WWE and Take-Two Interactive Move to Dismiss Tattoo Artist Copyright Infringement

On July 9, 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (Take-Two) moved to dismiss the suit brought by Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist for professional WWE wrestler Randy Orton. As we have previously reported, Alexander, sued WWE and Take-Two claiming that several video games in the WWE 2K series illegally copied Alexander’s copyrighted tattoos in the Randy Orton game avatar. Between 2003 and 2008, Alexander created several tattoos for Orton, including tattoos on his upper back, forearms, upper arms, and…
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Stuffed: Photographer’s Claim Against Nike Dismissed

Oregon District Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a ruling on Tuesday dismissing a lawsuit alleging that Nike Inc.’s “Jumpman” logo was an improper reproduction of a picture taken of Michael Jordan by the plaintiff photographer in 1984. The judge wrote: “[a]lthough at first glance there are certainly similarities between the two expressions of the pose, a closer examination reveals several material differences … In the context of thin or very close to thin copyright protection, these differences lead me to find that 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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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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CBS Sued Over Farting Hippopotamus

A recurring stuffed animal on the hit CBS show, NCIS, is causing the broadcasting corporation legal woes this week.  On August 25, CBS Broadcasting was sued by world renowned puppet maker, Folkmanis Inc.,  for infringing its copyrights by producing and selling “Bert the Farting Hippo” products. Abby Sciuto, the goth forensic scientist on NCIS, introduced her furry, farting stuffed animal, Bert back in 2003.  Since his first appearance, Bert the Farting Hippo has made over a dozen appearances on the television show, garnering…
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No Copyright Protection in a Monkey ‘Selfie’

The U.S. Copyright Office responded to a somewhat unconventional photograph of a female macaque monkey. The Copyright Office stated that “a photograph taken by a monkey” is not eligible for copyright protection. In 2011, British photographer David J. Slater spent three days in Indonesia to photograph black macaque monkeys. During the three days, a female macaque snatched Slater’s camera and snapped a few pictures. One picture in particular was a macaque smiling into the camera; thus, the first monkey ‘selfie’ was born. Slater sold the…
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Copyright Conundrum: Photographer Accuses Wikimedia of Monkey Business

British Photographer, David Slater is irate over Wikimedia’s inclusion of his photograph in Wikimedia Commons, an online archive of royalty-free images.  Slater submitted a request for its removal but Wikimedia has adamantly refused to take it down, stating that Slater has no claim on the image as he did not take it; a monkey did. In 2011, Slater traveled to Indonesia with his photography equipment to capture the crested black macaques in their natural habitat.  After he left his camera unattended, some of the monkeys…
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