News and Articles

Court Rules TV-Streaming Service Provider May Seek Compulsory Copyright Licenses; Fox to Appeal

In what may be considered a surprise decision, a federal judge ruled that online television streaming service, FilmOn X, may be treated as a cable company by allowing it the same compulsory copyright licenses that broadcast companies receive. FilmOn offers content from cable companies like Fox, NBC, and the like. FilmOn captures broadcast television signals and transmits them to its users through the internet, enabling them to watch on their web-enabled devises. Multiple cable companies sued FilmOn based on the premise that because it does...

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Ninth Circuit Sends Amazon back to Court to Face Trademark Infringement Claim

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that internet-based retail giant Amazon.com could be misleading consumers by displaying a watchmaker’s competing products when users search for its watches (read the full opinion here). Multi Time Machine Inc. (“MTM”), a luxury, military style watchmaker, brought a trademark infringement claim asserting Amazon violated its trademarks by displaying a rival brand’s products when customers searched for “MTM” watches. This case, which came on appeal after Amazon won a motion for summary...

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Justin Bieber and Usher Ordered back to Court for Copyright Infringement

Pop stars Justin Bieber and Usher Raymond will be heading back to court after the Fourth Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a reasonable jury may find they infringed copyrights in their 2010 hit song, “Somebody to Love.” (Read the full opinion here) The unanimous Court ruled the plaintiffs, R&B singer Devin Copeland A.K.A. De Rico, and his songwriting partner first brought the case in May 2013, alleging Bieber, Usher, or both recorded three versions of the song which had a similar beat pattern, time signature, and chords...

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Court Rules on Reasonableness of Copyright Licensing Fees

A federal district court in New York ruled that Broadcast Media Inc. (“BMI”) may collect 2.5% of Pandora’s total revenue in exchange for licenses to publicly perform copyrighted music. (Read the full opinion here) BMI represents music copyright holders, and licenses the right to publically perform its clients’ songs on a non-exclusive basis. Pandora is an online music streaming service that has licensed its music from BMI since its inception in 2005. It wasn’t until 2011 when BMI decided that its 1.75% rate was “inappropriate for...

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Avoiding Swiss Cheese of Copyrights, Google Prevails against “Bamboozled” Actress

A federal court of appeals reversed an earlier ruling that forced Google to remove a YouTube video portraying an actress making anti-Muslim statements.

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Second Circuit Clarifies Polo Trademark Injunction

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled the Polo Association may sell sunglasses with a logo that is similar to the Ralph Lauren trademark.l

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Restaurateur Denied Copyright Protection for Recipes

A federal court ruled that an Ohio restaurateur’s recipes were not protectable under copyright laws. The court issued its ruling earlier this year on a motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff has since filed her notice of appeal. (Read the full opinion here.) Rosemarie Carroll, plaintiff and owner of Cleveland restaurant, Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, sued her former business partner, Larry Moore, for alleged copyright infringement of her recipe book. When the pair was working together, Moore developed, or was the inspiration behind the recipes....

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TTAB Decisions to have Preclusive Effect on Later Litigation

In yet another intellectual property-focused case, the Supreme Court has ruled that a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) may have a binding, preclusive effect on later litigation in a federal district court. The opinion came with a narrowed focus, allowing preclusion for issues adjudicated by the TTAB that are “materially the same” to those the parties take to the federal court, if the “other ordinary elements of issue preclusion” are also met. (Read the full opinion here) The parties in B&B Hardware v. Hargis...

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Oprah Wins Round Two of Trademark Infringement Case

Oprah Winfrey claimed a second victory against motivational speaker Simone Kelly-Brown in a trademark battle over the phrase “Own Your Power.” Kelly-Brown and her company, Own Your Power Communications, claimed Winfrey, and other named Defendants infringed on her trademark under both federal and state laws, and included a slew of other related claims. (Read the opinion here) Winfrey first won this case on a motion to dismiss, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the court’s order with respect to Plaintiffs’...

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Graffiti Artists’ Copyright Infringement Case to Move Forward

Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli will be heading to court after a federal judge overruled its motion to dismiss a copyright infringement case against it earlier this month. (Read the full memorandum here) The clothing and accessories company was sued by three graffiti artists for alleged copyright infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin of murals they painted in San Francisco. Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin – colloquially known as “Revok,” “Reyes,” and “Steel,” respectively – were...

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