Hollywood Docket: Jimmy Buffett Settles Martiniville Flap; Pirate Bay Removes Torrent Links; and More

A look at international legal developments in the entertainment industry.
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Jimmy Buffett

We're taking a trip to see what's making news in the entertainment law world ...

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Margaritaville vs. Martiniville

Jimmy Buffett has settled a trademark dispute with Florida restaurant Martiniville Liquor Bar & Kitchen, which he claimed infringed his "Margaritaville" trademark. Buffett wrote the hit song "Margaritaville" in 1977 and has been licensing restaurants and other merchandise using the mark since 1985. Terms of the settlement weren't fully revealed but according to one publication, the defendant has changed the restaurant's name to the Martini Bistro after realizing that the threat of a $750,000 payout was "not worth the risk."

Merlin Settles Claims Against Limewire

Merlin, a global rights agency that represents a number of independent record labels with acts including Adele, Vampire Weekend and The National, has reached a settlement with Limewire to resolve copyright infringement claims. The amount of the settlement hasn't been disclosed, but Billboard reports that if Merlin's members got a deal commensurate with what major labels got last year ($110 million), Merlin will walk away with $15 million to put an end to a lawsuit that was filed last July.

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Ireland Passes New Copyright Law
Ireland has signed into law new legislation that is being seen as the country's version of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. According to local reports, the new law contains provisions that allow copyright holders to go to court and attain injunctions against ISPs that host infringing material. The law also clarifies that ISPs will not be mandated to make monitoring efforts. A recent EU court decision struck down such obligations.
France Will Make 20th Century Books Digitally Available If Authors Don't Opt-Out
France passed a law that permits the state to seize authors' rights on books published before 2001. The law has been pushed by advocates as a way towards enabling access to 20th century works that are still under copyright but no longer commercially available. Publishers and writers can still enjoy full copyright protection, but reportedly have six months to "opt-out" before an entity controlled by the French Ministry of Culture gets authorization to make works digitally available.
Michael Jordan's Trademark Case In China Not A Slam Dunk?
Some conflicting reports are coming out of China regarding basketball hall-of-famer Michael Jordan's attempts to sue a Chinese sportswear chain for using the Chinese pronunciation of his name, "Qiaodan." According to the People's Daily Online, a local paper, a court has rejected the lawsuit because the name is a common one in China, not "distinctive or unique" to merit protection. But Jordan is acting as though he's gotten a victory, saying in a press release that he is "very happy that the Chinese courts have accepted my case to protect the use of my name and the interests of Chinese consumers."
Russian MTV Cancels Show Amid Censorship Concerns
A popular MTV show featuring a hard-partying Playboy cover girl compared to Paris Hilton has gotten enormous attention as Russians prepare to vote in a coming election. The show was canceled, leading some critics to blame the show's anti-Putin criticism as the motivation. But Russian MTV is defending the decision, saying that it's not prompted by lawmaker interference but rather its desire to have a show about entertainment, not politics.
Movie Posters Taken Down In Toronto Over Indecency Complaints
Astral Media reports removing 38 posters hanging on Toronto bus shelters for the film, Goon, after the city's transportation services informed the distributor of numerous complaints about its sexually-provocative content. The controversial poster shows actor Jay Baruchel making a suggestive gesture with his fingers and tongue.
Pirate Bay Removes Torrent Links
Pirate Bay has announced that it will no longer be offering torrent links in a move that's being perceived as a reaction to a UK court ruling that directs local ISPs to block access to the website. The file-sharing hub says it will begin using "magnets" instead of torrents in a a necessary move to "step forward in technology."
Lucy Lawless Arrested In New Zealand Over Environmental Protest
Lucy Lawless, the aptly-named actress, was among several Greenpeace protesters arrested this past week for occupying a Shell-owned oil rig headed towards the Arctic. She's been charged with burglary and is now awaiting a court hearing.
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