CDAS Partners Briana C. Hill and Benjamin Jaffe Named Co-Chairs of the Entertainment and the Digital Media & Technology groups, respectively.

Briana Hill, Co-Head of the Beverly Hills office of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP, joins Fred Bimbler and Simon Pulman in leading the firm’s Entertainment group, which includes televison (traditional to broadband), streaming, film, new media, talent, theatre and podcasting. The group assists clients with their entertainment projects through early development, the solicitation of investment, production and ultimate distribution, securing all necessary rights and negotiating agreements with top-tier talent.

Ben Jaffe joins Joshua Sessler in leading the Digital Media & Technology group that represents top digital talent, including game developers and distributors, digital agencies, production houses, broadband video networks, mobile app developers, podcasters and social media ventures. The group provides counsel to a wide range of social media, transmedia and mobile plays that are using emerging software and hardware technologies to create, develop and distribute content in new ways.

Jordan Victory Serves as Right of Publicity Cautionary Tale (Michael Jordan and Jump 23, Inc. v. Dominick’s Finer Foods, LLC and Safeway Inc.)

Michael Jordan’s recent right of publicity victory over former Chicago-area grocer Dominick’s Finer Foods suggests that the unauthorized use of a celebrity’s name or likeness may come at a price—in this case, $8.9 million.

In 2009, Sports Illustrated magazine published a commemorative issue recognizing Jordan’s athletic achievements and celebrating his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The magazine included congratulatory advertisements from several businesses, including Dominick’s. Continue reading

Inside Counsel’s Five-Part Series, “Where Former Entertainment GCs Go Next”, Provides Firm Profile of CDAS

Inside Counsel’s Senior Editor & Community Manager, Rich Steeves, published a five-part series titled “Where Former Entertainment GCs Go Next” last week, which was prominently featured on the Inside Counsel website.

The series, which discussed the so called “third act” for successful general counsel, provided a comprehensive profile of CDAS and the services the firm provides to clients, while also discussing the appeal the firm has had for former GCs in their transition to a new environment.

CDAS Partners Aileen Atkins, Frederick Bimbler, Douglas Jacobs, Eleanor Lackman, Marc Simon and Stephen Sheppard were interviewed for the series. You can find a link to each part of the series below.

PART 1: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/04/27/third-act-where-former-entertainment-gcs-go-next-p
PART 2: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/04/28/third-act-where-former-entertainment-gcs-go-next-p
PART 3: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/04/29/third-act-where-former-entertainment-gcs-go-next-p
PART 4: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/04/30/third-act-where-former-entertainment-gcs-go-next-p
PART 5: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2015/05/01/third-act-where-former-entertainment-gcs-go-next-p

Fan, Foe or Free-Rider: CDAS Defeats Cybersquatter that Sought to Capitalize on Celebrity Client’s Famous Name

Case Highlights Benefits of Trademark Protection and Potential Risks in Posing as a Fan Online

A growing and unsettling trend in the legal field of domain name disputes is the prevalence of domain registration for bad faith purposes, such as to bait the public into thinking that there is an association between a website operator and a famous brand or person.  Recently, Cowan DeBaets Abraham & Sheppard LLP (“CDAS”) brought a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP” or “The Policy”) which demonstrated the potential pitfalls of this trend. In Sofia Vergara v. Domain Administrator, Fundacion Private Whois / Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp. / Guy Bouchard, WIPO Case No. D2014-2008, Sofia Vergara (“Ms. Vergara”), represented by CDAS, prevailed before the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Arbitration and Mediation Center, due to the demonstrated bad faith conduct of Fundacion Private Whois / Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp. / Guy Bouchard (collectively, Respondent) in their registration of the domain name www.sofiavergara.org (the “Domain Name”).

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“Wish You Would Step Back From That Ledge (And Sign This) My Friend”

Third Eye Blind guitarist not entitled to royalties after failing to sign partnership agreement

A recent lawsuit between two members of a 1990’s and early aughts alternative rock band whose debut album sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. should open the eyes of new artists to the importance of getting partnership agreements, and not just lyrics, written down on paper. Continue reading

Golden Globe and SAG Award Noms for Client Sofia Vergara

CDAS partner Frederick P. Bimbler and all of us congratulate client Sofia Vergara on her Golden Globe nomination today for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the hit comedy series Modern Family. The nomination comes a day after her Screen Actors Guild nomination for “Outstanding Female Actor in a Comedy Series”. This marks her third consecutive year nominated individually for each of these awards. Continue reading

Grammy Nom for Client Rebecca Pidgeon’s Album “Slingshot”

Congratulations to client Rebecca Pidgeon on the Grammy nomination for her album “Slingshot” for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, (Helik Hadar, engineer; Bernie Grundman, mastering engineer). Ms. Pidgeon, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and actress, also co-wrote nearly all its songs, composing primarily with longtime collaborator, Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein and one song, a country waltz entitled “Baby Please Come Home Again,” with her husband, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright/film director David Mamet. “Slingshot is direct, searingly honest, and filled with melodies and arrangements that move effortlessly between jazzy folk, pop, Americana, and even rock,” (All Music)… “a stunning gathering of tunes,” (Chicago Tribune). The 55th Grammy Awards ceremony will air live Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8pm EST on CBS. Continue reading

Court Upholds Right to License Celebrity Images

This week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissals of two right of publicity claims against Corbis Corp. — Shirley Jones v. Corbis Corp. and Alberghetti v. Corbis Corp. In the Jones case, the court held that Shirley Jones, star of the TV show “The Partridge Family,” had given her implicit consent to use her likeness in photographs when she attended highly-public red-carpet events. The court noted that Corbis operated within well-known and established industry customs in relying on her implied consent to the photographs’ distribution. In the Alberghetti case, the court held that the two-year statute of limitations on right of publicity claims in California had expired before the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit. In both cases the court declined to rule on the arguments that the right of publicity claims were preempted by the Copyright Act, and in both cases the court awarded Corbis attorneys’ fees. Continue reading

CLIENT ADVISORY: Sunrise Period for Trademark Owners Seeking to Defensively Block Registrations of .xxx Domain Names Is Now Open

The new .xxx top-level domain (TLD), designed to cater to the online adult entertainment community, is now available for registrations. But brand owners with registered trademarks outside that industry have a limited opportunity to defensively block registrations before the operator of a pornographic website claims BRAND.xxx – as long as the brand owner acts before the blocking period closes on October 28, 2011. After that date, trademark blocks will no longer be available. Continue reading