Author: Valerie Roque

Q-&-A: Prof. Warren Grimes on ABC v. Aereo

Professor Warren S. Grimes, an antitrust expert now widely quoted in the mass media about economic aspects of the television broadcast industry, sat down at the request of the Biederman Blog with editor Valerie A. Roque for a recent Q.-and-A. discussion of American Broadcasting Company v. Aereo, the pending U..S. Supreme Court case on TV and copyright that has generated considerable buzz and legal attention. Grimes authored a recently published an on-line Forbes editorial “Heel or Hero? Aereo and Television Distribution.”  Q. — What is Aereo? A. — Aereo is a firm that allows you to stream live-television broadcasts...

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‘Peas’ shuck appellate infringment claim

The BlackEyed Peas’  big hit I Gotta Feeling did not infringe on copyrights for the dance version of Take a Dive, because the latter’s song writer, Bryan Pringle, failed to prove that (1) Peas had access to his work and (2) that the two songs are substantially similar, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled, upholding the findings of a lower court, which thanks to EntLawDigest, can be read here.) The lower court had rebuked the plaintiff and counsel over how crucial case evidence got handled — or mishandled. Pringle wrote and recorded Take a Dive, then filed and was issued registration with the U.S. Copyright Office on April 29, 1998.  He further created a derivative dance version but failed to register that tune with the Copyright Office until November, 2010.  In 2009, the BlackEyed Peas recorded and released I Gotta A Feeling,  which became an instant hit.  Billboard reported that “Feeling” “set a record…for the longest successive No. 1 chart run by a duo or group in the Billboard Hot 100’s history,” and was “the best-selling digital song of all time.”  The Peas made the song available on, where the “‘stems” or component parts of Feeling, including the guitar twang sequence, were available for download. In February, 2010, Pringle heard Feeling and believed it infringed his dance “Take a Dive,” suing the Peas...

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1.35 million reasons to rethink ‘stage diving’

Kimberly Meyers, a middle-aged mother of three, went to hear live music at a Philadelphia club and did not know that Fishbone,  a punk-funk-ska band, would be performing. She was standing in the audience, when suddenly, to her surprise, band members hurled themselves from the stage and into the crowd. Meyers was flattened. Her skull and collarbone were shattered, her eardrum ruptured. The band played on as she was taken by ambulance for emergency care. She since has undergone three surgeries and is expected to undergo more because of her continuing pain, loss of motion, cognitive loss and subsequent development of both lupus and arthritis. And, in a later deposition, what did the musician who slammed into her have to say? “[W]hen you’re performing, . . . you don’t want to have anything stepping in your way of — of you expressing your true feelings and your true art . . . .” remarked Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore. U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois recently had her say about the indie band’s antics and the dangers of the practice known as stage diving, issuing a default judgment against Moore and John Norwood Fisher, Fishbone’s bassist. The court awarded Meyers $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages solely against Moore for inflicting life-changing injuries on the New Jersey businesswoman in a case that also spotlights other instances where...

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Optioning a life story? Tap these online tips

The trend in entertainment in recent years has been for movies to be based on actual people and actual events, consider such titles as Fruitvale Station, Lone Survivor,and Wolf on Wall Street .  As Variety notes: “filmmakers agree that the jump in numbers (from eight to seventeen) is due to several factors, including audience tastes, studio responsiveness, filmmakers’ determination and the social-media world we now inhabit.” Gordon Firemark, an entertainment lawyer and Southwestern Law School Alumni and adjunct, discusses “How to Option a Person’s Life Story,” in his online video series entitled “Asked & Answered.”  He touches on the function of such deals and provides  tips on avoiding pitfalls which could result in lawsuits, such as Chuck Wepner vs. Sylvester Stallone over “Rocky“; Rick Appling vs. Bryon Allen Entertainment over the rights to Sammy Davis Jr.’s life; and Sarver vs. The Hurt Locker LLC et al. because the movie “Hurt Locker” was based Iraq war veteran Master Sgt, Jeffrey Sarver’s own life story within the Army bomb...

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‘Oh, Really?’ Ethics shattered in 2 professions?

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. He’s a fresh-faced, eager but ruthlessly ambitious guy who somehow also manages to be nice, likable and accomplished. He’s also more than a little furtive, mysterious and slippery. And the actor who captures all these characteristics — a star who also portrayed a youthful warrior who would morph into one of the notorious, tortured Freudian villains of pop culture — has won praise for putting a personable, accessible and bespectacled face on the practice of pathological lying. Why is it worth revisiting actor Hayden Christensen as scribe Stephen Glass in the critically acclaimed but relatively low-grossing flick Shattered Glass? Well, when truth turns into fiction, fiction shows truth and the truth becomes an object of scorn, this must be a mix of Washington, Hollywood and San Francisco or journalism, movies, the law and commentary. And who knew that the odious practices of one craft, chronicled in a movie three years ago, would be resurrected in a California Supreme Court rebuke and then would subject the legal profession to its own tut-tut-ing over  its bad actors? The plot begins Let’s flash back: Stephen Glass earned notoriety, especially in the navel-gazing world of Washington...

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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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