Monthly Archives: April 2014

Supreme Court Rulings Will Make Fee Awards More Likely In Trademark Cases As Well As Patent Cases

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court decided Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. and Highmark v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc., companion cases that will make it easier for prevailing parties to recover attorneys’ fees in patent infringement litigation. Together, the cases may have far-reaching consequences for litigation strategy and case management in cases involving a range of intellectual property disputes, not just patents.… More

Court Dismisses Tarantino’s Copyright Claim Over Hyperlink To Leaked Script; Grants Leave to Amend But Notes That Fair Use Argument Is Strong

QTWe recently reported on director Quentin Tarantino’s copyright lawsuit against Gawker Media over his leaked script for the film The Hateful Eight. The suit alleged that Gawker Media, by encouraging its readers to leak the script and then linking to the leaked script on another site, engaged in contributory copyright infringement. Gawker Media, arguing in part that a mere hyperlink could not be the basis for copyright infringement liability,… More

District Court Struggles With Copyright Protection For “Cheerleading-Uniformness”

CheerOnce a piece of clothing has been styled, cut and shaped according to a designer’s vision, it is a form of expression arguably no less worthy of copyright protection than say, a photograph, painting, or poem. However, the “useful article” doctrine generally denies copyright protection for aspects of clothing design that are considered inherently functional or “utilitarian.” So, for example, the two-dimensional pattern on a dress may be copyrightable,… More

Tarantino’s “Hateful” Revenge: Director Pursues Copyright Claim Over Hyperlink To Leaked Script

QTQuentin Tarantino probably wasn’t offended when the Hollywood gossip website Defamer, owned by Gawker Media LLC, compared him to a petulant child and accused him of throwing a “temper tantrum.”  After all, the colorful characters in his films have uttered far more incendiary insults.  But when the website published a story about Tarantino’s leaked script for the upcoming film The Hateful Eight,… More

Catholic Priest Permitted To Conceal Non-Privileged Nature Of Defamatory Communication Until Statute Of Limitations Runs

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In a recent unanimous decision in Harrington v. Costello, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that the statute of limitations had run out on a Catholic priest’s defamation claim against his colleague, even though the colleague had allegedly fraudulently concealed the source of the defamatory statement.

Background

The plaintiff, John Harrington, was a priest at St.… More

Taxation Of Copyright Sales: Ordinary Income Or Capital Gain?

Tax day presents several interesting questions for copyright holders, not the least of which is how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will treat income from the sale or exclusive license of a copyright.  If a copyright is a “capital asset,” proceeds from its sale or exclusive license are a capital gain rather than ordinary income, and the transaction will be taxed at a much lower rate.

Prior to 1950,… More

Can Private Photos Be Used In Political Ads Without Permission? Colorado Court Rejects Gay Couple’s Misappropriation Claim; Copyright Claim Survives

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When we upload family pictures to the internet, we understand that, in theory, anyone in the world might download them and use them for some nefarious purpose.  However, we usually take comfort in the fact that most of us just aren’t interesting enough to be noticed. But that wasn’t the case for New Jersey couple Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere.

In 2010,… More

Highlights of Digital Millennium Copyright Act Congressional Hearings

On March 13, 2014, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, through its Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, held hearings regarding the copyright infringement notice and takedown procedures set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 512, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The focus of the discussion concerned whether the DMCA fairly allocates the burdens of copyright enforcement and administration of the takedown process among copyright owners,… More