INDIANAPOLIS - A provider of online content and services filed a trademark infringement suit against a competitor in Indiana federal court on Jan. 29, asserting that the defendant's use of the trademark "Verge" violated its common-law and federal rights in the mark (Indy Founders LLC v. Vox Media Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-00265, S.D. Ind.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although finding that portions of a plaintiff's hypertext markup language (HTML) code meet the requisite level of creativity to be copyrightable, a California federal judge on Jan. 12 nonetheless granted dismissal of an infringement complaint (Media.net Advertising FZ-LLC v. Netseer Inc., No. 14-3883, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3784).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A media and entertainment industry expert may not testify on damages suffered by cable subscribers because his testimony erroneously amounts to legal conclusions, a New York federal judge ruled Dec. 28, excluding the testimony in a class action lawsuit against Cablevision Systems Corp. (Theodore Pearlman, et al. v. Cablevision Systems Corp., No. 10-4992, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172080).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 15 granted a motion filed by the owner of a dating social media network application to dismiss claims asserted by a user for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and Dating Service Contracts Act (DSCA) but permitted him leave to amend the complaint (Mark Howell, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Grindr LLC, No. 15cv1337, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167669).
CHICAGO - A man that had previously been the defendant in an adult entertainment firm's copyright infringement suit told the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in his Nov. 30 appellee brief that a trial court properly sanctioned two of the firm's attorneys for obstructing discovery and for making misleading statements regarding their ability to pay previously issued sanctions against them (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 15-2440, 7th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of the provision of previously unknown and possibly responsive records pertaining to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking to compel communications related to Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account during her tenure as secretary of State, news and entertainment media website operator Gawker Media LLC moved in District of Columbia federal court on Nov. 18 to compel affidavits from certain government personnel regarding the email use and record production of former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines (Gawker Media LLC, et al. v. Department of State, No. 1:15-cv-00363, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Los Angeles woman on Nov. 13 filed a putative class action against Vizio Inc. in California federal court, alleging violation of the federal Video Protection Privacy Act (VPPA) through the inclusion of tracking software in Vizio's "high-definition and internet connected televisions (smart TVs) (Palma Reed v. Cognitive Media Networks Inc., et al., No. 3:15-cv-05217, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 4 granted in part a motion for a protective order by the U.S. government related to an upcoming deposition of a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in a Privacy Act case related to emails that were leaked to the media, while also directing the FBI to provide responses to previously unanswered deposition questions and written discovery requests (Gilberte Jill Kelley, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., No. 1:13-cv-00825, D. D.C.).
CHICAGO - Two attorneys, who represented an adult entertainment firm in a 2011 lawsuit over purported online copyright infringement, argued in an Oct. 29 appellant brief to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a lower court's assessment of discovery sanctions and contempt against them were improper and out of proportion with the harm supposedly caused by their purported misconduct (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 15-2440, 7th Cir.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A couple that owns federal copyrights in a number of songs from before 1972 filed a complaint against satellite radio firm Sirius XM Radio Inc. and online streaming service Pandora Media Inc. in New Jersey federal court on Oct. 19, asserting that the companies have been airing their recordings without paying proper royalties (Arthur Sheridan, et al. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-07576, D. N.J. and Arthur Sheridan, et al. v. iHeartMedia Inc., No. 2:15-cv-07574, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Oct. 2 answer filed in District of Columbia federal court, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) deny that they violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by denying requests from The Associated Press (AP) for documents related to investigations in which the government impersonated media organizations for the purpose of tracking down suspected criminals (The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., No. 1:15-cv-01392, D. D.C.).
LANSING, Mich. - In a Sept. 25 order, the Michigan Supreme Court said it would consider whether to answer a question certified to it by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as to whether the online music-streaming service provided by Pandora Media Inc. constitutes "renting" or "lending" under the state's Video Rental Privacy Act (VRPA) (In Re Certified Question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Peter Deacon v. Pandora Media Inc., No. 151104, Mich. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Social media giant Facebook Inc. told a California federal court in a Sept. 18 motion that the named plaintiffs in a five-year-old putative class action do not have standing to bring their privacy claims under Article III of the U.S. Constitution because they have not established any third-party access of their personal information or any injury in fact, thus meriting dismissal of the case (In Re: Facebook Privacy Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-02389, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New York federal judge's determination on summary judgment that two categories of accused products did not infringe three patents was reversed, in part, by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 16 (TNS Media Research LLC d/b/a Kantar Media Audiences, et al. v. TiVO Research and Analytics Inc., d/b/a TRA Inc., No. 14-1668, Fed. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The same day it vacated findings that three patents were not infringed, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 16 in a contemporaneous ruling vacated as "premature" a New York federal judge's award of attorney fees in the case (TNS Media Research LLC d/b/a Kantar Media Audiences, et al. v. TiVO Research and Analytics Inc., d/b/a TRA Inc., No. 15-1252, Fed. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 4 denied a motion by comedian William H. "Bill" Cosby Jr. to take discovery to determine if the counsel and plaintiff from a prior sexual assault case violated a court order by releasing a confidential transcript from that case to the media (Tamara Green, et al. v. William H. Cosby Jr., No. 2:15-cv-00144, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118216).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Virginia federal judge properly deemed "compliance mechanism" a means-plus-function term that lacks sufficient structure as it is used in a patent covering a method for preventing unauthorized recordings, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 4 (Media Rights Technologies Inc. v. Capital One Financial Corporation, et al., No. 14-1218, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15767).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 25 found that two disputed functions of a Web-based media-monitoring service did not constitute fair use and, therefore, posed copyright infringement risks to media outlets, granting in part a motion for summary judgment by Fox News Network LLC (Fox News Network LLC v. TVEyes Inc., No. 1:13-cv-05315, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112836).
The operator of the adult dating website AshleyMadison.com was hit with two putative class actions on Aug. 21 as John Doe users of the site filed complaints in California and Texas federal court, respectively, alleging negligence, Stored Communications Act (SCA) violations and other claims related to a recent theft of customer data from the site, which was later released publicly on the Internet (John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-0405, C.D. Calif.; and John Doe v. Avid Life Media Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02750, N.D. Texas).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Allegations that Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon Web Services LLC (Amazon, collectively) infringed seven electronic media signal processing patents were rejected by U.S. Judge Richard G. Andrews of the District of Delaware on Aug. 10 (Personalized Media Communications LLC v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 13-1608, D. Del.).
LOS ANGELES - A company that rebroadcasts copyrighted programs over the Internet may be entitled to a compulsory license under Section 111 of the Copyright Act, a California federal judge ruled July 24, distinguishing the case from a recent related U.S. Supreme Court ruling and disagreeing with a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the topic (Fox Television Stations Inc., et al. v. FilmOn X LLC, et al., No. 2:12-cv-06921, and NBCUniversal Media LLC, et al. v. FilmOn X LLC, et al., No. 2:12-cv-06950, C.D. Calif.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Finding it clear that the computer hard drives of a man accused of illegal online file sharing are relevant to the copyright infringement claim against him, an Ohio federal judge on July 14 ordered production of the drives for examination under a protective order shielding any portions of the drives designated as confidential by the defendant (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 2:14-cv-00821, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91263).