Category Archives: Film

You Don’t Have to Pay for That? “Concussion” Movie Legally Allowed to Depict NFL Logos Without League’s Consent

As anyone who has ever watched a football game on TV knows, one of the first things you hear before opening kickoff is a disclaimer stating that any broadcast or use of the NFL brand or its logos without its consent is prohibited under the law. People are so used to hearing the disclaimer that they probably don’t think about it too much; they just know that in order for the TV stations to broadcast the games, they need to legally disclaim any right to…

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Disney Fails on Attempt to Dismiss “Frozen” Teaser-Trailer Lawsuit

Federal Judge Vince Chhabria for the Northern District of California denied Disney’s attempt to dismiss a copyright lawsuit brought against it alleging ideas used in a teaser trailer for the hit film “Frozen” was stolen. The lawsuit, brought by animator Kelly Wilson in March of 2014, claims the trailer was ripped off from her 2-D short film “The Snowman.”  Arguing the trailer has many similarities to the short film, Wilson must also prove that Disney was aware of it and had seen it.  Disney brought…

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Lionsgate and Joss Whedon Face $10M Copyright Suit Over “The Cabin in the Woods”

Peter Gallagher, not the actor but an author of a 2006 novel, has filed a lawsuit against Lionsgate and Joss Whedon who produced and co-wrote the 2012 horror movie “The Cabin in the Woods” with Drew Goddard who was also named in the suit. Gallagher in the complaint alleges that Whedon and Goddard stole the idea, plots, characters, and more from his novel “The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines” without his consent in.  According to Gallagher, he registered the book with the…

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“The Blueprint” for an Infringement?

A recently-filed case in a California federal court has Jay-Z and his promoters at Live Nation wondering whether they’ll continue to reap the benefits of the 1999 hit single Big Pimpin’ or whether they’ll be “spending G’s” to clean up a potential infringement posed by a sample looped throughout one of S. Carter’s most famous tracks.  Last week, an Egyptian plaintiff named Osama Ahmed Fahmy sued Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., seeking unspecified actual damages and costs, alleging Live Nation’s continued “use” of Big Pimpin’ in…

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Disney, Sony, DreamWorks Asked Court to Dismiss Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

Major animation studios filed a motion to dismiss an antitrust suit filed against them by their former employees.  The defendants Disney, Sony, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky argued in the filing that the plaintiff animators brought the suit five years after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 began scrutinizing arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees in the industry.  Moreover, the defendants further claimed the allegations that the studios would collude to suppress wages was “implausible” when the DOJ’s probe began and after…

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Stan Lee Media Holds No Ownership of Stan Lee’s Characters According to 9th Circuit

On Wednesday, October 29, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Stan Lee Media Inc. from an order dismissing its case against namesake and founder Stan Lee. The underlying suit, filed by the corporation, was to recover revenue generated by the characters Iron Man, Spider Man, and others.  Stan Lee Media was originally formed by Stan Lee in 1998 when he left Marvel Comics.  Stan Lee has since returned to Marvel and the corporation filed for bankruptcy.  The corporation claims…

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‘Birdman’ Production Company Under Attack by Former CEO & Founder

Worldview Entertainment’s much anticipated black comedy, ‘Birdman’ opens in theaters this Friday amid great legal turmoil.  Former CEO and founder, Chris Woodrow, fired back at the production company that fired him with a lawsuit claiming defamation. Earlier this month, Woodrow’s business partner at Worldview Entertainment, Maria Cestone, brought a lawsuit against the founder claiming misappropriation of funds.  Cestone accused Woodrow and his wife of embezzling more than $700,000 to pay for personal trips to Halifax and Lake Placid and to pay for…

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…it’s Warner Brothers!

Another victory for Warner Brothers in a lifelong battle over the copyright to Superman. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of Superman’s co-creator’s heirs, Joseph Shuster, to terminate Warner Brothers’ rights to the Superman copyright. Shuster’s heirs requested a hearing to challenge Warner Brothers’ copyright on the grounds that the 1976 Copyright Act allowed them to reclaim their portion of the comic character icon. A provision of the Copyright Act allows authors to terminate and reclaim previous assignments of copyrights. Shuster’s heirs initially made an…

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Peruvian Author Suing Disney for $250M Claiming ‘Frozen’ Is Her Story

A Peruvian author is suing Disney for $250 million, alleging ‘Frozen’ is not based on the Andersen fairy tale The Snow Queen but rather on her book.  In 2010 Isabella Tanikumi wrote an autobiography titled Yearnings Of The Heart depicting her life in the Andean mountains of Peru.  The synopsis of her book posted on Amazon says that Tanikumi’s autobiography portrays a young girl overcoming personal insecurities and various challenges in her life.  However, it does not seem to feature a talking…

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Avatar Avoids Another Lawsuit

On Wednesday, September 17, Judge Furman of the Southern District of New York federal court granted a motion dismissing claims against James Cameron for alleged copyright infringement in the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar. The judge’s dismissal relieves Cameron of the fourth lawsuit in the past year stemming from the film Avatar.  This cause of action was brought by Roger Dean, an English artist, whose works include album covers for the bands Yes, Uriah Heep, and Asia.  Dean sought more than $50 million for…

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