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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Precedent Setting Copyright Case Finally Comes to an End

The precedent setting case Varsity Brands, Inc. v. Star Athletica, LLC, was decided by the United States Supreme Court in March 2017. As we have previously covered, the decision held that a cheerleading uniform’s decorative elements may be protected under copyright law. The ruling provided some resolution regarding the disagreement over when these types of designs are eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law. However, after the decision, the court asked the parties to prepare a joint report setting forth a suggested path…
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Rise and Fall of an Empire (Distribution, Inc.)

In the pilot episode of Fox’s smash-hit series Empire, Cookie Lyon, explaining why, after her release from jail, she’s returning to her husband Lucious Lyon’s fictional record label, Empire Entertainment, says simply: “I’m here to get what’s mine.”  This is, of course, in reference to the formerly-jailed matriarch having taken the rap for Lucious to the tune of 17 years behind bars for drug-running while he built his music “empire.” Coincidentally, it also may sum up the thinking over the last couple of months…
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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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Duluth Trading Company Takes it Easy and Don Henley Takes Them to Court

Maybe Duluth Trading Company should’ve known better. Maybe it was just living life in the advertising fast lane. But on October 6, 2014, the Wisconsin clothing company circulated an ad to its customers imploring them to “Don a Henley and Take it Easy.” The “Henley” the ad refers to is the famous, three-button long sleeve shirt that has become a symbol of relaxation and “cool” since it was first placed on store racks. But in invoking the surname of Eagles’ co-founder and lead singer Don…
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Apple Acquisition, Beats, Sued by Bose

In Delaware court on Friday, headphone innovator Bose Corporation filed a complaint against Beats Electronics LLC, claiming a loss of business profits from infringement on five patents related to their noise cancelling technology. This lawsuit comes just two months after Apple announced its intent to purchase Beats Electronics for $3 billion.  Approval of the acquisition is anticipated in September.  In addition, Bose has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Beats and others for allegedly infringing on the patents of technology Bose…
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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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Former ‘Mob Wives’ Star Sues Grand Theft Auto V Producers

Karen Gravano, former actress on the TV show Mob Wives, and daughter of real life mobster Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, sued the Rockstar Games Co. over the use of a character in the mob-themed “Grand Theft Auto V” video game – a character Gravano asserts was modeled after her without her permission. The complaint asserts that the make-believe “Antonia Bottino” incorporated Gravano’s image and life story into the game without consulting Gravano or providing her any compensation.  The filing noted, “[n]otwithstanding the fact that…
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The Anti-Trust Suit Isn’t Over Yet for the NCAA

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken moved the Ed O’Bannon anti-trust lawsuit forward against the NCAA. On November 8, 2013, Judge Wilken certified a class of former and current college athletes suing the NCAA. The suit began in 2009, when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off the names and likeness of former student athletes in EA Sports video games. The judge ruled that players can seek a verdict forcing the NCAA and its member-schools to end restrictions on…
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