Tag Archives: copyright infringement

Court Ruling on Celebrity Photos Raises New Copyright Risk for Websites

Apr 10, 2017

When a gossip site posted a photo of a pregnant-looking Beyoncé, it probably didn’t anticipate the fallout: A major copyright decision that could imperil the site’s business model and undermine a legal defense used by other websites that depend on user content.

The decision, handed down Friday by a federal appeals court in California, came as a defeat for LiveJournal, which hosts the popular blog called “Oh No They Didn’t,” a forum for users to upload news about celebrities and chat about them.

The ruling came after a paparazzi operation called Mavrix, which the court describes as “specializing in candid photographs of celebrities in tropical locations,” sued Live Journal for copyright infringement over the Beyoncé photo and 19 other photos.

Full Read – http://fortune.com/2017/04/10/dmca-ruling-livejournal/

Deposition With Robin Thicke, Pharrell Released

Robin Thicke admits to being drunk and high in his 2013 interviews; Pharrell seems annoyed in newly released deposition video from the ‘Blurred Lines’ copyright infringement case. (Oct. 26)

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Why Ed Sheeran should be worried about allegedly copying a Marvin Gaye song

Remember the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit? Well, it set a precedent.

By Danielle Cheesman

To all the brides and grooms who chose Ed Sheeran‘s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” to serve as the soundtrack to their first dance, your marriage is doomed.

Just kidding.

But the track’s legacy is at risk of being tarnished. The song—which was the first to ever to hit 500 million streams on Spotify and won Song of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards—is being sued by the family of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote and created the musical composition of Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On,” for copyright infringement of the 1973 classic.

How so, you might ask, since it samples no beat and borrows no lyrics?

Because of its “heart.” No, really.

Hip-Hop celebrates the life of Marvin Gaye with samples

According to Reuters, the lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, claims that “the Defendants copied the ‘heart’ of ‘Let’s’ and repeated it continuously throughout ‘Thinking.’ The melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of ‘Thinking’ are substantially and/or strikingly similar to the drum composition of ‘Let’s.'”

While this may sound like a reach, what Sheeran has working against him is that Gaye grip. The force they flex.

While the Gaye family is not technically involved in Townsend’s suit against Sheeran, let’s not forget that their estate won $7.3 million last year in their lawsuit filed against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over the duo’s “Blurred Lines” smash, a song they alleged soundedtoo similar to Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

In that case, Williams and Thicke dismissed the family’s argument,writing that “the basis of the Gaye defendants’ claims is that ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Got To Give It Up’ ‘feel’ or ‘sound’ the same. Being reminiscent of a ‘sound’ is not copyright infringement.”

Well, their $7.3 million loss says otherwise.

And it became the record high judgment in a copyright infringement suit. So that’s saying something.

A real, authorized Marvin Gaye documentary is finally coming

“Blurred Lines” didn’t go down without a fight though. Back when it was released, even Questlove tried to weigh in with his support for his fellow contemporaries, telling Vulture:

“I’m siding with Robin Thicke; I’m going against the estate of Marvin Gaye. Look, technically it’s not plagiarized. It’s not the same chord progression. It’s a feeling. Because there’s a cowbell in it and a fender Rhodes as the main instrumentation — that still doesn’t make it plagiarized. We all know it’s derivative. That’s how Pharrell works. Everything that Pharrell produces is derivative of another song — but it’s an homage. If it were a case of melodic plagiarism, I would definitely side with the estate. But in this case…I’m still siding with Pharrell and Robin on this one.”

Note Quest’s use of the word “feeling.”

And note this writer’s use of it, as well. Here’s how SPIN‘s Andrew Unterberger—who noticed the similarities over a year ago, before anyone else (and maybe even Townsend) did—wrote about the two current songs in question:

“[‘Thinking Out Loud’] is also an incredibly obvious successor to Marvin Gaye’s 1973 superlative slow jam ‘Let’s Get It On’ — the gently loping four-note bass pattern and crisp ’70s soul drums absolutely smack of the Gaye classic, as do the embrace-insistent lyrics and general candlelit-bedroom feel.”

There it is again.

The point is, Williams and Thicke had to pay up. And if this new precedent set is all about vibesss, there’s a good chance Sheeran will too.

Full Article – https://revolt.tv/stories/2016/08/10/ed-sheeran-worried-allegedly-copying-marvin-gaye-song-8a3ce18fb7

Deadmau5 Sues Vape Company for Trademark Infringement

MARCH 31, 2016 6:56pm PT by Ashley Cullins

The deadmodz vape brand is confusing deadmau5 fans who think the electronic music star is behind the electronic cigarette line, according to the lawsuit.

Electronic dance music master Joel Zimmerman says West Coast Vape Supply is intentionally infringing on his deadmau5 trademark, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday in California.The deadmodz electronic cigarette line is trying to capitalize on Zimmerman’s fame, and according to the lawsuit the products “overlap with, are closely related to deadmau5’s goods and services and/or represent a natural zone of expansion for deadmau5, and such goods are or would be marketed and sold to the same types of consumers through the same channels of trade.”

Zimmerman is suing for trademark infringement and false association, and is seeking statutory and punitive damages and a permanent injunction to ban West Coast Vape from using deadmodz.

His attorney Irene Lee sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying they’re suing to protect the artist’s trademark and his fans.

“Our client faces unscrupulous people trying to take advantage goodwill associated with his intellectual property and his fame,” Lee writes. “We are grateful for our fans and believe it’s our obligation to make sure our fans are not duped into buying things that deadmau5 did not authorize.”

The lawsuit claims deadmau5 is not only a trademark, but a brand Zimmerman has been building for more than a decade. It also explains the origins of his onstage persona.

In 2002 Zimmerman took his computer apart and found a dead mouse inside. When he posted the story online, people started referring to him as “dead mouse guy.” He embraced the new nickname and tried to change is screen name to “deadmouse” but found the Internet Relay Chat channel he was using limited usernames to eight characters. Using leet spelling, he became deadmau5.

Not only is the name “deadmodz” similar to “deadmau5,” Lee argues, but also the vape company copied the bubble font Zimmerman uses in his logo.

Lee shared this photo, which is an exhibit to the suit:
Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 2.06.57 AM

In an effort to avoid the litigation, Zimmerman’s transactional attorney Dina LaPolt sent several letters to Alham Benyameen, the principal of West Coast Vape.

After an initial cease and desist letter, sent on Feb. 5, Benyameen substantially changed his website and logo design.

In response LaPolt made it clear that wasn’t good enough and tried again to settle out of court in a Feb. 19 letter.

“Please understand that your attempted changes do not negate that fact that you have violated and continue to violate our client’s rights, and thus are liable for, among other things, trademark and copyright infringement and attendant damages,” LaPolt writes. “In fact, your changes only highlight your acknowledgement and concession of wrongdoing, which admittedly is willful, knowing and intentional.”

When they didn’t respond, Lee prepared the suit.

“Instead of conceding their wrongdoing and agreeing to comply with our requests, they refused to acknowledge deadmau5’s intellectual property rights and their wrongdoing, necessitating this legal action,” she writes in her statement to THR. “We intend to vigorously protect deadmau5’s rights.”

West Coast Vape did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sourced From – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/deadmau5-sues-vape-company-trademark-879815