Court Manages To Get NBA2K Tattoo Copyright, Trademark Case Exactly Right

14 04 2020

Tech Dirt
Timothy Geigner
April 1, 2020

Somehow, it’s been nearly four years since a tattoo company, Solid Oak Sketches, decided to sue 2K Sports, the studio behind the renowned NBA 2K franchise, claiming that the game’s faithful representation of several stars’ tattoos was copyright infringement. The company claimed to own the copyright on the design of several players’ tattoos, including most famously LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and DeAndre Jordan. The claim in the suit was that 2K’s faithful depiction of the players, whom had collectively licensed their likenesses via the NBAPA, somehow violated Solid Oak’s IP rights.

Put another way, it could be said that by branding the player with Solid Oak’s designs, the company seems to think it can control the players’ ability to profit off of their own likenesses. That this draws the mind to very uncomfortable historical parallels apparently was of no issue to Solid Oak.

Well, while 2K Sports failed to get the court to dismiss the case back in 2018, it has more recently won the case on summary judgement, with the court quite helpfully getting everything right and declaring the depiction of tattoos in video games in this manner to be Fair Use.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200401/11212244213/court-manages-to-get-nba2k-tattoo-copyright-trademark-case-exactly-right.shtml Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Humvee Can’t Stop Depictions of Its Vehicles in the ‘Call of Duty’ Videogame–AM General v. Activision Blizzard

14 04 2020

Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Eric Goldman
April 3, 2020

It has unexpectedly turned into Videogame Law week here at the Technology & Marketing Law blog. This is my third videogame IP blog post this week. See my prior posts on tattoo copyrights and signature moves. All three rulings are decisive defense wins, a sign of how bogus videogame litigation has flooded the courts.

Today’s case involves the game Call of Duty, which prominently features Humvee vehicles throughout the game. Humvee asserted its trademark rights against Call of Duty, which is the kind of claim that can vex courts because trademark law wasn’t designed to regulate this kind of conduct. The court turns to the constantly baffling Rogers v. Grimaldi test to navigate the First Amendment overlay to the trademark claims. This turns into a trademark doctrine SNAFU. At least the court gets to the right conclusion.

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Case citation: AM General LLC v. Activision Blizzard, Inc., 1:17-cv-08644-GBD-JLC (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2020)

The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/04/humvee-cant-stop-depictions-of-its-vehicles-in-the-call-of-duty-videogame-am-general-v-activision-blizzard.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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7th Circuit Upholds Trademark ‘Fair Use’ Doctrine

14 04 2020

LexBlog
John Mueller
April 11, 2020

[ed: this is not a new media case. However, it clarifies aspects of fair use as they relate to trademark, so is included here]

In an August 2019 decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the earlier finding by the Northern District of Illinois of summary judgment that PepsiCo’s Gatorade division’s use of the phrase “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” on its Gatorade family of products did not infringe SportFuel Inc.’s SPORTFUEL trademark because the use of the “Sports Fuel” term by Gatorade was descriptive, not used in a source-indicative manner and thus a “fair use” of that term.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2020/04/11/7th-circuit-upholds-trademark-fair-use-doctrine/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.c

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International Trademark Registration: Nine Lessons Learned from Harry and Meghan

14 04 2020
IP Watchdog
Nouvelle Gonzalo & Nyja Brown & Eleanor LeBeau & Brittany George
April 13, 2020
One of a company’s most valuable assets is its trademark – its name, logo, color or slogan. A trademark or service mark establishes your company as the source of certain products (trademark) or services (service mark). This helps establish your company brand so consumers can easily recognize it. As we consider international trademark registration, there are some important lessons we can learn from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who tried to register a SUSSEX ROYAL trademark.
The content in this post was found at https://www.ipwatchdog.com/2020/04/13/international-trademark-registration-nine-lessons-learned-harry-meghan/id=120530/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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U.S. Supreme Court Confirms that States Have Sovereign Immunity from Copyright Infringement Suits–Allen v. Cooper

14 04 2020
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
Tyler Ochoa
April 13, 2020
On March 23, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Allen v. Cooper,  No. 18-877, that states have sovereign immunity from claims of copyright infringement, and that 17 U.S.C. § 511, which purports to waive that immunity, is unconstitutional.The result was not unexpected, but the unanimity was.  I previously wrote about the case at the time certiorari was granted.  In that post I wrote: “If the Justices vote along conventional political lines, one can predict a 5-4 decision affirming the Fourth Circuit at the Supreme Court level, following the opinions in Seminole Tribe and Florida Prepaid and holding that § 511 was not a valid waiver of sovereign immunity under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  Instead, the Court reached unanimity by relying on stare decisis.

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The content in this post was found at https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2020/04/u-s-supreme-court-confirms-that-states-have-sovereign-immunity-from-copyright-infringement-suits-allen-v-cooper.htm Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Copyright Defenses When a Copyright Infringement Claim Gets Under Your Skin

10 04 2020

LexBlog
Joseph Grasser & Raisa Dyadkina
April 6, 2020

On March 26, a federal district court in New York held that the publishers of the popular NBA 2K videogame did not infringe on plaintiff’s tattoo copyrights when the publishers depicted those tattoos on basketball players in NBA 2K. The publishers, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software, were successful in asserting multiple copyright defenses, including implied license, fair use, and the rarely successful de minimis use.

The decision was issued in Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. 2K Games, Inc., 1:16-CR-00724-LTS-SDA (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 2020). Solid Oak Sketches sued 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software (“Take-Two”) over the use of tattoo designs for which Solid Oak owned licenses. Solid Oak alleged copyright infringement based on Take-Two’s use of the tattoo designs, as depicted on three basketball players, in its NBA 2K videogames. However, the court ruled that Take-Two did not infringe on Solid Oak Sketches’s rights based on the three independent copyright defenses.

De Minimis Use Defense.

Implied License Defense.

Fair Use Defense.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2020/04/06/copyright-defenses-when-a-copyright-infringement-claim-gets-under-your-skin/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Musician Tries To Fix Copyright By Copyrighting All The Melodies

10 04 2020

LexBlog
Mike Willee
April 7, 2020

Music copyright has proven to be a tricky topic in recent years, given how readily available music is at present paired with the ability to take on alleged infringement, both through YouTube and in the courts. (Not that any court case would ever be considered easy.) The exponential growth in copyright cases within music is a matter of some debate and contention; some believe in the absolute ability of creators to protect their work from infringement, while others argue that influence and sampling are simply part of the art form, and that to take those away is to remove the ability for new artists to build upon what others have done, as they have for decades, if not centuries. It’s not an argument that looks to be resolved anytime soon, although one ambitious musician is seeking to short-circuit the issue entirely.

In an effort to put an end to music copyright claims altogether, musician Damien Ruehl, with the aid of programmer Noah Rubin, created an algorithm to compose, well, all of the music, or at least the melodies. As reported in The Independent, Ruehl and Rubin worked together to create the algorithm, which creates 300,000 melodies a second and 68 billion in total, with the aim of then copyrighting those melodies and then releasing them into the public domain.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2020/04/07/musician-tries-to-fix-copyright-by-copyrighting-all-the-melodies/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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French regulator says Google must pay news sites to send them traffic

10 04 2020

ars technica
TIMOTHY B. LEE
4/9/2020

France’s competition authority says that Google must go back to the bargaining table to negotiate a rate that the search giant will pay to link to articles on French news sites. So far, Google has flatly refused to pay fees to link to news articles, despite a new EU copyright directive designed to force Google to do so.

France was the first country to transpose the EU’s order into national law. Google read the French law as allowing unlicensed use of the headline of a story, but not more than that. So in September, Google removed the “snippet” that often appears below headlines from its French news search results, as well as thumbnail images.

“We don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in search results,” Google wrote in a September blog post. “We sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked. That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result.”

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/04/french-regulator-says-google-must-pay-news-sites-to-send-them-traffic/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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Oracle copied Amazon’s API—was that copyright infringement?

29 03 2020

ars technica
Charles Duan
January 3, 2020

Early this year, the Supreme Court will hear an important case that will determine the legal status of application programming interfaces under copyright law. If the high court sides with Oracle in its multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Google’s Android platform, it could stifle competition and entrench dominant technology firms—possibly including Google itself.

Oracle has accused Google of infringing copyright law by copying the API of the Java programming language. An API is essentially a language for instructing a computer on what to do. It includes a vocabulary of named commands tied to grammatical structures for how those commands are to be used. To cause Java software to perform pre-defined tasks, such as calculating a sine function or encrypting a message, a programmer must use those named commands and grammatical structures with precision, much in the same way that a Waffle House diner invokes exact code words like “scattered, smothered, chunked, and diced” to get a hash brown order correct.

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The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/01/oracle-copied-amazons-api-was-that-copyright-infringement/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.co

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The Joys and Dangers of Tweeting: A CDA Immunity Update

29 03 2020

LexBlog
J. Alexander Lawrence
November 12, 2019

A recent decision from a federal court in New York highlights the limits social media users enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The case involves Joy Reid, the popular host of MSNBC’s AM Joy who has more than two million Twitter and Instagram followers, and the interaction between a young Hispanic boy and a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA)–hat wearing woman named Roslyn La Liberte at a Simi Valley, California, City Council meeting.

The case centers on a single re-tweet by Reid and two of her Instagram posts.

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The content in this post was found at https://www.lexblog.com/2019/11/12/the-joys-and-dangers-of-tweeting-a-cda-immunity-update/ Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post. and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com

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