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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Copyright Legal News

Headline Copyright Legal News from LexisNexis®


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.).

North Carolina Federal Judge Denies Motion Challenging Copyright Ownership
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A request for summary judgment by a copyright infringement defendant was denied July 21 by a North Carolina federal judge, who found that material issues of factual dispute remain with regard to whether a plaintiff qualifies as an author or co-author of disputed architectural plans (Brookwood Remodeling and Homebuilding LLC v. Landis Reed Homes LLC, No. 16-186, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113629).

11th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Copyright, Trademark Claims
ATLANTA - Allegations that a copyright and trademark infringement defendant befriended a plaintiff under false pretenses in order to misappropriate portions of her autobiography for a line of perfumes were properly rejected by a Georgia federal judge, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 18 (Daisy Byrd Mobley v. Claire Fermont-Langlais, et al., No. 16-12340, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12841).

5th Circuit Affirms: Copyright Claim Against American Girl Fails
NEW ORLEANS - Allegations that several books in the "American Girl" series infringe the copyright of an unpublished novel were properly rejected by a Louisiana federal judge, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held June 29 in a per curiam ruling (Melva Leona Vallery v. American Girl L.L.C., No. 15-30472, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11647).

Induced Copyright Infringement Claim Tossed By California Federal Judge
SAN DIEGO - Allegations that various individuals working at the behest of musician Carlos Santana induced others to infringe copyrighted artwork were dismissed July 6 by a California federal judge (Eric Gottesman v. Carlos Santana, et al., No. 16-2902, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104548).

Judge Denies Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion In Trade Secrets Suit
BOSTON - Defendants in a copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit failed to show that summary judgment is warranted with regard to the misappropriation claims because a jury could reasonably determine that the defendants misrepresented each of the trade secrets at issue and that each of those trade secrets was not publicly available or disclosed, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled July 19 in denying the motion (Iconics Inc. v. Simone Massaro, et al., No. 11-11526, D. Mass, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112042).

Motions For Judgment, Relief Filed In Remanded MP3tunes Copyright Suit
NEW YORK - Following an appeals court ruling and a denial of certiorari, the founder of now-defunct online music-sharing service MP3tunes LLC on July 28 asked a New York federal judge to grant him relief from a previous adverse judgment, citing new precedent that he says controls what claims may be brought against an out-of-state defendant (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. MP3tunes LLC, et al., No. 1:07-cv-09931, S.D. N.Y.).

West Virginia Federal Judge Denies Relief In Copyright, Trade Secret Row
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Allegations of copyright infringement by a software provider against a former employee stemming from his allegedly unauthorized use of source code are unlikely to succeed, a West Virginia federal judge held Aug. 1, denying entry of preliminary injunctive relief (CSS Inc. v. Christopher Herrington, et al., No. 16-1762, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120396).

California Federal Judge Allows Oracle To Amend Copyright Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 25 agreed to permit Oracle America Inc. to amend its complaint against Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) to address a California magistrate judge's November 2016 ruling that Oracle's allegations of international copyright infringement were inadequately pleaded (Oracle America Inc. v. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, No. 16-1393, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116298).

Architectural Expert's Testimony Mostly Allowed In Home Design Copyright Case
CLEVELAND - Most of an architectural expert's testimony in a home design copyright infringement case is reliable and will be helpful in deciding the key issues in dispute; however, he is not allowed to give legal opinions or "dictate the conclusion" of the case, an Ohio federal magistrate judge held July 3 (Design Basics LLC v. Petros Homes Inc., et al., No. 14-1966, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102931).

California Magistrate Judge Dismisses Trade Secret, Copyright Misuse Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - An affirmative defense of copyright misuse was stricken by a California federal judge on July 5 in a dispute over golf club and golf training aid designs (Jonathan Wang v. Golf Tailor LLC, No. 17-898, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103654).

New York Federal Copyright Claim Against Associated Press Survives Motion
NEW YORK - A request by The Associated Press and Hearst Communications Inc. for judgment on the pleadings on allegations that they committed copyright infringement was denied July 7 by a New York federal judge, who found that material issues of disputed fact exist with regard to the date the infringement first took place (Michael Grecco v. The Associated Press, et al., No. 16-6240, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105264).

Internet Service Provider Appeals Infringement Ruling, Fees Award To 4th Circuit
RICHMOND, Va. - With briefing completed on its appeal of a trial court finding it contributorily liable for users' online infringement, an internet service provider (ISP) on June 28 filed a supplemental brief in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, voicing its objections to a subsequent award of attorney fees against it (BMG Rights Management [US] LLC, et al. v. Cox Communications Inc., et al., No. 16-1972, 17-1352 and 17-1353, 4th Cir.).

Megaupload Executives Say Circuit Split Requires Review Of Foreign Asset Seizure
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Former executives of the now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload filed a reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21, supporting their petition for certiorari and urging review and clarification of procedures governing the seizure of foreign assets under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), which the petitioners say the U.S. government wrongly invoked to seize their assets in a criminal copyright case (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States of America, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).

Amazon Waives Right To Respond To Author's DMCA Claims, Petition For Certiorari
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the wake of trial and appeals court rulings in its favor, Inc. on June 28 waived its right to respond to a pro se plaintiff's petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, in which he asserts that the online retailer was negligent in its duty to remove infringing items from its website under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (Reginald Hart v. Inc., No. 16-1549, U.S. Sup.).

Copyright Immunity To Antitrust Claims Debated In Supreme Court Briefs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An airport chart maker and an app developer recently presented arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether the assertion of intellectual property rights serves to immunize a property owner from antitrust claims (SolidFX, LLC v. Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc., No. 16-1303, U.S. Sup.).