ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Russian national on Jan. 22 won dismissal by a Virginia federal judge of copyright infringement allegations levied in connection with his two websites devoted to “stream ripping” (UMG Recordings Inc., et al. v. Tofig Kurbanov, No. 18-957, E.D. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10975).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An August 2018 finding by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a visual artist’s trade dress claim was preempted by the Copyright Act will stand, thanks to a denial of certiorari Jan. 22 by the U.S. Supreme Court (Bruce Munro, et al. v. Lucy Activewear Inc., et al., No. 18-615, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 7 received briefs from two amici curiae supporting the petition for certiorari of a photographer who sued Nike Inc. over the purported infringement of his famous photograph of Michael Jordan, asking the high court to extend the copyright protection enjoyed by other art forms to photography (Jacobus Rentmeester v. Nike Inc., No. 18-728, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A video-filtering service that was sued for copyright infringement by several movie studios asked a California federal court on Jan. 11 to modify a two-year-old preliminary injunction against it to specify that its current method of video filtering, which it subsequently adopted, is not covered by the existing injunction (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge correctly dismissed a complaint alleging copyright infringement by Calvin Broadus Jr., doing business as Snoop Dogg, Andre Young, doing business as Dr. Dre, and producer Marion Knight because the allegations were untimely, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 11 (Antonio White, et al. v. Calvin Broadus, et al., No. 17-55864, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1050).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The meaning of “full costs” as it appears in Section 505 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 505, was debated on Jan. 14 before the U.S. Supreme Court in a longstanding dispute over Oracle USA Inc. software (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Jan. 9 per curiam holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal by a California federal judge of a declaratory judgment action involving copyrights related to Bob Marley and an unfinished film on the late musician (Royal Palm Filmworks v. Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd., No. 17-56313, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 739).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A longstanding circuit split moved one step closer to resolution Jan. 8 when at oral arguments counsel for a news website operator told the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Copyright Office must grant a copyright registration before infringement litigation can commence (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to a brief by Oracle USA Inc. and supporting amici curiae, a software support firm on Jan. 4 filed its merits reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the Copyright Act does not support an award of nontaxable costs to the prevailing litigant in a copyright lawsuit (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — Allegations of trade dress and copyright infringement levied against Dollar General Corp. in connection with sprinkler toys were rejected on summary judgment on Dec. 28 by a California federal judge, who found that a plaintiff is unable to demonstrate ownership of the intellectual property at issue (Swift Harvest USA LLC v. Dollar General Corporation, No. 17-8644, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 217845).
NEW YORK — In a Jan. 2 report, a New York federal magistrate judge recommended an award of $6.2 million on behalf of four publishers that accuse 15 individuals and one corporate defendant of copyright and trademark infringement in connection with their online sales of counterfeit textbooks (Elsevier Inc., et al. v. Siew Yee Chew, et al., No. 17-6225, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196).
CINCINNATI — On Dec. 20, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a copyright infringer’s challenge to an award of $30,000 in statutory damages that were issued by an Ohio federal judge to a competing recording artist (Robert L. Smith Jr. v. Bernard Thomas, No. 18-3380, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35916).
HOUSTON — Allegations by Patagonia Inc. that an online seller infringed Patagonia’s copyright-pending product photographs will proceed, a Texas federal judge ruled Dec. 17 (Patagonia Inc. v. Erin Lee Lobdell d/b/a Lonestar Trade, No. 18-3653, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211766).
LOS ANGELES — On remand after a favorable ruling from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a group of movie studios on Dec. 14 ask a California federal court to grant them summary judgment as to liability on their copyright infringement and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claims against a video-streaming company that makes family-friendly edits of movies (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With oral arguments approaching, Oracle USA Inc. filed its respondent brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13, defending an award of nontaxable costs it was granted in a software license copyright dispute and arguing that the Copyright Act provides for an award of full costs to a prevailing party and not just certain costs, as the petitioner suggests (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — A motion to dismiss filed by an investment bank and its agent was denied Dec. 13 by an Illinois federal judge, who rejected as premature the defendants’ claim that the information in dispute is factual and not subject to copyright protection (UIRC-GSA Holdings Inc. v. William Blair & Company, et al., No. 15-9518, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210499).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 29 appellee brief, pop singer Ed Sheeran asks the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm the denial of a third party’s motion to intervene in a suit alleging copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On,” arguing that the prospective intervenor waited more than three years to take action over its purported rights in the song (Kathryn Townsend Griffin, et al. v. Edward Christopher Sheeran, et al., No. 18-1862, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Efforts by SAP SE to obtain dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement allegations were unsuccessful Dec. 12, when a California federal judge deemed the claims adequately pleaded; in the same ruling, however, the judge agreed to dismiss allegations of trade secret misappropriation, upon finding that the asserted trade secrets are not sufficiently identified (Teradata Corp., et al. v. SAP SE, et al., No. 18-3670, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209872).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 agreed with a New York federal judge that a digital music resale service infringes the recording industry’s exclusive right to reproduce copyrighted works under Section 106(1) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106(1) (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. ReDigi Inc., et al., No. 16-2321, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34914).
NEW YORK — A wedding guest who later copyrighted his photograph of President Donald Trump crashing a wedding prevailed on summary judgment on Dec. 10 in his New York federal infringement lawsuit against a news outlet that published the image online (Jonathan Otto v. Hearst Communications Inc., No. 17-4712, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208698).