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Mealey's Copyright

  • October 16, 2018

    Copyright Registration Required For Litigation, News Service Tells High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Approval or rejection of a copyright registration by the U.S. Copyright Office is necessary before an infringement suit may be filed, a news website operator argues in an Oct. 11 respondent brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to find that the mere act of filing a registration application is insufficient to permit a party to initiate litigation (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 12, 2018

    Ticket Brokers Defend Copyright Misuse, Antitrust Claims Against Ticketmaster

    LOS ANGELES — In an Oct. 8 brief in California federal court, two ticket brokers accused of inappropriately using bots to purchase tickets opposed a motion by Ticketmaster LLC to dismiss their counterclaims against the ticket seller, arguing that the plaintiff has long engaged in a practice of copyright misuse to further its goal of monopolizing the ticket industry (Ticketmaster LLC v. Prestige Entertainment West Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cv-07232, C.D. Calif.).

  • October 12, 2018

    Music Modernization Act Signed Into Law By President Trump

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Oct. 11 White House ceremony, President Donald J. Trump signed into law H.R. 1551, the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act (MMA), which will — among other things — compensate artists for digitally downloaded pre-1972 master recordings.

  • October 11, 2018

    2nd Circuit Affirms: Copyright Allegations Untimely, Unproven

    NEW YORK — In an Oct. 4 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sided with a Spanish-language media firm accused of copyright infringement, finding that summary judgment on behalf of the defendant was properly granted by a New York federal judge (Latin American Music Company Inc., et al. v. Spanish Broadcasting System Inc., No. 17-1953, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28089).

  • October 10, 2018

    9th Circuit Orders New Trial In ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Copyright Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — Citing a California federal judge’s erroneous and prejudicial jury instructions, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 agreed that a new trial is necessary on allegations that Led Zeppelin copied a fellow rock band’s work when composing and recording “Stairway to Heaven” (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 16-56287, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27680).

  • October 2, 2018

    Supreme Court Won’t Weigh In On Dispute Over Copyright Transfer

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Oct. 1 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by the purported owner of a copyrighted software application in a case that sought clarification on the standards for satisfying Section 204(a) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 204(a) (Anthony Johnson v. Storix Inc., No. 17-1503, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 28, 2018

    Amici Support News Group In High Court Fight Over Copyright Registration Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five amicus curiae briefs were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 4 supporting a news organization’s argument that a copyright holder can sue for infringement after the copyright registration is filed, rather than having to wait until the certificate of registration issues (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 28, 2018

    Software Developer Cites Copyright Transfer Cases To Support Certiorari Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five months after filing a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court over the copyright transfer procedure in Section 204(a) of the Copyright Act, a software developer on Sept. 18 filed a supplemental brief citing subsequent rulings that he contends “show an increasing need to clarify the writing requirements for copyright transfers” (Anthony Johnson v. Storix Inc., No. 17-1503, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 27, 2018

    Supreme Court Takes Up Oracle, Rimini Copyright Dispute Over Costs

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Sept. 27 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a dispute that poses the question of whether a prevailing party can be awarded only taxable costs — an issue that has divided the circuit courts of appeal (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 27, 2018

    Wisconsin Federal Magistrate Judge Won’t Reconsider Ruling In Copyright Case

    MILWAUKEE — Efforts by a copyright infringement plaintiff to obtain reconsideration of a June decision that partly denied summary judgment were unsuccessful on Sept. 25, when a Wisconsin federal magistrate judge instead stood by his ruling (Empire Medical Review Services Inc. v. CompuClaim Inc., No. 13-1283, E.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163682).

  • September 26, 2018

    In Copyright Dispute, 2nd Circuit Finds Similarities Unprotectable

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge’s dismissal of copyright infringement allegations was upheld Sept. 21 by a per curiam Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, amid findings that any similarities between a screenplay and a novel that was later made into a movie are unprotectible ideas, scènes à faire or de minimis (Joseph Nobile v. Margot Louise Watts, et al., No. 17-3752, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27068).

  • September 25, 2018

    9th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Copyright Claim Against Joe Arpaio

    SAN FRANCISCO — An Arizona federal judge’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Joe Arpaio on allegations of copyright infringement was affirmed Sept. 21 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (David E. Kelly v. Joe Arpaio, No. 18-15046, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27141).

  • September 20, 2018

    Website Use Did Not Strip Photographer Of Photos’ Copyrights, Judge Rules

    AUSTIN, Texas — The rules and regulations (R&R) of a real estate listing website contained only a license to use uploaded pictures, not an assignment of rights, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 19, denying a homebuilder’s motion for summary judgment on copyright claims brought against it by a photographer (Alexander Stross v. Eugene Rowehl, et al., No. 1:17-cv-00676, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159846).

  • September 20, 2018

    Illinois Federal Judge Rejects Copyright Claims Against Broadcasting Cos.

    CHICAGO — Allegations by two plaintiffs that Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) and CBS Broadcasting Inc.’s “The Guest Book” comedy series infringes upon a YouTube series were dismissed Sept. 18 by an Illinois federal judge on the basis of insufficient evidence of substantial similarity (Diana Meynart-Hanzel, et al. v. Turner Broadcasting System Inc., et al., No. 17-6308, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158764).

  • September 19, 2018

    D.C. Circuit Upholds Copyright Royalty Rates For Digital Recordings

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Sept. 18 ruling, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sustained a determination by the Copyright Royalty Board of rates for subscription-based commercial noninteractive webcasters and ad-based commercial noninteractive webcasters for playing recordings over the Internet between 2016 and 2020 under the statutory license provided for in Section 114 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 114(f)(2)(A) (SoundExchange Inc., et al. v. Copyright Royalty Board, No. 16-1159, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 26419).

  • September 19, 2018

    Warner Bros. Wins Dismissal Of Copyright Claims In California

    LOS ANGELES — Allegations that the television series “Stalker” infringed upon the copyrighted semiautobiographical work “Book” were rejected Sept. 17 by a California federal judge in response to a motion to dismiss by Warner Bros. Entertainment (Kathryn Evans v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, No. 18-3951, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158338).

  • September 14, 2018

    3rd Circuit: ‘Empire’ Television Pilot Not Substantially Similar

    PHILADELPHIA — Assertions by an actor and producer that Fox Television and others infringed his copyrighted television pilot with the series “Empire” were properly dismissed for failure to state a claim, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 28 (Clayton Prince Tanksley v. Lee Daniels, et al., No. 17-2023, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 24317).

  • September 14, 2018

    Intervention Denial In Gaye, Sheeran Copyright Suit Appealed To 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — A company that owns an interest in Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit song “Let’s Get It On” tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Aug. 30 appeal brief that a trial court judge erred in declining to permit it to intervene in a copyright infringement suit against pop singer Ed Sheeran brought by other owners of the song’s songwriting interests (Kathryn Townsend Griffin, et al. v. Edward Christopher Sheeran, et al., No. 18-1862, 2nd Cir.).

  • September 13, 2018

    News-Monitoring Service Asks High Court To Consider Copyright Fair-Use Standard

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The provider of an online news-monitoring service tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 12 petition for certiorari that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals applied an incorrect market harm standard in denying its fair-use defense on copyright infringement claims brought by Fox News Network LLC, asking the high court to consider existing standards in light of contemporary digital technology and free speech ramifications (TVEyes Inc. v. Fox News Network LLC, No. 18-321, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 12, 2018

    2nd Circuit Reinstates Copyright Claims Against Associated Press, NFL

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge’s dismissal of copyright infringement claims levied against the National Football League and the Associated Press was vacated, in part, on Sept. 11 by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that certain allegations by seven sports photographers are viable (Paul Spinelli, et al. v. National Football League, et al., No. 17-673, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25670).