California Intellectual Property Blog

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GRUMPY CAT WINS $710,001 COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT AGAINST GRENADE BEVERAGE

By Joseph Mandour on January 30, 2018

Orange County – Back in 2012, a Snowshoe Siamese cat named Tardar Sauce became an Internet sensation through photos of the cat’s signature grumpy expression. Tardar Sauce is now infamously known as Grumpy Cat. The cat’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen, created Grumpy Cat Limited to create business opportunities for the cat. The following year in 2013, Grenade Beverage paid $150,000 and signed an agreement to use the cat’s image on its ‘Grumpuccino’ iced coffee.

Shortly after, Grenade started using the cat’s image on other products including t-shirts and other beverages. Grumpy Cat Limited claimed that these uses were not authorized, and so in 2015 Grumpy Cat Limited su Read the rest

SPOTIFY FACES $1.6 BILLION COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT REGARDING MUSIC LICENSES

By Joseph Mandour on January 11, 2018

Orange County – The new year is bringing in with it the first significant reform of music licensing rules in decades. Streaming services like Spotify are continuing to gain in popularity as consumer purchase less Compact Discs. Spotify is now facing three lawsuits alleging that it has failed to pay artists for the music it streams.

Most recently, the Swedish streaming company has to deal with a new larger copyright lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing. Wixen Music Publishing filed a lawsuit in California federal court that alleges Spotify is using Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” and several thousands of other songs without a Read the rest

RAPPER RICK ROSS’ REVIVES COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT AGAINST LMFAO

By Joseph Mandour on November 20, 2017

Los Angeles – Last week Miami rapper Rick Ross appealed a 2016 ruling that dismissed his copyright lawsuit about alleged similarities between his song “Hustlin” and Los Angeles duo LMFAO’s song “Party Rock Anthem.” LMFAO is made up of Redfoo (Stefan Gordy) the youngest son of Motown founder Berry Gordy, and Sky Blu (Skyler Gordy) who is Stefan’s nephew.

In April 2016, the Florida court ruled that Rick Ross’ copyright registrations for the song had several errors making them invalid. Without valid registration with the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright lawsuit cannot be filed in federal court. Back in 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams Read the rest

EMINEM WINS COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT AGAINST NEW ZEALAND POLITICAL PARTY

By Joseph Mandour on October 31, 2017

Los Angeles – A judge recently held that a New Zealand political party infringed on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” copyright when it used a song that sounded very similar to Eminem’s hit. The song was used in a 2014 election advertisement. The judge awarded Eminem’s publishing company $415,000 after deciding that the song the National Party purchased from a stock music library was substantially similar to Eminem’s song.

The infringing song’s title is labeled as “Eminem-esque” which likely did not help the defendant. “Lose Yourself” received the 2003 Academy Award for Best Original Song and is one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of Al Read the rest

BANANA SUIT COSTUME SPARKS SCARY HALLOWEEN COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT

By Joseph Mandour on October 4, 2017

Orange County – Banana suit costumes are a popular favorite for Halloween, and it turns out there’s big money in them. Enough so that Kmart and Rasta Imposta are entrenched in a copyright lawsuit over a banana suit which is a registered U.S. copyright.

For nearly a decade since 2008, Kmart has been purchasing costumes from costume manufacturer Silvertop Associates which does business as Rasta Imposta. However, this year Kmart and Rasta Imposta failed to reach an agreement on pa Read the rest

CONAN O’BRIEN “JOKE” COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT PROCEEDS TO TRIAL

By Joseph Mandour on May 18, 2017

Los Angeles – Late night television host Conan O’Brien, his writing staff, and Time Warner apparently will have to defend themselves at trial in federal civil court in the coming months. The popular television show “Conan” has been accused of stealing three jokes from a blog.

The jokes were allegedly stolen from the blog of freelance comedy writer, Robert “Alex” Kaseberg in 2014 and 2015. Last Friday, U.S. District Court Read the rest

EMINEM SUES NEW ZEALAND GOVERNING BODY FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

By Joseph Mandour on May 10, 2017

San Diego – United States rap star, Eminem, is suing the current New Zealand ruling political party for copyright infringement. The dispute is over a campaign ad that the conservative National Party ran during the country’s 2014 election.

Representatives from Eminem’s Detroit based music publishing company, Eight Mile Style, claim that the music that underscores the ad is clearly from Eminem’s international bestselling track “Lose Yourself,” which was featured in the popular motion picture 8 Mile. Eight Mile Style copyright lawyer, Gary Williams, insists that the use of the song is a clear breach of copyright.
New Zealand claims that it purchased the backi Read the rest

“WE SHALL OVERCOME” COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT MOVES FORWARD

By Joseph Mandour on November 28, 2016

constitution-flagLos Angeles – A judge in New York last week ruled in favor of allowing a copyright lawsuit challenging the copyright of “We Shall Overcome”. The song is a civil rights anthem and protest song. The lawsuit claims that lyrics in the song have been taken from other songs, such as African-American spirituals, and thus the copyright was never valid.

Plaintiff argues that the other songs have been in the public domain, so Read the rest

DONALD TRUMP JR. TWEETS A SKITTLES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

By Joseph Mandour on October 6, 2016

candy-skittlesOrange County – Donald Trump Jr., son of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, recently posted a controversial Tweet. The image is a white bowl full of rainbow-colored Skittles. The text in the photo says, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Trump added his own text with the photo that reads: “This image says it all. Read the rest

FATHER SUES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AFTER LIVE-STREAMING BABY’S BIRTH

By Joseph Mandour on September 29, 2016

baby-toesSan Diego – It seems each day more people are willing to share ever more personal things on the Internet. Along these lines, in May of this year Kali Kanongataa a California resident used Facebook to live stream his wife giving birth. After portions the live stream ended up on television and publicized on the Internet, he sued ABC and Yahoo for allegedly infringing his copyright by displaying the video.

The day after the live stream, ABC’s “Good Morning America” ran a short segment about the live stream and showed a brief excerpt from the video that was up loaded by Mr. Kanogataa which had been widely viewed online since this airing. The clip also appeared Read the rest

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