Palin Claims “Fair Use” on 9/11 Photo

Former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin continues to make headlines. In September 2013, North Jersey Media Group (NJMG) filed a federal lawsuit against Palin and her political action committee (SarahPAC) for copyright infringement. The suit alleges that Palin posted NJMG’s iconic “WTC Flag Raising Photograph” on Palin’s Facebook page without permission. The photograph, taken by a staff photographer for NJMG, depicts three firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Screen shots from Palin’s Facebook…
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Warner Bros. Wins Final Fight for Superman

On November 21, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Warner Brothers is the sole owner of Superman’s copyright.  The ruling should be the final legal battle in the lengthy ownership dispute with the estates of Superman’s co-creators.  The court described the case as “another chapter in the long-running saga regarding the ownership of copyrights in Superman – a story almost as old as the Man of Steel himself.” Superman made his debut in 1938 as a character in Action Comics #1.  The…
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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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What the Hells (Angels)? Young Jeezy Sued Over Skull Logo

It’s a strange day when the Hells Angels motorcycle club goes to court by choice; but, that’s exactly what it did recently.  Rather than using bats, knives, and chains to protect its logo, the Angels filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court.  According to TMZ, the club filed suit against 8732 Apparel and Dillard’s, Inc. for infringing on its “Death Head” logo. 8732 Apparel, owned by rapper Young Jeezy, sells a wide range of attire including hats, jackets, shirts, and more.  The Angles…
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Photographers Want to Capture Their Rights

Seven professional photographers sued the NFL, Getty Images (Getty), and the Associated Press (AP) for violating the photographers’ copyrights. The freelance photographers (plaintiffs) filed the lawsuit in New York federal court on October 21, 2013. The lawsuit claims that the three defendants are liable for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiffs allege that the NFL failed to receive consent to use plaintiffs’ photos in connection with NFL advertisements, news, promotions, and products. Freelance photographers regularly license their photos through…
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Tiger’s 2013 Grade: “C” for Cheater?

Chances are that Tiger Woods has never gotten an “F” on any test or examination in his life. After all, he’s won 79 PGA Tour events, is a 14-time major champion and, prior to turning professional, spent two years as an undergraduate at Stanford University, one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions. This is at least part of the reason that Brandel Chamblee’s 2013 season-in-review “report card”, published last week on Golf.com, in which he gave Woods a grade of “F” for the season,…
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FX facing mark’s F-X-Xtinction?

The name seemed silly from the moment those commercials started to run. You know them — the ones with the cast members of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia speaking to each other in what sounds, to the naked ear, like Swedish. The ad spots changed as the summer season rolled out on FX, but the punchline of each promo was always the same, with one cast member saying the name of the channel that the great comedy show was moving to. Repeat after Danny DeVito:…
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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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