Seth MacFarlane Sued for Stealing Teddy Bear Idea for the Hit Movie Ted

Bengal Mangle Productions (“Bengal”) filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the 2012 hit comedy Ted.  The complaint alleged MacFarlane stole the idea of a foul-mouthed teddy bear living in an adult human world from a similar character named Charlie in Bengal’s 2008 screenplay Acting School Academy. Bengal described the Charlie character as one that “lives in a human, adult world with all human friends. Charlie has a penchant for drinking, smoking, prostitutes, and is a generally vulgar yet humorous…
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Judge Dismisses Copyright Lawsuit Against Lady Gaga

“Simply listening to the songs, as the law requires, reveals their utter lack of similarity,” wrote U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen in his decision to dismiss the lawsuit.  Lady Gaga’s legal battle started back in 2011 when a Chicago singer Rebecca Francescatti sued the pop star alleging Gaga plagiarized parts of her 1999 song “Juda” for Lady Gaga’s hit “Judas” released in 2011. In a copyright infringement case, the court looks at whether the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s work and how similar the…
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The Jury Awards Beastie Boys $1.7 Million

The jury in the copyright infringement suit brought by the Beastie Boys awarded the band $1.7 million, a bit short of $2 million it was seeking but much higher than $125,000 defendant Monster said it may owe to the group. The Beastie Boys sued an energy drink maker Monster for its unauthorized use of the band’s music in a promotional video.  In the complaint filed for this case, the group stated that “[t]he public was confused into believing that plaintiffs sponsored, endorsed and are associated…
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Beastie Boys Trial Against Monster Energy Drinks Begins

In 2012, the Beastie Boys brought suit against Monster Energy Drink, claiming both copyright infringement and unfair competition resulting from Monster’s use of their songs in an online promotional video.  The Beastie Boys are seeking $2 Million in damages. The controversy stems from a promotional video about a snowboarding competition in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies,” which is organized and sponsored by Monster.  After the event, Monster posted a video online of the competition and the after-party, including a mash-up mix performed by DJ…
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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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Google & Viacom Settle Seven Year Old Copyright Suit

On March 18, media giants Google and Viacom announced the settlement of a seven year old copyright dispute regarding content posted on YouTube.  In 2007, Viacom sued Google for copyright infringement accusing the company of posting Viacom programing on YouTube without permission.  The moneyless settlement ends the dispute with what the two companies are referring to as a collaborative effort. The original suit was filed against YouTube, a Google owned company, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for the alleged infringements.  Viacom accused YouTube…
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Judge Nixes Jury Verdict in EA Sports ‘Madden’ Infringement Case

On January 22, 2014, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer overturned a multi-million dollar jury award against EA sports in a copyright infringement case.  The underlying action was originally brought against the video game giant by Robin Antonick, a programmer who was initially given credit and royalties for creating the first edition of ‘Madden Football’ in 1988.  Antonick alleged that subsequent versions of the game were created using his own source code, violating copyright infringement laws and entitling him to compensation.  A federal jury agreed with…
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The Supreme Court Takes Its Gloves Off For “Raging Bull”

On Tuesday, January 21, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a copyright dispute concerning the iconic 1981 boxing movie “Raging Bull.” The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether an heir to the early screenplay for what became the movie “Raging Bull,” can claim copyright infringement against MGM Holdings Inc. (MGM), and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (20th Century Fox). Paula Petrella’s father Frank Petrella wrote Jake LaMotta’s autobiography and contributed to the first draft of the “Raging Bull” screenplay in 1963. Petrella…
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Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement

Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA).  In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff. The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved.  Hart’s case was filed…
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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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