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Halloween Edition: Copyright for Banana Costume is upheld on A-Peel

By Brandon W. Clark

The Third Circuit recently held that a banana costume qualified for copyright protection as Rasta Imposta, a retail wholesaler of Halloween costumes, sued Kangaroo Manufacturing, a costume manufacturer, for copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition after Rasta discovered Kangaroo selling a banana costume that resembled one of Rasta’s costumes without a license. The […]

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Rapper Sues the Makers of Fortnite Claiming Copyright Infringement of Dance Moves

By Brandon W. Clark

Rapper 2 Milly has filed a copyright and right of publicity lawsuit against the makers of the Fortnite video game claiming that they are illegally using a dance move that he created in their wildly popular video game. The Brooklyn-based rapper, whose real name is Terrence Ferguson, alleges that Fortnite-maker Epic Games is misappropriating his dance […]

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Hollywood Studios Prevail Against Family-Friendly Video Streaming Site

In a 3-0 ruling, a federal appeals court sided with Disney, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century Fox by affirming an injunction that shut down movie filtering service VidAngel, Inc., saying that a ruling to the contrary would “create a giant loophole in copyright law”. VidAngel is a video filtering service that lets users stream films […]

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Copyright Infringement and Fair Use in a Digital World

In the most general sense, copyright infringement is copying, or using, a work protected by copyright without permission from the copyright owner. Almost inevitably, soon after you hear the words “copyright infringement”, you will also hear the words “fair use”. Fair use is one of the most frequently discussed defenses to copyright infringement but it […]

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Derivative Works and Remastered Sound Recordings

A recently decided court case regarding remastered versions of pre-1972 sound recordings could have significant legal and practical implications for musicians, recording artists, sound engineers, and record labels. Judge Perry Anderson, of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, recently granted Summary Judgment for CBS Radio Inc. in a case brought […]

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Copyright 3-year Statute of Limitations Trumps Laches Defense

PETRELLA v. METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER, INC. Frank Petrella wrote two screenplays and one book based on the life of boxing champion Jake LaMotta. One of the screenplays, registered in 1963, identifies Patrella as the sole author, written in collaboration with LaMotta. LaMotta and Patrella assigned their rights in the screenplay, including renewal rights, to Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Inc. […]

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Eleventh Circuit: Laches presumed not to apply in copyright case filed during limitations period

In a decision last week, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a district court decision granting summary judgment in a copyright infringement action. The central disagreement between the parties was over the scope of copyright protection in a book about sales techniques. The district court granted the defendant's motion for summary […]

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Ninth Circuit: Heirs of “Pink Panther” coauthor do not retain interest in copyright in the films

In a decision last week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in a copyright case, holding that a coauthor of a story treatment is not necessarily a coauthor of a motion picture produced based on that treatment, and the factors applied to determine coauthorship led to the conclusion that the […]

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Fourth Circuit affirms refusal of copyright registration: insufficient creativity

The Fourth Circuit yesterday affirmed the denial of copyright registration to an individual who had adapted United States Census maps for use on his website. The only changes to the maps were the addition of colors, changing the typeface of the state abbreviations, and a change in layout for some of the state indications. The […]

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Ninth Circuit defines differences between derivative and collective works

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit decided a copyright case dealing with the differences between derivative and collective works. The defendant took photographs which were licensed to it individually by the plaintiff and, after the term of its license had expired, modified the photographs and integrated them into "collage" advertisements. The court held that these advertisements were […]

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