Yesterday, Judge Cote declined a defendant’s request to disqualify the SEC’s entire trial team on the eve of trial after the SEC received allegedly privileged communications between the defendants and their counsel.  The documents were seized by federal agents during the execution of a search warrant and provided to federal prosecutors, who in turn provided

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 to survive a copyright challenge.

Judge Cote agreed, noting the overwhelming evidence of the connection between the copyrighted version of “We Shall Overcome” and older, historical versions:
Continue Reading Judge Cote: First Verse of “We Shall Overcome” Not an Original Work Subject to Copyright

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 songs in the public domain to merit copyright protection as a matter of law, but Judge Cote found that the question was not so clear that it could be resolved on a motion to dismiss.  She also found that there fact questions as to whether the original copyright was obtained by fraud:
Continue Reading Challenge to “We Shall Overcome” Copyright Survives Motion to Dismiss

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

On Monday, Judge Cote granted a laser hair removal operator’s request for an injunction (included as part of a summary judgment motion) against another laser hair removal operator that had posted false reviews from fake accounts on internet consumer forums including Yelp.com and CitySearch.com.  Judge Cote found that these reviews represented unfair trade practices under the Lanham Act and granted a permanent injunction, citing the defendants’ “willingness to use deceit to shape the market in which it functioned.”
Continue Reading Judge Cote Grants Permanent Injunction for Fake Internet Reviews About Competitor

In a 2-1 opinion yesterday, the Second Circuit affirmed the bench trial findings of Judge Cote that Apple orchestrated a price fixing conspiracy with book publishers to collectively raise the $9.99 per-book price that Amazon was charging and that publishers believed was damaging to their business in the long term. Apple signed contracts with the publishers for its own e-bookstore under an “agency model” (in which the publishers set the price and Apple would take a cut), and those contracts included a “most-favored nations” clause requiring the publishers to price the books in Apple’s store at the lowest offered anywhere else. The Second Circuit agreed with Judge Cote that the intended effect of these terms was to compel the publishers to act together to challenge Amazon’s flat, $9.99 pricing:
Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Antitrust Ruling Against Apple in E-Books Case

Following a bench trial, Judge Cote today issued a 361-page ruling in favor of FHFA (the conservator to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) in a case accusing Nomura and RBS of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages underlying various securities.  There had been 16 similar cases before Judge against various banks, all of which settled except this one.  Judge Cote resolved various disputes between the parties as to how damages should be calculated, but did not specify the final judgment amount. She instead directed the FHFA, which had initially sought over $1 billion, to submit a proposed judgment following the formula in her opinion. The opinion begins:
Continue Reading After Bench Trial, Judge Cote Rules For FHFA in Case Against Nomura, RBS

In an opinion Friday, Judge Scheindlin largely denied Barclays’ motion to dismiss a securities fraud class action alleging that Barclays misled investors about its anonymous trading platform, or “dark pool,” referred to as “LX.”  At the outset, Judge Scheindlin found it appropriate for the plaintiffs to have borrowed substantially from the New York Attorney General’s

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (or “FHFA,” as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) sued 18 banks in 2011 for misrepresenting the quality of mortgage bonds. All but Nomura and RBS have settled, for a total of around $18 billion.  The trial against Nomura and RBS begins Monday before Judge Cote. It will be