Author: Lauren A. McGee

‘Ironman’ infringment claims stripped down

Court tosses lawsuit over suit but keeps alive tiff over movie poster When a super hero upgraded from spandex and metal to hard-core gear, that spawned a lawsuit over a suit. But almost two years after Horizon Comics Productions, Inc. (“Horizon”) sued Marvel Entertainment, LLC (“Marvel”) for copyright infringement, a federal judge has unzipped the claim that one of the planet’s leading character-based entertainment companies stole the body armor design for Iron Man from two comic book artists. U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken scrapped most of the suit by Horizon and onetime Marvel artists Ben and Ray Lai, finding iron-clad dissimilarities between Ironman’s...

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Behind a fun festival season, legal lines in sand

For Coachella and other lucrative live music events, there’s no fiddling around in enforcing protections for brands, merchandise Summer’s quickly approaching, and that means the music festival season soon will be rocking and rolling in its full glory. But there’s more than meets the eye in staging successful—read that highly lucrative—events, besides getting throngs out in Mother Nature’s splendor for a splendid series of hot performances by top artists of the moment. For Entertainment Law counsel, protecting a festival’s name, brand, intellectual property, and associated merchandise can require a lot of non-musical movements, year-round overtures in copyright and trademark...

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Justices zip up a fashion copyright case

High court, in novel 6-2 ruling, extends legal protection to stripes, chevrons, zig-zags that adorn a major makers’ cheerleader uniforms The three women donned dapper black for the colorful discussion. Their four male colleagues also appeared in sober, knee-length, noir-dominated attire. After weeks of chatter no doubt about stripes, chevrons, zig-zags, the sculpture of Marcel Duchamp, and multi-dimensionality in design, justices of the highest court in the land recently had their final hurrah in a battle over cheerleader gear, copyright, and fashion. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that graphics elements on uniforms designed by Varsity Brand Inc. (“Varsity”)...

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Polish tiff translates into $3 million in penalties

Do widzenia i powodznia!* Telewizja Polska, S.A. (TVP), may be saying to $3.06 million in its bank accounts. That’s because U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington, D.C., has found, under American law, that the Polish national television network infringed on the copyrights of Spanski Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), a Canadian content-distributor of Polish television programming. Chutkan ruled that TVP got itself in quite a ogórek kiszony** over the rights to show dozens of episodes broadcast on an international Polish-language broadcast channel, TVPolonia.com, which touts itself as airing “Polish news, current affairs and information programs, sitcoms, mini series, soap operas, movies,...

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A King of Comedy clobbers an old claim

Steve Harvey, the original king of comedy himself, will get the last laugh in his long dispute with Joe Cooper, a  videographer. A federal court in Dallas has tossed Cooper’s lawsuit, seeking $50 million, and asserting that Harvey had breached a contract with him for recording 120 or so hours worth of the comedian’s stand-up routines at Harvey’s Dallas club back in 1993. It turns out that the joke two decades later is on Cooper, as jurors, after just hours of deliberation, found that he and Harvey had not entered into a valid contract. Instead, Harvey’s counterclaim that Cooper...

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