Tag Archives: Copyright

Judge Engelmayer: Copyright Damages from Brief Display of Plaintiff’s Art in Kendrick Lamar Music Video Are Not Inherently Speculative

In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Engelmayer denied a motion by musician Kendrick Lamar (and other defendants) for partial summary judgment in a copyright case brought by an artist claiming that his work was displayed without authorization in the music video “All the Stars” from the Black Panther movie. The plaintiff hadn’t registered his work and … Continue Reading

Judge Broderick: Copyright Case Against Justin Timberlake Is Timely; Plaintiff Had No Duty “Scour” All Songs Immediately After Album Was Released

Last week, Judge Broderick denied a motion to dismiss a case brought by the copyright holders for the song “A New Day is Here at Last,” written by Perry Kibble in 1969 and performed by J.C. Davis.  The suit alleged that Justin Timberlake’s 2006 hit song “Damn Girl” sampled “A New Day is Here at … Continue Reading

Judge Stanton Grants Preliminary Injunction Against Creator of “Grand Theft Auto V” Cheat Software

In an opinion last week, Judge Stanton granted video game manufacturer Take-Two’s request for an injunction against the creator of two software programs that allowed users to cheat at Take-Two’s “Grand Theft Auto V” video game.  Among other functions, the computer programs allow users to use an unlimited amount of in-game currency that otherwise had … Continue Reading

Judge Hellerstein Dismisses Copyright Suit Against Author of The Art of Fielding

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Hellerstein dismissed a suit claiming that the popular novel The Art of Fielding unlawfully misappropriated elements of the story from an unpublished novel called Bucky’s 9th.  After reading both works, Judge Hellerstein found they were not substantially similar: When read in context, the portions or features of TOAF that are … Continue Reading

Owner of “Let’s Get It On” Copyright Sues Ed Sheeran for $100 Million

This week, the owner of the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Let’s Get It On” filed a complaint against English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.  The complaint alleges that Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” copies large parts of Gaye’s work, including its vocal melodies, bass lines, chord progression, and harmonic rhythm.  “Thinking Out Loud” was nominated … Continue Reading

Playwright Prevails in Challenge to Parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Last week, Judge Hellerstein ruled that a parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” constituted fair use and did not infringe on the defendant’s copyright or related trademarks.  The plaintiff, New York playwright Matthew Lombardo, brought the suit against Dr. Seuss Enterprises over his “one actress 75-minute comedic play featuring a rather down-and-out 45 year-old … Continue Reading

Judge Rakoff: “KinderGuides” to Literature Infringe Copyrights of Original Works

In an opinion last week, Judge Rakoff ruled that children’s illustrated versions of classic novels called “KinderGuides” infringed the copyrights associated with the original works.  He rejected the defendants’ arguments that the removal of adults themes and addition of commentary rendered the publishing of the Guides “fair use”:… Continue Reading

Judge Cote: First Verse of “We Shall Overcome” Not an Original Work Subject to Copyright

Last week, Judge Cote granted a motion for summary judgment challenging the copyright for the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”  Plaintiffs, the We Shall Overcome Foundation, argued that the similarities between the copyrighted song and a 1948 version in the public domain meant that the first verse of the famous song was not sufficiently original … Continue Reading

Judge Kaplan: Plaintiff Who Live-Streamed Childbirth Must Pay News Networks’ Attorneys’ Fees for Dismissed Copyright Suit

In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Kaplan awarded attorneys’ fees to news networks that broadcast brief excerpts of the plaintiff’s live-streaming on Facebook of his partner’s childbirth.  Alongside the broadcasts, the networks offered “social commentary about the phenomenon of someone publicly live-streaming a life event that traditionally is considered personal.”  Judge Kaplan dismissed the plaintiff’s copyright claims on fair … Continue Reading

Judge Pauley: Drake’s Sampling of Spoken Word Excerpt from Jazz Album is Fair Use

In an opinion last week, Judge Pauley granted Drake and his co-defendants summary judgment in a case accusing them of copyright infringement.  The case arose from the fact that Drake’s song “Pound Cake” opens with about 35 seconds of spoken words that are similar to a spoken word recording called “Jimmy Smith Rap,” by the jazz artist … Continue Reading

Judge Wood Dismisses Preemptive Copyright Action Brought By Internet Service Provider

Yesterday, Judge Wood dismissed an attempt by internet service provider (ISP) Windstream to secure a declaratory judgment that its status as an ISP meant that it lacked the necessary knowledge and ability to secondarily infringe copyrights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The defendant, music publisher BMG, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to issue … Continue Reading

Paul McCartney Seeks to Reclaim Rights to Beatles Songs Under the Copyright Act

Sir Paul McCartney aims to reclaim his rights to popular Beatles songs in a complaint filed yesterday.  The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that his copyright termination notices are valid ahead of the 2018 expiration of the Copyright Act’s term for pre-1978 copyrights – 56 years after McCartney and John Lennon began composing together in 1962.  Sony/ATV … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Answers Question First Raised by Judge McMahon: No Common Law Right of Public Performance For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Today, the New York Court of Appeals, in response to a question certified from the Second Circuit (after being certified for interlocutory review by Judge McMahon), held that New York common-law copyright law does not recognize a right of public performance for creators of sound recordings predating the 1972 federal Copyright Act.  The question was certified … Continue Reading

Challenge to “We Shall Overcome” Copyright Survives Motion to Dismiss

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Cote granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a case challenging the copyright to “We Shall Overcome,” the unofficial anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement.  (See our prior post on the case here.) The defendant copyright owners argued that the copyrighted song was sufficiently different from … Continue Reading

Judge Rakoff, with Nod to Taylor Swift, Dismisses Copyright Claims Against Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”

Yesterday, Judge Rakoff dismissed claims that Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” infringed on the short film “Palinoia” through similarities in images, audio, and “total concept and feel.”  According to the plaintiff, elements such as a character with his or her head down near a wall with graffiti (elements that appear in scenes from both films, though with many other differences … Continue Reading

Judge Castel Dismisses RICO Claims in Case Over Alibaba Selling Counterfeit Goods

Today, Judge Castel dismissed RICO claims brought against Alibaba Group Holding by a group of luxury goods makers including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.  The complaint accused Alibaba of providing services and a market platform to merchants that Alibaba should have known were selling counterfeit goods. Judge Castel specifically considered the plaintiffs’ claims that Alibaba’s … Continue Reading

Judge Swain Dismisses Infringement Claims Concerning Video Game Featuring LeBron and Kobe’s Tattoos

Yesterday, Judge Swain dismissed claims by Solid Oak Sketches, LLC alleging that Take-Two Interactive Software and other defendants infringed Solid Oak’s copyrights by prominently featuring eight tattoos of five NBA players (including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant) in Take-Two’s popular NBA 2K16 video game (see previous coverage here). Judge Swain held that the plaintiffs could not recover under … Continue Reading

Judge Failla Rejects “Fair Use” Defense for Gossip Website’s Screen Grabbing of Photos

In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Failla found that the website Gossip Cop was liable for posting screen grabs of copyrighted photos from other websites, and rejected Gossip Cop’s argument that doing so was “fair use.”  Gossip Cop’s fair use argument was premised on the fact that it commented on whether the underlying news stories associated … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Will Hear Copyright Issue Judge McMahon Originally Certified for Interlocutory Appeal

The New York Court of Appeals has accepted a certified question from the Second Circuit regarding whether New York copyright holders for pre-1972 recordings (governed by state copyright law, and not the federal Copyright Act) have a right to exclusive public performance of those recordings.  The case, initially before Judge McMahon, arose after Sirius XM played songs by The Turtles (including the … Continue Reading

Class Action Suit Challenges Copyright for “We Shall Overcome”

Last week, the We Shall Overcome Foundation filed a complaint on behalf of a purported class challenging the copyright of “We Shall Overcome,” the unofficial anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement.  The We Shall Overcome Foundation attempted to use the song in a documentary film, and the defendant copyright holders denied the request.  The complaint argues that the song has the same lyrics … Continue Reading
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