Month: August 2013

In the 9th, football video games win 1, lose 1

In a pair of lawsuits filed by former athletes against gaming company Electronic Arts, let’s call the score tied, with appellate judgments recently decided in favor of each of the parties. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of former Arizona State quarterback Samuel Keller, rejecting EA’s motion to strike his right of publicity claims; the appellate court in Los Angeles,  in a second decision, sided with EA and upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Jim Brown, the National Football League Hall of Famer over the video game makers use of his character in its Madden NFL product. In the Keller decision, the court scrutinized the use of the plaintiff’s likeness as an Arizona State star in 2005 in EA’s 2005 edition of its NCAA Football video game. Keller said EA failed to pay him for incorporating him in its game and filed a class action lawsuit for violations of his right of publicity under California Civil Code § 3344 and California common law.  A district court denied EA’s motion to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16. The appellate court rejected EA’s First Amendment and fair-use defenses.  EA had argued the lower court erred in ignoring transformative elements of the game as a whole, as required to prove both defenses.  The court also found EA’s...

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Why Rapid City radio suddenly matters

Pandora has opened up a boxful of ire by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers over the music streaming company’s announced plans to buy radio station KXMZ in Rapid City, South Dakota. The performing rights society — which negotiates, collects and distributes royalties to its 465,000 members — sees this purchase as a way to cheat songwriters and composers out of royalties, and, in a post on its website, ASCAP says it has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission, asking it to bar Pandora’s bid to buy the AM-FM station. ASCAP, to show that Pandora’s move to acquire KXMZ is an attempt to undercut royalties owed to its members, points to data indicating that for every 1,000 plays of a song on Pandora, a songwriter and composer is owed eight cents; that’s a pittance compared with what other similar companies pay, it says. But in an Op-Ed in a widely read Capitol Hill publication, Christopher Harrison, Pandora’s counsel, defends the station buy. He says the company’s ownership of a broadcast outlet legally should entitle it to more favorable royalty rates. ASCAP refutes this argument, saying Internet radio and traditional AM-FM radio play music and generate revenue in sharply different ways. The society says Pandora should be barred from benefiting from a broadcast provision by the Radio Music Licensing Committee, an accord designed for businesses that earn more than...

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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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