Month: October 2013

‘Oh, Really?’ Words exchanged over lyric sites

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. This is a guest post by Kasia Campbell, who is taking Entertainment Law and Web 2.0, a miniterm class that’s a requirement for those who wish to join the blog’s Editorial Board. I thought the song Apologize by One Republic keeps saying: “It’s too late to get a job,” instead of “It’s too late to apologize.” I thought the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons mentions “ready to rock you,” instead of “radioactive.” I thought the song Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus refers to, “You raped me,” instead of “You wrecked me.” I mean why else is she swinging naked on a ball? If you’re like me, blinded by the light and wrapped up like a … well, you’re a search engine devotee if for no other reason because you often find yourself racing to Google, Bing et al to determine the correct lyrics to earworms (those catchy tunes that rattle around our heads all day). But if you pop up the full words to songs online, are the sites you’re directed to infringing on lyricists’ copyrights, perhaps even in as egregious fashion or more so than if they posted the music or...

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Documentary film wins a journalistic shield

While a raft of New York police, prosecutors and other officials would love to get their hands on them, outtakes from a documentary by critically acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah and their fellow producer David McMahon enjoy journalistic privilege and the materials from The Central Park Five  need not be given over, a federal judge has ruled, affirming an earlier magistrate’s recommendation. The Burns’ PBS-aired film chronicles the injustice carried out against five black and Latino teenagers who were coerced into wrongly admitting roles in the horrific and sensationalized ‘wilding’ rape of a woman jogger in Central Park in 1989. A decade later, after the five did jail time,  a serial rapist confessed to the jogger’s brutal assault and DNA evidence confirmed his guilt. The 13-year-old convictions in the case were vacated and the wronged juveniles, now grown men, sued New York City, its police, the District Attorney’s Office, various members of the two agencies’ leadership and numerous detectives and prosecutors. As part of the civil rights lawsuit, in which plaintiffs seek $20 million, defense attorneys sought by subpoena interviews from the documentary, including footage not shown in the completed and aired documentary by Florentine Films, the documentary-maker in which Burns is a founding producer. Florentine resisted the demand for its materials and earlier this year U.S. Magistrate Ronald Ellis recommended that the federal courts quash the...

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Down for count, a new round for ‘Raging’ case

If a boxer fails to answer the bell and to come out slugging, the results are obvious: Bout’s over, no discussion. That’s the fight game. But the U.S. Supreme Court has put new legs under a long-running, legal slug fest, agreeing to hear an appeal regarding the Academy-Award winning movie “Raging Bull.” Plaintiff Paula Petrella claims Frank Petrella — her late father, a screenwriter a biographer of middleweight champion Jake LaMotta — penned a 1963 script on which the critically acclaimed 1980 movie was based. She sued MGM Holdings Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2009 for copyright infringement, saying she had renewed protections on her father’s screenplay in 1991, after the work’s 28-year term had expired. But the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of MGM, holding that Petrella had waited too long to sue. While the issue the Supreme Court will review revolves around timeliness and copyright litigation, especially distinctive deadlines in the West’s appellate court, this case has acquired a drama worthy of Robert DeNiro with assertions of bias in the Ninth. Stephanos Bibas, Petrella’s counsel, noted that this appellate court has a reputation for hostility to copyright owners and favoring Hollywood and the studios, with the circuit’s chief, Alex Kozinski once dubbing it “the court of appeals for the Hollywood circuit;” Bibas asserts the court has adopted...

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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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