Month: February 2011

O, ‘Baby:’ Is Mr. Jones’ Bieber oration fair use?

Although extremely humorous, one must ask whether James Earl Jones reciting a portion of the lyrics of the song “Baby” by Justin Bieber on the Gayle King Show constitutes copyright infringement? One argument is that this is clearly a “parody,” which is a distorted imitation of an original work of authorship for the purpose of commenting on it, and is protected under the First Amendment as fair use. But Mike Masnick of Techdirt, believes that there is a good possibility that the Gayle King Show went ahead and licensed the use of Justin Bieber’s lyrics from the copyright holder. So what do you think? Is this a clear example of “fair use” or was it necessary to get a license from the copyright holder in order for Mr. Jones to recite the...

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2 sink claws into DreamWorks’ ‘Panda’

Artist Jayme Gordon has filed a complaint against DreamWorks in Massachusetts, claiming that its film, “Kung Fu Panda,” infringed his copyrighted works. His works were collectively titled “Kung Fu Panda Power ” and were registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2000. THR, Esq. Gordon argues that DreamWorks not only copied the title of his work, but also the characters. Simultaneously, DreamWorks is fighting another lawsuit brought by a writer named Terence Dunn. He claims to have discussed the story of a “spiritual kung-fu fighting panda bear” with DreamWorks executives on the phone in November, 2001. Gordon’s lawsuit, filed on Feb. 16, is a bit more complicated. According to the complaint, Gordon submitted his works to The Walt Disney Co. in the late 1980s or early 1990s. He was later invited to a meeting with then-chairman Michael Eisner. At the time of the meeting, Jeffrey Katzenberg was employed by Disney and Eisner was his superior. In 1994, Katzenberg left Disney and formed DreamWorks Studios with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Gordon claims that he sent his work to DreamWorks in the late 1990s, but DreamWorks rejected it. The argument is that DreamWorks had access to Gordon’s work; hence DreamWorks may be guilty of copyright infringement if the works are substantially similar. Besides monetary damages, Gordon is demanding “an acknowledgment of authorship on both Kung Fu Panda and its forthchoming sequel, scheduled for...

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