On September 2, 2020, a California federal judge denied musician Taylor Swift’s motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims related to the lyrics in Swift’s hit song Shake It Off. On remand from the Ninth Circuit, the district court held the merger doctrine did not apply at this stage and that plaintiffs Nathan Butler and Sean Hall sufficiently alleged a protectable sequence of creative expression and substantial similarity in the lyrics at issue. This ruling comes nearly three years after Hall and Butler originally filed suit, and nearly one year after the Ninth Circuit breathed new life into the case by reversing the district court’s prior dismissal of this lawsuit.Read More
On May 18, 2020, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra issued a statement regarding concerns of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Safe Harbor programs. Sparked by the ouster of the mobile gaming player, Miniclip S.A., from the Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s (CARU) Safe Harbor program, the FTC announced action against Miniclip to order the cessation of its alleged misrepresentations regarding Miniclip’s participation in the self-regulatory program. A proposed settlement Consent Order was agreed and will published in the Federal Register for public comment shortly.Read More
In its recent judgment (Boomerang Investments Pty Ltd v Padgett (Liability)  FCA 535), the Federal Court of Australia has found that an American electronic musical duo copied the celebrated Australian disco song ‘Love Is In The Air’. The decision confirms that the sound of lyrics as sung forms part of a musical work. Furthermore, a short sung lyric with attending music can be the ‘essential air’ of a song.
While determining only “modest” levels of copyright infringement occurred and dismissing most claims for damages, Justice Perram described the copying as “flagrant” and indicated there will be a further hearing to assess damages.Read More
Who owns a celebrity’s tattoo, and the extent to which that tattoo can be displayed in a commercial context, raises right of publicity, copyright, and trademark issues. A district court in the recent Solid Oak case found no copyright infringement where a video game incorporated tattoos as inked on professional NBA players. Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. 2K Games, Inc., No. 16-CV-724-LTS-SDA (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 2020).
This case considered use of tattoos as part of lifelike depictions of professional athletes in video games, however the ruling easily relates to individuals with tattoos who commodify their likeness such as celebrities, social media influencers, and musicians.Read More
The right to intellectual property protection in “Artificial Intelligence” generated work gives rise to numerous legal, economic and moral issues. “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is a comprehensive term used to describe the ability of computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, ranging from translation processes and visual perception to brain simulation.
In this post, we give a brief introduction to the legal issues surrounding claims to copyright in AI generated work in the context of UK law and specifically, who can claim ownership of the work produced.Read More
In the recent decision of the case Kogan v Martin, the UK Court of Appeal overturned an Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) decision and identified a new test for determining when contribution is sufficient to be recognised as a joint author of a copyright work.
The case has now been remitted for a retrial before a different judge, due to the judge of first instance adopting an erroneous approach to the evidence and applying incorrect legal standards.Read More
To the interest of many a scouser and football fan alike, Liverpool Football Club’s attempt to register as a UK trademark LIVERPOOL has been rejected by the UKIPO on the grounds that the word is of “geographical significance” to the city. Liverpool FC had filed its application in regards to various goods in relation to football and the filing had attracted significant public attention.
Other English football clubs (Everton, Chelsea and Tottenham) have managed to register several trade marks for each of their respective area names. In addition Southampton Football Club has managed to register SOUTHAMPTON as an EU trade mark. As a result, it is not surprising that Liverpool FC would seek to register a similar mark to help protect its valuable brand.
However, as a result of the filing the club received significant backlash from the people of Liverpool, including their own supporters, and – probably in a related move – Liverpool FC has said that it does not plan to appeal the refusal and it has withdrawn the application. An additional trade mark application for LIVERPOOL with different claims has also been withdrawn.
The matter presents a great case study for brand owners on balancing the need to protect their brand whilst being considerate of the potential adverse PR that will come with the application for certain trade marks.Read More
“Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.” Karl Lagerfeld
Our Fashion team has prepared the latest edition of Fashion Law where we provide you with the latest updates on legal issues affecting the fashion industry.
This edition covers:
• An update on Modern Slavery legislation
• Copyright infringement
• The benefits of design protection in an IP strategy
• A look at illegal phoenix activity.
Click here to read Fashion Law online.
An Act on financial support for audiovisual production was published in the Journal of Laws on 10 January 2019. The Polish Film Institute (PISF) will soon provide financial support for the production of audiovisual works created in Poland.Read More
On October 11, 2018, President Trump signed the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) into law. The MMA is intended to “modernize copyright law” as applied to songwriters, music publishers, digital music providers, record labels, and others involved in the creation and distribution of music.