In a decision today, Judge McMahon granted a preliminary injunction allowing subway ads about a humorous documentary called “The Muslims Are Coming!”  The ads included statements such as: “The Ugly Truth About Muslims: Muslims have great frittata recipes,” and “Muslims invented Justin Timberlake.”  One reason the film producer (a company referred to as VQP) chose to advertise in the subway was to respond to certain pro-Israel ads that a group called “ADFI” had also run in the subway system — ads that were subject to their own litigation issues (see our prior post here).

Judge McMahon rejected the MTA’s argument that it neutrally applied its policy against advertising that is “political in nature,” and emphasized that the ads were not “political” merely because the subject matter was Islam:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon Issues Injunction Allowing Subway Ads About Muslim Documentary

In an opinion today, Judge McMahon granted an interlocutory appeal on the following question:

Under New York law, do the holders of common law copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings have, as part of the bundle of rights attendant to their copyright, the right to exclusive public performance of those sound recordings?

She concluded, under the standards for interlocutory appeal, that there were substantial grounds for a difference of opinion on the issue:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon Grants Interlocutory Appeal of Case Challenging Sirius Radio’s Right to Broadcast Songs Predating 1972 Copyright Act

In an opinion  yesterday in the case challenging Sirius satellite radio’s ability to broadcast songs predating the 1972 copyright act (see prior posts here), Judge McMahon rejected Sirius’s argument that two members of the band the Turtles (known for “Happy Together” and other songs) gave Sirius and implied license, or otherwise waived their rights, by appearing as guests on Sirius radio and not objecting to the Turtles songs being played for years on Sirius.
Continue Reading Judge McMahon: Turtles’ Appearance as Guests on Sirius Radio Does Not Waive Copyright Claims

In an opinion Friday, Judge McMahon denied the satellite radio company Sirius’s motion for summary judgment in a proposed class action by members of the band The Turtles asserting New York common law copyright claims for songs recorded prior to the 1972 federal Copyright Act, which preempted later state law claims.  Further, since it appeared the facts were not in dispute, Judge McMahon ordered Sirius to show cause by December 5 why summary judgment should not be entered against it. Judge McMahon recognized that her ruling (and a recent similar one in California) would likely cause great disruption to satellite radio providers and others who have generally not paid to broadcast pre-1972 recordings, but said that those concerns should be directed to the legislative branches of government:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon Rules Against Sirius in Copyright Class Action Regarding Songs Predating 1972 Copyright Act

In a 90-page opinion today, Judge Gardephe largely denied Novartis’ motion to dismiss a government suit alleging that it paid doctors kickbacks by hosting sham speaker events that allegedly “served as little more than upscale social outings designed to induce doctors to write prescriptions for Novartis drugs.”  He rejected Novartis’ argument that the complaint lacked sufficient detail under Rule 9(b):
Continue Reading Judge Gardephe Allows DOJ to Proceed With Suit Accusing Novartis of Using “Sham” Speaker Events to Pay Doctors Kickbacks

In an opinion today, Judge McMahon preliminary enjoined a company called Matinee from using the phrase and logo “NYC Pride” to promote events that compete with those of the plaintiff, Heritage, the organizer of the LGBT’s community’s annual gay pride march and rally, which are scheduled for later this month. Matinee’s competing events include a performance by Azealia Banks, a singer who was heavily criticized for making allegedly homophobic comments directed at blogger Perez Hilton, and Judge McMahon found that Heritage would be irreparably harmed by the potential of being wrongly associated with the Banks controversy:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon Issues Preliminary Injunction to Block Unauthorized Use of “NYC Pride” to Promote Competing Pride Week Events

In a motion Friday, the satellite radio company Siruis moved to dismiss a proposed class action (covered in this post) by members of the band The Turtles asserting New York common law copyright claims for songs recorded prior to the 1972 federal Copyright Act. The motion argues:
Continue Reading Sirius Moves to Dismiss Copyright Class Action Regarding Songs Predating 1972 Copyright Act

In an opinion today, Judge McMahon denied Novartis’ motion to dismiss the government’s False Claims Act suit (covered in this prior post), which accuses Novartis of giving certain specialty pharmacies  “rebates” — which the government considers kickbacks — to have them switch their patients to two Novartis drugs, Exjade and Myfortic.  The alleged scheme resulted in Medicare and Medicaid paying for claims that were tainted by the alleged kickbacks. Novartis argued that the complaint did not specify which specific prescriptions were false, but Judge McMahon found the complaint sufficiently detailed:
Continue Reading Judge McMahon Allows Kickback Suit Against Novartis to Proceed

As we wrote about early last year, Judge McMahon reluctantly dismissed two FOIA suits seeking disclosure of a secret government memo addressing the legality of drone strikes on U.S. citizens.  Now, the Second Circuit has reversed that decision and ordered that the government produce the memo (known as the OLC-DOD Memorandum) in response to FOIA requests made by New York Times reporters and the ACLU. The Second Circuit ruled that public disclosure of the contents of the memo had waived any claim to secrecy.  Notably, just weeks after Judge McMahon’s decision, a 16-page DOJ “white paper” was leaked to the press, which itself analyzed the lawfulness of targeted drone killings.  Though not part of the underlying record on appeal, the appellate court chose to consider this subsequent disclosure in rendering its opinion.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Orders Release of Memo Discussing Legality of Drone Strikes