By John Wilks and Ruth Hoy

A UK High Court claim filed this week by the Ministry of Sound record label against music streaming site Spotify raises some interesting issues around the originality threshold for copyright works.

The claim, which was reported in the Guardian, alleges that the Ministry’s track listings (each a compilation of tracks by different artists) are copyright works in their own right. The Ministry allege that such copyright is infringed by playlists made available by Spotify which reproduce their compilation track listings.


Continue Reading Ministry Claim Spotted Raising Original Copyright Issues

Last Thursday, R&B star Robin Thicke, along with fellow artists Pharrell Williams and Clifford “T.I.” Harris, filed a suit for declaratory judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Marvin Gaye’s family and Bridgeport Music Inc. after receiving demand letters alleging copyright infringement and threatening suit.  Gaye’s family and Bridgeport Music Inc. allege that Thicke’s summer hit song “Blurred Lines” infringes on Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” and Funkadelic’s 1974 song “Sexy Ways.” Thicke, Williams, and Harris have decided to fight out the dispute in federal court.  They have asked the judge to declare that their song “Blurred Lines” does not infringe on the defendants’ claimed rights, and that the defendants do not have standing to pursue copyright infringement claims against them.


Continue Reading R&B Star Claims “Blurred Lines” is Not Substantially Similar to Marvin Gaye or Funkadelic Songs

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Sports, Media and Entertainment Blog

By Frank Ryan, Richard Flaggert, Matthew Ganas and Rebecca Smock

On May 21, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the First Amendment does not shield Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) from right of publicity violations alleged in connection with its depiction of college-athlete “avatars” in its series of NCAA Football videogames. Ryan Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc., No. 11-3750, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10171 (3d Cir. 2013).

As a matter of first impression for the Third Circuit, the Hart case involves the complex intersection of First Amendment protections and the publicity rights of individuals. By determining that plaintiff Ryan Hart’s publicity rights trump First Amendment considerations in this instance, a Third Circuit majority panel reversed the US District Court of New Jersey’s prior grant of summary judgment in EA’s favor and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.


Continue Reading Third Circuit Rejects EA’s First Amendment Defense to College Athletes’ Right of Publicity Claims

Reposted from DLA Piper’s Sports, Media and Entertainment Blog

By Melissa Reinckens and Marc Miller

In April, we wrote about the ongoing dispute between Aereo, the upstart technology company that utilizes warehouses full of tiny antennas to capture over-the-air television and then retransmit it over the Internet to its subscribers’ digital devices. Broadcasters, who view Aereo as a threat to the millions of dollars in performance royalties that cable systems pay for retransmission of over-the-air programming, sued for a preliminary injunction, but lost in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then lost again in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction. WNET et al. v. Aereo, Inc., 712 F. 3d 676 (2d Cir. 2013). The efforts of WNET and other over-the-air broadcasters to obtain en banc rehearing of this ruling failed on July 16, when ten of twelve Second Circuit judges voted to deny rehearing. Circuit Judge Denny Chin (the dissenter in the panel decision favoring Aereo) joined by Circuit Judge Richard C. Wesley wrote a lengthy and acerbic dissent from the denial of en banc review, which appears intended to catch the eye of the U.S. Supreme Court. And, indeed, the losers in the Second Circuit appeal have already announced that they intend to ask the Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit decision.


Continue Reading The Next Episode In Broadcasters’ Effort To Halt Aereo

Reposted from July 2013 issue of DLA Piper’s Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence

By Giulio Coraggio

The Court of Palermo (Italy) held that Google as an hosting provider is not obliged to monitor the AdWords keywords selected by its users. The court did find liability for a local rental company, Sicily by Car, for the usage of the trademark “maggiore” held by a major rental company, Maggiore Rent SpA. This was only when done in connection with the usage of AdWords “dynamic keyword insertion” tool allowing to show the selected keyword as ad text in the sponsored link when users were searching such term.


Continue Reading Google shall NOT monitor Adwords keywords

By Melinda Upton and Danielle Selig

What you need to know

On 22 May 2013, Justice Bennett refused an application in the Federal Court of Australia, by Cheqout Pty Ltd (Cheqout), to register the trade mark “superman workout”. Adopting the test relied upon by Justice Dodds-Streeton in Fry Consulting v Sports Warehouse Inc (No 2) (2012) (Fry), her Honour held that Cheqout made the application in bad faith as its “conduct fell short of the standards of acceptable commercial behaviour observed by reasonable and experienced persons.”


Continue Reading It’s a bird! It’s a plane!: Superman claims victory in the Federal Court of Australia

By John Wilks and Charles Harvey

UK IP legislation is changing.

First, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013), has just been published, and modifies UK copyright law (though not as drastically as some would have liked).

Secondly, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech that it will be introducing an Intellectual Property Bill to make changes to the law of design and patents.


Continue Reading SIGNIFICANT CHANGES INTRODUCED AND PLANNED TO UK IP LEGISLATION

By Ann K. Ford

This morning, DLA Piper’s Fashion, Retail and Design Group brought out a commanding group of DLA Piper colleagues from around the world to discuss recent developments in their jurisdictions that affect brand owners of fashion and retail brands. The audience comprised of representatives of luxury and leading retail apparel brands, whom were treated to a breakfast of digestible presentations of useful fashion law and intellectual property news from China, Turkey, Brazil, Australia, Germany and the United States.

At the end of the program, London partner and Fashion, Retail and Design Group founder, Ruth Hoy invited guests to take home the DLA Piper fashion law e-magazine, Law à La Mode, and additional materials on China protection.  It was truly a remarkable event!

Fashion Law Breakfast 1.JPG

© 2013 Karen Campbell


Continue Reading DLA Piper’s Fashion Law Breakfast at the 2013 INTA Annual Meeting in Dallas