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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Second Circuit: retroactive assignment cannot cure past infringement claim by co-author

The Second Circuit yesterday issued a decision regarding whether an action for infringement brought by one co-author of a song can be defeated by the grant of a "retroactive" transfer of ownership to the infringer from a co-author who is not party to the infringement action. The case involved licensing and litigation regarding authorship of […]

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First Circuit: Reconstruction of work does not meet deposit requirement for copyright registration

Tuesday, the First Circuit issued a decision regarding the Copyright Act's requirement of submission of a "copy" of an original work along with the registration of the work in order for a plaintiff to bring suit in federal court. The court held, as an issue of first impression in the circuit, that the copy submitted […]

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Is fair use more valuable to the economy than copyright?

A study released this week by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) attempts to quantify the value that fair use, the restriction on a copyright holder's ability to assert infringement claims, has to the U.S. economy. The study attempted to ascertain the economic output of "fair use industries," that is, either "industries that produce […]

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Tenth Circuit: First Amendment analysis required when public domain works “restored” to copyright

In an important copyright decision posted today (but apparently filed yesterday), the Tenth Circuit addressed the First Amendment implications of the "restoration" of public domain works to copyright protection as a result of the Uruguay Round Agreement Act (URAA). The URAA implemented Article 18 of the Berne Convention, which brought works back under copyright that […]

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Ninth Circuit: Reversible error to only consider one of the likelihood of confusion factors

In a trademark case yesterday, the Ninth Circuit held that the similarity-of-the-marks factor could not be considered exclusive of the other likelihood of confusion factors in determining trademark infringement. In doing so, the court reversed the grant of summary judgment against the defendant's counterclaims of trademark infringement, as well as the defendant's counterclaims for copyright […]

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Second Circuit: Merger doctrine bars copyright in commodities settlement prices

The Second Circuit issued a decision yesterday applying the merger doctrine of copyright to settlement prices on a mercantile exchange. The court affirmed summary judgment holding that the settlement prices were not copyrightable, because the expression of the prices (a single number) merged with the idea that was expressed (the fair market value for each […]

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