Close-Ups

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On November 8, 2019, a federal judge denied a motion by Defendant Marc Jacobs International LLC and other defendants to dismiss Plaintiff Nirvana LLC’s copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit regarding a “smiley face” design and logo Nirvana claims to own. Nirvana’s complaint alleges that items in Marc Jacobs’ “Bootleg Redux Grunge” clothing collection infringed Nirvana’s rights to the smiley face design and logo, which its co-founder, Kurt Cobain, created in 1991 and which Nirvana has…
The makers of popular Peloton stationary indoor cycling equipment successfully defeated trademark infringement claims brought against them because the plaintiff waited too long to file suit, bringing them one step closer to complete domination of the in-home fitness world. A recent ruling in the Central District of California ensures that they can continue to use the Peloton mark to sell their exercise equipment and the dream of the perfect workout solution. The dispute arose when…
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently dismissed a case against three media corporations – CNN, Rolling Stone, and HuffPost – and several employees of those corporations for publishing or broadcasting allegedly defamatory statements regarding Joseph Arpaio’s 2017 criminal contempt of court conviction. Arpaio is no stranger to public controversy. While serving as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona from 1993 to 2017, Arpaio was often criticized for, among other things, his office’s…
A federal district court recently dismissed an invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress action against Tumblr brought by a Connecticut woman whose ex-boyfriend had uploaded a series of nude photographs on social media and the revenge porn site myex.com. The court found that Section 230(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) expressly preempted the woman’s claims, which treated Tumblr like the “publisher” or “speaker” of the offensive postings. Although the nude photographs of…
In an age where the luxurious lives of reality housewives populate millions of televisions throughout the country, the day-to-day activities of wealthy suburban moms are well known to Americans. Stephanie Smith, a wealthy mother of five young children living in the Pacific Palisades near the luxurious Los Angeles coastline, was one such woman. One noteworthy thing set Stephanie Smith apart, however – her multi-million-dollar marijuana empire. Smith was a commercial real estate developer and landlord…
This article is part of a series monitoring developments with regard to California Assembly Bill 5 and its impact on the entertainment industry. See our first post here. The Talking Heads repeat the words, “same as it ever was” in their famous song, “Once in a Lifetime.” Echoing that sentiment, we have learned that all the major studios (and some of the streaming platforms) have agreed to continue to respect the use of loan-out…
The NCAA has traditionally restricted college athletes from accepting any endorsements or compensation related to their participation in college sports. But less than a month after California enacted the Fair Pay to Play Act, which will prohibit the NCAA from preventing college athletes in the state from profiting off their commercial identities starting in 2023, the NCAA’s board voted unanimously to allow students across the country to benefit from the use of their “names, images,…
On July 10, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed with prejudice a defamation and false light lawsuit filed by a dancer at a New Jersey Strip club against the New York Daily News, holding that the plaintiff had failed to plead actual malice with respect to her claims. The case stemmed from a December 2017 Daily News article about the government-ordered closing of the strip club Satin Dolls,…
Individuals working in the entertainment and media industries will feel the pinch in home-states like California and New York. Last month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department brought by New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey that challenged the constitutionality of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s limitation on the federal deduction for state and local taxes paid. The TCJA imposed a $10,000 upper limit, known as the SALT Cap, to…
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently dismissed a claim of copyright infringement against Mic Network, Inc. over its use of a partial screenshot of a New York Post article in a subsequent publication. The screenshot featured a photograph of a man in a bar, with the caption “Why I won’t date hot women anymore” on one side and a selection of the article’s text on the other. The…