Month: November 2013

Burbling of monster babe: It’s ‘work for hire’

Amanda Lewis, an ex-employee of Activision Blizzard, has been “WOW’d” by the loss of her recent federal copyright infringement suit against the video-game publishing powerhouse. Activision, along with co-defendant, Blizzard Entertainment Inc., developed and distributed the chart- and revenue-topping online game, World of Warcraft (WOW). While working as a “game master” for WOW, Lewis’ job included a role in creating content and helping customers. When Activision emailed its employees about an open-auditions for game voice-over work, Lewis sought and won the gig.  She twice recorded the voice for a “baby murloc,” a new promotional character, during her normal work hours and was paid her usual, hourly rate. Activision, however, failed to inform Lewis that her voice could be used for other reasons. After she had been terminated from Activision, she discovered that the character and her voice had been made part of the game itself and she sued for copyright infringement, alleging that her previous employer used her recordings without her consent. Activision sought summary judgment against Lewis, asserting that her claim failed for two reasons: 1) She didn’t own a copyright in the voice of the character because it was a work made for hire, and 2) Activision was a joint author, and. therefore, could not be held liable for copyright infringement. The court focused on whether Lewis was “employed to perform” her voice-overs, ultimately finding Lewis was;...

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Film, music industries detail global threats

When a recent presidential aspirant jested about his grasp of international affairs and whether he knew, gotcha, the name of the leader of Uz-Beki-Beki-Stan-Stan, music and entertainment industry officials had to flinch more than just a little: They know all too well that distant parties play a big role in what they see as outright piracy of their tunes, shows and other intellectual properties. And, in an annual ritual, Washington has asked and the industries have responded to a request from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) by sending out  updated lists from the movie and recording industry of what they term “notorious markets.” This pirate list, one of many written in recent years, includes online and physical markets and covers an array of websites and companies that, for example, the Motion Picture Association of America asserts threaten the lucrative U.S. film and broadcast industry. The identified malefactors were found across the globe in places like Australia, Argentina , Ukraine, China, Ireland, and Mexico –  just to name a few. Listed internet pirates – ranging from streaming movie portals and peer-to-peer networks and everything in between – each are profiled by the MPAA in its letter, with their online popularity rankings and how many visitors they have has racked up. More than a dozen sites were named but the MPAA doesn’t stop there: It also details several physical...

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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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