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A U.S. District Court Judge in California, ruled there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial to decide whether Led Zeppelin and guitarist Jimmy Page unfairly appropriated the iconic opening guitar “riff” in “Stairway to Heaven,” from the Spirit song “Taurus,” which was recorded four years before the Led Zeppelin classic was released. The plaintiff alleges that members of Led Zeppelin, had opportunities to become familiar with Spirit’s music before the release of “Stairway to Heaven,” because the two bands “performed at the same venue on the same day at least three times between 1968 and 1970.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in a Philadelphia court back in 2014, was moved to California, to the same court that recently ruled in favor of the estate of Marvin Gaye in its copyright infringement lawsuit over the song “Blurred Lines” in 2013.

The trial over “Stairway to Heaven” is set to begin on May 10. A favorable verdict, could bring the plaintiff, the estate of Randy Wolfe, co-writing credits and a share of the song’s profits which by 2008, were reportedly in the range of $562 million.

This is not the first time Led Zeppelin has been accused of copyright infringement. A lawsuit was filed and subsequently dismissed, at the plaintiff’s request in 2012, over the recording “Dazed and Confused.” 

Does someone other than LeBron James own the rights to the tattoos on LeBron James' body?

The videogame maker, Take-Two Software, has been sued by a company that has demanded more than $1.1 million in licensing fees for eight tattoo designs featured on the bodies of NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, as well as Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday in New York federal court by Solid Oak Sketches, which claims to own copyrights to several tattoo designs featured prominently in the video game. The lawsuit alleges that Take-Two Interactive Software and other companies associated with the realistic videogame NBA 2K16 committed unauthorized reproductions of those tattoo designs.

The interesting legal question over whether tattoo designs are copyrightable has never been fully decided by a court, as acknowledged in the new lawsuit. A prior lawsuit related to the "Mike Tyson face tattoo" against Warner Bros. over the Hangover 2 settled, as have other disputes including one by a tattoo artist, Christopher Escobedo, who tattooed a UFC fighter and later asked a bankruptcy court to determine the value of his tattoo claim against videogame publisher THQ.

In a demand letter to Take-Two Software before the lawsuit was filed, Solid Oak Sketches offered a perpetual license to the eight tattoos in question, for a fee of $1,144,000.

Apparently, Take-Two Software declined the licensing fee offer. Take-Two declined to comment about the lawsuit, which demands injunctive relief and monetary damages. We will monitor this case for further developments.

Paramount Pictures Corp., and CBS Studios have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court in California against a company preparing to begin production on a planned independent Star Trek crowdfunded fan film.

The lawsuit, claims that the fan film incorporates “innumerable” copyrighted elements of Star Trek. Axanar Productions, the production company behind the fan-film, stated that “Axanar, will be the first non-CBS/Paramount produced Star Trek to look and feel like a true Star Trek movie.”

Axanar Productions claimed to have raised over $1 million through a crowd sourcing campaign, and was set to start shooting the film in February 2016. Some of that money was used to create a mini-concept film and to construct a sound stage. We will see what impact this copyright infringement lawsuit has on the production of the independent film financed by Star Trek fans.

In-N-Out, the popular California based fast food chain, has sued food delivery startup DoorDash for trademark infringement and unfair competition.

In the Complaint, In-N-Out claims that Defendant, DoorDash's use of "Plaintiff's famous trademarks implies that Defendant not only delivers In-N-Out products to its customers, but that the quality and services offered by Defendant is the same as if consumers had made purchases directly from Plaintiff. Upon information and belief, the quality of services offered by Defendant does not at all comport with the standards that consumers expect from Plaintiff's goods and services. Further, Plaintiff has no control over the time it takes Defendant to deliver Plaintiff's goods to consumers, or over the temperature at which the goods are kept during delivery, nor over the food handling and safety practices of Defendant's delivery drivers. While Plaintiff adheres to the Food Code, on information and belief, Defendant does not adhere to such regulations, including with regard to compliance with required food safety and handling practices."

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has won a copyright infringement case originally filed back in 2007, involving his 1999 hit single “Big Pimpin.” In a rare instance in which a copyright case involving a hit song actually reached the trial stage, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder dismissed the lawsuit against Jay Z and his producer Timbaland, ruling that the heir of an Egyptian composer lacked standing to pursue the copyright infringement claim.

U.S. District Court Judge George H. King, has ruled that the lyrics to one of the most popular songs in the English language are not protected by a valid copyright. According to the opinion “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”

Yellow Pages Group appealed from a $123,000 judgment entered against it, in favor of Yellow Pages Photos following a jury verdict in a copyright infringement trial in district court. Yellow Pages Photos cross appealed, raising several claims of error. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Yellow Pages Group’s renewed motion for a judgment as a matter of law and also concluded that Yellow Pages Photos arguments on cross appeal lacked merit and thus did not warrant a new trial on damages.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 23:18

Apple is Being Sued Over "iWatch" Trademark

Apple’s newest device the Apple Watch, which was released a few months ago, is now the subject of a trademark dispute with a European trademark holder. Probendi, an Irish software development company and owner of the rights to the “iWatch” trademark in the European Union, is upset that Apple bought Google ads for the term “iWatch”. If you run a Google search of the term “iWatch”, the top result and advertisement will be for the Apple Watch.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Famed DJ Deadmau5 and The Walt Disney Company have settled their trademark dispute over the use of the “Deadmau5 Mouse Head” Logo. Just when it seemed likely that the two sides were headed for a lengthy legal battle over the use of the Deadmau5 logo, it has been revealed that the two sides have reached a settlement agreement.

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