The Jury Awards Beastie Boys $1.7 Million

The jury in the copyright infringement suit brought by the Beastie Boys awarded the band $1.7 million, a bit short of $2 million it was seeking but much higher than $125,000 defendant Monster said it may owe to the group. The Beastie Boys sued an energy drink maker Monster for its unauthorized use of the band’s music in a promotional video.  In the complaint filed for this case, the group stated that “[t]he public was confused into believing that plaintiffs sponsored, endorsed and are associated…
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SCOTUS Holds Laches no Defense to Copyright Infringement in Raging Bull Case

On May 19, the U.S. Supreme Court revived a copyright lawsuit over the 1980 hit movie “Raging Bull,” a film about the famous boxer Jake LaMotta.  The suit was originally brought against MGM Studios by Paula Petrella, the daughter of the now-deceased screenwriter Frank Petrella, but was dismissed by two lower courts who held that Petrella waited too long to sue.  The Supreme Court disagreed and re-instated Petrella’s suit. The original rights to the film were sold to an entity which was later purchased by…
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Cases against the NCAA and its Conferences over Athletic Scholarship Rules Get Consolidated

On June 4, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to consolidate two lawsuits over athletic scholarship rules in the Northern District of California where similar litigation is pending. Currently presiding over the Ed O’Bannon case on misappropriation of likeness, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken will hear the two cases over the cap imposed on athletic scholarships—one brought by Shawne Alston and the other by Marvin Jenkins. Alston filed a suit against the NCAA, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 in March…
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Beastie Boys Make the Closing Argument against Monster Energy Drink

On June 4, the Beastie Boys’ lawyer Kevin Puvalowski delivered his closing argument in a copyright infringement suit against an energy drink maker Monster.  The lawsuit claims that Monster used portions of the band’s songs without a license in its 2012 promotional video. With the members Michael Diamond or “Mike D” and Adam Horovitz or “Ad-Rock” present in the courtroom, Puvalowski urged the jurors that Monster should pay $2 million in damages for its negligence over its employees “stealing from the Beastie Boys.” On the…
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Godzilla Settles with “Mechahopzilla”

Godzilla’s rights-owner Toho Co. Ltd. announced a settlement of the intellectual property litigation with New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Co. (“NOLA”).  Toho had filed a lawsuit against NOLA when it had come out with a beer called ‘Mechahopzilla’ and used a logo allegedly similar to Mechagodzilla, a character from the 1974 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.  While no monetary award was reported, the agreement calls for NOLA to rename its beer and change some aspects of its advertising and packaging that are affected by…
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Donald Sterling Throws in the Towel: the Clippers to Steve Ballmer

Donald Sterling decided to withdraw a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA and agreed to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.  According to an official release, Shelly Sterling in her deal with Ballmer agreed to “indemnify the NBA against lawsuits from others, including Donald Sterling.”  On the other hand, Donald Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher stated that the decision to withdraw came as a result of the NBA’s agreement not to sue Sterling in return. Sterling’s $1 billion lawsuit against…
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NCAA Players Agree to a $40 million Settlement with EA Sports

Leaving the NCAA as a sole defendant, NCAA football and basketball players reached a settlement with EA Sports in the case involving alleged misappropriation of the athletes’ likeness.  The $40 million settlement after attorney fees would provide approximately $4,000 to as many as 100,000 former and current NCAA players whose images EA Sports used in its college basketball and football video games since 2003.  The agreement awaits an approval by a federal judge presiding over the case.  For each registered eligible player, the settlement amount…
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Former American Idol Contestant Loses Libel Lawsuit against MTV

Corey Clark, the former-American Idol participant who gained notoriety for alleging he had an affair with then-judge Paula Abdul, recently saw his $40 million defamation suit against MTV dismissed.  The ex-contestant was originally disqualified and removed from the show after concealing the fact that he had been arrested for assaulting his sister. Clark responded by filing the libel lawsuit back in July 2012 after an MTV reporter published various pieces concerning Clark’s disqualification, including statements characterizing the assault as a “hairy domestic dispute,” and asserting…
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Sterling Says the Forced Sale of Clippers is Illegal

Calling the forced sale illegal, Donald Sterling will challenge the NBA’s attempt to oust him.  He claims that the attempt is illegal because it is based on illegal recording of his racial comments “during an inflamed lovers’ quarrel.” According to Sterling’s response to the NBA, because the conversation was recorded without his knowledge, the recording is illegal under California law.  Without the knowledge, Sterling also argues, he could not have “willfully” offended the league. Sterling came under fire when a recording of his racist comments…
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Beastie Boys Trial Against Monster Energy Drinks Begins

In 2012, the Beastie Boys brought suit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming both copyright infringement and unfair competition resulting from Monster’s use of their songs in an online promotional video.  The Beastie Boys are seeking $2 Million in damages. The controversy stems from a promotional video about a snowboarding competition in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies,” which is organized and sponsored by Monster.  After the event, Monster posted a video online of the competition and the after-party, including a mash-up mix performed by DJ…
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