Television (Traditional to Broadband)

Idea Submissions: Review with Caution

A recent Second Circuit decision gives writers who alleged "idea theft" a second chance to sue

This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, in a case captioned Forest Park Pictures v. Universal Television Network, Inc., united with the Ninth Circuit in California by holding that breach of implied contract claims based on “theft of ideas” are not preempted by the Copyright Act. In doing so, the decision narrowly avoided a circuit split among the two entertainment/media hub jurisdictions, and it also resolved a split within the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. The core question in these types of “idea theft” cases is whether plaintiffs who bring lawsuits alleging theft of ideas under state law theories are barred from pursuing their claims on the ground that the appropriate cause of action is, instead, one for copyright infringement under federal law. The Second Circuit held in Forest Park that such plaintiffs are not necessarily prevented from bringing the “idea theft” claim. Continue reading

Seventh Circuit Nips Brownmark Films’ Copyright Claim “In the Butt”

South Park, the long running television show, is no-stranger to parodies, spoofing everything from High School Musical to The Passion of The Christ. But their humor was not appreciated by Brownmark Films, LLC, (“Brownmark”), who sued the comedy show for copyright infringement when it made fun of its dance video What What (In the Butt) in a 2008 episode. The case is Brownmark Films, LLC v. Comedy Partners, No. 11-2620 (7th Cir. 2012). Continue reading

How Much Is Too Much? Transformative Works vs. Derivative Works: Photographer Wins Appropriation Art Copyright Case

Patrick Cariou, a professional photographer won his case in District Court in New York against well-known appropriation artist Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery after several of Cariou’s pieces were appropriated without consent in Prince’s “Canal Zone” series showing at the Gagosian in 2008. Continue reading

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