Peruvian Author Suing Disney for $250M Claiming ‘Frozen’ Is Her Story

A Peruvian author is suing Disney for $250 million, alleging ‘Frozen’ is not based on the Andersen fairy tale The Snow Queen but rather on her book.  In 2010 Isabella Tanikumi wrote an autobiography titled Yearnings Of The Heart depicting her life in the Andean mountains of Peru.  The synopsis of her book posted on Amazon says that Tanikumi’s autobiography portrays a young girl overcoming personal insecurities and various challenges in her life.  However, it does not seem to feature a talking…
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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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No Copyright Protection in a Monkey ‘Selfie’

The U.S. Copyright Office responded to a somewhat unconventional photograph of a female macaque monkey. The Copyright Office stated that “a photograph taken by a monkey” is not eligible for copyright protection. In 2011, British photographer David J. Slater spent three days in Indonesia to photograph black macaque monkeys. During the three days, a female macaque snatched Slater’s camera and snapped a few pictures. One picture in particular was a macaque smiling into the camera; thus, the first monkey ‘selfie’ was born. Slater sold the…
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Copyright Conundrum: Photographer Accuses Wikimedia of Monkey Business

British Photographer, David Slater is irate over Wikimedia’s inclusion of his photograph in Wikimedia Commons, an online archive of royalty-free images.  Slater submitted a request for its removal but Wikimedia has adamantly refused to take it down, stating that Slater has no claim on the image as he did not take it; a monkey did. In 2011, Slater traveled to Indonesia with his photography equipment to capture the crested black macaques in their natural habitat.  After he left his camera unattended, some of the monkeys…
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Supreme Court Shuts Down Aereo

The much anticipated Supreme Court decision came out today.  The US Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that Aereo infringed on the copyrights of major TV networks when it transmitted their contents to its subscribers.  Aereo rented out a miniature antenna to a subscriber who then received broadcast signals from major TV networks. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen G. Breyer found that Aereo was essentially acting like a cable company, not like “an equipment provider.”  He further rejected Aereo’s argument that its transmission…
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Sherlock Holmes is Ruled Public Domain

Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals authored an opinion on Monday, June 16, 2014, ruling that the brilliant detective “Sherlock Holmes” is mostly public domain. Back in December 2013, Chief Judge Ruben Castillo of the District Court for the Northern Division of Illinois, ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Leslie Klinger.  Mr. Klinger, co-editor of “A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon,” brought the suit after being threatened by the Conan Doyle estate when it…
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SCOTUS Holds Laches no Defense to Copyright Infringement in Raging Bull Case

On May 19, the U.S. Supreme Court revived a copyright lawsuit over the 1980 hit movie “Raging Bull,” a film about the famous boxer Jake LaMotta.  The suit was originally brought against MGM Studios by Paula Petrella, the daughter of the now-deceased screenwriter Frank Petrella, but was dismissed by two lower courts who held that Petrella waited too long to sue.  The Supreme Court disagreed and re-instated Petrella’s suit. The original rights to the film were sold to an entity which was later purchased by…
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Beastie Boys Make the Closing Argument against Monster Energy Drink

On June 4, the Beastie Boys’ lawyer Kevin Puvalowski delivered his closing argument in a copyright infringement suit against an energy drink maker Monster.  The lawsuit claims that Monster used portions of the band’s songs without a license in its 2012 promotional video. With the members Michael Diamond or “Mike D” and Adam Horovitz or “Ad-Rock” present in the courtroom, Puvalowski urged the jurors that Monster should pay $2 million in damages for its negligence over its employees “stealing from the Beastie Boys.” On the…
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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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