Author: Sarah Meister

The end of disc-free movie servers?

The DVD Copy Control Association, licensor of the Content Scramble System for DVD players, has won a tentative judgment against Kaleidescape, a manufacturer of media servers that copy DVDs to built-in hard drives. A judge has ruled that the system’s licensing agreement requires a physical disc to be in a DVD player for playback. Kaleidescape, among many other manufacturers, allows users to copy DVDs onto the server and watch the movies without physical discs. This case could mean the end for many of the recent movie-server vendors operating a disc-free movie experience. Check out this report  by Julie Jacobson, discussing the recent, unpublished and pending ruling and the history of Kaleidescape’s “eight-year war” with DVD CCA: Kaleidescape vs. DVD CCA: Judge Rules Against Movie...

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U.K. court takes a curious shot on copyright

An English court has ruled that photographing a scene that is “substantially similar” to a scene shot earlier can be an infringement of the first photographer’s copyright. The photos depict a similar but different scene and were taken in different places at different angles. Contrary to the common notion that ideas never can be copyrighted, the judge ruled that it was the idea of the photo that was copyrighted, not the photo itself. The problem with this ruling? Many photographers take pictures of the same objects or subjects at the same time. Consider the scrums of papparazzi or news pool photographers who shoot the prominent  or celebrities: Is it possible that this ruling would grant the photographer with the fastest shutter the exclusive right to a photo taken by many in a group? Many a forlorn photojournalist has stood, for example, on an airport tarmac or similar public place to record the emotional reunion of, say, a returning soldier, only to see his adjacent compatriot walk off with a top press prize for an image framed almost exactly but shot a millisecond later; no one has had the moxie to add injury to insult by asserting copyright infringement, too. This ruling also could send individuals with large archives of photos scurrying through their collections for possible infringement claims. This ruling also potentially could be extended to movies. Say a...

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Do popular search engines drive content piracy?

Entertainment industry groups are concerned with search engines, such as Google and Bing, directing consumers to illegal sites where they can obtain music and films. Campaigners would like the government to establish a voluntary group in charge of removing illegal sites from internet search results. Check out the article, written by Josh Halliday, discussing the intermediaries that may be playing an essential role in entertainment content theft here: Entertainment Lobby Claims Google, Bing Send Users to Illegal Music...

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A legal shootout over choppers in video game

The gaming blogsphere is abuzz over Electronic Arts’ filing of what many sites (such as THREsq) have dubbed a “preemptive” lawsuit (see complaint at Paid Content) against Textron, the parent company of Bell, a manufacturer of military and other helicopters, seeking a court declaration of the game maker’s right to depict real-life military helicopters in its Battlefield 3 video game. EA took action, apparently, after Textron asserted that the copter depictions in the video game constituted trade dress infringement and dilution. EA says the depictions “are protected by the First Amendment and the doctrine of nominative fair use.” In June, the Supreme Court ruled that video games are entitled to the same free speech protections as movies, books, and music. After this landmark decision, EA prevailed in a matter involving the unlicensed use of a college quarterback’s likeness. EA believes the use of the helicopters would also fall within its right to free expression. Online analysts have noted that EA has licensed many real-world automobiles for inclusion in its Need for Speed video game. What’s the legal difference between the appearance of the vehicles therein and the disputed choppers here? Those cars in Need for Speed are central to the game’s purpose, whereas the copters in Battlefield 3 “are not highlighted or given greater prominence than any of the other vehicles within the game.” This is not the first lawsuit involving EA...

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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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