Lego in connection with its “minifigure” figurines but found that a plenary bench trial is needed to determine whether Lego is equitably estopped from asserting infringement against a competitor (Lego A/S and Lego Systems Inc. v. Best-Lock Construction Toys Inc., et al., No. 11-1586, D. Conn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124437).
ROANOKE, Va. — Finding “little, if any, transformative value” in the use by defendants of a copyrighted photograph online, a federal judge in Virginia on July 19 deemed the doctrine of fair use “inapplicable” to the photographer’s allegation of infringement (Allesandro Cancian v. Hannabass and Rowe Ltd., et al., No. 18-283, W.D. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121112).
LOS ANGELES — Despite a jury verdict against it, online streaming service VidAngel Inc. tells a California federal court in a July 26 brief that a permanent injunction requested by the plaintiff movie studios in a copyright infringement lawsuit “is an unfair overreach” and a thinly veiled effort to eliminate a legal method of home-filtering of streamed content (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on July 24 agreed to increase bond in a copyright case from $10,000 to $50,000, after ruling that an infringement defendant may seek attorney fees after a rejected offer under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, Fed. R. Civ. P. 68, where the offer is higher than a plaintiff’s potential recovery (Gregory Mango v. Democracy Now! Productions Inc., No. 18-10588, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123550).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — In a July 22 holding, a federal judge in Indiana rejected allegations that a defendant removed copyright management information (CMI) from protected house designs and found that despite “overwhelming evidence” of copying, it remains unclear whether the elements that were copied are entitled to copyright protection (Design Basics LLC v. Big C Lumber Co. Inc., No. 16-53, N.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121428).
NEW YORK — Allegations by New York University (NYU) and other defendants that a copyright registration in the King-Devick Test (K-D Test) would not have been issued but for omissions and misstatements in the underlying registration will be presented to the Register of Copyrights, in view of a July 15 ruling by a New York federal judge (King-Devick Inc. v. New York University, et al., No. 17-9307, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117628).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A request by plaintiffs in a copyright infringement action that the registration requirement be suspended or waived in view of their allegation that defendants in the case have thwarted efforts to obtain a registration was denied July 15 by a federal judge in New York (Whistleblower Productions LLC, et al. v. St8cked Media LLC, et al., No. 18-5258, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117396).
LOS ANGELES — Nearly a month after receiving a jury verdict in their favor, a group of movie studios moved for an injunction July 12, asking a California federal court to permanently enjoin VidAngel Inc. from engaging in any further infringement of their copyrighted works or circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on July 10 awarded $8,745.50 in attorney fees as a sanction against counsel for a plaintiff photographer who alleged copyright infringement by NBCUniversal Media LLC (John Curtis Rice v. NBCUniversal Media LLC, No. 19-447, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114690).
NEW YORK — Citing the recent Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in GEOMC Co. Ltd. v. Calmare Therapeutics Inc., a New York federal judge on July 8 granted a copyright infringement defendant’s motion for leave to amend its answer (New London Associates LLC v. Kinetic Social LLC, et al., No. 18-7963, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113021).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge did not err in rejecting allegations of copyright infringement by an author levied in connection with Viacom International Inc.’s film adaptation of a children’s book about a Christmas tree, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 2 (Jennie Nicassio v. Viacom International Inc., et al., No. 18-2085, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19827).
NEW YORK — In a July 1 appellee brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a bee farm defends a trial court’s dismissal of trademark and copyright claims brought by a former licensor, contending that it did not remove copyright management information (CMI) from the plaintiff’s advertising materials (James H. Fischer v. Stephen T. Forrest Jr., et al., No. 18-2959, 2nd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — A New Jersey federal judge strayed “from a context-specific analysis” and instead relied on “broad propositions” in permanently enjoining a copyright infringement defendant from publishing or marketing his book, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 in a divided decision (TD Bank N.A. v. Vernon W. Hill, No. 16-2897, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19687).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A real estate photography studio tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 13 petition for certiorari that the circuit courts of appeal are divided on whether liability for direct copyright infringement requires a showing of volitional conduct, arguing that a website operator, such as respondent Zillow Inc., should be found liable for infringing content on its site when it has the ability to control such content (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 18-1540, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — In a June 25 docket entry, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals proposed an oral argument date of Sept. 30 in a fully briefed appeal of a lawsuit where a California man claims that a newspaper infringed his copyrighted article by publishing it without compensating him for it (Joel D. Joseph v. Buffalo News Inc., No. 18-2793, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 declined to consider a question over whether “used” digital music files can legally be resold under the Copyright Act’s first-sale doctrine, denying a petition for certiorari by digital music marketplace operator ReDigi Inc. (ReDigi Inc., et al. v. Capitol Records LLC, et al., No. 18-1430, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 4296).
MIAMI — A former franchisee on June 18 moved for a Florida federal court to reconsider its order a day earlier granting a motion for preliminary injunction that bars it from using Tim Hortons trademarks or service marks and from representing the restaurants as authorized Tim Hortons restaurants (Tim Hortons USA, Inc., States, et al. v. Tims Milner LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-24152, S.D. Fla.; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100978).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its June 24 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to address the question of whether the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) is entitled to copyright protection (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — On the fifth and final day of oral arguments in the liability trial for VidAngel Inc. in California federal court, a jury on June 17 found that the online video-filtering service’s infringement of the plaintiff studios’ copyrighted works was willful, awarding the studios $61,425,000 related to copyright infringement (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).