Legal Blog

Update On Google Books Settlement

In a new twist in the Google Books case, it appears that the publishers and authors may be going separate ways. The parties had a conference with Judge Denny Chin this past Thursday, September 15th. Judge Chin had admonished the parties in the last conference on July 20th to hasten their settlement discussion and to come prepared on September 15th with a new settlement agreement, and if no settlement could be reached, a discovery and briefing schedule on the merits. From the start of the conference, it was clear that the parties had not come prepared to discuss a new settlement. Continue reading

Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum: District Court Erred in Finding Statutory Copyright Damages Unconstitutional

On September 16, 2011, the First Circuit reversed the district court’s opinion in Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum — which found a jury verdict awarding statutory damages to plaintiffs to be unconstitutional and reduced the amount of damages on that ground — thereby reinstating the jury’s award of $675,000 to the plaintiff copyright holders. Continue reading

War for your “App Store”: Apple vs. Amazon: Federal Judge Unconvinced

Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar Amazon.com from referring to its online software marketplace as an “Appstore” pending the outcome of Apple’s suit regarding the matter. Since 2008, Apple has used the term “App Store” to describe the online location where its shoppers can purchase software applications for their mobile devices (such as the iPhone and iPod). Since then, the online market has become saturated with similar downloadable software applications for mobile devices and online shops to purchase these products. Continue reading

Christian Louboutin and the Fight for Your Red Sole!

Christian Louboutin (“Louboutin”), the popular shoe company, has sued several other companies for the infringing use of their trademarked red sole which has become synonymous with the brand’s identity for over 20 years. Louboutin first registered the red sole in 2008 and has since sued such brands as Carmen Steffans, Oh…DEER!, and most recently Yves Saint Laurent (“YSL”). Louboutin claimed YSL, another brand associated with luxury, infringed their trademark with YSL’s new line of shoes, that include red-soled shoes amongst other colors. Continue reading

Defendant’s Attorney’s Fees Awarded After Successfully Defending Against Infringement Claim

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher’s (“ASCAP”) successfully defended against a claim of copyright infringement asserted by Latin American Music Company (“LAMCO”) and, as a result, was awarded over $82,000 in attorney’s fees and costs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit stated that the Copyright Act did not prohibit the recovery of attorney’s fees in a case of non-infringement where the defendant prevails against the assertion. 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

Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of Act Restoring Certain Foreign Copyrights

On March 2, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in a 10th Circuit case to review whether the Court of Appeals correctly upheld the constitutionality of §104A of the Copyright Act, which created or restored U.S. copyright protection to foreign works in 1996 which never had U.S. protections or had earlier fallen into the public domain in the U.S. because they failed to comply with certain formalities of U.S. copyright law. Petitioners claim that the 15 year-old statute violates the Copyright Clause by restoring copyrights of public domain works and violates a First Amendment right to exploit these restored works without permission from the owners. Continue reading

What’s Protectable?: Claim of Copyright Infringement of LaChapelle’s Photos in Rihanna’s ‘S&M’

Shira Scheindlin, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York, recently denied Robin “Rihanna” Fenty’s (“Rihanna”) Motion to Dismiss the copyright infringement element of a claim instituted by famed photographer David LaChapelle regarding Rihanna’s highly sensationalized ‘S&M’ video. LaChapelle asserts that the protectable elements of eight of his photographs were used in the creation of the video. The court ruled that LaChapelle successfully proved that a Motion to Dismiss was improper because the video was “substantially similar to particular original expressions of the subjects in the photos.” Continue reading

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