Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News
LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News
Headline Copyright Legal News from LexisNexis®
2nd Circuit Remands Dispute Over Pre-1972 Works, Orders Dismissal
NEW YORK - A December 2016 holding by the New York Court of Appeals that there is no right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings under New York common law is determinative of claims that the subscription radio service Sirius XM Radio Inc. committed copyright infringement, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 16 (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 15-1164, 2nd Cir., Court, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2770).
Sua Sponte Rejection Of Copyright Claims Reversed By 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - A decision by a California federal judge to grant, sua sponte, summary judgment on behalf of myriad fashion industry defendants accused of infringing copyrighted textile designs was reversed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 (Acmet Inc. v. The Wet Seal Inc., et al., No. 15-55928, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2682).
California Federal Judge: Plaintiff Not Barred From Calling Products Similar
LOS ANGELES - A defense motion in limine seeking to prevent a plaintiff from referring to an allegedly infringing jewelry line as "similar" to a jewelry line made by the plaintiff was denied Feb. 6 by a California federal judge (Brighton Collectibles LLC v. Believe Production Inc., No. 15-579, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16594).
9th Circuit: Computer Program Copyright Does Not Extend To Program Output
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly rejected claims by the owner of a copyrighted computer-aided design (CAD) program that its copyright extends to images and files produced by the program, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 9 (Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enterprise Inc., et al., Nos. 14-16701, No. 14-17317, 9th. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2333).
New York Federal Judge Denies Effort To Add Copyright Claim
NEW YORK - International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. on Feb. 6 won summary judgment on allegations that it committed breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing; in the same ruling, a New York federal judge agreed with a New York federal magistrate judge that the plaintiff in the case should not be granted leave to add a claim of copyright infringement against IBM (MPI Tech A/S v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 15-4891, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16432).
District Of Columbia Federal Judge Awards $3 Million In Copyright Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following a December ruling that Poland's national public television broadcasting company committed copyright infringement, a District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 14 ordered the defendant to pay $3.06 million in damages (Spanski Enterprises Inc. v. Telewizja Polska S.A., No. 12-957, D. D.C, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20465).
Judge Dismisses Software Diagnostic Hacking Claims For Lack Of Jurisdiction
DETROIT- A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 13 granted a motion filed by the CEO of an electronic company and a Chinese corporation to dismiss claims for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction over them because their conduct did not constitute purposeful availment (Ford Motor Co., et al. v. Autel Us Inc., et al., No. 14-13760, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19595).
New York Magistrate Judge: Deny Sanctions In Copyright, Trademark Case
NEW YORK - A request for sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1927 by a prevailing copyright and trade dress infringement defendant should be denied, according to a Feb. 13 ruling by a New York federal magistrate judge, who found that plaintiff's counsel did not commit fraud upon by failing to quickly correct perjured depositions (Crown Awards Inc. v. Trophy Depot Inc., No. 15-1178, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20393).
Utah Federal Judge: No Copyright Preemption On Conspiracy Claim
SALT LAKE CITY - Allegations that a counterclaim defendant interfered with a counterclaimant's contractual rights and prospective business relations are sufficient to defeat the counterclaim defendant's effort to invoke copyright preemption, a Utah federal judge ruled Feb. 21 (Advanced Recovery Systems LLC v. American Agencies LLC, No. 13-283, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24001).
California Federal Magistrate Denies Motion To Compel In Pokemon Copyright Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A Canadian cloud-based e-commerce platform will not need to respond to a subpoena sought by The Pokemon Company International Inc. in connection with Pokemon's allegations a retailer committed copyright infringement, a California federal magistrate judge ruled Feb. 22 (The Pokemon Company International Inc. v. Shopify Inc., No. 16-80272, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24987).
Home Builders: High Court Should Deny Review Of Intervest In Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a dispute over an architectural floor plan, home builders in a Feb. 6 brief respond that the U.S. Supreme Court should not consider whether Intervest Construction Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. should be overruled because architectural works are protectable under the Copyright Act but that protection is limited by statute (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc., et al., No. 16-858, U.S. Sup.).
Oracle Appeals Java Fair Use Ruling To Federal Circuit In Google Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Feb. 10 appellant brief in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Oracle America Inc. asserts error in a trial court's finding that Google Inc.'s copying of certain elements of its Java technology constituted fair use, arguing that the court failed to consider Google's misrepresentations and harm to the Java market (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 17-1118 and 17-1202, Fed. Cir.).
Video-Streaming Firm's Filtering Service Violates DMCA, Studios Tell 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - Several movie studios tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 8 appellee brief that a video-streaming service provider blatantly violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the technological protection measures (TPMs) on DVD and Blu-ray copies of their movies to offer edited versions to customers, also arguing that the defendant's defenses under the Family Movie Act (FMA) are incompatible with that statute's purposes (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
University, Publishers Argue Fair Use In Electronic Works Posting In 11th Circuit
ATLANTA - On the second appeal regarding the alleged copyright infringement of educational materials by electronic posting of their excerpts by Georgia State University (GSU) faculty, the university argues in a Feb. 6 appellee brief that a trial court judge correctly determined fair use of the works at issue by finding that the postings had not led to market substitution of the works (Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Georgia State University, et al., No. 16-15726, 11th Cir.).
Amicus Curiae Filers Support Supreme Court Review Of Intervest In Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a dispute over an architectural floor plan, amicus curiae filers who are involved in the development, creation and marketing of "architectural works" in a Feb. 6 brief argue in support of the U.S. Supreme Court considering a petition to decide if Intervest Construction Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. should be overruled in light of conflicting precedent from other appellate courts, which hold that architectural works are entitled to the same protection as other copyrightable, original works under the Federal Copyright Act (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc., et al., No. 16-858, U.S. Sup.).
Video-Sharing Site Opposes Review On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A video-sharing website argues in a Feb. 16 opposition brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should not decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S. Code Section 512(c), provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972 (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
VidAngel Tells 9th Circuit Studios Do Not Have Exclusive Streaming Rights
SAN FRANCISCO - Defending its right to stream "filtered" copies of movies for its customers in a Feb. 22 reply brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, VidAngel Inc. argues that it has not violated any of the movie studio plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
$500M Verdict Returned In Trade Secrets Trial Involving Virtual Reality Software
DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Feb. 1 ordered four defendants - including Facebook Inc. - to pay a combined $500 million in actual damages to two virtual reality (VR) technology companies for copyright and trademark infringement, conversion, violations of a nondisclosure agreement and false designation (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
Copyright Claim Barred By Collateral Estoppel, 11th Circuit Affirms
ATLANTA - A Georgia federal judge's March 2016 grant of a motion by Tyler Perry for judgment on the pleadings with regard to allegations the filmmaker infringed a copyrighted book was not erroneous, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 19 (Terri Strickland v. Tyler Perry, No. 16-11601, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 959).
11th Circuit: Award Of Fees In Copyright Case Not Abuse Of Discretion
ATLANTA - A decision by a Florida federal judge to award $13,961 in attorney fees under Section 505 of the Copyright Act will stand in light of a Jan. 18 ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Dan Pronman, et al. v. Brian Styles, et al., No. 16-12157, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 824).
11th Circuit: Reduction Of Fees In Copyright Case Was Abuse Of Discretion
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge abused his discretion when awarding a prevailing copyright infringement plaintiff just 4.9 percent of the attorney fees and 6.8 percent of the costs it requested in connection with a successful copyright infringement case, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 24 (Yellow Pages Photos Inc. v. Ziplocal LP, No. 16-11868, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1197).
Texas Federal Judge Sides With Copyright Plaintiff In Daily Newsletter Dispute
HOUSTON - Each issue of a daily newsletter constitutes a single work, and an annual subscription does not constitute a compilation under the Copyright Act, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 24 (Energy Intelligence Group Inc. v. Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP and KA Fund Advisors LP, No. 14-1903, S.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9426).
Lanham Act Claims Over Political Ad Dismissed, Copyright Claims Survive
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 31 refused to decide the question of whether inclusion of an altered, copyrighted song in a 30-second advertisement critical of former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold qualifies as a fair use under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 107, deeming such a determination inappropriate in response to a motion to dismiss (Roger Nichols, et al. v. Club for Growth Action, No. 16-220, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12820).
Copyright Dispute Over Home Dismissed By New York Federal Judge
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Allegations of copyright infringement levied in connection with a "look-a-like" home were dismissed Jan. 20 without leave to amend by a New York federal judge (Seth Fortgang, et al. v. Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous LLC, et al., No. 16-3754, E.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8175).
9th Circuit Finds Usenet Provider Not Liable For Infringement Of Adult Pictures
PASADENA, Calif. - An adult entertainment site operator failed to establish that a usenet provider acted volitionally in or obtained any direct financial benefit from its users' infringing of the site's copyrighted images, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 23, affirming dismissal of direct and indirect infringement claims against the defendant (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15-55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).
Indiana Federal Judge Dismisses Amended Copyright Complaint
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Allegations that a school copied a copyrighted educational model without consent were dismissed Jan. 6 by an Indiana federal judge pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Angela Brooks-Ngwenya v. National Heritage Academies, No. 16-183, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2071).
7th Circuit Rejects Copyright Claims Against Amazon.com
CHICAGO - In what it deemed a "very unusual case," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 6 affirmed dismissal of a dispute in which Amazon.com Inc. was accused of permitting third parties to advertise for sale six counterfeit books in violation of the Copyright Act (Reginald Hart v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 16-2793, 7th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 256).
5th Circuit Affirms: State Law Claim Preempted By Copyright Act
NEW ORLEANS - In a Jan. 11 ruling, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Texas federal judge's determination that a state law claim of unfair competition by misappropriation - levied in connection with allegations of stolen instructional drawings - is preempted by the Copyright Act (Ultraflo Corporation v. Pelican Worldwide, et al., No. 15-20084, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 509).
Porn Firm Tells 6th Circuit Downloader Failed To Show Prejudice In Dismissal
CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
Majority: No Coverage For Legal Expenses Incurred Without Insurer's Approval
ATLANTA - A majority of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 9 that an insurer has no duty to pay an insured's $405,989 in pre-tender legal expenses incurred in defending a copyright infringement lawsuit, affirming a lower court's finding that Florida's claims administration statute (CAS) does not control because the insurer relied on an exclusion and not a coverage defense in its refusal to pay the expenses (EmbroidMe.com, Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 14-10616, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 368).
Home Design Company Seeks High Court Review Of Intervest In Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a dispute over an architectural floor plan, a home design company asks the U.S. Supreme Court in a Dec. 21 petition for certiorari to consider whether Intervest Construction Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. (554 F.3d 914, 919 [11th Cir. 2008]) should be overruled in light of conflicting precedent from other appellate courts, which hold that architectural works are entitled to the same protection as other copyrightable, original works under the Federal Copyright Act (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc., et al., No. 16-858, U.S. Sup.).
9th Circuit Hears Arguments On Copyright Infringement Against Urban Outfitters
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Jan. 13 in a copyright infringement lawsuit over whether a trial judge erred in finding that Urban Outfitters Inc. and a department store infringed a copyrighted fabric design and whether a jury's finding of willfulness was supported by substantial evidence (Unicolors Inc. v. Urban Outfitters Inc., et al., No. 15-55507, 9th Cir.).
Supplement Seller Seeks Review On If Influence Shows Control For Vicarious Liability
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A seller of nutritional supplement products on Jan. 24 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if an appellate court improperly held "that indirect influence is sufficient to demonstrate the required control for vicarious liability and that no proof is needed that the claimed infringements act as a draw for customers" (Stemtech International Inc. f/k/a Stemtech Healthsciences Inc. v. Andrew Paul Leonard d/b/a APL Microscopic, No. 16-928, U.S. Sup.).
Music Industry Groups Support Review In Dispute On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Works
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Music industry groups argue in a Jan. 17 amicus curiae brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should take up a petition from a group of record labels asking for a review on whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
Video-Streaming Company Tells 9th Circuit Its Movie- Filtering Service Is Fair Use
SAN FRANCISCO - Appealing a trial court injunction preventing it from providing content-filtered copies of four movie studios' films to its customers, a video-on-demand (VOD) provider told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 27 brief that its services constitute fair use under the Copyright Act and are specifically protected by the Family Home Movie Act (FMA) (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
New York Appeals Court: No Common-Law Public Performance Right
ALBANY, N.Y. - A divided New York Court of Appeals on Dec. 20 answered "no" to the question of whether a right of public performance exists for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings under New York common law (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 172, N.Y. App.).
New York Federal Judge Dismisses Copyright Dispute Over Muppets Song
NEW YORK - An Italian music publisher's claim that the "Mah Na Mah Na" song popularized by the Muppets by is an unauthorized derivative of a 1966 classical composition were dismissed Dec. 29 by a New York federal judge on grounds that the publisher lacks standing to sue for copyright infringement (Creazioni Artistiche Musicali S.r.l. v. Carlin America Inc., et al., No. 14-9270, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180431).
Illinois Federal Judge Partly Grants Dismissal In Copyright Dispute
CHICAGO - An individual copyright defendant won dismissal of allegations on Dec. 20 by an Illinois federal judge, who cited a lack of evidence that the individual used a corporate defendant "as an instrument" to carry out "willful and deliberate" infringement (Live Face On Web LLC v. KAM Development LLC, et al., No. 16-8604, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175619).
Florida Federal Judge: Copyright, Trademark Case Fails To State A Claim
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Allegations by a pro se plaintiff that two individual defendants committed copyright and trademark infringement are insufficiently pleaded, a Florida federal judge ruled Dec. 6 (Daniel A. Bernath v. Don Shipley, et al., No. 16-40, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168253).
Florida Federal Judge Won't Dismiss Copyright Lawsuit By DISH Network
TAMPA, Fla. - Allegations that the owners and operators of the Arabic television service "UlaiTV" committed copyright infringement will proceed in light of a Jan. 3 ruling by a Florida federal judge (DISH Network LLC v. Gaby Fraifer, et al., No. 16-2549, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 380).
3rd Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Copyright Claims By Songwriter
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge did not err in granting pop singer Usher Terry Raymond (Usher) and myriad co-defendants summary judgment on allegations of copyright infringement nor in sanctioning the plaintiff's attorney more than $28,000 for communicating with an unrepresented defendant, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8 (Daniel Marino v. Usher, et al., Nos. 15-2270, -2359, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21828).
2nd Circuit: Confusion Unlikely In Copyright, Trademark Dispute
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge did not err in granting a copyright and trademark defendant summary judgment in a dispute with Louis Vuitton (LV) Malletier S.A., the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 22 (Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag Inc., No. 16-241, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23014).
9th Circuit Remands Relief In Copyright Case, Citing Lack Of Factual Findings
SAN FRANCISCO - An Oregon federal judge's preliminary injunction was reversed and remanded Dec. 12 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, on grounds that the relief - first granted orally and later in writing - failed to include sufficient findings of fact or conclusions of law (Omnigen Research LLC and Prince Agri Products Inc. v. Yongquiang Wang, et al., No. 16-35471, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22024).
Video-Streaming Firm Enjoined From Editing Movies In Copyright Suit
LOS ANGELES - A video-on-demand (VOD) provider was hit with a preliminary injunction by a California federal judge Dec. 12 that prevents the firm from streaming, copying or editing works owned by the plaintiff movie studios, which accuse the company of infringement and circumventing their works' anti-piracy technology (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
Judge Declines To Stay Injunction On Video-Streaming Service Pending Appeal
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 29 declined to stay pending appeal a preliminary injunction issued against a video on demand (VOD) provider, finding that the balance of hardships weighed in favor of the plaintiff movie studios that have demonstrated a likelihood of success on their copyright infringement claims against the VOD firm (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
Citing Sovereign Immunity, Michigan Federal Judge Partly Rejects Copyright Case
DETROIT - Allegations that a university violated the Copyright Act were rejected on summary judgment Dec. 5 by a Michigan federal judge on grounds of sovereign immunity; however, the judge in the same ruling agreed that two individuals will remain in the case as copyright infringement defendants (Alisa Wolf v. Oakland University, et al., No. 15-13560, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167268).
Record Labels Ask High Court To Hear Dispute On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Works
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Dec. 14 petition for certiorari, a group of record labels ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
Accused Downloader Appeals Dismissal Of Claims Against Him Without Prejudice
CINCINNATI - A federal magistrate judge erred in granting voluntary dismissal of an adult movie studio's copyright infringement claims without prejudice, an Ohio man argues in a Dec. 21 brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the disposition deprived him of the ability to seek a fees award as prevailing party for the studio's baseless lawsuit (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).