Nike OK’d to Continue Using “Jumpman” Logo

On February 27, 2018 the Ninth Circuit ruled that Nike’s use of its iconic “Jumpman” logo did not infringe on copyrights to a 1984 image of Michael Jordan, as captured by photographer Jacobus Rentmeester. Following more than three years of litigation — and though the decision was split — Nike may continue to use the image without legal repercussions. Rentmeester originally shot and used the image of Jordan in a mid-air, “grand jeté-inspired pose,” which was featured in a 1984 issue of Life
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Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” a Copy, Awards Gaye Family $7.36 Million

On Tuesday, March 10, a California Jury  determined that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up” in writing their hit song “Blurred Lines,” awarding $7.36 million in damages to Gaye’s children. Back in August of 2013, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams filed a preemptive lawsuit to declare that their hit song “Blurred Lines” did not infringe on the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.”  Ever since that point, the music world has…
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The Secret Is Out: How Much Artists Make on a Hit Like “Blurred Lines”

$16.6 million.  That is the profit that the hit song “Blurred Lines” has generated since its release.  While the profitability of a song is highly guarded secret in the industry, Robin Thicke was forced to reveal the number during the copyright infringement trial.  Of the total profit, he and Pharrell Williams each took over $5 million. The copyright infringement dispute arose when the family of deceased “Got to Give It Up” singer Marvin Gaye sued Thicke over allegedly ripping off Gaye’s song.  Arguing…
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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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Freeplay Music Sues Disney’s Maker Studios and Other MCNs for Copyright Infringement

Freeplay Music, a music licensing company that owns rights to 50, 000 works by various composers, is suing separately four YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) Disney’s Maker Studios, DreamWorks Animation’s Awesomeness, Big Frame and BroadbandTV Corp., alleging the defendants misappropriated its licensed music in YouTube videos. More specifically, Freeplay claims Maker infringed over 45 copyrights, AwesomenessTV and Big Frame together infringed on 14 copyrights, and BroadbandTV infringed on more than 70 copyrights. It was only last week that Freeplay was in the news when two…
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“Blurred Lines” Copyright Lawsuit Jury Barred from Listening to Original “Got To Give It Up”

Despite the alleged similarities between Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got To Give It Up,” the jury sitting in the copyright infringement suit will not hear the original recording of the song at all.  On January 26, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt in a pre-trial hearing ruled that the actual sound recording of the 1977 hit would be barred. Judge Krondstadt ruled because Gaye’s performance in the original recording is not at issue, allowing interpretations of the musical…
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Photographer Claims Infringement by Nike on ‘Jumpman’ Logo

On Thursday, January 22, a professional photographer filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Nike Inc. for their alleged excessive use of his iconic photograph of a mid-air Michael Jordan, which ultimately became the “Jumpman” logo. In 1984, professional photographer, Jacobus Rentmeester,  held a photo-shoot of Michael Jordan on the University of North Carolina campus for an up-coming LIFE magazine issue.  At that photo-shoot, he captured one of the most well-known images in both sports and fashion.  Rentmeester’s lawsuit claims Nike paid $150 for…
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Beastie Boys Want to Avoid Pyrrhic Victory, Ask For $2.4 Million from Monster

Over the weekend, the Beastie Boys filed with the SDNY, seeking $2.4 million in legal fees from Monster Energy to pay for their recent copyright infringement litigation. In June, the world-renowned rap group won $1.7 million in a lawsuit against Monster Energy.  The Beasties claimed, and Monster admitted during trial, that the energy drink producer used five of their songs without authorization in an online marketing video.  The $1.7 million awarded, however, is not enough to cover the extensive legal fees that the band accumulated…
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Universal Sues Companies for Selling Prison Mix Tape “Contraband”

On Tuesday, January 6, Universal Music Group turned its eye back toward the fight against music piracy by filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in the Central District of California against companies compiling mix tapes for prisoners. Centric Group and its subsidiary Keefe Group, the named defendants in the suit, are companies that put together “care packages” for prison inmates.  The companies have set up a website through which customers can pay the companies to put together packages for delivery to relatives in jail.  One popular…
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Sampling Not Palpable in “Run This Town” According to Judge

On Thursday, November 13, Jay-Z’s copyright infringement litigation load  lightened up as District Judge Kaplan for the Southern District of New York  filed an Order seemingly favoring Jay-Z. This good news comes just over a week after yet another federal lawsuit was filed against Jay-Z for allegedly stealing a song, “Made in America.”  In this dispute, Jay-Z is being accused of sampling the song  “Hook & Sling Part 1” in his 2009 hit “Run this Town.”  The Judge’s order states that after several listens, the…
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