CBS Interactive Inc. Sued for Trademark Infringement

On July 13, 2018, Fulltime Fantasy Sports, LLC (Fulltime) sued CBS Interactive Inc. (CBSi) for trademark infringement, false advertising, breach of contract, conversion, unlawful and deceptive practices, and unfair competition. According to the complaint, “[a]s fantasy football season approaches, Fulltime has been forced to file this action to seek relief from the Court’s so that CBSi will stop misappropriating Fulltime’s intellectual property and good will, stop confusing consumers, and pay Fulltime what it is owed.” Fulltime, founded in 2011, “provided premier fantasy sports content,…
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Hand It Over: NCAA to Produce Redacted Broadcasting Agreement With CBS, Turner

On September 16, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins signed a stipulated order to produce redacted versions of the NCAA’s 2010 broadcasting agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting. This 2010 agreement was extended back in April for another eight years for a rights fee of $8.8 billion. This order comes after all five major collegiate athletic conferences similarly agreed to reveal their own television deals. The plaintiff student-athletes have argued that they need the conferences’ broadcasting agreements along with other business documents in…
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College Players Not Entitled to Broadcasting Compensation

Former college players claiming they should be reimbursed for the broadcasting of games they played in recently endured another defeat. On August 17, 2016, the Sixth Circuit dismissed their claims after the district court had done the same in 2015. The suit was filed against ESPN, CBS, NBC, and other broadcasting networks and several conferences in 2014. Javon Marshall, former Vanderbilt football player, and the proposed class of former student athletes are claiming violations of the Sherman Act, Lanham Act, and Tennessee Law. The…
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Late Night Host Stephen Colbert Dances Around IP Issue Over His Own Exaggerated Persona

CBS’s “The Late Show” opted to go live at the conclusion of each day of the Republican National Convention two weeks ago to better respond to the fodder the RNC provides. During one of the shows, host Stephen Colbert brought back his beloved fictional “Colbert” character from his immensely popular “The Colbert Report.” The character was retired after the show ended on Comedy Central and hasn’t been seen for more than a year as the real Stephen Colbert forged his own identity. However, it appears…
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What a Gas: Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over Stuffed Hippopotamus Reaches Resolution

On Friday, May 6, 2016, a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by California toymaker Folkmanis Inc. over the use of a noisemaking stuffed animal known as “Bert the Farting Hippo” was settled against CBS Broadcasting Inc., one of the defendants in the case. This comes almost two years after the complaint was originally filed in the Northern District of California. CBS’s use of Bert the Farting Hippo arises out of CBS’s popular crime-drama television series “NCIS,” which follows the lives and careers of investigators for the…
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CBS Responds to Lawsuit Over Royalties Dispute for Judge Judy

On Friday, April 15, 2016, attorneys for television-giant CBS and its entertainment parent company, Big Ticket Entertainment, responded to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court back in March by a talent agent claiming entitlement to disgorged profits and royalties from the largely successful Judge Judy television program. The complaint, which was filed by agent Richard Lawrence on behalf of his current company, Rebel Entertainment, alleges that it represented two executive producers of the “Judge Judy” program who developed the idea of the…
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CBS and Turner Extend Deal to Broadcast NCAA Tournament Through 2032

CBS and Turner Broadcasting have reached a deal with the NCAA to extend their right to broadcast the NCAA tournament for another eight years. With this new eight year extension, CBS and Turner will be broadcasting March Madness all the way through 2032. The extension itself pays an average of $1.1 billion per season, for a total of $8.8 billion, which is higher than the $770 million average under the current contract. This year was the first year that the championship game was aired…
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NFL and DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” Subject of Antitrust Lawsuit

On Friday, October 16, 2015, five plaintiffs brought suit against the NFL, its 32 teams, DirecTV, CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN, alleging that current NFL broadcasting agreements violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The plaintiffs allege that DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” stifles competition and unfairly raises prices. Currently, the NFL Sunday Ticket — an out-of-market sports package — is the only way for viewers to watch regular season games outside of the limited games available on CBS, NBC, Fox, NFL Network, and ESPN. This, the plaintiffs…
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NCAA Athletes Lose the Big One: Judge Dismisses Publicity Rights Lawsuit Against Broadcasters

On Thursday, June 4, a Tennessee federal judge dismissed a putative class action filed by ten former college athletes who accused major TV broadcasters and others of improperly profiting from the use of their names and likenesses.  U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case under Tennessee law.  He explained that the Tennessee Personal Rights Protection Act only protects a person’s name and likeness when used in advertisements, and that Tennessee common…
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CBS Sued Over Farting Hippopotamus

A recurring stuffed animal on the hit CBS show, NCIS, is causing the broadcasting corporation legal woes this week.  On August 25, CBS Broadcasting was sued by world renowned puppet maker, Folkmanis Inc.,  for infringing its copyrights by producing and selling “Bert the Farting Hippo” products. Abby Sciuto, the goth forensic scientist on NCIS, introduced her furry, farting stuffed animal, Bert back in 2003.  Since his first appearance, Bert the Farting Hippo has made over a dozen appearances on the television show, garnering…
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