Month: April 2011

Law submarines BlueBeat’s Beatles grab

After accepting a accepting a proposed consent judgment last month in the Central District of California, online music store BlueBeat agreed to cough up $950,000 to settle a lawsuit for infringing copyrights on one of the most prized online music caches — the much-sought downloads of Beatles tracks, to which the firm and its backer had made a bizarre legal claim., it seems, managed to sell 67 million “remastered” Beatles tracks online before they became officially available on iTunes and skepticism was abundant when BlueBeat and its backing company, Media Rights Technologies, appeared to have outdone Amazon and iTunes in getting the first online rights to the Beatles back catalog. Some history: prior to BlueBeat’s release of the tunes, EMI strategically had withheld the Fab Four’s works for years, leaving consumers salivating until recently, when only last year was iTunes was given the permission to offer up the Beatles tunes at $1.29 a pop. As predicted, the BlueBird litigation commenced in 2009, when it turned out, of course, the “remasters” it offered actually were unauthorized for its online sales. When the company did first post the songs for only 25 cents a track, a lawsuit soon was filed by a raft of angry record labels, including EMI, Capitol Records and Virgin Records America. Media Rights’ fast response a bizarre legal defense: psycho- acoustic simulations. What? The firm asserted...

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‘Oh, Really?’: Privilege and ‘The Simpsons’

In ‘Oh, Really?’ the Biederman Blog’s editors — voracious consumers of all matters pop culture — cast a curious, skeptical, fun and smart end-of-the-week eye on popular productions, sharing their keen observations about legal matters these raise. When writing this feature, the Biederman Blog editors pick a movie or television show that evokes an interesting legal issue, a piece of pop culture that so strays from legal reality that it compels analysis. Well, to Matt Groening’s credit, every episode of the Simpsons qualifies.  Whether it’s murder, sexual harassment or even copyright infringement, this series has covered it. In this season’s installment,  Love is a Many Strangled Thing, the Simpsons tackle therapist-client relations and obligations. And between the gales of laughter, there’s lot to think about, legally speaking …. After causing Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) total public humiliation, Homer (Dan Castellaneta) finds himself in a therapy group on how to be a better dad.  After several other dads recount their tales of fatherhood, Homer feels comfortable enough to share one of his delightful stories, ending with him choking Bart.  Horrified by Homer’s nonchalant confession of child abuse, the therapist, Dr. Zander (Paul Rudd) schedules a private session with our cartoon hero.  Dr. Zander’s solution to Homer’s violent outbursts on his son? Get 7-foot-2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (voiced by himself) to make the squat Homer understand how it feels to be a scared...

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Suit fails over game licensing in China

A U.S. District Court in New York has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed by shareholders of The9 Ltd., the company that operates World of Warcraft in China, against the firm’s officers. The action, under sections 10b and 20a of the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act, asserted the corporate leaders made false statements  and misrepresentations regarding the renewal of the exclusive and lucrative license to run World of Warcraft in China, which represents 90% of The9’s revenues. But the court ruled the plaintiffs failed to make their case, including their claim that officers schemed to benefit from the ultimate non-renewal of the license. From JD Supra and Katten Muchen Rosenman LLP.  Click to read the...

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Another reel of Facebook legal drama

It took an entire movie, The Social Network, to dramatize the legal issues surrounding the creation of Facebook and even then there were plenty of loose ends to consider, not the least of which those that Chief Judge Alex Kosinski has resolved in an 11-page opinion upholding Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ 2008 settlement of their claims against the company (a deal now worth a reported $160 million). The twins had asserted that Facebook did not disclose an accurate valuation of the company in 2008 and appealed their deal. Kosinski brushed off that notion, affirming a district court finding that the duo were going to make plenty of dough and they were sophisticated businessmen aided by a pack of lawyers and experts, including their own dad, a prof at the Wharton business school and an authority on corporate valuation. But before the ink had dried on that favorable Facebook decision, another legal claim against his ownership of the company has re-arisen, dating from a 2003 contract in which a curious businessman named Paul Ceglia claims he received 50 percent ownership from Mark Zuckerberg in a project called “the face book.” Ceglia, a convicted felon, originally filed his claim a year ago, then represented by a small-town, Upstate New York lawyer; the action lacked key supporting evidence and it got tossed. But he’s baaack with an amended complaint, this time with the backing of  the big-name...

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Sony settles PlayStation ‘jailbreaking’ litigation

In a joint statement, Sony Computer Entertainment America and George Hotz, aka GeoHotz, have announced that they have reached a settlement of the game manufacturer’s lawsuit against the noted cyber hacker. Sony had asserted that Hotz had violated federal laws by posting instructions on how to “jailbreak” or to work around its security features on its software for the Sony PlayStation 3. As part of the settlement, Hotz agreed to a permanent injunction that had called for him to pull down posts on his web site concerning PS3 software. Gamastura notes that Sony also has dismissed its lawsuits against members of Fail0verflow (a PlayStation 3 hacking crew) and numerous “John Does” associated with the case. Hotz, meantime, proclaimed on his blog that he will boycott Sony products and calls for his readers to do the same.  Judging from the comments on Hotz’s blog, most commenters support him and what he did. There are, of course, a few detractors thrown in. The commenters angry at Hotz accuse him of taking donations for a protracted legal battle and then settling. Hotz promises to post a response. The lawsuit had taken an interesting turn in early March when Sony successfully subpoenaed IP addresses of users who visited Hotz’s websites or watched his videos. From Techdirt and...

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