The Entertainment Law Reporter (ELR) is a monthly journal covering
the legal aspects (patents, copyrights, trademarks, contracts, etc.) of the
entertainment industry: movies, music, broadcasting, theater, publishing,
art, multimedia and sports. The publication provides brief summaries of
U.S. and foreign government activities and court cases, as well as a list
of new journal articles dealing with entertainment law.
The Entertainment Law Reporter is published by Lionel Sobel, a noted
entertainment and intellectual property lawyer based in Santa Monica.
He is currently a
Professor of Law
at Southwestern University School of Law located in Los Angeles. He is
author of Professional Sports and the Law, and co-editor of
The Law & Business of the Entertainment Industries.
The annual subscription fee for ELR is $225. A CDROM with the
fulltext of all previous issues dating back to 1978 is available for
$300. What follows are titles to some of the reviews from issues of
ELR published in 2002. For more information, check out the
ELR Web site.
- Book publisher's reproduction of Grateful Dead concert posters in
Grateful Dead biography is fair use, appeals court affirms
- Federal anti-bootlegging statute is constitutional, after all,
federal District Court rules - after reconsideration - in case
filed by KISS against distributor of DVD of 1976 KISS concert
- Penn & Teller did not defame religious group members on Showtime
TV program, despite criticizing their belief that Creationism
should be taught in public schools
- "The Da Vinci Code" does not infringe copyright to non-fiction book,
"Holy Blood, Holy Grail", British court rules
- Movie "Billy Elliot" did not infringe copyright to screenplay "The
- Downloading from Kazaa is not a fair use, Court of Appeals rules
- Enforcement of violent video game statutes in Michigan, Illinois
and California all enjoined, on First Amendment grounds
- Google's thumbnail images, but not its framed full-size images,
likely infringe Perfect 10's copyrights to photos of nudes
- Google did not infringe copyrights by caching literary works posted
on free website
- Ludacris denied summary judgment in case alleging his song "Stand Up"
infringes copyright to song "Straight Like That" by rap group It's
- Copyright Office issues report on Orphan Works recommending
amendments to infringement remedies
- Japanese P2P file-sharing service infringes music copyrights, Tokyo
High Court affirms
- Sony Music did not infringe copyrights of co-author of songs by The
Isley Brothers, because company was licensed by other co-authors
- FCC did not have authority to adopt Broadcast Flag Order, requiring
digital TVs to recognize and give effect to broadcast flags, federal
Court of Appeals decides
- Publisher did not infringe copyright by publishing photos of
Marilyn Monroe in book "Blonde Heat"
- Congress had authority to restore copyright protection to foreign
works in public domain in U.S., federal courts rule in two
- Virtual Technologies' "PGA Golf Tour" video game does not infringe
copyright or trade dress of Incredible Technologies' "Golden Tee"
video game, federal Court of Appeals affirms
- South Carolina's attempt to prohibit dissemination of obscene
material to minors via Internet violates First Amendment and
- Popular R&B singing group SWV's hit song "You're the One" did not
infringe copyright in song "You're the One (For Me)", federal
appeals court affirms
- British producers of television show "Wife Swap" may pursue copyright
but not trade dress claims against Fox Broadcasting, complaining that
Fox's "Trading Spouses" infringes, federal District Court rules
- Punitive damages not available under Copyright Act, federal District
Court in Florida rules in case alleging advertising jingle infringed
copyright to song "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"
- Insurance companies must pay defense costs incurred by Taco Bell
in idea-submission lawsuit based on its use of "Psycho Chihuahua"
in TV commercial, appellate court affirms
- After DreamWorks won a dismissal of copyright infringement claim
over the movie "Evolution", District Court ruled it was entitled
to attorneys' fees because there was a "strong need to deter and
compensate for" frivolous lawsuits
- Creator of "karaoke" recordings of previously recorded hits can't
sue for copyright infringement because it did not have license to
use underlying musical compositions, federal Court of Appeals affirms
- Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Copyright Renewal Act, and
Berne Convention Implementation Act are not unconstitutional because
Congress had rational basis for enacting them
- Eddie Murphy and Fox Broadcasting must defend copyright infringement
claim alleging animated series "The PJs" was copied from documentary
- Allegedly defamatory lyrics performed by fund legend George Clinton
and rapper Warren G were "rhetorical hyperbole", federal Court of
Appeals rules in an opinion affirming dismissal
- Appeals court affirms dismissal of idea submission lawsuit filed
against Fox and FremantleMedia by producer who claims he developed
- Elizabeth Taylor wins dismissal of case seeking possession of Van
Gogh painting she bought in 1963 Sothebay's auction, filed by
heirs of painting's former owner from whom it was stolen by Nazis
- "March Madness" is protectable trademark that was infringed by
operator of website whose domain name "marchmadness.com" was
registered in bad faith, federal appeals court affirms
- Federal anti-bootlegging statute is unconstitutional, federal District
Court rules in case filed by KISS against distributor of DVD of 1976
KISS concert performance
- "Back That Azz Up" by rap artist Juvenile did not infringe copyright
to "Back That Ass Up"
- DreamWorks defeats copyright infringement claim alleging "Antz" was
copied from script titled "Eddie the Existential Ant"
- Mexican film production companies own restored U.S. copyrights to
Mexican movies that once were in public domain in U.S., federal
appellate court agrees in case involving ownership of restored
copyrights to Cantinflas movies
- Appeals court affirms summary judgment in favor of David Chase,
creator of "The Sopranos", in idea submission case brought by
New Jersey attorney, because alleged contract was too vague to
be enforced, ideas were not novel, and quasi-contract claim
was barred by statute of limitations
- Jury awards JamSports $90 million in case alleging Clear Channel
interfered with JamSports' contract to produce motorcycle
Supercross series, after District Court denied Clear Channel's
pre-trial motion for summary judgment
- Photographers win copyright injunction against Brooklyn Music's
unlicensed use of their photograph on "Digital Empire" CD, but
recover only $27,000 in damages rather than $1.5 million they
- FTC denies request for guidelines requiring disclosure of product
placements in television programs
- Miramax movie "Rounders" did not infringe copyright to screenplay
"The Shell Game"; New Line wins dismissal of suit asserting that
its Adam Sandler film "Little Nicky" infringed former hockey
player's poem and screenplay "The Keeper"
- Michigan statute regulating display of sexually explicit material
is constitutional, federal District Court rules in case filed by
bookstores and publishing industry associations
- Beanie Babies maker Ty Inc. wins summary judgment in copyright
infringement case, because publisher of Beanie Babies collectors'
guide copied more than allowed by fair use doctrine
- Punitive damages may be available for copyright infringement,
federal judge rules in suit by photographer Andrea Blanch against
artist Jeff Koons
- Videogame-maker Blizzard Entertainment wins summary judgment on
contract and DMCA anti-circumvention claims against computer
programmers and ISP who created and distributed a hacked version
of Blizzard's multiplayer network
- DC Comics, owner of Superman character, owns a valid trademark in
term "Kryptonite", federal District Court rules in trademark
infringement and dilution lawsuit against manufacturer of
"Kryptonite" bicycle locks and accessories
- Lawsuit alleging that Mariah Carey's "Thank God I Found You"
infringes copyright to "One of Those Love Songs" should not have
been dismissed without trial, Court of Appeals decides, because
musicologist's conclusion that songs are "substantially similar"
raised issue for jury to decide.
- Dismissal of $30 million idea-submission case against Michael
Eisner, Michael Ovitz and Disney is affirmed by federal appeals
- Marketing agent for toy inventor loses idea-submission case against
Hasbro, because agent failed to refute Hasbro's evidence that its
water gun was independently created.
- Court refuses radio station owner's plea to reduce jury award of
$1.2 million to SESAC on account of broadcasts of SESAC songs
without public performance license.
- No likelihood of consumer confusion between new music record label
"sTRANGEmUSIC" and hip-hop label "Strange Music", so court denies
request for preliminary injunction.
- Appellate court affirms dismissal of right of publicity lawsuit filed
in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger against Ohio car dealership
that used his photo in newspaper ads without permission, because
California court lacked personal jurisdiction over dealership.
- Sony wins dismissal of infringement suit complaining that Ghostface
Killah's rap recording "The Forest" infringed copyright to "Wonderful
World"; court concludes that copied verse was fair use parody.
- Website not a direct infringer, even though subscribers posted
unlicensed copyrighted photos to site, and even though website did
not satisfy all requirements for DMCA's "safe harbor" exemption,
federal appellate court rules.
- Mannequin head depicting "hungry look" high-fashion runway model is
protected by copyright, after all, federal appellate court rules.
- California makes it a crime to disseminate recordings, movies, TV
programs and electronic games over the Internet, without disclosing
sender's email address and titles of disseminated works.
- CBS miniseries "Blonde" about Marilyn Monroe is not substantially
similar to play "Marilyn Dances", and thus did not infringe play's
copyright, federal District Court rules.
- Penguin Putnam wins reversal of judgment that its book of Dorothy
Parker poems infringes compilation copyright to Stuart Silverstein's
book of previously uncollected Dorothy Parker poems; Court of
Appeals questions whether Silverstein's selection of poems was
sufficiently "creative" to be protected by copyright, and rules
that any interest Silverstein may have is too "slight" to be
protected by injunction.
- Gibson Guitar's registered trademark for design of "Les Paul single
cutaway guitar" is infringed by design of Paul Reed Smith Guitar's
"Singlecut" guitar, federal District Court decides.
- Sampling is copyright infringement, even if copied portion is
de minimis and resulting work is not substantially similar to
- Anti-bootlegging statute is unconstitutional, federal District
Court rules in opinion dismissing indictment of record store
owner who was accused of selling unauthorized recordings of
- Mattel's "Barbie" copyright includes doll's eyes, nose and mouth,
even if they are "standard or common features", Court of Appeals
rules, in infringement case in which Mattel complains that Radio
City "Rockettes" doll was copied from Barbie.
- Grokster and Morpheus are not vicariously or contributorily liable for
copyright infringements committed by P2P users, according to a Ninth
- Publication by German magazines of paparazzi photos of Princess
Caroline of Monaco invaded her privacy.
- Fox's movie "Jingle All The Way" did not infringe copyright to
"Could This Be Christmas" script, appellate court rules in opinion
reversing $1.5 million judgment, saying there was no protectable
- Appeals court affirms Dreamwork's victory in copyright infringement
suit alleging movie "The Peacemaker" was copied from works about
former Green Beret Keith Idema, because similarities were not
"substantial" or not protected by copyright.
- Appeals court affirms $9.5 million judgment against Disney and
ABC Radio in breach of contract and trade secrets case filed
by Children's Broadcasting Corporation, following creation of
Radio Disney network
- Flea market owner is liable to record companies for contributory
and vicarious copyright infringement, as a result of vendors'
sale of pirated and counterfeit recordings, federal District
- Photograph of New Orleans' French Quarter on foggy morning does
not infringe copyright to similar photograph, because they are
not "substantially similar", federal District Court rules
- Canadian Federal Court rules that peer-to-peer filesharing does not
infringe Canadian copyright.
- D.C. and Colorado federal courts express different views on
constitutionality of statute that restored copyrights of foreign
works that had fallen into public domain in United States
- Fox and FremantleMedia win dismissal of idea submission lawsuit
filed by producer who claims he developed "American Idol"
- National Geographic defeats copyright infringement claims made by
freelance photographers and journalists, in cases complaining that
their works were included in CDROMs and DVDs without their consent.
- Music industry agrees with New York Attorney General on procedures
for payment of almost $50 million in unclaimed artist and songwriter
- Photos of Barbie doll in absurd and sexual positions were fair
use, and thus did not infringe Matter's copyrights, trademarks
or trade dress, federal appellate court affirms.
- Iranian embargo does not prohibit importation of Iranian movies,
assignment of Iranian movie copyrights, or payment of royalties
to Iranian film producers, Court of Appeals rules in infringement
case filed by assignee against unlicensed broadcaster.
- Sale of software used to copy CSS-encrypted DVDs is enjoined by two
courts in separate cases, because software violates anti-circumvention
provisions of DMCA.
- Wham-O fails in bid to restrain Paramount Pictures from using
"Slip 'N Slide" toy in scene and advertising for movie "Dickie
Roberts: Former Child Star".
- Appellate court affirms dismissal of copyright infringement suit
against Britney Spears and Zomba Records, filed by songwriters who
claim their lyrics were copied in Spears' recording "What U See";
songwriters failed to show Spears or Zomba had access to songwriters'
lyrics before "What U See" was recorded, appellate court agrees.
- "Harry Potter" books and movies do not infringe rights of children's
book author Nancy Stouffer, and Stouffer was properly sanctioned and
ordered to pay attorney fees of J.K. Rowling, Scholastic and Warner
Brothers for making infringement claims in "bad faith", federal
appeals court affirms.
- Appeals court reinstates Harlan Ellison's contributory copyright
infringement claim against AOL, complaining of unauthorized posting
of digital copies of his science fiction novels in newsgroup; holds
that jury should decide whether AOL is eligible for DMCA's "safe
harbor" protection from liability.
- MasterCard "baseball trip" ads do not infringe copyright to "Twins
- Now and Forever" documentary, because access was not proved and
similarities are not substantial, federal District Court rules.
- Use of clip from public access TV's "The Sandy Kane Blew Comedy"
to promote and introduce segment of Comedy Central's "The Daily
Show" did not infringe copyright or trademark or defame or violate
Sandy Kane's publicity rights.
- Viacom wins dismissal of case alleging that "Rugrats" were based
on cartoon characters created by plaintiff; court reprimands
plaintiff's lawyer for failing to withdraw, after learning that
"Rugrats" pilot was produced before plaintiff submitted copies of
- Appellate court reverses dismissal of claim that Disney infringed
HyperTV's patents for simultaneous viewing of TV and websites.
- Demand letters sent by DirecTV threatening legal action against
suspected signal pirates were protected by Georgia anti-SLAPP
statute, federal court decides in opinion dismissing recipients'
lawsuit against company and its law firm.
- World Wrestling Entertainment loses lawsuit complaining of Big Dog
Sportswear's parodies of "The Rock", "Stone Cold Steve Austin" and
- Penthouse wins dismissal of some claims by tennis player Anna
Kournikova resulting from publication of partially nude photos of
another woman who magazine falsely identified as Kournikova.
- Lawsuit by The Coasters and other recording artists claiming
ownership of digital rights in recordings made under contracts
signed decades ago is dismissed again, because contracts assigned
digital rights to record companies.
- Jennifer Lopez wins first two rounds of trademark case alleging
that her "Glow by J.Lo" beauty products infringe Glow Industries'
- Cajun phrases in lyrics of Mystikal's recording "Shake Ya Ass" do
not infringe copyright belonging to maker of "Cajun in Your Pocket"
device, becauses phrases were not "original".
- Buena Vista Home Entertainment wins copyright infringement suit
complaining of Video Pipeline's unauthorized Internet display of
clip previews; preliminary injunction affirmed on appeal, and
summary judgment granted to Buena Vista.
- New Copyright Office rule permits circumvention of access controls
to four types of works, including video games in obsolete formats
and ebooks whose read-aloud function has been disabled.
- Beastie Boys' recording "Pass the Mic", which included licensed
sample from James W. Newton's recording of his composition "Choir",
did not infringe copyright to the composition itself, even though
composition was not licensed, Court of Appeals agrees, because
Beastie Boys used only a de minimis portion of composition.
- Sharman Network's antitrust and copyright misuse counterclaims are
dismissed from movie studios and record companies' copyright
lawsuit complaining about Kazaa software and website
- "Selection elimination" of elements of public domain design resulted
in copyright-protection design, the "near-exact" copy of which was
infringing, Court of Appeals holds.
- Disney defeats Caterpillar's request for restraining order that
would have blocked release of "George of the Jungle 2" video.
- New California statutes make it a crime to record movies in
theaters without theater owner's consent.
- Dismissal of infringement suit filed against DC Comics by reader who
submitted story idea for Superman comic books is affirmed, because
story was unauthorized derivative work and thus not protected by
- Section of Illinois statute prohibiting virtual child pornography
is unconstitutional in light of similar Supreme Court decision.
- Naxos' sale of restored versions of classical, 1930s-era recordings
is legal, federal District Court rules in decision dismissing
state-law claims of Capitol Records
- Civil rights activist Rosa Parks is entitled to trial of her Lanham
Act and right of publicity claim against LaFace Records and rap
group Outkast, complaining about title of Grammy-nominated recording
"Rosa Parks", federal appellate court rules
- Ricky Martin's Casa Salsa restaurant did not infringe copyright or
trademark of creator of marketing plan for Puerto Rican restaurant,
federal District Court rules
- Punitive damages may be awarded in copyright infringement cases,
judge held in recently-published decisions in TVT Records versus
Def Jam case
- FCC rules that "Howard Stern Show" is "bona fide news interview
program and thus exempt"
- Mexican film production companies own restored U.S. copyrights to
Mexican movies that once were in public domain in U.S., except
those movies that are in the public domain in Mexico too, federal
appellate court affirms in infringement case filed against U.S.
- Aspiring TV commercial director cannot claim copyright in spec
Jack-in-the-Box commercials submitted to company that then
produced similar commercial, because spec commercials were
unauthorized derivative works, federal District Court rules.
- Spike Lee is awarded preliminary injunction barring Viacom using
"Spike TV" as name of network, but case is then settled on terms
that allow Viacom to use the name.
- Obscenity provisions of Communications Decency Act may be
unconstitutional, three judge court decides.
- Comic books featuring characters named "Johnny and Edgar Autumn"
are protected by First Amendment, so right of publicity lawsuit
filed by recording artists Johnny and Edgar Winter should have
been dismissed, California Supreme Court rules.
- Music clearance firm is awarded more than $64,000 in attorney's
fees incurred in successful defense of copyright infringement
case filed by Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records.
- Federal District Court orders Nancy Stouffer to pay $576,409 in
attorneys' fees (in addition to $50,000 in sanctions) on account
of her "bad faith" claims that "Harry Potter" books and movies
infringed her trademarks.
- Court dismisses infringement, contract and other claims asserted
by writers who allege that "The American President" and "The West
Wing" were copied from their treatment for movie entitled
"The President Elopes"
- Court finds no likelihood of confusion between title of "O The
Oprah Magazine" and title of adult fetish magazine "<>";
fetish magazine publisher's trademark infringement suit is
- British appellate court affirms that fiddler Bobby Valentino was
"joint author" of "Young at Heart", and that after song's use in
1993 television commercial made it popular again, he could revoke
implied license he gave Bluebels when group recorded the song in
1984 and claim royalties for its subsequent use.
- Supreme Court rules that distributor of video of edited version
of public domain television series did not violate Lanham Act by
failing to credit Twentieth Century Fox as series' creator.
- Appellate court affirms dismissal of lawsuit against HBO alleging
that its sports agent series "Arliss" infringed copyright to
treatment for proposed talent agent series called "Schmoozers".
- Advertising photographs of Skky Vodka bottle did not infringe
copyrights to similar photos taken by another photographer, because
photos were not virtually identical, federal appellate court rules.
- Court dismisses right of publicity and privacy suit filed by woman
shown kissing drummer in "Bands on the Run" television program and
- Court of Appeals rules that rate court erred in setting "fair royalty"
payable by Music Choice to BMI, for music performances on cable and
satellite channels, at rate that was less than half the rate
proposed by BMI.
- Former member of the The Beach Boys infringed "Beach Boys" trademark
by using "Beach Boys" phrase while performing with others, federal
appellate court affirms.
- PGA defeats antitrust claims by website company that was prohibited
from selling real-time golf scores made available at tournament
- Jury awards TVT Records $132 million verdict in case against Def Jam
Records over recordings by Ja Rule
- Internet cafe in United Kingdom settles cases for 210,000 Pounds
after British court ruled that cafe infringed copyrights by burning
CDs of recordings downloaded by customers
- Mariah Carey's "Thank God I Found You" does not infringe copyright
to "One of Those Love Songs" because they are not substantially
similar, federal District Court rules
- RePlayTV owners stated valid "fair use" declaratory relief claim
against movie and TV producers, which in separately-filed suit
allege that RePlayTV is liable for contributory and vicarious
infringement; owners' suit and producers' suit are consolidated.
- Federal court grants TVT Records' pretrial request for injunction
barring Def Jam from including tracks in Ja Rule album "The Last
Temptation" that were recorded for TVT while Ja Rule was member
of rap group Cash Murda Click
- Martha Graham Center owns copyrights to 45 dances by Martha Graham,
and dancer's heir Ronald Protas owns copyright to one, federal
District Court decides; Protas also ordered to pay Center $180,000
he received from licenses and sales of Center's property
- Court of Appeals awards freelance photographer an additional $5000
- for a total of $25,642 - in copyright infringement suit against
Weekly World News on account of unlicensed uses of "Alien Backs
- Federal court orders Verizon to comply with RIAA subpoena requesting
identity of subscriber who downloaded 600 songs from Internet in one
- Trial court refuses to dismiss Fox's suit against Marvel complaining
that Marvel-licensed "Mutant X" television series violates Marvel's
license to Fox for its "X-Men" theatrical movie; but court does
dismiss Marvel's trademark and copyright counterclaims against Fox.
- Publication of a single volume does not create trademark rights in
book's title, federal appellate court rules.
- Indian tribe officials are immune from liability for copyright
infringement damages, but are not immune from injunctive relief,
federal court rules.
- Restaurant ordered to pay $19,000 for unauthorized interception of
pay-per-view fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad.
- Copyright Term Extent Act is constitutional, Supreme Court affirms;
Court rejects arguments that Congress exceeded its power by
extending duration of copyrights 20 years, and argument that Act
violates the First Amendment.
- Court denies Michael Jackson's motion to dismiss Copyright and
Lanham Act claims alleging that Jackson 5 album "Pre-History: The
Lost Steeltown Recordings" actually is a recording by "Ripples and
- ESPN did not defame John Montefusco by comparing him to O.J. Simpson
in report about criminal proceedings in which former pitcher's
ex-wife accused him of sexual and physical violence.
- Copyright Act is amended to permit unlicensed Internet transmission
of copyrighted works for nonprofit distance education.
- Jury acquits Russian software company ElcomSoft of charges that it
criminally violated DMCA by selling program that circumvents Adobe
- "Monsters Inc" did not infringe copyright to poem about monster
who is afraid of boy, federal court rules, because similarities
were unprotected ideas.
- Copyright infringement case filed against songwriter Robert McGee
by composer/performer Ronald Calhoun was properly dismissed, even
though McGee's song "Emmanuel" is "practically identical" to
Calhoun's song "Before His Eyes", because McGee proved he
independently created "Emmanuel".
- KaZaA did not violate Dutch copyright law by distributing software
that permits users to exchange unlicensed copies of music recordings
on the Internet, Court of Appeal in the Netherlands rules.
- MCA recording titled Barbie Girl did not violate Mattel's
trademark rights, fedeal appeals court affirms.
- Screenwriters are entitled to trial on claim that Steven Bochco
television series City of Angels infringed their copyrights
in screenplays about inner-city hospital with mostly black staffs,
fedeal appellate rules.
- Unlicensed Beanie Babies books may not infringe Ty Inc's copyrights
to Beanie Babies dolls, appellate court rules in decision reversing
summary judgment won by Ty in suit against books' publisher.
- Copyright infringement lawsuit by lyricist Angel Luis Rivera against
composer Pascual Castillo-Paredes is dismissed, because song "Nuestro
Amor es Veneno" was jointly authored, and Rivera's real complaint was
for breach of royalty agreement.
- Ebay defeats lawsuit filed by buyers of fake autographed sports
- FCC to consider adoption of copy protection rules for digital television
receivers and consumer electronics devices.
- Unauthorized depiction of real people in movie The Perfect Storm
did not violate their rights, federal District Court holds in decision
- Discovery Channel documentary If We Had No Moon did not infringe
copyright to book What If The Moon Didn't Exist?", and
documentary's "Thank You" to book's author did not violate Latham Act.
- Art museums and collage artist Barbara Kruger defeat copyright and
privacy claims of German photographer Thomas Hoepker and model
- Investment book The Market Gurus did not violate right of
publicity of securities analyst William O'Neil.
- Disney system for allowing TV programs viewers to view Disney websites
at same time does not infringe HyperTV's patents for simultaneous
viewing of TV programs and sites throughout the World Wide Web
- Supreme Court of Canada reverses lower court order that permitted artist
Claude Theberge to seize art works created by transferring ink from
authorized paper posters of his paintings to canvas, without his consent.
- Stephen King's Riding the Bullet does not infringe copyright to
unpublished manuscript written by plaintiff's brother, nor did it
invade privacy of plaintiff's mother, appellate court affirms.
- Producer of Fashion Television program loses trademark and
unfair competition lawsuit against owner of Fashion Television
- Yahoo and ESPN fantasy football games do not infringe Fantasy Sports'
patent, Court of Appeals affirms, but further proceedings are needed
to determine whether SportsLine.com's "Commissioner.com" software
- Librarian of Congress sets statutory license fees for Internet
transmissions of music recordings
- AOL wins dismissal of copyright infringement suit filed by Harlan
Ellison complaining of unauthorized posting of digital copies of
his science fiction novels in newsgroup; court rules that AOL is
protected by DMCA safe harbor provision.
- Statute of limitations bars suit by songwriter Philip Baptiste to
rescind 1959 publishing contract for Sea of Love.
- Trial required to determine damages Franklin Sports must pay to
owner of Roger Clemens Instructional Baseball patent on account
of Franklin's sale of infringing baseball.
- Federal District judge reverses Magistrate's order that required
Sonicblue to collect and provide movie studios with data about
how ReplayTV owners copy, forward and delete commercials from TV
- Lucasfilm fails in bid to enjoin animated pornographic Star Wars
parody titled Starballz.
- Court of Appeals reinstates lawsuit by The Coasters and other
recording artists claiming ownership of digital rights in recordings
made under contracts signed in 1950s and 1960s, and alleging that
MP3.com infringed artists' Lanham Act rights.
- SightSound Technology's patent for selling digital music and movies
over a "telecommunications line" should be interpreted to include
Internet sales, federal Magistrate Judge recommends in infringement
lawsuit against CDNOW.
- European Union directive requires members to adopt (or improve)
artist's resale royalty right by January 1, 2006.
- Court denies Larry Flynt's request for preliminary injunction against
Secretary of Defense that would have allowed "Hustler Magazine"
correspondents to accompany American combat troops in Afghanistan.
- Graphic artist is at least joint author, and maybe sole author, of
artworks created for album CD insert and promo postcard
- Kingvision Pay-Per-View loses claim against New Hampshire bar that
showed 1997 Holyfield/Moorer fight without a license.
- Librarian of Congress rejects Copyright Royalty Arbitrarion Panel's
recommended statutory license fees for Internet transmissions of
- Dreamworks' animated movie The Road to El Dorado is
substantially "dissimilar" to play The Sacrifice, so federal
court dismisses playwright's copyright infringement suit.
- Chuck Berry wins dismissal of Johnnie Johnson's copyright
infringement claims because Berry was (at least) a co-author of
disputed songs recorded between 1955 and 1966; but court refuses to
dismiss Johnson's other claims seeking declaration of co-ownership,
breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.
- United States Supreme Court declares federal statute banning "virtual
child pornography" unconstitutional, citing Romeo & Juliet,
Traffic and American Beauty as movies whose themes the
- Dreamworks wins dismissal of suit alleging The Peacemaker was
copied from works about former Green Beret Keith Idema.
- Isaas Hayes' transfer of "all contract rights" to royalties from
pre-1978 songs gave transferees the right to continue receiving
those royalties after songs' copyrights were renewed.
- Mannequin head not protected by copyright, after all, Illinois federal
court rules in 11-year-old-case
- Copyright Royalty Arbitrarion Panel recommends statutory license fees
for Internet transmissions of music recordings
- Appellate court affirms denial of Random House's request for
preliminary injunction that would have barred Rosetta Books from
publishing digital editions of books by William Styron, Kurt
Vonnegut and Robert Parker
- Copyright infringement suit against German sub-licensees of Grease
is dismissed by federal court in New York for lack of personal
jurisdiction, but court denies German licensee's motion to dismiss
- Court of Appeals vacates nationwide injunction granted to CBS, ABC,
NBC and Fox in copyright infringement suit against Echostar, though
appellate court upholds constitutionality of Satellite Home Viewer
- Librarian of Congress orders new proceeding to divide 1997 cable
retransmission royalties between MPAA and Independent Producers Group
- Thumbnail images of photos created by Ditto.com visual search engine
are fair use, appellate court affirms, but inline linking and framing
of full-size images infringe photographer's display right and is not
a fair use
- Federal court dismisses Sony's claims that television series Queen
of Swords infringes copyrights to Zorro comic books and trademarks
in Zorro character as well as unfair competition claims based on
series' alleged similarity to Sony's Mask of Zorro movie; but
court refuses to dismiss Sony's claims that series infringes
copyright to its movie
- Peer International and other music publishers own copyrights to more
than 400 songs whose copyrights have been claimed by Latin American
Music and licensed by ACEMLA, federal court in Puerto Rico rules
- Federal court upholds Copyright Office ruling that Internet transmissions
of AM/FM radio broadcasts are not exempt from record companies'
digital performance right
- Lyrics to Independent Women, recorded by Destiny's Child for
the Charlie's Angels soundtrack, do not infringe copyright to
lyrics Independent Lady.
- Freelance photographer is awarded $20,142 in copyright infringement
suit against Weekly Word News on account of repeated unlicensed uses
of "Aliens Back Clinton" photo.
- Offer to sell videotapes and transcripts of television programming
may not be "commercial", federal appeals court rules in case brought
by producer of America's Defense Monitor; if not, programming
would qualify for showing on public access channels.
- HBO wins dismissal of lawsuit alleging that its sports agent series
Arliss infringed copyright to treatment for proposed talent
agent series called Schmoozers.
- WIPO Copyright Treaty to take effect March 6, 2002, with
ratification by thirtieth nation.
- Creators of Psycho Chihuahua cartoon character win
reinstatement of idea-submission lawsuit against Taco Bell.
- Use of clips from old monster movies in newly-produced documentaries
was fair use, two courts rule.
- Radio talk show host may have defamed children's TV show host Sally
Starr by calling her "the lesbian cowgirl".
- After defeating copyright infringement claim by Don Post Studios
involving "Michael Myers" mask, Cinema Secrets is entitled to
damages, not capped by injunction bond, for wrongful injunction,
and attorneys fees.
- "Fairness in Music Licensing Act" costs European publishers and
songwriters $1.1 million a year in U.S. public performance
royalties, WTO arbitrators determine.
- Court of Appeals issues opinion explaining why it vacated preliminary
injunction that had barred publication of The Wind Done Gone in
infringement action by owner of copyright to Gone With The Wind.
- Claims by creator of Sabrina the Teenage With against
publisher Archie Comics are dismissed.
- Owners of Speedvision cable channel win dismissal of idea submission
lawsuit by developers who had earlier pitched their own proposal
for a similar channel.
- Stockholders alleged valid securities fraud claim against book
publisher that concealed increased returns from retailers.
- United States Trade Representative sanctions Ukraine for failing to
prevent piracy of CDs, DVDs and CD-ROMS.
- Federal court denies Sony Pictures' request for preliminary
injunction in case alleging that television series Queen of
Swords infringes Zorro copyright and trademark.
- Children's Broadcasting Corporation wins new trial on damages in
contract and misappropriation lawsuit against ABC Radio and Disney
following creation of Radio Disney network.
- Designer of copyrighted jewelry may be entitled to recover a
reasonable royalty or license fee as actual damages, in infringement
suit complaining about Gap store magazine ad in which model wore
his jewelry without consent.