December 29th, 2011 — 2:08pm
A New York court has dismissed “Flying Rabbi” David Sondik’s lawsuit against late night host Jimmy Kimmel and ABC. Sondik’s complaint claimed that Kimmel and ABC had used his image without consent in a Jimmy Kimmel Live! segment that mocked a 2010 “business meeting” between basketball star LeBron James and Rabbi Pinto.
The segment began with Kimmel showing an image of LeBron seeking “advice” from Rabbi Pinto regarding his 2010 free agency decision. Kimmel then announced that he too had met with Rabbi Pinto, and showed the audience a video of himself in a car speaking with an unidentified man dressed in Hasidic garb, who was loudly chanting. However, the Hasidic man in the video was not Pinto. Instead, Kimmel had spliced YouTube footage of New York’s “Flying Rabbi” David Sondik– a minor YouTube celebrity. Continue reading »
Comments Off | Case Law, Complaints, Right of Publicity/Privacy, Television
December 13th, 2011 — 5:08pm
Jolie Sued For Copyright Infringement On Directorial Debut: Author and journalist James Braddock has sued Angelina Jolie, along with the producers and distributor of Jolie’s directorial debut film In the Land of Blood and Honey, for copyright infringement of his book The Soul Shattering. The complaint alleges that both works involve a love story between an imprisoned woman and her captor, set in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s. Braddock claims that co-defendant and film producer Edin Sarkic approached Braddock in late 2007 and the two discussed the possibility of making a motion picture based on his book over the course of the next two years. Braddock seeks statutory damages as well as an injunction against any use of the film, which is due to be released on December 23, 2011.
Author Claims Creation of Avatar Ideas: Eric Ryder has sued James Cameron and his production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, alleging numerous similarities between Cameron’s global blockbuster Avatar and a story developed by Ryder called K.R.Z. 2068. According to the complaint, Ryder created K.R.Z. 2068 and wrote a treatment in 1997 and 1998, which was sent to Lightstorm Entertainment in 1999. Lightstorm expressed interest in making the film, and Ryder continued to submit story drafts, materials and ultimately a screenplay to the company. In 2002, however, Lightstorm informed Ryder that there was no market for a film based on his idea. Ryder has now sued Cameron and Lightstorm on several theories: that Lightstorm breached an implied contract with Ryder by disclosing elements of K.R.Z. 2068 to Cameron, who claims sole authorship of Avatar; that Lightstorm induced Ryder to disclose his ideas for K.R.Z. 2068 in order to prevent him from developing a motion picture that would compete with Avatar; and that Lightstorm induced Ryder into entering an implied contact in order to obtain ideas to use in Avatar.
Lawsuit Against Beyoncé Will Proceed: Last week, a New York state court rejected Beyoncé’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Gate Five based on the pop star’s purported breach of her contract to collaborate on a motion-based video game, Starpower: Beyoncé. Gate Five had filed a lawsuit against Beyoncé and her production company in April 2011, alleging that Beyoncé pulled out of her agreement with the company at the eleventh hour causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Beyoncé moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that she was contractually permitted to terminate the agreement. The court denied the motion during oral argument, a transcript of which is not publicly available at this time.
- Marisa Sarig
Comments Off | Copyright, Film, Gaming, Music
December 8th, 2011 — 11:40am
Chinese newspaper Xinhua News Agency reports that Apple may be unable to use the iPad mark in China in connection with its tablets unless it first purchases the right to do so from a Chinese company called Proview Shenzhen. Apparently Proview Shenzhen registered the IPAD trademark on the Chinese mainland in 2001 (prior to the launch of the iPad tablet by Apple). In 2009, Apple allegedly bought the rights to use the mark from Proview Taipei, an affiliate of Proview Shenzhen (the two companies appear to have the same parent) for a sum of approximately $55,000. Proview Taipei had registered the IPAD mark in a number of countries and regions including Taiwan but did not own the mark in mainland China. The dispute appears to be whether the agreement with Proview Taipei is binding on Proview Shenzhen.
Apple brought an action against Proview Shenzhen claiming that ownership of the mark should be transferred to Apple per its agreement with Proview Taipei. The Municipal Intermediate People’s Court in Shenzhen rejected Apple’s claim earlier this week. Apple may appeal the decision.
In the meantime, Proview Shenzhen, which is a manufacturer of digital displays and is now on the brink of bankruptcy, is claiming approximately 1.6 billion US dollars from Apple for its infringement (Apple began selling iPads in China early last year). They have also commenced lawsuits in two Chinese courts seeking to stop Apple from selling the iPad in China.
The cost of this to Apple has the potential to be significant. According to news articles, Apple claims that its Shanghai and Beijing stores generate the highest revenue of any of their stores.
- Jean Voutsinas
Comments Off | Trademark