Beleaguered movie investors David Bergstein and Ronald Tutor suffered another legal setback as the federal appeals court in the central district of California rejected their plea to reverse an injunction that stops the sale of movies that were part of ThinkFilm and four other now bankrupt companies.
In a ruling that some in the entertainment industry are going to love and others are going to hate, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revived former Rutgers QB Ryan Hart's lawsuit against Electronic Arts for allegedly violating his publicity rights in the video game "NCAA Football."
Hart played at Rutgers from 2002 to 2005 and objected to EA's video game which let users go into "dynasty mode" and control digital avatars that bore strong resemblance to real-life counterparts.
The case tested the balance between an individual's right to protect their likeness from commercial exploitation and an entertainment studio's right to engage in free speech. In September, 2011, a federal judge granted EA summary judgment victory, finding that EA's free expression outweighed Hart's publicity rights and that the game contained creative elements that were transformative fair use.
The case then went on appeal, and among those supporting EA was the Motion Picture Association of America, which submitted an amicus brief. On the other side, supporting Hart was the Screen Actors Guild. (Other amici included the professional sports leagues, A&E Television, Gawker, ESPN, The New York Times, etc.)
On Tuesday, the Third Circuit judges overturned by a 2-1 margin the lower court's call and remanded the case back to a trial court for further proceedings.
A New York federal judge has declined to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit against, as he puts it, "the whole of the digital music industry."
Norman Blagman is the named plaintiff and seeks to hold liable for copyright infringement several powerhouse companies including Apple, Amazon.com and Google. The defendants in the lawsuit sought to have the lawsuit dismissed for failure to state a plausible claim, but U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter says not so fast.
On Monday, Eight Mile Style, LLC, the company that administers the rights to Eminem's music, filed a lawsuit against Facebook.
The complaint filed in Michigan federal court not only accuses the popular social network of lifting one of Eminem's songs for the April launch of a new application called "Facebook Home," but tells the story of how Facebook's advertising company attempted to use Eminem to attract the liking of Mark Zuckerberg, and how, when threatened with copyright allegations, the ad agency's response was to attack hip-hop producer (and sometime Eminem collaborator) Dr. Dre for being a flagrant thief who had stolen the song in question from Michael Jackson.
At a status hearing on Monday, attorneys for Warner Bros. and Smallville co-creators/writers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough announced they had resolved a dispute.
Although the paperwork hasn't been fully signed by all the parties, an agreement in principle has been reached to end the lawsuit that contended that Warners had robbed the show's profit participants with sweetheart license-fee deals that the studio made with its sister TV networks.
In last summer's blockbuster film, The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway plays Selina Kyle, who attempts to get her hands on a software program that will erase her criminal history from every computer database in the world. At one moment of the film, this character (who would later become Catwoman) tells Batman, "Wayne says you can get me the clean slate.”
In the film, the product is referred to as "clean slate" several times, and rather fascinatingly, Warner Bros. got sued over this by a company that actually markets and sells a computer security program called "Clean Slate."
As Indiana federal judge Philip Simon puts the key question in setting up his ruling, "Is it trademark infringement if a fictional company or product in a movie or television drama bears the same name or brand as a real company or product?”
Last year, in a lawsuit lodged against Vince McMahon's World Wresting Entertainment, a man by the name of Papa Berg called himself the "pioneer" of wrestler entrance music and alleged that the WWE had misappropriated his songs, caused royalties to be misdirected and interfered with a video game deal.
In reaction, the WWE attempted to stop Berg from getting into the legal ring in a Texas federal court by disputing the jurisdiction, by saying Berg's lawsuit came too late and by objecting that Berg hadn't been specific enough to support his claims.
On Wednesday, a Texas judge trimmed Berg's lawsuit but allowed the composer to advance forward in his attempts to pin the WWE for alleged copyright infringement.
In a nearly six-year-old dispute, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton won't allow a large number of copyright owners to pursue YouTube in a massive class action.
The lawsuit was brought by a group of plaintiffs including U.K.'s professional soccer league, several music publishers and other rightsholders. The complaint was filed around the same time that Viacom filed its own billion dollar claims against YouTube, and like the Viacom case, an appeals court revived it last year after Judge Stanton's summary judgment dismissal in 2010.
But now, Judge Stanton has denied class certification. It's just too much to manage, he says.
Kim Dotcom will be leaving his expansive mansion in New Zealand in an effort to gain U.S. government documents as he gears up to fight his extradition.
In March, a New Zealand appeals court overturned a lower court judge and ruled that the U.S. doesn't have to turn over documents connected to its attempt to show that Dotcom participated in a "mega conspiracy."
On Thursday, the country's Supreme Court granted leave so that Dotcom may challenge that assessment. According to local press, no date has yet been set for the hearing.
Now that Aereo experienced victories in the form of beating back a preliminary injunction and affirming the ruling at an appeals court, the digital upstart is looking to score the ultimate ruling.
On Tuesday, in a New York federal court, Aereo filed for summary judgment in the case that examines the legality of its service of providing consumers with the ability to access over-the-air TV programming on digital devices.
"Defendant Aereo, Inc. (“Aereo”) is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claims
for direct infringement of their alleged public performance right and Plaintiffs’ claims for direct
and indirect infringement of their asserted reproduction right," says the motion. "The material facts are undisputed and Plaintiffs’ claims are foreclosed by the Second Circuit’s rulings in this case and in Cablevision, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sony.
David Bergstein's latest legal salvo against Aramid Entertainment's David Molner reads like the script of a thriller: Secretly taped phone calls, the promise of a role in a Sidney Lumet movie and a self-confessed secret government agent and an FBI probe of Bergstein.
The last chapter has not been written on Olympus Has Fallen, the film starring Gerard Butler as the man who saves the president from kidnappers after a terrorist attack on the White House.
The movie was released in March by Film District and has grossed nearly $100 million in domestic box office, but behind the scenes, an interesting fight has broken out over between two writers who claim credit for the film.
Creighton Rothenberger, the film's credited screenwriter, first filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration that he is the sole author. But it was the counterclaims made by his former partner John S. Green that provided the juice for a California federal judge's ruling on Monday.
Judge Josephine Staton Tucker has denied Rothenberger's motion to dismiss Green's counterclaims, and in doing so, sets the stage for a forthcoming exploration on the nature of creative writing partnerships.
The legal fight over The Adjustment Bureau has been resolved.
Media Rights Capital, which produced the Matt Damon film, traded lawsuits with the estate of author Philip K. Dick over claims that the rights to the sci-fi story were in the public domain. But the two sides are settling the case, releasing the following carefully crafted statement on Tuesday:
On Monday, the toy company filed a lawsuit against producer Courtney Solomon's Sweetpea Entertainment, alleging that it has no right to make a new film that exploits its "Dungeons and Dragons" brand. Read the lawsuit here.