On December 3, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari (which is a document a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court) filed by TVEyes, a television search engine.
On November 28, 2018, Bobby Brown filed suit against BBC and Showtime in a Manhattan federal court for including his copyrighted footage in a documentary about the late Whitney Houston (“Houston”).
On November 28, 2018, recording artist Shawn Carter, p/k/a “Jay-Z,” expressed his concerns about the arbitrators available through the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) for their lack of diversity, in a New York state court filing.
On November 26, 2018, Red Label Music Publishing Inc. (owner of the rights to the song at issue) hit Fox Sports and several affiliates with a lawsuit in Illinois federal court, claiming that FOX Sports utilized portions of the music from the “Super Bowl Shuffle” without authorization.
On November 27, 2018, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood in the Southern District of New York sentenced Steven Brown (“Brown”), a producer of Christian-themed films, to sixty-three (63) months in prison for stealing $12 million from investors over an eight-year time span.
On November 19, 2018, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick in the Northern District of California dismissed Random House in a suit that claimed the author of the bestselling novel “The Girls” copied it from her ex-boyfriend’s screenplay, “All Sea,” using secretly installed spyware on this computer.
On November 29, 2018, an alleged “self-improvement” company along with former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack (“Mack”) amongst others, requested that a New York federal court toss sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy indictments against them, calling their group a “wonderful humanitarian organization.”
On November 6, 2018, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder dismissed without prejudice claims filed by a class of session musicians based upon defendants’ breach of their duty of impartiality, but denied the motion to dismiss claims based upon breaches of loyalty, reasonableness and good faith.
Olivia de Havilland is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to revive her lawsuit against FX docudrama “Feud: Bette and Joan” (see, Lowe & Associates’ April 18, 2018 article “California Appeals Court Shuts Down de Havilland Case) after the California Supreme Court refused to hear her case.
On October 10, 2018, the Second Circuit overturned a lower court’s order enjoying the production of a film about the 1977 plane crash that killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
On October 12, 2018, Former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham (“Buckingham”) filed a lawsuit in California state court against his former band members claiming he was kicked out and replaced without warning after 43 years.
On October 11, 2018, a California appeals court ruled that a waiter, Gabriel Rueda (“Rueda”), claiming to have set up the lucrative boxing match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, will have his day in court.
On September 18, 2018, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit that accused Dreamworks and Simon & Schuster of stealing a screenplay that was used for “Light Between Oceans.”
On September 19, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez issued a 15-page order that dismissed a sexual harassment claim filed by Ashley Judd (“Judd”) against Harvey Weinstein (“Weinstein”), but allowed her to maintain her intentional interference and defamation claims claim based upon a smear campaign launched by Weinstein after she rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances.
On September 14, 2018, the Cousteau Society filed a suit in New York federal court against Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter, Celine Cousteau (“Celine”), over the use of Cousteau’s name and signature red cap to promote her 10-part television series that will be broadcasted in early 2019 on the Science Channel.
On September 10, 2018, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner issued an 11-page ruling that denied Coachella partial summary judgment on its trademark infringement claims against Trevor Simms (“Simms”)- organizer of “Filmchella,” a three-day film festival held in Joshua Tree, California- by deciding a reasonable jury could find the two festivals are not similar enough to confuse consumers.
On August 28, 2018, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee dismissed fraud and breach of contract claims that “This Is Spinal Tap” creators had asserted against Universal Music Group, Inc. (“Universal”) and others
On September 28, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ordered a new trial in a copyright lawsuit that accused Led Zeppelin of stealing the intro to their hit song “Stairway to Heaven,” from a 1967 instrumental ballad called “Taurus” by the band Spirit.
As previously reported in “In The Know” on March 15, 2018, the plaintiff Denise Daniels (“Daniels”) lost the case involving the Disney movie “Inside Out” on a motion to dismiss.
MUSIC INDUSTRY PEACE TREATY KNOWN AS THE “MUSIC MODERNIZATION ACT” APPROVED BY BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE
On September 18, 2018, the Orrin G. Hatch “Music Modernization Act” (“MMA”) was passed unanimously by the Senate, after already being approved by the House earlier this year. This bill is considered a “music peace treaty” between artists, performance rights organizations, music publishers and tech companies including Spotify, Amazon, and SiriusXM
On August 24, 2018, the family of late pop star Prince sued Walgreens, a doctor (Michael Schulenberg) and other health care professionals claiming in a Minnesota state wrongful death suit that the aforementioned parties failed to treat the late star for opiate addiction.
On August 20, 2018, the Ninth Circuit revived a lawsuit against CBS concerning radio broadcasts of pre-1972 recordings by overturning a ruling by a California District Court Judge in CBS’s favor.
FALSE CLAIMS OF AUTHENTICITY BY SONY AND MICHAEL JACKSON’S ESTATE FOUND TO BE PROTECTED BY FIRST AMENDMENT
On August 28, 2018, a California appellate court ruled that a posthumously released Michael Jackson album that featured a “soundalike” vocalist on three tracks did not give rise to claims against Sony Music and the Jackson estate even though they had impliedly and expressly represented that Jackson sang all 10 songs, on both the album cover and promotional video.