Marvin Gaye Estate to Robin Thicke: Let’s Get It On

Robin Thicke was back in the news this past week. No, we’re not talking about his provocative appearance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards, which garnered him — and his performance partner — attention the world over. A recent development regarding the undisputed song of the summer, “Blurred Lines,” has Thicke wondering whether he’s “Got To Give It Up.” It was reported that the Estate of Marvin Gaye rejected a “six-figure” offer to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit against Thicke. This comes…
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Advantage, Williams Sisters?

As Serena Williams effortlessly marched on to the third round of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow yesterday, it was a recent victory for the Open’s number-one seed on (or in) another court that caught the Sports Law Insiders attention in the last couple of weeks. On August 13, in the case entitled United States Tennis Association Incorporated v. VSW Productions LLC, M& M Films, Inc., Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, 13 CV 4124, District Judge Nelson Roman of the Southern District of New…
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USTA Seeks Ruling on Use of US Open Footage in ‘Venus and Serena’ Documentary

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is matching up the documentary “Venus and Serena,” in New York federal court. On Friday, June 14, 2013, the USTA filed suit against Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, the filmmakers behind the documentary that follows the lives of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The suit alleges that the filmmakers infringed USTA’s exclusive copyrights for the annual U.S. Open tennis competition. The lawsuit contends that the filmmakers were granted limited access to film portions of the 2011 U.S. Open…
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Dr. Phil Gets Even With ‘Deadspin’ For Te’o Spoilers

Dr. Phil’s production company is finally trying to put the popular sports blog Deadspin in the spotlight. Peteski Productions Inc. (Peteski), the production company behind “The Dr. Phil Show,” asked a Texas federal court Tuesday June 4, 2013 to enter default judgment for a copyright infringement suit against Deadspin. Peteski filed the suit on May 6, 2013 alleging that Deadpsin infringed on the TV show’s copyrights by publishing video excerpts of an interview between Dr. Phil and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo is the man (or woman)…
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Funk Band Finally Listens to Hip-Hop, Files Suit Over Sample Used in 2003 Track

1970’s funk band Bloodstone filed suit in Missouri federal court on May 20, 2013 against Universal Music Group, Inc. (UMG) for copyright infringement of their 1979 song “I’m Just Doing My Job.” The Complaint, filed by members of Bloodstone alleges that UMG gave rappers T.I. and Kanye West a license to sample the 1979 song for use in TI’s hit “Doin’ My Job” without permission from the band. Bloodstone members Charles Love, Harry Williams, and Charles McCormick retain the sound recording and composition rights for…
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Classic Novel at the Center of New Copyright Battle

On May 3, 2013,  “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Nelle Harper Lee sued her former literary agent Samuel Pinkus and agency Veritas Media, Inc., accusing them of deceiving her into handing over the copyright to the book for nothing and wrongfully retaining the related commissions that Lee was entitled to. The back story is a relatively complicated one: Lee’s complaint asserts that Pinkus took advantage of his father-in-law’s ailing health back in 2002, snagging all the father-in-law’s clients from his literary agency McIntosh & Otis,…
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Songwriters Seek ‘Somebody’ to Sue – Hit Bieber and Usher with $10 Million Copyright Infringement Suit

On May 2, 2013, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Universal Music Corporation were slapped with a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit by Virginia songwriters Devin Copeland (a.k.a. ‘De Rico’) and Mareio Overton.  Plaintiffs accuse Bieber and the others of stealing their song “Somebody to Love” – a song which Bieber released as a hit single in 2010.  Usher and Bieber later collaborated to release a remix of the song. Plaintiffs allege they handed the song over to music industry scouts in 2008, and it was then…
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Washington Redskins Tackle Challenge to Team Name

On February 7, 2013, the NFL’s Washington Redskins were forced to defend the validity of six of the team’s trademarks to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.  Several Native American Petitioners have claimed that the Redskins’ name and logo are disparaging and offensive to Native Americans – making them barred from trademark protection under the Lanham Act.  Jesse A. Witten, counsel for the Native Americans, noted, “We are focused on the word “Redskin’ and no other matter.  ‘Redskin’ is an…
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Khroma Kroma Kardashian: Makeup Artist Claims Perceived Endorsement by Reality Stars Devalues her Cosmetics

Lee Tillett, an Altamonte Springs makeup artist in Florida, is suing the Kardashian sisters — Kim, Kourtney and Khloe — and Boldface Group Inc. for $10 million in trademark infringement counterclaims, alleging they stole the name of her cosmetics line. Tillett filed her lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles. Tillett filed a claim last year for copyright infringement, but Boldface sought a declaratory judgment in November to use the Khroma name despite Tillett’s trademark to the name Kroma. Tillett’s counterclaim was filed…
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