Producers of Hustlers Hustle Up a Win in Lawsuit: SDNY Dismisses Claims for Invasion of Privacy and Defamation in Barbash v. STX Financing

Written by Leo M. Lichtman Earlier this month, the Southern District of New York gave its stamp of approval to the hit film Hustlers, when it dismissed an action for invasion of privacy and defamation brought by Samantha Barbash, the real-life ringleader of an illegal conspiracy that influenced the film.  In its order of dismissal, the court provided important guidance on New York’s invasion of … Continue reading Producers of Hustlers Hustle Up a Win in Lawsuit: SDNY Dismisses Claims for Invasion of Privacy and Defamation in Barbash v. STX Financing

‘Big Litigants Don’t Cry’: Ninth Circuit Finds That Musical About Four Seasons Used Only Unprotected Facts

Written by Timothy M. Carter On September 8, 2020 in Corbello v. Valli, the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed the principle that copyright law does not protect facts and that authors who characterize their statements as fact are estopped from claiming that the statements were actually fiction.  974 F.3d 965 (9th Cir. 2020).  The Court’s opinion reaffirms basic principles that have not recently come up in Ninth … Continue reading ‘Big Litigants Don’t Cry’: Ninth Circuit Finds That Musical About Four Seasons Used Only Unprotected Facts

Copyright Preemption Remix – The Second Circuit Finds Implied Preemption of Right of Publicity Claim Relating to Remixes on Mixtape

Written by Elaine K. Kim and Elaine Nguyen The Second Circuit recently issued an important decision, In re Jackson, No. 19-480, — F.3d —, 2020 WL 4810706 (2d Cir. Aug. 19, 2020), in which it held that a state law right of publicity claim was barred on the ground of implied copyright preemption.  While implied preemption—also known as conflict preemption—has come up in other copyright … Continue reading Copyright Preemption Remix – The Second Circuit Finds Implied Preemption of Right of Publicity Claim Relating to Remixes on Mixtape

A Jewel of an Opinion or Missing the Mark? Second Circuit Holds that Costco’s Use of “Tiffany” May Be Descriptive

Written by Sofia Castillo and Marissa B. Lewis In Tiffany and Co et al v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 17-2798 (2d Cir., Aug. 17, 2020) the Second Circuit vacated and remanded for trial a 2017 decision issued by the Southern District of New York that awarded fine jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. over $21 million in damages arising from Costco’s use of the term “Tiffany” … Continue reading A Jewel of an Opinion or Missing the Mark? Second Circuit Holds that Costco’s Use of “Tiffany” May Be Descriptive

The Privilege to Speak One’s Mind: New York Broadens Its Anti-SLAPP Statute

Written by Timothy M. Carter The broad speech protections provided by the First Amendment are emblematic of a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open[.]”  New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 269–70 (1964).  While this unfettered commitment to free speech may shield a speaker from the chill of liability, practically speaking, it often … Continue reading The Privilege to Speak One’s Mind: New York Broadens Its Anti-SLAPP Statute

Trump v. Trump: Publisher is not an Agent of Author Subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement

By Sofia Castillo On July 1, the Appellate Division of the State of New York Supreme Court issued a decision on whether an author’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) binds a publisher and other similarly situated distributors. The decision allows publisher Simon & Schuster to proceed with the publication of Mary Trump’s book about her uncle, President Donald Trump, titled Too Much and Never Enough, How My … Continue reading Trump v. Trump: Publisher is not an Agent of Author Subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement

SCOTUS Rejects Per Se Rule Against Trademark Protection for Generic.com Terms

Written by Eleanor M. Lackman and Samantha W. Frankel The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a generic word combined with “.com” is entitled to federal trademark registration if consumers perceive the combined mark as nongeneric.  United States Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com B. V., No. 19-46, 2020 WL 3518365 (U.S. June 30, 2020).  In an 8-1 decision, the Court held that because Booking.com … Continue reading SCOTUS Rejects Per Se Rule Against Trademark Protection for Generic.com Terms

When the Jacket Fits but the Copyright Registration (Maybe) Doesn’t: Ninth Circuit Clarifies Requirement to Determine Validity of Knowingly Filed Incorrect Copyright Registration

Written by Aaron D. Johnston and Orly Ravid SUMMARY The Ninth Circuit recently decided a copyright infringement case that pitted fabric designer Unicolors against clothing retail giant H&M regarding an artwork design that H&M used on a jacket and skirt in its fall 2015 collection.  The dispute involved one fabric design in a copyright registration containing 31 designs as a “single-unit registration.”  In Unicolors, Inc. … Continue reading When the Jacket Fits but the Copyright Registration (Maybe) Doesn’t: Ninth Circuit Clarifies Requirement to Determine Validity of Knowingly Filed Incorrect Copyright Registration

Fair Use & Tater Tots

Written by Timothy M. Carter In 2011, Plaintiffs Tamita Brown, Glen S. Chapman, and Jason T. Chapman composed and recorded the children’s song Fish Sticks n’ Tater Tots (the “Song”), which details a student’s journey from her classroom to her school cafeteria to eat fish sticks and tater tots for lunch.[1]  Six years later, the documentary film Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe (the “Film”) — which … Continue reading Fair Use & Tater Tots

District Court of Colorado Departs From the Rogers Test in Documentary Trademark Suit

Written by Eleanor M. Lackman and Lillian Lee On May 8, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted National Geographic’s motion to dismiss an amended complaint for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices.  Stouffer v. National Geographic Partners, LLC, No. 18-cv-3127 (May 8, 2020). In doing so, the court addressed “the question of what protections the First Amendment provides … Continue reading District Court of Colorado Departs From the Rogers Test in Documentary Trademark Suit