Jul
25
2011

Public Domain Movie Posters - Warner Bros. v. AVELA

Warner Bros., owner of the copyrights to the films Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, sued a group of defendants, including AVELA, for copyright infringement of those films.  AVELA obtained copies of movie posters and lobby cards from Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz which AVELA claimed were in the public domain.  AVELA then took those purported public domain images and created re-production posters and sold them.  In addition […]

Jul
5
2011

Capitol Records v. MP3tunes -- Digital Lockers and Copyright Law

Several years before Google, Apple, and Amazon released their digital locker services for storing music, MP3tunes offered a similar service -- and was promptly sued by major record labels including Capitol Records.  As we await the court's decision now is a good time to recap the arguments made by both sides as well as the two Amicus briefs filed by Google and the Motion Picture Association of America.  Regardless of how the court decides an […]

Jun
22
2011

Internet Copyocalypse: Senate Bill 968 - Online Threats to Economic Creativity

There has been quite an uproar regarding Senate Bill 968, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011.  On the one hand, proponents of the bill claim it is necessary for the protection of US intellectual property rights by overseas infringers.  The bill's goal is to provide a mechanism to shut down an off-shore server from distributing infringing material within the United States. Opponents of the bill, however,  […]

May
10
2011

Ninth Circuit Holds that Script Ideas and Concepts Protected by Implied Contract

Ideas and concepts for movies and television shows are not protectable under copyright law.  So if you approach a movie director with a script for the next summer blockbuster and the director takes the ideas and concepts from your script, but passes on the script itself, copyright law will not help you.  The best way to protect yourself is with a written confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement.  But what if you have nothing in writing? This was the […]

Apr
24
2011

Bratz Copyright Lawsuit - Mattel Loses after Winning

On April 21, 2011 a federal jury in the central district of California found that Mattel failed to prove any of its claims related to the popular Bratz line of dolls against MGA Entertainment, Inc. ("MGA").   In fact, in reading through the copyright jury verdict, it was not even close.  The jury completely sided with MGA and found that Mattel owes MGA $88 Million for violating MGA's trade secrets.  This is a complete reversal […]

Mar
31
2011

Internet Copyright Infringer May be Hauled into Plaintiff's Local Court

In the case of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. American Buddha, the New York Court of Appeals held that in internet copyright infringement cases, the "situs of injury" is the principal place of business of the copyright holder.  This ruling potentially subjects alleged copyright infringers to the plaintiff's home court regardless of where the alleged infringement occurred or where the defendant resides. In the case, Penguin Group brought a copyright infringement action against Defendant American […]

Mar
20
2011

Righthaven loses on fair-use defense

The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that Judge Mahan orally ruled on Friday March 18, 2011 that the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) was free to re-publish an entire thirty-three paragraph Las Vegas Review Journal article.  This ruling, is one of the first, if not the first, where verbatim copying, without criticism, of a written work in its entirety is allowed based on fair use. Does this mean that any non-profit organization is free to re-publish newspaper articles in their entirety? […]

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