Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Latest in Copyright Litigation---A Round-up

Copyright infringement litigation is ubiquitous, perhaps because infringement is a relatively easy claim to allege, and there are big stakes so damages can be significant. From an economics perspective, the statutory damages rate theoretically has to be high enough to discourage infringement rather than negotiating a license, but actual damages may be relatively easy to prove and might be higher. At any rate, plaintiffs have at least two possibly lucrative avenues should they prove infringement.

A quick search of Google news produces dozens of recent copyright infringement suits filed, and here are just a few that might pique your interest:

Heavy-Weight Plaintiffs

Left Shark journeys from Super Bowl to Internet meme to lawsuit threat: Katy Perry's legal team has sued a figurine maker who is trying to capitalize on Left Shark's 15 minutes of fame.

An Equal-Stakes Bout

Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams Deny 'Blurred Lines' Copyright Infringement Claim: "Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams appeared in federal court this week, denying they ripped off a Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" in their song "Blurred Lines." In court Wednesday, Thicke gave an impromptu concert, taking to a keyboard to perform a medley of famous songs to show how pop tunes often share similar chord progressions." (Btw, am I the only one that had no clue Pharrell is associated with this song?) And, As Blurred Lines Trial Starts, Take A Listen To The Special 'Copyright Only' Remix That Jurors Will Hear.

Underdog Plaintiffs

Insane Clown Posse's record label faces federal copyright lawsuit in Cleveland: The Midnight "Syndicate -- a Chardon-based band renowned for its creepy, gothic-tinged music -- is suing a record label run by hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse for what it says is the unlicensed use of its songs. . . The Midnight Syndicate is demanding $9.3 million, the maximum allowed for the total amount of alleged violations, and to bar the label from distributing or performing any of Jumpsteady's music that uses The Midnight Syndicate's without permission. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan."

USATF Wrestles with Intellectual Property Issue: "[A[ non-professional USATF member club The Sisu Project documenting their trip to the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in December. It was posted to YouTube on December 16 but taken down in mid-February due to a claim of copyright infringement by USATF."

Need a quick way to stay up-to-date on the latest copyright news? Set up a Google Alert or subscribe to BNA's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law Daily. And if you have a client you'd like to monitor rather than a specific legal issue, Google Alerts and Bloomberg Law can both assist.