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.
A former executive at Jennifer Lopez's production company has sued claiming he was pushed out and mistreated by well-known producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Brian Schornak, who says he was a senior producer and executive at Lopez's Nuyorican Productions, calls Goldsmith-Thomas a "tyrant" who was hired by Lopez and then conspired to demote him, berate him and falsely accuse him of stealing before orchestrating his termination from the company.
Representing such clients as Charlie Sheen, John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson, attorney Marty Singer has become famous for sending menacing legal threats. But Thursday, a California appeals court will consider whether Singer crossed the line with one demand letter sent two years ago, later determined by a judge to be an "extortion" attempt.
Singer sent the letter July 25, 2011, on behalf of Top Chef Canada judge Shereene Arazm to Big Brother contestant and VH1 Famous Food host Mike Malin.
Arazm and Malin were business partners in a restaurant group until Arazm said he discovered that Malin allegedly had embezzled and mismanaged more than $1 million in assets. In his letter, Singer demanded a full forensic accounting and the return of funds. He attached a draft of a lawsuit that he said would be filed in court if the dispute wasn't resolved. Perhaps most intimidating was the part of the letter (read here) that stated, "I have deliberately left blank spaces in portions of the complaint dealing with your using company resources to arrange sexual liaisons with ------------------. When the complaint is filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, there will be no blanks in the pleading.”
In November 2011, after Malin sued Singer and Arazm for trying to extort him, a judge shocked the legal community by determining that Singer’s communications weren't protected. "The allegations of sexual misconduct contained in the demand letter in this case are very tangential," wrote Los Angeles judge Mary Strobel, adding that the "letter is best read as extortion as a matter of law [because] [i]t threatens to reveal the names of sexual partners."
When an entertainment company spends years winking to its audience about the staged nature of its reality programming, what happens when someone attempts to convince a judge it's too real?
Last month, Andrew Green sued World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., over alleged injuries he suffered at the hands of wrestler Paul D. Wight, Jr., aka the "Big Show." Green was employed by the WWE as a road producer for digital production and was responsible for conducting interviews with wrestlers after their matches. Green says that he suffered "physical and mental injuries" at last January's pay-per-view Royal Rumble when the Big Show, coming off a staged defeat in the wrestling ring, attacked him while he was trying to get an interview.
Late last week, the WWE had the lawsuit removed to a federal court in Arizona and pointed to a release and waiver that Green had signed in the course of his employment. The defendant says that Green's claims arise out of the exploitation of the video footage posted online.
The new owner of Variety is having a bit of buyer’s remorse.
Variety Media and racing heir Jay Penske's Penske Media Corp. have filed a second lawsuit charging that when it was sold the trade publication in Oct. 2012, the then-owner did not reveal contracts with a promotional partner and with a printer that would require payments of millions of dollars.