Mealey's Copyright

  • February 16, 2018

    Composer’s Assignee Tells 2nd Circuit Italian Film Scores Were Not Works For Hire

    NEW YORK —  Arguing about differences in Italian and U.S. copyright law, a composer’s copyright assignee tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 14 brief that a trial court incorrectly concluded that film scores written on commission in Italy are equivalent to works for hire in the United States (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir.).

  • February 16, 2018

    Plaintiff Partly Prevails In New York Copyright Dispute Over Embedded Tweets

    NEW YORK — Breitbart News Network, Time Inc. and other online publishers were dealt a blow Feb. 15 when a New York federal judge ruled that tweets embedded in news stories can form the basis of a copyright infringement claim (Justin Goldman v. Breitbart News Network Inc., et al., No. 17-3144, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25215).

  • February 15, 2018

    VidAngel Defends UCL, Antitrust Claims Against Studios To 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — In its third appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a copyright dispute with several movie studios, video-filtering service provider VidAngel Inc. argues in a Feb. 12 brief that a trial court improperly dismissed its counterclaims under the Sherman Act and California’s unfair competition law (UCL), despite its ample pleadings of the studios’ collusive actions (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 17-56665, 9th Cir.).

  • February 14, 2018

    Kentucky Federal Judge Denies Universal Music Bid To Dismiss Copyright Case

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Assertions by Universal Music Group Inc. that personal jurisdiction over it is lacking in Kentucky were rejected Feb. 13 by a Kentucky federal judge, who instead ruled that the copyright case against the music publisher can proceed for now (Leroy Mitchell v. Capitol Records LLC, et al., No. 15-174, W.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23351).

  • February 9, 2018

    Efforts To Save Lee Statue With Copyright Claim Fail In Texas Federal Court

    DALLAS — In a Feb. 7 ruling, a Texas federal judge rejected an attempt to prevent the city of Dallas from removing a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from city property on grounds that the removal would constitute copyright infringement (Hiram Patterson, et al. v. Mike Rawlings, No. 17-2361, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19873).

  • February 8, 2018

    Costs Awarded In New York Copyright Case; Judge Says Both Sides Unreasonable

    ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Feb. 7 awarded two prevailing copyright infringement defendants $38,247.89 in costs but deferred a ruling on the amount of attorney fees to be reimbursed and instead ordered additional briefing (Universal Instruments Corporation v. Micro Systems Engineering Inc., No. 13-831, N.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19662).

  • February 7, 2018

    9th Circuit: Dolphin Drawing Is An Unprotectable Idea First Found In Nature

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge properly granted a defendant summary judgment on allegations that a pen and ink depiction of two dolphins crossing underwater was infringed, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 2 (Peter A. Folkens v. Wyland Worldwide LLC, et al., No. 16-15882, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2768).

  • February 2, 2018

    4th Circuit: Contributory Copyright Infringement Requires Proof Of Willful Blindness

    RICHMOND, Va. — In a Feb. 1 ruling, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Virginia federal judge’s determination that two internet service providers (ISPs) are not entitled to a safe-harbor defense to allegations of contributory copyright infringement, but vacated and reversed a jury’s $25 million statutory damage award upon finding that jurors were presented with erroneous instructions (BMG Rights Management [US] LLC, et al. v. Cox Communications Inc., et al., No. 16-1972, 17-1352 and 17-1353, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2487).

  • February 2, 2018

    Architectural Firm Seeks Review Of Copyright Law Protecting Building Designs

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Jan. 19 petition for certiorari, an architectural firm asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the rights and affections provided to authors of architectural works under the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (AWCPA), asserting that lower court rulings failed to enforce its rights by finding that a former client had an implied license in disputed design plans (Frost-Tsuji Architects v. Highway Inn Inc., et al., No. 17-1025, U.S. Sup.).

  • February 2, 2018

    Oksana Baiul Petitions High Court Over Copyright Act Preemption

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Jan. 22 petition for certiorari, Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the complete preemption doctrine of Section 301 of the Copyright Act can be applied to state law claims that merely touch on copyright law (Oksana Baiul, et al. v. NBC Sports, et al., No. 17-1033, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 31, 2018

    U2 Wins Dismissal Of New York Copyright Dispute Over Guitar Solo

    NEW YORK — A composer and musician’s allegation that the band U2 infringed his copyright during a guitar solo on the song “The Fly” is both “vague and sweeping,” a New York federal judge ruled Jan. 30 (Paul Rose v. Paul David Hewson, p/k/a Bono, et al., No. 17-1471, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14840).

  • January 31, 2018

    10-Year MP3tunes Copyright Suit Settles For $39 Million

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Jan. 26 approved an agreement and consent judgment, settling a decade-long copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a group of record labels and music publishers against the founder of now-defunct online music-sharing service MP3tunes LLC, assessing an agreed-upon $39 million judgment against the defendant and adjourning the case (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. MP3tunes LLC, et al., No. 1:07-cv-09931, S.D. N.Y.).

  • January 29, 2018

    Fee Award Recommended In Copyright Dispute Over Beatles Footage

    NEW YORK — In a Jan. 25 report and recommendation, a New York federal magistrate judge found that a copyright infringement dispute over footage of the Beatles performing at Shea Stadium in 1965 was unreasonable (Sid Bernstein Presents LLC v. Apple Corps Limited, et al., No. 16-7084, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13335).

  • January 24, 2018

    California Federal Judge Orders YouTube, Google To Show Cause For Removal

    LOS ANGELES — A recent removal by YouTube LLC and Google Inc. of a purported copyright action to California federal court and subsequent request for dismissal prompted a California federal judge on Jan. 22 to enter an order to show cause for why the case should not be returned to Los Angeles County Superior Court (Akiko Kijimoto v. YouTube LLC, et al., No. 17-8184, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9918).

  • January 24, 2018

    Counterclaim Of Copyright Invalidity Stricken As Redundant By Federal Judge

    CHICAGO — A counterclaim seeking a declaration of copyright invalidity is “unnecessary” in light of affirmative defenses of fair use, first sale, acquiescence and license raised in response to allegations of copyright infringement, an Illinois federal judge ruled Jan. 23 (Maui Jim Inc. v. SmartBuyGlasses Optical Limited, No. 16-9788, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10093).

  • January 24, 2018

    Insurer Has No Duty To Pay For Independent Counsel In Copyright Suit, Panel Says

    CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel on Jan. 22 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has no obligation to reimburse its insured for more than $16,000 in independent counsel fees incurred in an underlying copyright infringement dispute, rejecting the insured’s contention that a conflict of interest entitled it to independent counsel (Bean Products, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 1-17-0421, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 89).

  • January 18, 2018

    Fair Use Finding In Copyright Case Appealed By Dr. Seuss Enterprises

    NEW YORK — In a Dec. 21 appellant brief to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P. (DSE) — owner of the rights to the Dr. Seuss literary works — argues that a New York federal judge erred in deeming a play featuring the popular Seuss character Cindy-Lou Who a fair use of DSE’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” copyright (Matthew Lombardo, et al. v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., No. 17-2952, 2nd Cir.).

  • January 18, 2018

    Jay-Z, Others Erroneously Prevailed In Copyright Case, Appellant Tells 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — Claims of copyright infringement surrounding the “Roc-A-Fella” logo should have proceeded but were instead disposed of on summary judgment, the alleged creator of the logo told the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 (Dwayne D. Walker, Jr. v. Shawn Carter, et al., No. 17-2483, 2nd Cir.).

  • January 18, 2018

    Kansas Federal Judge Won’t Refer Case To Register Of Copyrights

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In a Jan. 17 ruling, a Kansas federal judge denied a motion to refer to the Register of Copyrights allegations by an infringement defendant that a copyright registration for the Oil Daily publications is invalid (Energy Intelligence Group Inc., et al., v. CHS McPherson Refinery Inc., No. 16-1015, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7048).

  • January 18, 2018

    BitTorrent Copyright Case Rejected In Oregon On Standing Grounds

    PORTLAND, Ore. — The author of the screenplay for the motion picture “Fathers & Daughters” is not the “legal owner” of the film, with standing to sue for infringement, because the exclusive rights to the work were transferred in a license granted within a distribution agreement, an Oregon federal judge ruled Jan. 17 (Fathers & Daughters Nevada LLC v. Lingfu Zhang, No. 16-1443, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7435).