- Michael Moore settles “Sicko” Suit. The Hollywood Reporter reports that filmmaker Michael Moore settled a copyright infringement lawsuit over the allegedly unauthorized use of third-party footage in his Academy Award nominated documentary “Sicko.” The plaintiff sued Moore for using a short clip from a video he shot while visiting London without his permission. Moore received the footage in response to his call for stories on healthcare experiences outside the U.S. The settlement, for an undisclosed amount, followed plaintiff’s appeal of a federal court decision in Moore’s favor on First Amendment grounds.
- AP reporter sued for blowing the whistle on NBA referee. Longtime NBA referee Bill Spooner has sued the Associated Press (the “AP”) and one of its reporters over a tweet. The AP reporter’s tweet said that “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d ‘get it back’ after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks,” implying that Spooner would make amends to Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis for a bad call. In his Complaint, Spooner recounts a different story, claiming he did not respond to the coach’s grievances, but merely promised to review the call at half-time. The referee is asking for an injunction removing the tweet from Twitter.com and for more than $75,000 in damages.
- Lawsuit brewing over use of “Spiral Jetty” on beer label. A Salt Lake City brewery is taking heat from New York-based Dia Art Foundation, a co-owner of the copyright in “Spiral Jetty,” for using a photograph of the earthwork on a beer label. Built entirely out of mud on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, “Spiral Jetty” is considered to be sculptor Robert Smithson’s most significant work. In its efforts to preserve Smithson’s original vision for the work, the foundation plans to have all images and reproductions of it licensed. While the brewery called the endeavor “ludicrous” because the work has been photographed countless times, it is reportedly open to licensing discussions if the foundation can prove its copyright ownership.
- “Hurt Locker” Filmmakers wave a white flag in a piracy class action. The copyright holders in the film “Hurt Locker” recently dropped their claims against approximately 100,000 BitTorrent users who allegedly pirated the film. While the plaintiffs’ decision to “desert” the lawsuit remains a mystery, commentators speculate that recent dismissals of similar lawsuits on procedural and jurisdictional grounds may have influenced the move. Nevertheless, the accused pirates should hold off on their victory lap, because the cases were dismissed “without prejudice” — meaning the copyright holders have the right to re-file their Complaint.
- Featuring Slash may cost you $20M in cash. Celebrated Guns and Roses frontman Axl Rose sued videogame publisher Activision Blizzard for breach of contract because it included Rose’s ex-bandmate Slash in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock in contravention of the parties’ agreement. In his Complaint, Rose alleges that he licensed the use of the G N’R song “Welcome to the Jungle” for the videogame on condition that Slash would not be featured in the game. Rose also claims that Activision spun a “web of lies and deception to conceal its true intentions” to not only include Slash in the game, but make him a playable avatar. Apparently having exhausted the game’s battle arenas, the two rockers will have to duke it out in court.
- Spinning Charlie Sheen’s catch-phrases into cash-phrases. It is open season on trademarking Charlie Sheen’s catch-phrases, according to several entrepreneurs who have been sprinting to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark his utterances. Sheen himself is in the running, and he will no doubt coin a few more gems on his “Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” tour. Some of Sheen’s most popular quotes at the USPTO are “Winning,” “Tiger Blood,” and the “Defeat is not an Option,” all of which Sheen directed at his former bosses at “Two and a Half Men” who recently fired him from the show.
- Netflix Privacy Suit. Online video streaming giant Netflix faces a class action lawsuit over retaining members’ billing and viewing information after their subscriptions have expired. In a five-count complaint filed in federal court, former subscribers accuse Netflix of, among other things, violating federal privacy laws by holding onto confidential data and unjustly enriching itself by selling their personal information to third parties. Plaintiffs rely on the Video Privacy Protection Act, a federal law that requires the destruction of consumer records that are more than one year old. If this case goes to trial, it may resolve a longstanding legal question of whether the law applies to online video streaming as well as physical video rental.
- Gergana Miteva
Category: Art, Case Law, Complaints, Copyright, Film, Music, Photography, Right of Publicity/Privacy, Television | Tags: Associated Press, Axl Rose, Charlie Sheen, Guitar Hero, Hurt Locker, Michael Moore, Netflix, Privacy, Spiral Jetty, Timberwolves Comments Off