Hollywood Docket: Obama 'Hope' Image Fight; Tarantino v. Exotic Birds; Snoop's Arrest

The Associated Press is upping the ante in its battle to protect a copyrighted photograph of President Barack Obama that became famous when it was manipulated by artist Shepard Fairey for his "HOPE" poster. The media outfit has filed new lawsuits against clothing retailers Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Zumiez over use of the image on apparel.

AP settled its case with Fairey in January, but the case wasn't over against merchandisers that licensed Fairey's work. AP's continuing litigation will establish its copyright authority over the photograph and what constitutes transformative fair use by others looking to exploit derivatives of the original.

In other (non-Sheen) legal news:

  • Felicia Pearson, best known for playing "Snoop" on the HBO series The Wire, was among 64 people charged with drug distribution in Baltimore. Wire creator David Simon issued a response that he was "ill-equipped to be her judge in this matter."
  • Another month, another lawsuit against an A&E reality show. The legally-troubled network is now being sued by a man who claims that he was defamed on The First 48 after the show allegedly refused to update the fact that his first-degree murder chargers had been dropped before the show that featured him aired.
  • LimeWire may only be on the hook for hundreds of millions instead of billions after a judge ruled that statutory damages for copyright infringement on the P2P service should only constitute one infringement per work, not multiple infringements by each of the LimeWire users who uploaded or downloaded songs.
  • A North Carolina court has ruled that StubHub violated anti-scalping laws by selling Hannah Montana concert tickets above their face value.
  • Nine things that companies can't do in advertising, based on decisions by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which include such no-no's as exaggerating Facebook and Twitter counts and showing a cartoon bear wipe its rear without any specs of cartoon toilet paper left behind.
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