Mealey's Copyright

  • November 19, 2020

    In Texas, Fee Request Denied In Dispute Over Copyright, Trademark

    SHERMAN, Texas — A defendant that won dismissal with prejudice of allegations that it infringed the copyright and trademark of a system for displaying the results of a personality assessment tool was awarded costs Nov. 17 by a federal judge in Texas, but not attorney fees (CoreClarity Inc. v. Gallup Inc., No. 20-601, E.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214265).

  • November 17, 2020

    Copyright Dispute Over Miniseries Properly Dismissed, 2nd Circuit Says

    NEW YORK — In a Nov. 12 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld findings by a federal judge in New York that a two-part miniseries produced by NBC Television and others is not substantially similar to a collection of short stories authored by a copyright owner (Wilhelmina Montgomery v. NBC Television, et al., No. 19-3665, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 35731).

  • November 17, 2020

    Stream-Ripping Site Operator Asks High Court To Rule On Jurisdictional Contacts

    WASHINGTON, D.C.  — A Russian man who was accused of copyright violations for his operation of two stream-ripping websites filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 12, seeking guidance on the nature of contacts necessary to confer U.S. jurisdiction over foreign website operators when there has been no purposeful direction of infringing behavior at a forum state (Tofig Kurbanov v. UMG Recordings Inc., et al., No. 20-503, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 16, 2020

    Disney Asks Supreme Court To Reject Petition Over Character Copyrightability

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 13, The Walt Disney Co. filed its opposition to a petition for certiorari that centers on allegations that characters from the movie “Inside Out” infringed a group of characters called “Moodsters,” with Disney telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the standard for determining the copyrightability of characters, independent of a copyrighted work, is long settled and uniformly enforced by the federal appeals courts (The Moodsters Co. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 20-132, U.S. Sup.).

  • November 16, 2020

    Judge Tosses UCL Claim, Allows DMCA, Breach Of License Agreement Claims To Proceed

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 13 dismissed with prejudice a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim but allowed claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and breach of license agreement to proceed in a lawsuit involving graph database software, concluding that allegations that the defendants failed to operate under the requirements of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization are insufficient to demonstrate an unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business practice (Neo4j, Inc. v. Graph Foundation, Inc., No. 19-06226, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212896).

  • November 12, 2020

    9th Circuit: Conversion Claim Correctly Deemed Preempted By Copyright Act

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a Nov. 4 unpublished ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment by an Oregon federal judge in favor of a defendant accused of conversion, on grounds that the claim is preempted by federal copyright law (Lori Bokenfohr v. Christine Guidera, No. 19-35992, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34914).

  • November 12, 2020

    11th Circuit Reverses Prejudicial Dismissal Of Copyright, Trademark Row

    ATLANTA — In an Oct. 29 holding, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Florida federal judge’s dismissal with prejudice of a copyright and trademark case for lack of prosecution was an abuse of discretion because the judge earlier told the plaintiff that dismissal would be without prejudice (The Lasswell Foundation for Learning and Laughter Inc., et al. v. Timothy Schwartz, No. 20-10263, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34195).

  • November 12, 2020

    Broadcast Of Boxing Match Infringed Copyright, Texas Federal Judge Says

    BROWNSVILLE, Texas — In a Nov. 9 order, a federal judge in Texas agreed with the holder of the distribution rights for the 2017 match between boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor that a Texas bar infringed when it broadcast the bout, entitling the plaintiff to five times its standard license fee (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Bella’s Bar & Grille LLC, et al., No. 19-140, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209769).

  • November 11, 2020

    Copyrighted Engineering Simulation Software At Issue In Pennsylvania Complaint

    PITTSBURGH — A plaintiff on Nov. 5 accused a licensee of accessing, without authorization, its copyrighted software program at least 278 times over a five-year span in a complaint filed in Pennsylvania federal court (Ansys Inc. v. Actox Corporation, No. 20-1694, W.D. Pa.).

  • November 11, 2020

    Miramax Exceeded Terms Of Copyright License, New Complaint Alleges

    NEW YORK — In a Nov. 10 filing in a federal court in New York, the exclusive holder of the distribution rights to major motion picture “The Crow: Salvation” (also known as “The Crow III”) accused Miramax LLC and its affiliates of “knowingly and blatantly” infringing the copyrighted work for a decade (Library Rights Company UK Ltd. v. Miramax LLC, et al., No. 20-9396, S.D. N.Y.).

  • November 10, 2020

    New York Federal Judge Denies Fees, Reconsideration Of Copyright Ruling

    NEW YORK — In a Nov. 9 holding, a New York federal judge stood by his earlier dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement leveled by a professional photographer because the display of his photograph by a defendant constitutes fair use (Stephen Yang v. Mic Network Inc., No. 18-7628, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208851).

  • November 10, 2020

    New York Federal Magistrate Won’t Query Copyright Office Over Phanatic

    NEW YORK — A declaratory judgment action in New York will not result in a query to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the registration covering the Phillie Phanatic mascot, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4 (The Phillies v. Harrison/Erickson Inc., et al., No. 19-7239, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206749).

  • November 05, 2020

    Pennsylvania Federal Judge:  Jurisdiction Lacking In Copyright Row

    PHILADELPHIA — A request for entry of default judgment by a professional photographer in connection with allegations that a U.K. website infringed his copyright were unsuccessful on Nov. 2, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania instead dismissed the dispute for lack of jurisdiction (Thomas J. Kelly III v. Vertikal Press Ltd., No. 20-2315, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203824).

  • November 04, 2020

    Supreme Court Asked To Rethink ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Suit Certiorari Denial

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the band Led Zeppelin in a dispute over the alleged copying of another band song in the iconic “Stairway To Heaven” has resulted in a “fundamental attack on the principles of Copyright law,” a petitioner tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Oct. 30 petition for rehearing in which he asks the high court to reconsider its denial of certiorari on questions related to protection under the 1909 Copyright Act (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 20-142, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 30, 2020

    Musicians Appeal Reversal Of Katy Perry Copyright Judgment To 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The writers of a Christian rap song who initially prevailed in a copyright infringement suit against pop singer Katy Perry, tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 13 appellant brief that a trial court judge wrongly relied on inadmissible evidence and an improper substantial similarity standard in vacating a $2.9 million judgment in their favor (Marcus Gray, et al. v. Kathryn Elizabeth Hudson, et al., No. 20-55401, 9th Cir.).

  • October 29, 2020

    11th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Copyright Claims Against ‘Narcos’

    ATLANTA — In an Oct. 27 holding, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a Florida federal judge’s rejection of allegations by the author of a memoir about her relationship with the drug lord Pablo Escobar that a popular television show copied portions of her work (Virginia Vallejo v. Narcos Productions LLC, et al., No. 19-14894, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33809).

  • October 27, 2020

    Ex Parte TRO Request In Copyright, Trademark Case Denied In Michigan

    DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Oct. 22 cleared the way for two copyright and trademark infringement plaintiffs to serve a copy of their complaint via email to defendants purportedly located in Pakistan (Versah LLC, et al. v. Ul Amin Industries, et al., No. 20-12657, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195922).

  • October 27, 2020

    Dismissal Of Copyright Dispute Over ‘USA Sumo Open’ Affirmed By Panel

    SAN FRANCISCO — In an Oct. 21 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a California federal judge’s dismissal, on jurisdiction grounds, of allegations that an appellee infringed the copyright for the USA Sumo Open when it rebroadcast portions of the event throughout Japan (Superama Corporation Inc. v. Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., No. 19-55981, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33221).

  • October 21, 2020

    Refusal To Vacate Default In Copyright Case Affirmed By 10th Circuit

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 15 order upheld an Oklahoma federal judge’s denial of a copyright infringement defendant’s motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) (Christ Center of Divine Philosophy Inc. v. Ellen Veronica Elam, No. 19-6186, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32533).

  • October 21, 2020

    New York Federal Judge: American Flag Design Is Sufficiently Original

    NEW YORK — A defendant’s motion to dismiss allegations of copyright infringement leveled in connection with an image of the American flag was denied Oct. 16 by a federal judge in New York, who found that the plaintiff’s design might merit copyright protection (NYC Image International Inc. v. RS USA Inc., No. 19-10355, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193016).

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