LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Lil Wayne Sued For $15 Million Over Song 'Bedrock'

NEW YORK - (AP) Rapper Lil Wayne faces a $15 million legal battle over allegations he stole the hit song "Bedrock." Georgia-based production company Done Deal Enterprises is suing Wayne, Universal Music Group, Cash Money Records and Young Money Entertainment for copyright infringement. Lawyers...

Mattel To Pay Rival $309 Million In Bratz Doll Spat

SANTA ANA, Calif. - (AP) A federal judge ordered toy giant Mattell Inc. to pay rival MGA Entertainment Inc. more than $309 million on Thursday, marking another tumultuous chapter in the years-long legal fight between the two companies over ownership of the lucrative Bratz fashion doll line. The judge's...

Character Copyrights and the Public Domain

When does a still image -- or a series of such images -- embody a "character" for purposes of copyright law? In Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. X One X Prods ., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 13646 (8th Cir. July 5, 2011) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers / unenhanced version...

Mattel Weighing Options After $309 Million Judgment

SANTA ANA, Calif. - (AP) The first salvo was fired years ago when toy giant Mattel Inc. sued MGA Entertainment Inc. over ownership of the hugely popular Bratz fashion doll line. The turbulent legal chapter has now ended with a federal judge ordering Mattel to pay its rival more than $309 million. Mattel...

Paul McGrady on the Regulations and Risks of Starting an Online Business

On this edition, Paul McGrady of Greenberg Traurig in Chicago and author of the recently published treatise " McGrady on Domain Names " discusses the regulations and risks involved in starting an online business. He talks about copyright challenges facing online business owners under the DMCA...

Supreme Court Hears Dispute Over Copyright Restoration, Public Domain Works

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Formerly copyrighted works or never copyrighted works that have fallen into the public domain become the property of the public, a Stanford University professor told the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 5 ( Lawrence Golan, et al. v. Eric H. Holder Jr., et al. , No. 10-545, U...

Supreme Court Sides With Government In Dispute Over Public Domain Works

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Congress did not exceed its authority in enacting Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), which extended protection to foreign works that would otherwise fall into the public domain, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 18 ( Lawrence Golan, et al....

Peter S. Vogel: EU Court Ruling Protects Social Media Site

By Peter S. Vogel The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) refused to order a Social Media site to prevent the unlawful use of copyrighted works. In 2010 SABAM (Société Belge des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs ), the Belgian collecting society for music royalties, lost a...

Safe Harbor Ruling Vacated In $1 Billion YouTube Copyright Case

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) A New York federal judge's determination that YouTube LLC is entitled to safe harbor immunity from copyright infringement claims was largely vacated April 5 by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that a reasonable jury could conclude that the video-sharing...

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari In First Sale Copyright Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed April 16 to again address the question of whether a foreign-made work can be resold within the United States without the permission of a copyright holder ( Supap Kirtsaeng, d/b/a BlueChristine99 v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. , No. 11-697...

Jury Says Google Infringed, But It Can't Agree On Fair Use

SAN FRANCISCO - (Mealey's) After five full days of deliberation, federal jurors in California issued a partial verdict on May 7 in the closely watched copyright dispute over defendant Google Inc.'s Android software platform ( Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc. , No. 10-3561, N.D. Calif.). ...

Supreme Court Hears Dispute Over Foreign Copyrights, Domestic Resale

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey's) After a 4-4 split on the issue just two years ago in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega S.A . ( 131 S. Ct. 565 [2010]) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 29 heard oral arguments in a case that poses the question...

Second Circuit Dismisses Appeal from New York Court’s Decision in Prom Dress Copyright Case

As reported by Law360, the Second Circuit last Monday affirmed the dismissal of Jovani Fashion Ltd.'s copyright case against clothing designer Fiesta Fashions . Jovani Fashion, Ltd. v. Fiesta Fashions, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 21245 (2d Cir. N.Y. Oct. 15, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com...

U.S. Judge Says Plaintiff's Litigation Hold Doesn't Pass Smell Test, Directs It to Pay for Spoliation Probe

Will your litigation hold meet a judge's expectations? And if not, what are the potential consequences? Are you looking at sanctions or millions of dollars' worth of forensic discovery? To get a glimpse of at least one federal court's view on this, we look to the Oct. 2, 2012, decision in...

Supreme Court Reverses, Says First Sale Doctrine Applies In Copyright Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) A student accused of copyright infringement prevailed March 19 at the U.S. Supreme Court, which held in a divided ruling that the first sale doctrine applies to lawfully made works manufactured abroad and imported to the United States ( Supap Kirtsaeng d/b/a BlueChristine99...

Supreme Court Vacates, Remands in Dispute over Textbook Copyrights

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Citing its ruling last week in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. (568 U.S. ___ [2013] (lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs and the opinion for this case) ), the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 granted certiorari in another dispute over copyrighted...

What’s Wrong with Musical Adaptations of French Songs and Their Ensuing Rights?

As a talented songwriter, have you ever been tempted to adapt and arrange that gracious French song, currently playing on a local radio in an exotic place? Well, if you have ever contemplated that option, I suggest that you think about it twice and be prepared to jump through hoops to make this adaptation...

Rihanna Topshop and Passing Off: A Love/Hate Relationship

Jeff Randall interviewed me during his live show on Sky News, on 31 July 2013, the day on which the court judgment Rihanna vs Topshop was made public. As Jeff’s interview was really short and snappy, I did not get a chance to say what I thought was important about this court decision, as far...

In Copyright Infringement Action, U.S. Supreme Court Review Sought To Determine Damages When Profits Are Fixed, Such As In A WrestleMania Event

Anthony Dash, a musician, asserted that he was entitled to damages for copyright infringement after Floyd Mayweather, Jr. used a song written by Dash when he entered an arena during a WrestleMania XXIV event. Dash contended that he was never informed that the song, with lyrics added, was going to be...

LaFrance on a Screen Actor's Claim to Copyright in her Performance: Garcia v. Google, Inc.

Excerpt: Who is the author of an actor's recorded performance? This question rarely arises in practice, because motion picture producers insist that all creative participants sign work-made-for-hire agreements. When this detail is overlooked, however, all bets are off, and attempts to assert authorship...

Bankruptcy Debtor Sought U.S. Supreme Court Review After Notice Was Not Given To Its Shareholders When ‘Conan The Barbarian’ Stock Was Sold

On March 19, 2014, Stan Lee Media, Inc., a bankruptcy debtor, filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. The debtor sought to protect the rights of its shareholders. It alleged that a portion of its stock that related to the copyrights and intellectual property of “Conan...

When to Call the Whole Thing Off

People who aren’t intellectual property lawyers often mix up trademark, copyright, patent and trade secret protection. Each provides a different kind of protection for a different kind of property interest, and they generally don’t overlap. There are also different protections awarded under...

Blurred Lines: Some Recent High Notes In Musical Copyright Infringement Litigation

The other week, the 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines” made legal news when a California federal jury slapped singer Robin Thicke and music producer Pharrell Williams with a $7.3 million damage award in a copyright infringement action brought by Marvin Gaye’s adult children. 2015 Jury Verdicts...

9th Circuit Denies Copyright Protection To Actress Tricked Into Video Blaspheming The Prophet Mohammed

In an opinion issued on May 18, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a federal district court’s denial of an actress’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have required Google to remove the film “Innocence of Muslims ” from Youtube. The...

Nimmer on Copyright and Milgrim on Licensing Cited in 9th Circuit Decision

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9 th Circuit cited both Nimmer on Copyright and Milgrim on Licensing in Minden Pictures v. John Wiley & Sons , 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13197, its July 29 decision addressing standing of a photography licensing agency to sue for copyright infringement. Nimmer on Copyright...