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The company that owns rights to the Power Rangers television series, brand and related products has morphed from one innovative lawsuit to the next.
Earlier this year, SCG Power Rangers brought legal action against a company that made hooded sweatshirts that had some geometric design symmetry to the characters’ costumes. The lawsuit over alleged lookalike costumes has just settled with the defendant agreeing to a permanent injunction. The lawsuit was put to bed before a judge got a chance to rule whether the “artwork and design” of the Power Rangers uniforms were conceptually separable from the utilitarian aspects of the clothing, and thus copyrightable.
But that doesn’t mean that SCG Power Rangers’ legal adventures have ended.
Last week, SCG brought a lawsuit against Kunal Kandpal, a woman who is believed to reside in Maharashtra, India.
Kampal is alleged to have uploaded to YouTube a month ago two videos that together constituted episode one of Power Rangers Super Samurai, the 19th season of the show now seen on Nickelodeon.
In response to this, SCG registered a takedown notice, which led to Kandpal purportedly filing a counter-notice that said this…
“This video is my private Property n u cn see hw many views i get on this video people are requesting me to upload more of this video, so please get clear who the hell is jealous of my video and trying to removie it frm youtube. [sic] I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief the material was removed due to a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled…”
Um, OK. Now SCG is suing Kandpal, who couldn’t be reached for comment.
Not surprisingly, the company is suing for copyright infringement. But it also is suing for DMCA misrepresentation. Typically, this claim is used by those who are upset with having their videos taken down wrongfully. It’s hardly ever used by rights-holders upset with videos being reinstated to YouTube.
It’s not unprecedented, however. For example, the musician behind the old holiday tune, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Raindeer,” is suing an individual who posted to YouTube a video of the “Grandma” song sung by other musicians accompanied by visuals of Christmas-related pictures. A takedown was sent, a counter-notice was registered, and the two parties have been in court arguing over whether the counter-notice represented a misrepresentation. Last year, a judge denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case.
However, the judge in that case dismissed alleged misrepresentation with the statement, ““No sound was copied, no visuals were copied…” and only allowed a misrepresentation claim to continue on the statement, “I have a good faith belief the material was removed due to a mistake or misidentification…” after seeing e-mail communications between the two sides that punctured the defendant’s purported “good faith.”
At least for the moment, SCG is asking a judge to find misrepresentation with a lot less. The company is being represented in the latest action by Richard Nelson at Sideman & Bancroft. SCG was represented in the hoodie trademark row by Aaron Moss and Rachel Valadez at Greenberg Glusker.
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