California Intellectual Property Blog

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JUDGE RULES GROOVESHARK EMPLOYEES COMMITTED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

By Joseph Mandour on October 2, 2014

GroovesharkLos Angeles – A federal judge in New York ruled that Grooveshark, a free online music service that has been a nemesis to major record companies, has in fact infringed copyrights. Grooveshark has been the target of the recording industry’s attacks for hosting music files without permission. The Florida-based Grooveshark, owned by Escape Media Group, makes millions of songs available to listeners for streaming.

In spite of being continually challenged in court by the recording industry, Grooveshark continued to garner a large audience. The company has been around even before the arrival of o Read the rest

MONKEY BUSINESS: WHO OWNS THE COPYRIGHT TO A SELFIE TAKEN BY A MONKEY?

By Joseph Mandour on August 14, 2014

monkeyLos Angeles – The general rule is that the person taking a picture owns the copyright to it. So, if a monkey takes a picture, who owns it? This is the hot debate that is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia. According to the website, the famous 2011 image captured by a cheeky black macaque using Slater’s unattend Read the rest

49ERS QUARTERBACK OBTAINED COPYRIGHT WAIVERS FOR VIDEO GAMES

By Joseph Mandour on July 31, 2014

tattooSan Diego – The bicep tattoos on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be featured on his digital incarnation in the next “Madden” video game. The Biblical verses and religious references tattooed on the arms of Kaepernick’s virtual self will be featured on screen shots from the Electronic Arts game scheduled for an August 26th release.

Kaepernick obtained copyright waivers from the two tattoo artists who designed and inked the tattoos on his skin to avoid running afoul of copyright law. This would be the most high-profile example of an NFL player taking the advice of his union Read the rest

AEREO LOSES SUPREME COURT COPYRIGHT BATTLE TO NETWORKS’ DELIGHT

By Joseph Mandour on July 8, 2014

cableOrange County – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo TV service, the start-up tech firm that distributes local television signals over the Internet, is a copyright infringement. The case, ABC v. Aereo, which has generated much controversy, culminated in a 6-3 decision this week will also mark the end of this small company. Aereo launched about two years ago as the cheaper option for consumers who are paying high prices for cable and satellite television.

The plaintiffs in the case were the major broadcasters, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, who argued that Aereo’s service was a simple ruse around the U.S. Co Read the rest

BEASTIE BOYS WIN $1.7 MILLION IN COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE AGAINST MONSTER

By Joseph Mandour on June 11, 2014

HeadphonesSan Diego – The Beastie Boys recently prevailed in the copyright infringement case filed against Monster Beverage Corp for using the band’s songs in an online video without permission. The case was filed in Manhattan.

The video in question involves the promotion of an annual snowboarding competition that Monster sponsors in Canada called “Ruckus in the Rockies.” The video was posted on Monster’s YouTube channel and included a remix by DJ Z-Trip of Beastie Boys songs, such as “Sabotage” and “Make Some Noise.” Monster acknowledged that it used th Read the rest

SPOTIFY AND MINISTRY OF SOUND SET TO CLASH OVER COPYRIGHTS FOR DANCE MUSIC COMPILATIONS

By Joseph Mandour on September 6, 2013

music-headphones

Los Angeles – London-based Ministry of Sound Group Ltd. has commenced a lawsuit against streaming music service Spotify, alleging copyright infringement of its successful dance music albums.   The complaint alleges that without authorization Spotify has been allowing its users to stream playlists that replicate its own compilations of popular dance tracks.   Ministry of Sound, which owns a famous dance club and routinely rolls out themed compilations, is not arguing that Spotify should not be allowed to let users access the songs themselves.   Rather, MoS, as it is often termed by club-goers, hinges its sole infringement allegation on Spotify allowing users Read the rest

ROBIN THICKE FACING CLAIMS OF BLURRING LINES OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

By Joseph Mandour on August 21, 2013

music-concertLos Angeles – Crooner Robin Thicke filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Los Angeles on Thursday, asking a judge to find that his hit single “Blurred Lines” does not infringe the copyrights held for Marvin Gaye and George Clinton’s most iconic music.

Thicke brought the lawsuit along with the song’s co-writers, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., who uses the stage name T.I.  The complaint comes after the trio received claims of copyright infringement from the family of Marvin Gaye and representatives from Bridgeport Music, which holds the rights to some of Clinton’s music from his band Funkadelic.

Representatives for Gaye and Clinton hav Read the rest

FILMMAKER FILES LAWSUIT TO CANCEL COPYRIGHT FOR “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” SONG

By Joseph Mandour on June 21, 2013

happy-birthday Los Angeles – The copyright for the song, “Happy Birthday to You” came under fire in federal court last week when filmmaker Jennifer Nelson filed a lawsuit to cancel the copyright.  The lawsuit, brought in New York federal court in Manhattan, seeks to place the infamous birthday song in the public domain and force the copyright holder to return the licensing fees paid for use in the past four years.

Nelson became aware of this copyright when she began work on a documentary about the origins of the Happy Birthday song.  For including the song in her documentary, she was charged a licensing fee of $1,500 by the copyright holder, Warner/Chappell Music. Read the rest

APPEALS COURT AGREES: AEREO’S TV STREAMING SERVICE IS NOT A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

By Joseph Mandour on April 8, 2013

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Los Angeles – A 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge affirmed an earlier decision allowing Aereo to stream live local programming to its customers via internet and its app.  The lawsuit was brought against Aereo last year by three of the major broadcasting networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Telemundo and PBS.  The networks sought an injunction to prevent Aereo from transmitting the television shows, believing Aereo would need a license to continue its services.

Aereo conceded that it would be copyright infringement if it was broadcasting the shows from a single antenna to a public audience.  But instead, Aereo is leasing a separ Read the rest

PENGUIN’S COPYRIGHT CLAIMS DISMISSED OVER RIVAL’S MINISCULE PROFITS

By Joseph Mandour on March 15, 2013

books Los Angeles – A New York federal judge dismissed Penguin Group USA, Inc.’s copyright infringement lawsuit against a small online library based out of Arizona that posted Penguin’s books online without authorization, saying that the online library’s profits were not sufficient for the court to have jurisdiction over the case.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams ruled that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over the matter, as Penguin was unable to show that the nonprofit American Buddha had obtained considerable profits from sales of the copyrighted works, which is required by the long-arm statute in New York.

Penguin claimed that American Buddha had rec Read the rest

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