DLA Piper represented Effie Film, LLC, the producer of the motion picture Effie, in a successful infringement case against New York playwright Gregory Murphy. Murphy had accused Academy Award-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, the author of the Effie screenplay, of infringing his copyright. A March 20, 2013 decision of the Southern District of New York found that Effie did not infringe Murphy’s copyright, and upheld the right of authors of fiction to re-interpret history and historical figures through their own creative vision.

This decision marks the second victory DLA Piper has secured on behalf of Effie Film, LLC, clearing the film from all claims of infringement.


Continue Reading DLA Piper secures second noteworthy copyright win, clearing way for release of Emma Thompson’s film, ‘Effie’

By James Stewart

Andy Deutsch, a partner in DLA Piper’s Trademark Copyright and Media practice group in the New York Office, recently won a judgment on the pleadings for Oscar-winning actress and writer Emma Thompson in the District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Deutsch commented to Law360 on Tuesday that, “we are very happy that Judge Oetken found that Effie is an entirely original interpretation of historical facts, and rejected groundless accusations of copyright infringement. It is very gratifying to help make it possible for a world audience to see this great story and film.” This case is particularly important due to its high profile parties and clarification of copyright protection for works of historical fiction.

Eve Pommerance is a writer who owns the copyright for two screen plays based on the lives of historical characters John Ruskin, John Everett Millais, and Euphemia “Effie” Gray, set in the Victorian art world. Ms. Thompson authored a screenplay exploring the lives and relationships of the same historical characters. Ms. Thompson’s screenplay has been made into a major motion picture titled Effie, starring Ms. Thompson, Dakota Fanning, and Robbie Coltrane, which is now in the post-production stage.


Continue Reading DLA PIPER COPYRIGHT VICTORY FOR EMMA THOMPSON

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY ALERT

By Joshua Briones and Patrick S. Park

A judge ruled last week that PhoneDog.com, a web-based community of cell phone information, has properly pled a trade secret and conversion claim arising out of Phonedog’s allegations that it is entitled to certain Twitter followers that a former employee had built up during his four years at the company, where he worked as a blogger. 
 
The case raises at least two questions.  First, who owns a company Twitter account?  Second, how much is a Twitter follower worth?  


Continue Reading Whose followers are they, and how much are they worth?