Month: August 2012

In 50-50 win, reminders on key legal points

Make no mistake:  Lionsgate scored a decisive victory in defending federal trademark and unfair competition claims brought over last year’s Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt film “50-50.” But looking beyond Pryor Cashman attorneys Tom Ferber and Ross Bagley’s first round knockout via 12(b)(6) dismissal, future “movie title” litigators may find three key “take-aways” nestled in the decision.   The Case: Eastland Music Group et al v. Lions Gate Entertainment et al Eastland Music Group brought trademark claims against Lionsgate, Summit, and Mandate Pictures in federal court in Illinois last November. Eastland does own the federal mark for “PHIFTY-50” in a category that includes CDs and DVDs. They also claimed the common law rights to the mark “50-50.” This was a challenging case from the outset. Plaintiffs’ attorney  (himself a co-plaintiff) had not made a “Claim 3” in pleading seven federal and state claims.  There were standing issues; the co-plaintiff-attorney had not proven he had any for his own claims. Brandgeek noted the “absurdity” that neither of two plaintiffs had a pixel of web presence to its name, beyond mentions associated with the case. Although dismissed on July 19 on the pleadings, before discovery, U.S. District Judge George W. Lindberg did view the film. He applied the Rogers v. Grimaldi (a “misleading titles” case discussed below) to find that the plaintiffs had “not plausibly argued any possibility of confusion between “50/50...

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Q-&-A: `Hyphenate talent’ with David Tenzer

In a recent session, entertainment lawyer David Tenzer sat down at the request of the Biederman Blog to discuss a range of topics, including a common pitfall  among starry-eyed deal makers, the new profit participants in the lucrative field of reality star lifestyle brands and his suggestions to practitioners on how to avoid becoming an unhappy lawyer in the up-and-down entertainment industry. Q: Who is your average client? I represent actors, writers, directors, producers, production and distribution companies, lifestyle experts and on-camera personalities — so it’s really all across the board. Most of the people I represent are in the television business, especially nonfiction.  Many have an initial platform in television, but they have other platforms as well. Q:  You’re known for working with “dual-threat” talent  — people who perform multiple, above-the-line functions, such as host and producer on the same TV show. What makes these clients attractive? I find that people who wear a couple of different hats tend to have really interesting careers. They may have a greater number of choices at any given moment in their career. They’re a lot of fun to represent. We usually refer to them as “hyphenates.” There’s a good chance that a hyphenate talent ends up with more control over a project, if they are wearing more than one hat in connection with that project. They’re not just being hired to...

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Entertainment Law Blogs

The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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