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Fifth Circuit: Prevailing defendant in file sharing copyright case not entitled to attorney fees

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a district court finding denying an award of attorney's fees to a defendant who had been sued for copyright infringement by several recording companies, as part of the industry's ongoing litigation efforts to curb file sharing. In doing so, the court upheld the notion that, although attorney's fees are […]

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Ninth Circuit: Karaoke is audiovisual work, so not fully covered by – 115 compulsory license

In a decision yesterday, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court's dismissal of a complaint for declaratory judgment by a karaoke device manufacturer without leave to amend for failure to state a claim. The complaint sought a declaration that a compulsory license under § 115 of the Copyright Act was a sufficient license for a […]

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Fifth Circuit: Beyonce song does not infringe songwriter’s copyright

In a decision last week, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment of no copyright infringement. A plaintiff brought suit against the singer Beyoncé Knowles and several parties with whom she is associated alleging that Beyoncé's song "Baby Boy" infringed the plaintiff's work. The district court granted summary judgment of noninfringement […]

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First Circuit: Copyright statute of limitations applies to accounting claims between joint authors

In a decision last week, the First Circuit held that a purported assignee of a joint author of a copyrighted work was barred by the Copyright Act's three-year statute of limitations from seeking an accounting of profits, even though the state statute of limitations for seeking such an accounting had not yet run.The plaintiff had […]

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Sixth Circuit: Internet downloads not “manufactured,” so logo placement agreement inapplicable

In a recent decision, the Sixth Circuit held that several agreements relating to logo placement on media incorporating songs by Meat Loaf did not encompass internet downloads. The court reached this decision based on a key paragraph in the most recent agreement: Sony Music will continue to place the Cleveland logo (in the design currently […]

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Second Circuit: Copyright registration is a jurisdictional requirement

Last week, the Second Circuit issued a decision addressing whether the registration requirement for bringing a copyright action was jurisdictional or merely a "claim processing" rule. The decision turned on whether the Supreme Court's decision in Eberhart v. United States reduced the class of "jurisdictional" statutes such that 17 U.S.C. § 411(a) should be considered […]

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Seventh Circuit: $70,000 in attorney fees affirmed for copyright and trademark appeal

Back in March, we wrote about a copyright and trademark case involving a novelty doll, "Pull My Finger Fred." In the case's previous trip to the Seventh Circuit, the court affirmed a verdict of copyright and trademark infringement, $291,000 in damages, and $575,000 in attorneys' fees. Now the parties are back, this time disputing the […]

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Sixth Circuit: No evidence of license, no contributory copyright infringement

In a decision last week, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment of no copyright infringement. At issue was whether a record company, Universal, granted a license to others to perform a Snoop Dogg song – "Change Gone Come" – that allegedly infringed an earlier work by the P-Funk All Stars, […]

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Sixth Circuit: ratio of punitive to compensatory damages too great in copyright case

In a decision Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a district court judgment awarding $366,939 in compensatory damages, $3.5 million in punitive damages, and $150,000 in statutory damages (to a second plaintiff) in a copyright infringement case. The case was brought against the music publishers behind The Notorious B.I.G. album […]

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Fourth Circuit: Claim preclusion prevents new determination of actual damages against licensees

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit decided another copyright infringement case based on use of the logo for the Baltimore Ravens football team. The court had previously affirmed two cases involving the same logo, where copyright infringement was found but no damages were issued. In this case, several hundred licensees were sued for using the infringing logo.The […]

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