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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Tarantino Withdraws IP Lawsuit Against Gawker Over Script Leak

Barely a few weeks ago Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino filed an amended complaint in his lawsuit against the website Gawker, alleging that the site had committed copyright infringement by allowing a copy of his latest script, The Hateful Eight, to leak on the internet. Now, Tarantino and his lawyers have decided to walk away, voluntarily dismissing the lawsuit. The controversy began after Gawker posted a downloadable PDF version of Tarantino’s script online. The two-time Oscar winner responded by filing…
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Google & Viacom Settle Seven Year Old Copyright Suit

On March 18, media giants Google and Viacom announced the settlement of a seven year old copyright dispute regarding content posted on YouTube.  In 2007, Viacom sued Google for copyright infringement accusing the company of posting Viacom programing on YouTube without permission.  The moneyless settlement ends the dispute with what the two companies are referring to as a collaborative effort. The original suit was filed against YouTube, a Google owned company, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for the alleged infringements.  Viacom accused YouTube…
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Judge Nixes Jury Verdict in EA Sports ‘Madden’ Infringement Case

On January 22, 2014, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer overturned a multi-million dollar jury award against EA sports in a copyright infringement case.  The underlying action was originally brought against the video game giant by Robin Antonick, a programmer who was initially given credit and royalties for creating the first edition of ‘Madden Football’ in 1988.  Antonick alleged that subsequent versions of the game were created using his own source code, violating copyright infringement laws and entitling him to compensation.  A federal jury agreed with…
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The Supreme Court Takes Its Gloves Off For “Raging Bull”

On Tuesday, January 21, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a copyright dispute concerning the iconic 1981 boxing movie “Raging Bull.” The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether an heir to the early screenplay for what became the movie “Raging Bull,” can claim copyright infringement against MGM Holdings Inc. (MGM), and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (20th Century Fox). Paula Petrella’s father Frank Petrella wrote Jake LaMotta’s autobiography and contributed to the first draft of the “Raging Bull” screenplay in 1963. Petrella…
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Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement

Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA).  In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff. The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved.  Hart’s case was filed…
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Disney Suing Musical Company for Infringement

Last week, entertainment giant Disney file suit against a Pennsylvania based Entertainment Theatre Group, doing business as American Music Theatre (AMT).  In its complaint, Disney alleges that AMT’s production, Broadway: Now and Forever, infringes its rights and is seeking damages. AMT is staging Broadway: Now and Forever, a show that billed as a “larger-than-life theatrical compilation of unforgettable music from the hottest new blockbusters to all-time favorite classics.” “Broadway: Now and Forever recreates the greatest moments ever on stage.” The show…
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SiriusXM: “It Ain’t Me Babe”

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, the principal songwriters and vocalists of 60’s pop group The Turtles, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of New York, against SiriusXM Radio, Inc., the satellite radio giant, captioned Flo & Eddie Inc., et al. v. SiriusXM Radio, Inc.; and Does 1 through 10, No. 13 CIV 5784, in mid-August. Perhaps signaling the urgency and seriousness of the situation, this past week attorneys from the New York-based law firms Weil, Gotschal and Manges LLP…
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Run DMC(A): No Safe Harbor for Vimeo against EMI?

It started with a simple equation: “Vimeo is video + you.” Yet this formula and model for the new “user-generated content”-fueled Internet has morphed into a case that could very well test the limits of the protection afforded to “service providers” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This past week, a federal judge found that a particular “safe harbor provision” of the DMCA, which has been invoked successfully by user-generated content providers like YouTube and Veoh in their respective quests to protect and insulate…
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Godzilla vs. Mechahopzilla

Beer Advocate, the Godzilla of beer reviewers, gave Mechahopzilla, the newest IPA entry from the New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Company (NOLA) a score of 89 percent and an overall rating of “very good.” But there was at least one company that was not overjoyed with the summer success of a beer known as Mechahopzilla and, as a result, NOLA appears to have gotten itself in some hop-filled, boiling water. This week, the popular brewer was dragged into federal court, in the Eastern…
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