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