Another Amici weighs in in The Moodsters v Disney

CSEL Amicus Brief Moodsters v Disney Graphically depicted characters are not among the “works of authorship” listed in 17 USC 102(a), which, argues the Moodsters, has created the opportunity for the Circuit courts to develop their own tests to determine whether copyright protection ought to attach. The Moodsters® are five color coded characters which represent […]

Historical facts cannot form the basis of a copyright claim – Jersey Boys litigation

Nor can an author, who once claimed a work was nonfiction, change course in litigation and claim that certain aspects were fiction. Corbello v Valli  

Catalog descriptions can afford enforceable copyright protection

But only if you register them first.  So says Fischer-v-Forrest (Nos. 18-2955-cv, 18-2959-cv, August 4, 2020, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals) Background Fischer, the plaintiff-appellant, had invented a honey harvesting product called Bee-Quick.com, and registered a copyright for his website, including a brochure, on February 7, 2011.  Defendants-appellees, Sandra and Stephen Forrest and their mail […]

Shiver me timbers! The Ninth Circuit revives copyright infringement lawsuit against Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:Curse of the Black Pearl

Alfred v Disney , Appeal 19-55669, July 22, 2020 Plaintiffs Alfred et al. (“Alfred”) appealed the dismissal of their copyright infringement action against Defendants The Walt Disney Company et al. (“Disney”).  Alfred argued the dismissal was in error given the substantial similarities between their screenplay and the allegedly infringing film.  The 9th Circuit agreed, holding that […]

Chalk holder that looks like a pencil a four time loser at the Federal Circuit

Lanard Toys v Dolgencorp, Appeal No. 2019-1781, Fed. Cir. May 14, 2020 Lanard Toys makes and sells the “Lanard Chalk Pencil”, a chalk holder that looks like a pencil.  Lanard obtained Design patent D671,167 directed to the ornamental features of the chalk holder, and also owns copyright Reg. Va 1-794-458.  Lanard began selling their Chalk […]

SCOTUS holds that annotations are not copyrightable

So, those that are charged with following the law actually get to have access to it.  Georgia v Public Resource

Come as you are – so long as you aren’t wearing a t-shirt that infringes my logo

Nirana’s lawsuit for copyright and trademark infringement against Marc Jacobs International LLC (and others) has been allowed to continue.  On November 8, 2019, a Federal Judge denied defendant’s motion to dismiss the claims, regarding Nirvana’s “smiley face” logo, created by Kurt Cobain in 1991.  Nirvana v Marc Jacobs The Court conducted a review of defendant’s […]

Work for hire agreements must be entered into before the commissioned work is created

In very limited circumstances, a series of writings executed after creation will be effective, but the writings must confirm a prior agreement, either implicit or explicit, reached before the work was created. Kauffman v Rochester Institute of Technology