On January 31, 2018, a model who went viral as the “Fiji Water Girl” after appearing prominently in the background at the Golden Globes’ red carpet event has sued Fiji Water Co. LLC in California sate court claiming it misappropriated her likeness (meaning used her identity without her consent) by creating cardboard cutouts of her for a marketing campaign.
On February 6, 2019, a Second Circuit panel refused to give Charles Green (the author of “Bucky’s 9th”) another chance at his allegations that the 2011 best-selling baseball novel “The Art of Fielding” stole the plot from his book, ruling the scenes in question are common in the genre. This In The Know article is a follow-up to our August 1, 2018 article titled: “The Art of Fielding” Did Not Infringe “Bucky’s 9th” Copyright.
On January 21, 2019, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of New York agreed to reconsider an October 2018 decision in which he had ruled that press agency Zuma Press Inc. had “nobody to blame but itself” for making little effort to get its images back after commingling them with a collection owned by a man named Les Walker.
A jury trial has been set for May 2019 against Conan O’Brien over claims brought by comedian Robert Alexander Kaseberg (“Kaseberg”) which allege Conan, his show’s production company Conaco LLC, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., Time Warner Inc., and two members of the show’s production staff (the “Conan Defendants”) stole five of his jokes which were protected by copyright applications Kaseberg filed in 2015 and 2016.
Tinder, the well-known dating app, has been ordered by a California federal court to pay $17.3 million worth of subscription features and cash to settle claims that the company overcharged dating app users based on their age.
On January 10, 2019, Alcon Entertainment filed a lawsuit in California federal court against French car maker, Peugeot, claiming that it has not been paid the $30 million promised by the French auto maker to have its logo prominently featured in the movie “Blade Runner 2049.”
Orange County Superior Court Judge Layne H. Melzer granted “The Real Housewives of Orange County” star Shannon Beador’s Motion to Strike a complaint filed by James Bellino, the husband of former cast member Alexis Bellino, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.
On January 15, 2019, pop star Rihanna, real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty, filed a lawsuit in a California federal court demanding her father, Ronald Fenty, cease exploiting her name and brand, “Fenty,” for commercial benefit through his company Fenty Entertainment LLC. To add “insult to injury,”
On January 9, 2019, the Ninth Circuit ordered a coffee company to $2.4 million in damages to companies connected to reggae legend Bob Marley for continuing to sell Marley-branded coffee after a trademark license agreement between the companies was terminated.
On January 7, 2019, a California appeals court reversed most of “Duck Dynasty” creators’ (Scott and Deidre Gurney) complaint against a British production company, ITV Studios, that bought most of their operation for $40 million and then refused to work with them. The appeals court said numerous paragraphs pursuant to an anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation motion filed by ITV was wrongfully dismissed by the District Court.
On January 4, 2019, a settlement was reached between former CEO of Viacom, Sumner Redstone and his family and Redstone’s one-time companion, Manuela Herzer, with both sides agreeing to stop all litigation and Herzer promising to pay back $3.25 million in gifts which Redstone’s family claims he was manipulated into giving her.
U.S. SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS ON WHETHER CLAIMANTS MUST ACHIEVE REGISTRATION BEFORE FILING A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT
On January 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding whether copyright owners must completely register their works before filing a lawsuit. Several justices seemed skeptical of a claim that authors should be allowed to sue immediately after applying for a registration.
On January 2, 2019, a 25-page amicus brief was filed by the American Society of Media Photographers and the National Press Photographers Association explaining why a photograph should share the same protections as novels or songs, fighting a split Ninth Circuit ruling upholding a decision that found Nike was permitted to copy an image for its logo.
On January 3, 2019, the office of L.A. City Attorney Michael Feuer filed a lawsuit alleging a weather channel app has been secretly collecting, sharing and monetizing its users’ private information claiming their information is only being used for “personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts.”
On January 3, 2019, New York District Judge Louis D. Stanton refused to grant a motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether Ed Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” infringed upon Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On.” The case will be heard by a jury.
Katherine Zellner, the Illinois attorney who became famous through the documentary series “Making a Murderer,” is now facing legal troubles of her own after she allegedly abandoned a man’s civil rights case after she promised to “zealously fight for him.”
On December 31, 2018, a hedge fund performance coach filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York alleging that CBS and Showtime appropriated a substantial portion of a book she wrote to create their TV series “Billions.”
In May of 2018, the Ninth Circuit agreed to review Facebook’s challenge to an Illinois district court that certified a class of Facebook users that asserted claims based upon the social media giant’s use of stored facial recognition algorithms.
On December 19, 2018, U.S. District Florida Judge Ursula Ungaro ended Russian tech executive Aleksej Gubarev’s defamation suit against BuzzFeed, ruling the website’s publication of a dossier alleging ties between Russia and President Trump is protected by the fair reporting privilege.
On December 17, 2018, Alfonso Ribeiro, widely known as Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” filed a lawsuit in California federal court claiming video game makers, Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive, stole his choreography without permission, noting similarities between the famous “Carlton Dance” he created and moves performed by characters in two well-known video games, “Fortnite” and “NBA 2K16.”
On November 27, 2018, LL Cool J filed a federal trademark infringement suit against a California concert promoter accusing the company of using the name of one of LL Cool J’s most famous songs, “Rock the Bells,” without his permission.
BASED UPON JULY 2018 9TH CIRCUIT RULING, EBAY AND SOTHEBY AWARDED ATTORNEYS’ FEES AGAINST VISUAL ARTISTS WHO SUED UNDER CALIFORNIA RESALE ROYALTIES ACT
On December 3, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Ebay and Sotheby’s will be permitted to recoup attorneys’ fees from a group of artists who unsuccessfully sued the companies under California law.
On November 29, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (better known as the “SEC”) hit boxing champ Floyd Mayweather (“Mayweather”) and musician/media mogul DJ Khaled (“Khaled”) with over $750,000 in penalties for endorsing initial coin offerings...