The Supreme Court recently handed down a decision in Warner Chappell v. Nealy that some practitioners view as disappointing.   We wrote about the underlying 11th Circuit case a year ago. Nealy was incarcerated during the time period when some of the songs he had co-produced were infringed. He claimed that because he was deprived of access…

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Sepi v. Netflix et al. was a case in the Western District of Oklahoma that brought the much reviled/loved reality show star Joe Exotic into the national spotlight. The suit against the “Tiger King” was brought by a videographer challenging his work-made-for-hire agreement with Exotic. (Really, the judges refer to him by that name).   Sepi…

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In Thumbtack v. Liaison, plaintiff sued for copyright infringement and trade dress infringement for allegedly copying its website. The Northern District of California granted in part the motion to dismiss, because many of the plaintiff’s claims were too vague to address. The court pointed to things in Thumbtack’s exhibits, like circling part of an exhibit without…

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Richardson vs. Kharbouch, brought in the Northern District of Illinois, was an infringement case that illustrated the dangers of doing copyright work on a shoestring. The plaintiff, Eddie Lee Richardson, also known as Hotwire the Producer, sued Karim Kharbouch, also known as French Montana. According to plaintiff/Richardson/Hotwire, he came up with a song when he was just…

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Amazon v. Pionera, out of the Eastern District of California, is notable not for its legal maneuvering, but rather the elaborate scam that was at the center of the dispute.  The plaintiff, Amazon, alleged trademark infringement and cybersquatting against defendant Manoj Goel and his company, Pionera. The defense did not answer the allegations for most…

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I was a full-time musician before law school, but Standing on the Horizon is the first album as a band leader (playing tenor sax, soprano sax and bass clarinet) consisting of my own compositions played with four extraordinary, Grammy-nominated and award-winning musicians. In early October 2023, the album was released on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora and…

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The Larson v. Perry saga essentially ended with the judge’s denying summary judgment to both sides; essentially, “a pox on both your houses.”  The background of this case was famously retold in The New York Times Magazine’s “Who is the Bad Art Friend?” I also wrote about it in “Bad Friends, Inspirations, and Betrayals” in…

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Lane Coder Photography v. Hearst Corporation is a copyright case from the Southern District of New York …which lost all its steam shortly after it began.   The case was brought by a photographer who was hired to take real estate pictures of the Connecticut home of Paul Simon and Edie Brickell. The purpose was to…

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In Nealy v. Warner Chappel Music Inc., a twice-incarcerated plaintiff sued his former manager for licensing his music without authorization — all while the inmate had been serving his first sentence. Argued before the 11th Circuit, this case highlights a circuit split. The sole issue was whether the plaintiff could bring a lawsuit for copyright…

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*Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2 In mid-May, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts, INC. v. Lynn Goldsmith, et al. The Court affirmed a Second Circuit decision, which had reversed a district court decision. For those unfamiliar with the background of this case, we wrote about it…

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