- About Us
- Practice Areas
- Work Product
- Join Our Team
- Contact Us
May 13, 2012
California’s Anti-SLAPP statute provides powerful means for defendants to move for an early dismissal of lawsuits that are “brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(a). An added benefit for the prevailing defendant is that it will automatically get a judgment for costs and attorney’s fees. The danger of filing an Anti-SLAPP motion is that if it is deemed frivolous, it will result in the court awarding plaintiff attorney’s fees and costs.
February 28, 2012
Republican presidential candidate and former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich finds himself facing copyright infringement charges over his campaign’s use of song “Eye of the Tiger,” which is the theme song to the movie “Rocky III.” Photo Courtesy of Felinest, Creative Commons
February 7, 2012
The Obama administration has officially voiced its opposition toward parts of both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) as well as the Protect IP Act (PIPA). In the official response of the Obama administration made via the blog from “WhiteHouse.gov,” Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cyber-security Coordinator for National Security Staff stress “that the important task of protecting intellectual property online must not threaten an open and innovative internet.”
November 29, 2011
Rick James, named plaintiff in a class action suit against UMG Recordings, convinced a court in the Northern District of California to deny UMG’s motion to dismiss. James claimed that UMG violated California’s Business & Professions Code Section 17200 which prohibits unfair competition, or “unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act[s] or practice[s].” Specifically, James contended that companies like Apple/iTunes, Liquid Digital Media, and Rhapsody Music, have entered into licensing agreements with UMG which allow them to distribute and sell musical tracks from UMG’s catalog. However, UMG “improperly characterize[ed]” these agreements as resale agreements. Resale agreements entitle artists to a smaller percentage of income as compared to licensing agreements.
July 21, 2011
Kim Kardashian has filed a lawsuit against Old Navy for allegedly using a Kardashian look-alike in a commercial. Kardashian's suit should pose some interesting intellectual property questions in the right of publicity and trademark arenas.
July 13, 2011
The En Banc Ninth Circuit Decides that Implied-in-Fact Contacts Survive Copyright Preemption in the Ninth Circuit (Montz v. Pilgrim Films)
The Ninth Circuit took Montz v. Pilgrim Films en banc to decide whether Montz’s breach of implied contract and breach of confidence claims were preempted by federal copyright law. The district court and original Ninth Circuit panel held that they were preempted. The Ninth Circuit sitting en banc reversed and remanded the decision, and held copyright law does not preempt these state law claims. Under Desney, the Supreme Court of California found “an implied contractual right to compensation when a writer submits material to a producer with the understanding that the writer will be paid if the producer uses the concept.” Earlier, the Ninth Circuit held in Grosso v. Miramax Films that this type of implied contract is not preempted because the claim requires that “there be an expectation on both sides that use of the idea requires compensation” and that this bilateral expectation creates an “extra element” which removes the claim from the ambit of preemption under the Copyright Act. For idea protection claims, the extra element ensures that the state right is not “equivalent” to an exclusive right within the scope of copyright. Even though the Ninth Circuit found that a claim for unjust enrichment in this context is preempted because it is “essentially equivalent to a claim of copyright infringement,” a breach of contract claim is not preempted where there is a “reasonable expectation of payment for use.”
June 21, 2011
New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, affirmed the Appellate Division’s decision to dismiss claims against the owner of a real estate company and blog which allegedly published defamatory statements about Christakis Shiamili. Shiamili is the owner of Ardor Realty, a New York apartment rental and sales company. Defendants, which include the Real Estate Group of New York, Inc., allow third parties to post commentary on their blog. A user with the name “Ardor Realty Sucks” posted a comment which contended Shiamili had “mistreated” his employees, was a racist, and was anti-Semetic, as demonstrated by his use of the phrase “his token Jew” when referring to an agent.
February 22, 2011
David Beckham’s 25-million dollar libel and slander lawsuit against In Touch magazine was dismissed today by U.S. District Judge Manuel Real. The magazine published a story that alleged Beckham cheated on his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, with a New York prostitute. The prostitute was interviewed for the In Touch story and was also added as a party to the lawsuit. Because Beckham is a celebrity, he had to show actual malice to prevail on this claim, but Judge Real decided that Beckham was not able to establish it. Other countries do not require that celebrities show actual malice for libel claims. Beckham claims he prevailed on a libel claim against In Touch in Germany although the details of the damage award are not disclosed yet.
January 27, 2011
Roderick Anscombe, a Massachusetts novelist who wrote the book “The Interview Room” and John Gertz Productions, which bought the screen rights to Anscombe’s novel and adapted the novel into a screenplay entitled “Lie to Lie”, is suing Fox TV, Fox executive Simon Andreae, and Imagine Entertainment for breach of contract and breach of confidence. Anscombe and John Gertz Productions allege that they had meetings with Fox regarding the book/screenplay adaptation for television, and that “specific plot lines” for several episodes of "Lie to Me" were based on their work. According to the plaintiffs, the defendants claimed to have “abandoned” the series after three months of working with the plaintiffs on adapting their works into a series. Additionally, the works are “strikingly similar, if not identical” to the plaintiffs’ ideas which were disclosed when the parties worked together.
January 20, 2011
The artistic integrity battle between legendary super-group Pink Floyd, a band known for concept albums like “the Wall,” and its label, EMI, settled recently. The dispute centered around the distribution of the band's albums in the electronic world as well as Pink Floyd's claim that EMI failed to pay royalties for album sales. One of Pink Floyd's claim was that by offering its tracks for sale individually through online outlets, EMI violated Floyd’s “artist integrity” because the tracks were intended to be heard in a particular order.