Archives: Copyright Litigation

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Sis Boom Bah? Cheerleading Uniforms and Copyright Protection—Star Athletica Case Decided!

Can a cheerleader uniform containing combinations of elements like chevrons, lines, stripes, and angles be protected by copyright? Well, the Supreme Court addressed this exact issue on March 22, 2017, in the case of Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. And, ta da, the answer is yes where a design feature of a useful article … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Copyright Owners: Consider Fair Use Before Submitting DMCA Notices

A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Lenz v. Universal Music answered a question that it seems nobody has asked until now: Is it necessary to consider fair use before submitting a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? The answer is an unequivocal yes, though copyright holders need only a … Continue Reading

Countering the Counterfeiters—UK Trial Court Agrees to Order That Blocks Access To Sites Selling Counterfeit Goods

Last week, in the case of Richemont International v. British Sky Broadcasting, a UK trial court issued a unique decision that ordered British ISPs to block access to websites that advertise and sell counterfeit luxury goods. The case was brought by the owners of such luxury brands as CARTIER and MONTBLANC. The trademark owners sought to … Continue Reading

Think You Can Get Out of Copyright Infringement Damages Through Bankruptcy? Think Again.

Does a bankruptcy decree discharge all debts? For a discharge of debt from damages for copyright infringement, the answer is “not always.” A recent bankruptcy appellate court of the 8th circuit affirmed a district bankruptcy court that refused to discharge royalties due to copyright owners in bankruptcy.  In re Walker, — B.R. —-, 2014 WL 3882494 … Continue Reading

Aereo Copyright Decision: Signal or Noise?

In American Broadcasting Company, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a “technologically complex system” that permitted Aereo subscribers to view over-the-air TV signals infringed the copyrights of broadcasters. The Court found that Aereo’s system was engaged in transmitting copyrighted material to the public without a license. Aereo had created an innovative system … Continue Reading

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar: Empressa Cubana v. General Cigar Co.

Cuba is famous for cigars, and COHIBA brand cigars are arguably the most famous Cuban cigars in the world. But because of the Cuban embargo, COHIBA brand cigars cannot be legally sold or imported into the United States. But as recently decided by the Federal Circuit, the Cuban owners of the COHIBA mark still have a … Continue Reading

Copyright Damages Are Not Linked to the Three-Year Statute of Limitations for Copyright Claims

In Nashville, songwriters’ rights are protected vigorously, as the Nashville district court confirmed in Castronuovo v. Sony Music. There, the district court for the Middle District of Tennessee recently ruled in a dispute over the authorship of certain songs that, if a claim is not barred by the three-year statute of limitations for copyright actions (17 … Continue Reading