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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“Blurred Lines” Copyright Suit Set to Go to Trial

On Thursday, October 30, a California District Judge denied Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ motion for summary judgment to end the suit revolving around their song “Blurred Lines.” The recording artist and his producer went on the offensive in August 2013 by filing a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief to protect their song “Blurred Lines” from Bridgeport Music and Marvin Gaye’s children, who were threatening their own actions claiming copyright violations.  The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment to end the lawsuit in their favor…
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“World’s Most Interesting” Case Settled

On Monday, the parties in the “World’s Most Interesting” trademark suit filed a stipulation to dismiss the suit.  In 2013, the Mexican brewer of Dos Equis beer filed a trademark and copyright infringement suit against KCI, Inc. (“KCI”), a New Jersey company that offers storage area network (SAN) maintenance services, over its advertising campaign themed “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” a U.S. registered trademark of the brewer. The complaint alleged that KCI filed trademark applications for the marks “The Most Interesting SAN Architect…
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Jay Z Fights Back Copyright Suit Over Sampling of ‘Oh’ in “Run This Town”

Jay Z filed a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Record label TufAmerica before a New York federal district court.  The suit alleged that Jay Z and Rihanna’s hit song “Run This Town” sampled the Eddie Bo song “Hook & Sling” without authorization. According to the filing, Jay Z allegedly misappropriated ‘oh’ sound from “Hook & Sling” throughout “Run This Town.”  In filing the motion to dismiss, Jay Z’s legal team argued that the claim was “misguided” as it was not…
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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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Court Says Kanye West Didn’t Steal Pryor’s “get down”

A California federal court dismissed most of the claims in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Kanye West.  The court reasoned that an average listener would not recognize the saying “get down” because of the short length of the samples. While it is well known that West’s big hit “Gold Digger” is buildt around “I Got a Woman”  by Ray Charles, the lawsuit claimed it also contains samples of another song written by David Pryor and Thunder & Lightening.  Last year two children of Pryor…
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Seth MacFarlane Sued for Stealing Teddy Bear Idea for the Hit Movie Ted

Bengal Mangle Productions (“Bengal”) filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the 2012 hit comedy Ted.  The complaint alleged MacFarlane stole the idea of a foul-mouthed teddy bear living in an adult human world from a similar character named Charlie in Bengal’s 2008 screenplay Acting School Academy. Bengal described the Charlie character as one that “lives in a human, adult world with all human friends. Charlie has a penchant for drinking, smoking, prostitutes, and is a generally vulgar yet humorous…
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Judge Dismisses Copyright Lawsuit Against Lady Gaga

“Simply listening to the songs, as the law requires, reveals their utter lack of similarity,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen in his decision to dismiss the lawsuit.  Lady Gaga’s legal battle started back in 2011 when a Chicago singer Rebecca Francescatti sued the pop star alleging Gaga plagiarized parts of her 1999 song “Juda” for Lady Gaga’s hit “Judas” released in 2011. In a copyright infringement case, the court looks at whether the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s work and how similar the…
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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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