Author: Jasleen Ahuja

Court cries foul on service for mobile sports

The Federal Court of Australia, has ruled that TV Now,  a service allowing subscribers to download sports events on mobile phones and tablets and watch them within minutes of a live broadcast, does not fall under the “private and domestic use” exception of the Copyright Act. This decision resulted from a challenge of licensed recordings made available on equipment operated by and located with a commercial third party and the legality of recordings stored on a cloud service operated by a commercial third party. While it may be an Australian appellate ruling, it falls in line with other case decisions that have halted this type of technology, overseas and in the United States. Some analysts see this decision with further implications for cloud-based services. Ars Technica reports further on these implications...

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‘Oh Really?’ Legal reckoning in ‘Due Date’

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. Due Date is a typical road-trip movie, in which Robert Downey Jr. plays a high-strung architect, Peter Highman, returning home to Los Angeles from Atlanta for the birth of his first child when he meets Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), a fatherless, jobless and shiftless, aspiring actor. In the opening scene, this unlikely pair gets booted from a plane and must drive to LA, encountering many bumps in the road on their quest to get home — and encountering some legal issues worth consideration. Let’s look first at that opening scene, where the intrepid duo not only gets tossed off their flight but also put on the federal no-fly list for tossing around in conversation the words terrorist and bomb. This list is supposed to bar suspicious characters from travel on commercial aircraft in or out of the United States. While a funny plot twist, the list generally bans individuals who pose genuine threats to the U.S., U.S. officials or the U.S. government. It’s under challenge by three Californians who argue their appearance on it violates their due process right and freedom to travel. And for folks like Pete and Ethan it can be not only a pain to be...

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Documentary filmmakers score a win over IRS

A tax judge has ruled in a recent case that documentaries can be a for-profit activity, a huge win for documentary filmmakers, many of whom hold other jobs or make money in other ways while also pursuing their cinematic projects and hoping those make money.  The IRS and a tax judge had raised concerns around Hollywood and in the ranks of certain filmmakers about deductions in a case involving Lee Storey, an attorney who fought this case. The IRS had argued that a documentary Storey worked on was more of a hobby and the tax judge had seemed to agree, potentially dealing a big blow for documentary filmmakers who hold day jobs. Then others weighed in — raising ned. Although it is unclear if the IRS will appeal this decision, the case has gotten its share of negative coverage for the tax collectors and the court, viz THR,...

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Holograms resurrect dead stars, legal issues

Tupac and Nate Dogg — rappers who have been deceased since 1996 and 2011, respectively — appeared last week on stage, albeit as holograms that allowed Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to perform their noteworthy songs “California Love” and “The Next Episode” without missing a beat. The West Coast performance demonstrated the identical hologram technology that allowed Mariah Carey to perform a Christmas concert in five European cities simultaneously. This new technology raises interesting legal issues about use of the likeness of a dead celebrity.A key issue concerns Tupac’s “right of publicity,” which prevents others from using, without permission, the name or likeness of a person for commercial gain. When alive, that right vests in the individual; the issue gets more complicated after an individual’s death.In some states, the right of publicity automatically passes to heirs or passes via a will or other testamentary document; this is the case in Indiana or California. In New York, however, the right of publicity ends upon an individual’s death. Courts have determined that the state where the person domiciled at time of death provides the governing law. More information on post-mortem rights of publicity is contained in this article. The Wall Street Journal reports that representatives for both Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are planning a tour with holographic Tupac and it could launch a trend in such musical tours. The technology,...

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Prince loses $3.95 million licensing stink

A New York judge has sent a strong message, ordering entertainer Prince to pay $3.95 million for failing to honor a licensing agreement that he signed in 2006. That agreement contained provisions for the pop star to promote an eponymous fragrance through media and in-store appearances, distributing samples at concerts, and then receiving 50 percent of any profits made from the product. But two years later, Revelation, the fragrance company that entered the deal, sued Prince, asserting breach and seeking damages. The fragrance was inspired by Prince’s 3121 album, and the licensing agreement was signed by both Prince and Universal Music Publishing Group. Although he and Universal’s lawyers argued the terms of the agreement did not require direct promotion by Prince, the judge ruled that the singer had made post-signing statements that sent “mixed messages” about his involvement with the product. These mixed messages came after signing the agreement, including empty promises made worse when minimum sales requirements were not met. Though the judgement may seem large, it was shy of what it could have been, given that the judge did not find any malicious intent on behalf of Prince and did not award punitive...

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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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