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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News

Headline Copyright Legal News from LexisNexis®


10th Circuit: Refusal To Allow Amended Copyright Claim Not Erroneous
DENVER - A Utah federal judge's decision to deny The SCO Group Inc. leave to amend its tortious interference complaint against International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) to add a new claim for copyright infringement was affirmed Oct. 30 by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (The SCO Group Inc. v. International Business Machines Corp., No. 16-4040, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21487).

Hawaii Federal Judge Partly Grants Sanctions In Copyright Case
HONOLULU - Although refusing to dismiss a copyright infringement case outright as a sanction for providing insufficient discovery responses, a Hawaii federal judge on Oct. 17 ordered a plaintiff to supplement the discovery responses, attend a status conference and be deposed, as well as pay all court reporter fees associated with the deposition (Keoni Payton v. Defend Inc., et al., No. 15-238, D. Hawaii, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171877).

Company Awarded More Than $6.8M In Damages In Trade Secrets Lawsuit
LOS ANGELES - A defendant in a misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement lawsuit will pay more than $6.8 million in damages on claims that he used his former employer's trade secrets to develop a competing 3-D imaging device for the dental industry, a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 19 in granting the former employer's motion for damages and entry of judgment (Sirona Dental Systems Inc., et al. v. Jian Lu, No. 15-8777, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174510).

Some Defenses Stricken In Florida Trade Dress, Trademark, Copyright Case
ORLANDO, Fla. - A declaratory judgment defendant and copyright, trademark and trade dress infringement counterclaimant partly prevailed Oct. 18 before a Florida federal magistrate judge, who agreed to strike various affirmative defenses raised in response to the counterclaims (Systematic Home Staging LLC v. MHM Professional Staging LLC, No. 17-1327, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172036).

Request For Dismissal Of Copyright Claim Denied By California Federal Judge
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that a copyright infringement case is time-barred as well as deficient for failure to satisfy the registration requirement of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 411, were turned away Oct. 18 by a California federal judge (Margaret Eve-Lynne Miyasaki v. Kyna Treacy, No. 12-4427, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172705).

Plaintiff Pleaded Elements Of Federal Trade Secrets Claim, Federal Judge Rules
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - A federal judge in Virginia on Oct. 16 ruled that the co-owner of a software developer may bring a federal trade secret misappropriation claim against his co-owner, a former employee and others because the plaintiff has sufficiently pleaded the elements of his claim in alleging that the defendants misappropriated software code for two LLCs they stated (Todd Hawkins v. Jonathan B. Fishbeck, et al., No. 17-0032, W.D. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170678).

Illinois Federal Judge Awards $650,000 In Copyright, Trademark Case
CHICAGO - A defendant who sold counterfeit "Monster Energy" products online was ordered by an Illinois federal judge on Oct. 23 to pay Monster Energy Co. $650,000 in damages in connection with allegations of copyright and trademark infringement (Monster Energy Company v. Zheng Peng, et al., No. 17-414, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175287).

Dismissal Of Copyright Claims Upheld By 9th Circuit On Jurisdiction Grounds
SAN FRANCISCO - Although a United Kingdom limited company intentionally copied a competitor's logos for reproduction on its newsletters, the intentionally infringing acts were not expressly aimed at the state of California, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 1, affirming dismissal of a copyright infringement action (Axiom Foods Inc., et al. v. Acerchem UK Limited, No. 15-56450, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21801).

Megaupload Executives Denied Certiorari In Fugitive Disentitlement Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of former executives of the now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload who were convicted for criminal copyright convictions won't have their questions about fugitive disentitlement of assets heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, as their petition for certiorari was denied in the high court's Oct. 2 order list (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari In Dispute Over Substantial Similarity Test
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 10 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a case that posed the question of which test for substantial similarity controls when determining whether copyright infringement has occurred (Shame On You Productions Inc. v. Elizabeth Banks, et al., No. 17-180, U.S. Sup.).

Supreme Court Won't Hear Suit Over Liability For Online Sale Of Infringing Goods
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 10 order list, the U.S. Supreme denied a petition for certiorari in a children's pillowcase maker's suit against Inc., declining to consider questions regarding an online retailer's liability for the sale of a third party's goods that infringe another's patents or copyrights (Milo & Gabby LLC, et al. v. Inc., No. 17-287, U.S. Sup.).

1st Circuit Affirms: Copyrights Conveyed To Gripe Website
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 11 upheld findings by a Massachusetts federal judge that a disgruntled civil litigant conveyed a nonexclusive license to the "Ripoff Report" website when he clicked a box acknowledging that a user who posts on the site agrees to give the site's owner an "irrevocable right" to display the posting (Small Justice LLC, et al. v. Xcentric Ventures LLC, Nos. 15-1506, 16-1085, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19866).

3 Studio Plaintiffs Added In Amended Copyright Complaint Against VidAngel
LOS ANGELES - After receiving adverse rulings for sanctions, contempt and a preliminary injunction, video-streaming service provider VidAngel Inc. saw three more movie studios join a copyright infringement lawsuit against it, with the Oct. 6 filing of a first amended complaint (FAC) (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-004109, C.D. Calif.).

California Magistrate Judge OKs Service By Publication In Copyright, Patent Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Citing an inability by a copyright, patent and trade dress infringement plaintiff to serve a copy of its complaint on two defendants, a California federal judge on Oct. 6 found "good cause" to allow service by publication (Rain Design Inc. v. Spinido Inc., et al., No. 17-3681, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166415).

Bar On Expert Testimony In Copyright Cases Not Cert Worthy, Video Maker Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court should deny certiorari in a copyright infringement action over the popular John Madden Football series computer game because the federal circuit courts agree that disputed works must be placed into evidence so a jury can compare them, and any ruling on the role of expert witnesses in software copying cases would not change the outcome of the case at hand, the video game maker argues in a Sept. 28 response brief (Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 17-168, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3769).

Builder Appeals Home Plan 'Thin' Copyright Protection To U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A homebuilder in a Sept. 14 petition for certiorari asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that it says devalues architectural plan copyrights, simultaneously arguing that the disposition of its infringement suit via summary judgment deprived it of the right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Arthur Rutenberg Homes Inc., et al. v. Jewel Homes LLC, et al., No. 17-511, U.S. Sup.).

FedEx, Nonprofit Argue Over Noncommercial Copyright License In 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK - A nonprofit educational firm and FedEx Office and Print Services Inc. briefed the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on issues surrounding the noncommercial use requirement in a public license for downloadable materials, with the parties disagreeing whether FedEx violated the materials' copyright by copying the materials for school districts (Great Minds v FedEx Office and Print Services Inc., No. 17-808, 2nd Cir.).

Zillow Tells 9th Circuit Use Of Home Photos On Website Was Fair Use
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Oct. 26 brief appealing a $4 million statutory damages award that assigned a per-photo fine for 2,700 real estate photos deemed infringing, Zillow Group Inc. tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that its online use of the pictures was transformative and fair use (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 17-35587 and 17-35588, 9th Cir.).

Usenet Provider Opposes Adult Site's Certiorari Bid In Vicarious Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Asserting that an appeals court's ruling in its favor presented no conflicts with copyright law or controlling case law, a usenet provider argues in an Oct. 20 brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no merit to an adult website operator's petition for certiorari appealing a finding that the respondent was not liable for infringing content posted by its users (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al, No. 17-320, U.S. Sup.).

New York Federal Judge Denies UMG's Motion To Dismiss Copyright Claim
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Assertions by defendant Universal Music Group (UMG) Inc. that a copyright infringement action should be dismissed on jurisdiction grounds or for failure to state a claim were rejected as "legally insufficient" by a New York federal judge on Sept. 17 (Hypefortype Ltd v. Universal Music Group Inc., No. 17-4468, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150500).

Scholastic Wins Transfer Of Copyright Action To New York Federal Court
TRENTON, N.J. - Allegations that Scholastic Inc. exceeded the terms of a limited license to use a plaintiff's copyrighted photographs in its publications will proceed in New York federal court in light of Scholastic's forum-selection clause with a stock photography agency, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Sept. 15 (George Steinmetz v. Scholastic Inc., No. 16-3585, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149952).

Jurisdiction Lacking Over Dutch Company Accused Of Copyright Infringement
COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a Sept. 19 ruling, an Ohio federal judge found that a corporation incorporated and operating in the Netherlands cannot be made to stand trial in the United States on allegations that it infringed a copyrighted psychological assessment (IDS Publishing Corporation v. Reiss Profile Europe B.V., No. 16-535, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152114).

Minnesota Federal Judge Transfers Copyright Case To Florida Court
MINNEAPOLIS - A complaint by Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo, collectively) that seeks a declaration that Mayo did not infringe a copyrighted chart in an internal training session cannot proceed in Minnesota because the chart's author has not "purposefully directed" her activities there, a Minnesota federal judge ruled Sept. 27 (Mayo Clinic, et al. v. Enterprise Management Limited Inc. and Mary Lippitt, No. 17-941, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158786).

Oracle's False Advertising Counterclaims Survive Motion To Dismiss
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 21 found that Lanham Act claims based upon a former copyright infringement defendant's alleged false representation that its revised software maintenance program was no longer infringing are not preempted by the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle America Inc., No. 14-1699, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154930).

Copyright, Trademark, Patent Claims To Proceed In California Federal Court
LOS ANGELES - Efforts by a defendant to obtain dismissal of allegations of copyright, trademark and design patent infringement stemming from the sale of luxury candy were unsuccessful Sept. 25, when a California federal judge deemed the allegations adequately pleaded (Sugarfina Inc. v. Sweet Pete's LLC, No. 17-4456, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156711).

New York Copyright Dispute Over Bar Exam Prep Programs Dismissed
NEW YORK - Citing evidence that a plaintiff "does not hold (and indeed, has not even applied for) a copyright," a New York federal judge on Sept. 25 dismissed without prejudice allegations of infringement by a bar exam prep company against a competitor (LLM Bar Exam LLC v. Barbri Inc., et al., No. 16-3770, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156411).

Illinois Federal Judge: Copyright Dispute Over Updated Manual Can Proceed
CHICAGO - In a Sept. 6 order, an Illinois federal judge deemed allegations by a not-for-profit corporation that a defendant infringed a copyrighted accreditation manual adequately pleaded to survive a motion to dismiss (The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations v. Fortis Business Media LLC, No. 16-4724, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144217).

With Similarity Lacking, California Federal Judge Dismisses Copyright Case
LOS ANGELES - Allegations that the sponsor of a screenwriting contest misappropriated one of the submissions for use in the hit ABC sitcom "Black-ish" were rejected Sept. 13 by a California federal judge, who found no similarity between the sitcom and the submission as required to maintain a claim of copyright infringement (David Lloyd Marcus v. ABC Signature Studios Inc., et al., No. 17-148, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148568).

Judge Dismisses UCL Claim Related To Curricula, Allows Infringement Claim
SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that parts of curricula were duplicated, a California federal judge on Sept. 22 refused to dismiss the owner of the copyright's claim for infringement but dismissed her claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and interference for failure to plead with particularity (Alisa Wolf, et al. v. Futures Explored, et al., No. 3:16-cv-03297, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155614).

Adult Website Operator Tells High Court Usenet Provider Vicariously Infringed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Aug. 30 petition for certiorari, the operator of an adult website asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the standards for determining vicarious copyright infringement liability, arguing that in finding a usenet provider not vicariously liable for displaying the copyrighted images of Perfect 10 Inc., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals relied on incorrect guidelines for infringers' profits and automated processes (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 17-320, U.S. Sup.).

9th Circuit's Bar On Expert Testimony In Copyright Cases Before High Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The creator of the popular John Madden Football series computer game asked the U.S. Supreme Court on July 28 to decide whether expert testimony should be barred in copyright infringement cases because juries must assess infringement as an "ordinary reasonable person" would (Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 17-168, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 2633).

Opposing Certiorari, Film Parties Call Screenplay Copyright Suit 'Unremarkable'
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' summary affirming of a trial court's dismissal of a screenplay owner's copyright infringement suit against parties connected with the movie "Walk of Shame" was unremarkable and presents no issues meriting review, the defendants tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 1 brief opposing certiorari (Shame On You Productions Inc. v. Elizabeth Banks, et al., No. 17-180, U.S. Sup.).

Megaupload Executives Cite 6th Circuit Rulings To Support Certiorari Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 1 supplemental brief further supporting their petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, former executives of the now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload point to two recent fugitive disentitlement of assets rulings by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that they say conflict with the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling against them in the present criminal copyright suit, deepening an already existing circuit split on the matter (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).

Director Says Sanctions Were Properly Vacated In Short Film Copyright Suit
NEW YORK - In a Sept. 21 appellee brief, a film director and his attorney ask the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a trial court's vacating of a sanctions award against them because it was based on the appeals court's prior finding that no tortious interference occurred in a copyright infringement dispute over a short film (16 Casa Duse LLC v. Alex Merkin, et al., No. 17-0625, 2nd Cir.).

Federal Magistrate Judge Requests Briefing On Copyright Defenses
SAN DIEGO - A California federal magistrate judge on Aug. 4 directed Conan O'Brien and other copyright infringement co-defendants to file a proposed amended answer and supplemental brief justifying their request to reopen discovery in the case, based upon representations by plaintiff's counsel that an underlying copyright registration will be canceled or corrected (Robert Alexander Kaseberg v. Conan O'Brien, et al., No. 15-1637, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123703).

Florida Federal Judge Grants $1.1 Million Fee Award In Copyright Case
TAMPA, Fla. - On remand from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 8 found that although the number of hours spent pursuing copyright infringement claims was "excessively high," a plaintiff was nonetheless entitled to an award of $1.1 million in attorney fees (Yellow Pages Photos Inc. v. Ziplocal LP, et al., No. 12-755, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125028).

California Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Criminal Copyright Claim
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations that a defendant gained access to copyrighted electronic design automation (EDA) software through fraud in violation of the Copyright Act are adequately pleaded, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 15 in denying a motion to dismiss (Synopsys Inc. v. Ubiquiti Network Inc., et al., No. 17-561, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130070).

Illinois Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Copyright Claims
CHICAGO - Although granting one defendant's motion to dismiss allegations of professional negligence as preempted by the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 301(a), an Illinois federal judge on Aug. 21 denied another defendant's request for dismissal of contributory and vicarious infringement claims (UIRC-GSA Holdings Inc. v. William Blair & Company, et al., No. 15-9518, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133287).

Indiana Federal Judge Rejects Copyright Claims Over Pontoon Boat Designs
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - In an Aug. 22 ruling, an Indiana federal judge dismissed allegations that a defendant violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512 et seq., and the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., when it applied certain graphic designs to pontoon boats because the complaint fails to allege with specificity the nature of the copyrighted work (The Art of Design Inc. v. Pontoon Boat LLC, et al., No. 16-595, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133672).

6th Circuit: Dismissal Of Declaratory Judgment Copyright Claim Was Proper
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal magistrate judge did not err in dismissing, as redundant, a declaratory judgment counterclaim of noninfringement filed by an alleged downloader of various copyrighted films, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 28 (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16586).

New York Federal Judge Grants Request For Dismissal Of Software Copyright Case
NEW YORK - Allegations that a law firm specializing in real estate and four of its partners infringed copyrighted software were dismissed, with leave to amend, by a New York federal judge on Aug. 30 on grounds that the complaint lacks requisite specificity (Automated Management Systems Inc. v. Rappaport Hertz Cherson Rosenthal, et al., No. 16-4762, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139728).

Amazon Wins Dismissal Of Copyright Claims In Pennsylvania Federal Court
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 16 agreed with Inc. and Amazon Web Services Inc. (moving defendants, collectively) that a pro se plaintiff's claims of copyright infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act should be dismissed (Gordon Roy Parker v. PayPal Inc., et al., No. 16-4786, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130800).

9th Circuit Finds VidAngel's Filtering Service Infringing, Affirms Injunction
SAN FRANCISCO - Four movie studio plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their copyright infringement claims against a video-streaming service that provides filtered, family-friendly copies of movies, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 24, affirming a preliminary injunction preventing any filtering of the plaintiffs' works (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16188).

Pro Se Plaintiff Defeats Request For Dismissal Of Florida DMCA Claim
ORLANDO, Fla. - Allegations that a ministry and its minister made knowingly false representations of copyright infringement to YouTube in an effort to take down a plaintiff's YouTube channel will proceed, a Florida federal judge ruled Aug. 25 (Shirley Johnson v. New Destiny Christian Center Church Inc., et al., No. 17-710, M.D. Fla.).

Pillowcase Maker Tells High Court Amazon Is Liable For Selling Infringing Goods
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Appealing rulings in favor of Inc. by both a trial court and an appeals court, the maker of a line of children's pillowcases filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 21, seeking review of the standards for determining when an online retailer is liable for copyright or patent infringement from the sale of third parties' counterfeit goods (Milo & Gabby LLC, et al. v. Inc., No. 17-287, U.S. Sup.).

ISP, Music Publisher Debate Dismissal Of Copyright Declaratory Suit In 2nd Circuit
NEW YORK - In briefs filed in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an internet service provider (ISP) and a music-publishing firm argue over whether a trial court properly dismissed the ISP's declaratory judgment action related to claims of online infringement of the firm's copyrighted songs by the ISP's customers (Windstream Services LLC v. BMG Rights Management [US] LLC, et al., No. 17-1515, 2nd Cir.).

Oracle To Federal Circuit: Google's Java Code Copying For Android Wasn't Fair Use
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Aug. 4 reply brief, Oracle America Inc. calls a fair-use ruling in favor of Google Inc. "an aberration," telling the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that Google copied a substantial amount of its Java code in creating the Android operating system (OP), which competes directly with its Java-based products (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 17-1118 and 17-1202, Fed. Cir.).

Screenplay Copyright Owner Asks High Court To Review Selection, Arrangement Test
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Appealing noninfringement rulings by trial and appeals courts, the owner of a screenplay filed a petition for certiorari July 31, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the proper standard for determining substantial similarity between two works when the alleged infringers had access to the purportedly infringed work (Shame On You Productions Inc. v. Elizabeth Banks, et al., No. 17-180, U.S. Sup.).