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Anti-Piracy, Copyright & Trademark News

Keep apprised of the latest developments in the world of anti-piracy, trademark and copyright laws, brand protection, individual cases and rulings, as they happen on a daily basis. Our news monitoring covers the full spectrum, from law professionals and industry insiders to artists and content creators, to the public's perception and awareness of copyright and piracy issues.


9/12/17 'Monkey selfie' lawsuit finally settled after two years and a banana boat full of puns It only took moments for Naruto, a male crested black macaque, to snap photos of his own face — amber-colored eyes looking straight at the camera, mouth open in a half-grin — using a camera belonging to wildlife photographer (and human) David J. Slater. The legal battle over who owned the ensuing "monkey selfies," on the other hand, stretched for nearly two years. Read more >>

8/2/17 Cable giants step up piracy battle by interrogating Montreal software developer and searching his home 'The whole experience was horrifying,' TVAddons founder says of court-sanctioned search. Canadian cable companies have ratcheted up their war on piracy by launching a new legal battle. The effort has already seen Bell, Rogers and Quebecor's Videotron search a Montreal software developer's home and interrogate him for more than nine hours. Read more >>

7/30/17 HBO declares war on Game of Thrones pirates, but it may be a losing battle More than 90 million fans pirated the season's first episode, says one source. Season seven of Game of Thrones has only just begun, and already HBO is cracking down on people illegally downloading the wildly popular TV series. But it's questionable how successful the TV network's attack will be, especially when many pirates are turning to streaming — a form of piracy that's hard to track but easy to do, even for Luddites. Read more >>

7/13/17 A monkey took a selfie. PETA says he owns the copyright. 'Where does it end?' A curious monkey with a toothy grin and a knack for pressing a camera button was back in the spotlight Wednesday as a federal appeals court heard arguments on whether an animal can hold a copyright to selfie photos. Read more >>

5/2/17 The Eagles sue Hotel California The Eagles have filed a lawsuit accusing the owners of a Mexico hotel of using the name "Hotel California," arguably the band's most famous song, without permission. In a complaint filed late Monday, the Eagles said owners of the 11-room Todos Santos hotel in Baja California Sur "actively encourage" guests to believe the hotel is associated with the band, in order to sell t-shirts and other merchandise, and make guests feel welcome. Read more >>

4/28/17 Hacker demands ransom for new season of 'Orange Is the New Black' A hacker claims to have stolen the upcoming season of Netflix's hit series Orange Is the New Black, and is demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom to prevent all the new episodes from being prematurely released online. The hacker, operating under the name The Dark Overlord, has already purportedly uploaded the first episode to an illegal file-sharing service. The Associated Press could not legally confirm the authenticity of that uploaded file.. Read more >>

10/25/16 Appeals court rules for music companies in MP3tunes copyright case A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that record companies and music publishers that once formed part of EMI Group Ltd could pursue additional copyright infringement claims in a long-running lawsuit over defunct online music storage firm MP3tunes. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also rejected an appeal by MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson, and reinstated much of a jury 2014's verdict awarding the music companies $48 million that a trial judge later reduced. The ruling marked the latest turn in protracted court battles between the music industry and online content providers. They followed prior copyright litigation that led to the shutdown of another company Robertson founded, MP3.com. Read more >>

6/13/16 Music Industry and Technology Leaders Join Leading Academic Institutions to Launch Open Music Initiative to Resolve Longstanding Media Rights Issues Berklee College of Music's Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) announced today a groundbreaking initiative called The Open Music Initiative (OMI) to dramatically simplify the way that music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated — a thorny issue that has challenged the music industry and stifled creator incomes and industry revenues since the dawn of the digital era. The effort will combine BerkleeICE's expertise in the music industry with the MIT Media Lab's expertise in decentralized platforms to help advance the development of open source frameworks and innovation related to music rights and their associated uses in all media forms. Read more >>

6/2/16 Madonna Gets Victory Over 'Vogue' Sample at Appeals Court The 9th Circuit rules that a trivial taking isn't enough to establish copyright infringement. On Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made it easier for musicians to sample small portions of song recordings by giving Madonna and her producer Robert "Shep" Pettibone a victory in a long-running lawsuit over the 1990 hit "Vogue." Read more >>

5/13/16 APNewsBreak: Anti-counterfeiting group suspends Alibaba An anti-counterfeiting group said Friday it was suspending Alibaba's membership following an uproar by some companies that view the Chinese e-commerce giant as the world's largest marketplace for fakes. The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition told members that it had failed to inform the board of directors about conflicts of interest involving the group's president, Robert Barchiesi. Read more >>

5/9/16 Cruz campaign sued over use of music in videos Sen. Ted Cruz's now-defunct presidential campaign is being sued over the background music it used in two videos. Audiosocket, a music licensing company based in Seattle and New Orleans, filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle against Cruz for President and the advertising firm Madison McQueen. It says an agreement between Audiosocket and Madison McQueen expressly barred the use of the songs for political purposes. Read more >>

2/19/16 Hoverboards with counterfeit batteries seized at NY airport More than a thousand hoverboards seized at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport were powered by counterfeit batteries that were potentially dangerous, U.S. customs officials said on Friday, highlighting concerns about the safety of the trendy devices. Read more >>

1/28/16 US Commerce Department wants courts to be kinder, gentler to file sharers Works of "minimal commercial value" should get a "lower award." A US Department of Commerce task force recommended Thursday that Congress alter the Copyright Act in a bid that likely would reduce financial damages for file sharing copyright scofflaws. Read more >>

1/15/16 50 Cent doesn't have to share 'I Get Money' money with Georgia rapper, appeals court decides Score one for 50. A federal appeals court ruled a Georgia rapper who wanted to get money for 50 Cent's hit "I Get Money" doesn't have a case. Read more >>

12/10/15 Who's investigating fake Chinese goods? Fake investigators The woman called herself Flaming Lee, an English name she picked when she was 10 years old, long before she got into the dirty business of counterfeit goods. Her job as a private investigator sometimes took her to client meetings at Dubai's seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel. Otherwise, she lived in apparent simplicity. Read more >>

11/27/15 Eagles settle lawsuit with accused Long Island bootlegger Don Henley and Glen Frey of "Eagles" were ready to take their lawsuit to the limit against a Long Island music man they accused of being a desperado trafficking in bootleg recordings of their concerts, but the rockers won in the long run. Read more >>

10/30/15 Appeals court rules in favor of 'Point Break' parody creator An author's irreverent stage tribute to the 1991 Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves action movie "Point Break" is entitled to copyright protection even though she did not seek permission from the filmmakers to create the parody, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. Read more >>

9/23/15 Batmobile Wins Copyright Protection The Batmobile is a car that has almost everything: weapons, ahead-of-its-time computers, wing-shaped tail fins and an assortment of gadgets perfectly suited to Batman's diverse crime-fighting needs. (The Bat-ray of the 1960s version, for instance, opened enemy car doors, while the version driven by Michael Keaton fired a grappling hook that allowed him round corners at improbable speeds.) On Wednesday, the Batmobile received another upgrade: copyright protection. Read more >>

9/17/15 ISPs Agree To Block The Pirate Bay in Iceland Local Internet providers in Iceland have reached an agreement with entertainment industry representatives to prevent subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay and Deildu.net. The private agreement is being subjected to heavy criticism by the Pirate Party, which is currently the most popular political party in the polls. Read more >>

8/26/15 Man tries to copyright a chicken sandwich, learns that that's completely ridiculous In 1987, Norberto Colón Lorenzana had what we can all agree is a pretty unremarkable idea. Colón, who had just started working at a fast food joint called Church's Chicken in Puerto Rico, suggested to his employer that they try adding a basic fried chicken sandwich to a menu that was mostly chicken-by-the-piece. The "Pechu Sandwich," as it was christened when it was added to Church's menu in 1991, was wildly popular. In 2014, 24 years after the Pechu Sandwich was introduced, and eight since it was trademarked by South American Restaurant Corporation (SARCO), the franchisee that operates Church's Chicken restaurants in Puerto Rico, he filed a lawsuit, claiming that the company had taken advantage of his intellectual property and demanding that he share in the profits. Read more >>

8/17/15 Mister Softee Sues Ice Cream Man For Illegal Use Of Its Trademarked Jingle For an anthropomorphized cylinder of liquid sugar, Mister Softee is a litigious man. After we ran our profile on Victor the ice cream man last month, attorneys for Mister Softee took notice, and filed a lawsuit against the owner of Victor's truck for illegal use of the Mister Softee jingle. Read more >>

7/29/15 Twitter will delete jokes after a DMCA takedown — but NOT my photos, fumes angry snapper A photographer is suing Twitter, claiming it refused to remove unauthorized copies of her copyrighted snaps from its social network. Kristen Pierson has filed a copyright-infringement complaint against Twitter in the Los Angeles District Court, alleging the website has ignored her request to take down images she snapped of musician Herman Li. Read more >>

7/11/15 Chinese counterfeiter finds a comfortable life in California SHANGHAI (AP) — The Chinese woman has a history of selling counterfeit luxury goods. She has been sued in the U.S. by eight luxury brands. She owes Chanel Inc. $6.9 million for selling products online under its name. None of it has stopped Xu Ting, a 45-year-old immigrant, from achieving a comfortable suburban life in San Diego with her husband and their 3-year-old son. Last year, she became a legal resident. Read more >>

6/18/15 Justin Bieber, Usher ordered to face copyright lawsuit Justin Bieber and Usher were ordered by a U.S. appeals court on Thursday to face a $10 million lawsuit claiming the singers illegally copied parts of a song composed by two Virginia songwriters. By a 3-0 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond revived a May 2013 lawsuit by Devin Copeland, an R&B singer known as De Rico, and his songwriting partner Mareio Overton, saying a lower court judge was wrong to dismiss it. Read more >>

5/1/15 Grooveshark music-sharing service closes down The closure is part of a deal worked out with record companies who sued the service claiming it was harbouring pirated pop. In a statement on its website, Grooveshark said it had failed to get licences for the copyrighted music shared on the service. Read more >>

3/11/15 'Blurred Lines' verdict likely to alter music business LOS ANGELES (AP) — A verdict saying Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye's music to create their hit song "Blurred Lines" could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims. Read more >>

2/27/15 Madonna 'Rebel Heart' Hacker Indicted on Four Counts The Israeli man accused of hacking into Madonna and her associates' computers and leaking songs destined for the singer's March 6th-bound Rebel Heart has been indicted on four counts. Read more >>

2/6/15 Katy Perry's dancing sharks from Super Bowl halftime show take bite out of artist's idea MIAMI (AP) — The dancing sharks that stole some of the spotlight during Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show have taken a bite out of an artist's bid to sell small figurines of them. Read more >>

1/29/15 Taylor Swift's 'this sick beat' may be the world's first trademarked lyric Taylor Swift is valiantly protective of her property, as last year's withdrawal from Spotify proved. As arguably the most successful solo performer in the world, she has just moved to trademark certain lyrical phrases, notably "this sick beat" from Shake it Off as well as "nice to meet you, where you been?" and "party like it's 1989". Read more >>

1/19/15 Beastie Boys lawyers: Bills top $1.7M in Monster Energy suit NEW YORK (AP) — The Beastie Boys want to force the maker of Monster Energy drink to pay nearly $2.4 million in legal fees and costs so the rappers' $1.7 million jury award is not dwarfed by expenses in a copyright violation case, lawyers say. Read more >>

12/12/14 NYPD Nabs $2.2M in Counterfeit Goods Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's, Homeland Security Investigations in New York, today announced that seven Queens residents — two married couples and three other individuals — have been charged with trademark counterfeiting and that more than $2.2 million worth of fake designer handbags, gloves wallets, watches and other items. Read more >>

11/12/14 Irving Azoff Threatens to Yank 20,000 Songs from YouTube The industry heavyweight, representing Pharrell Williams and others, believes that YouTube hasn't made all necessary deals for its new subscription service and is prepared to take his clients off of the YouTube ecosystem. Read more >>

11/4/14 The last Pirate Bay founder has finally been caught and arrested It was only a matter of time. The last of The Pirate Bay's three co-founders was arrested yesterday on the border between Laos and Thailand, signalling the end of a drawn-out manhunt for the site's infamous creators. Read more >>

10/15/14 Eagles member Don Henley sues clothing maker over shirt ad, claiming copyright violation A founding member of the Eagles rock band is suing a Wisconsin clothing manufacturer over an ad he claims is a copyright violation. Read more >>

9/29/14 Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement If you're a Grooveshark user, you should probably start backing up your collection. In a decision released Monday, the United States District Court in Manhattan has found Grooveshark guilty of massive copyright infringement... Read more >>

9/23/14 In big setback for digital radio, court says Sirius XM must pay Turtles for pre-1972 recordings A federal judge in Los Angeles sided with sixties band The Turtles in a closely watched copyright case that has big economic implications for SiriusXM and other digital radio providers like Pandora. Read more >>

8/5/14 Kurt Sutter Attacks Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy (Guest Column) Open Letter to the Creative Community — Dear Family, Friends and Enemies: Recently, I responded to a Google-sponsored article in Slate. In my retort, I bitch-slapped Google and its half-bright shill for misrepresenting the truth about piracy and copyright laws. Read more >>

8/1/14 Lionsgate Sues Over 'Expendables 3' Leak The studio says it learned on July 24 that a copy of the action film had been stolen. Lionsgate is taking legal action against the anonymous individuals who shared online an advance copy of The Expendables 3, starring Sylvester Stallone. Read more >>

7/25/14 The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies Files Class Action Complaint Against Ford and General Motors Over Hard Drives in Cars The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, an organization that collects fees levied on the sale of home recording devices, has filed a class action complaint accusing Ford and General Motors of placing certain types of hard drives in its cars without paying the requisite fees. Read more >>

7/12/14 Beats Goes After Chinese Counterfeiters with Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit Just over a month after Apple's acquisition of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker made its first major post-acquisition move by filing a lawsuit against Chinese counterfeiters. Read more >>

6/24/14 Justices rule for broadcasters in fight with Aereo The justices said by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters' copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming. Read more >>

6/18/14 Trademark board rules against Redskins name WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal trademark board ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name. Read more >>

6/5/14 Beastie Boys awarded $1.7 million in Monster case NEW YORK (AP) - It's a rap: The Beastie Boys have won $1.7 million in a copyright violation case against the maker of Monster Energy drink. Thursday's ruling ends a case in which the two surviving members of the band testified about their staunch opposition to the use of their music in commercial endorsements. Read more >>

6/3/14 Online pirates thrive on legitimate ad dollars LOS ANGELES (AP) - Movie and music piracy thrives online in part because crafty website operators receive advertising dollars from major companies like Comcast, Ford and McDonald's. That's the conclusion of several recent reports that shed light on Internet piracy's funding sources. Read more >>

4/17/14 US music labels sue Pandora NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - Several major U.S. music companies sued Pandora Media Inc on Thursday, accusing the online streaming service of cheating them out of royalties by playing thousands of pre-1972 recordings without paying royalties. The music in question, from musicians such as the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Marvin Gaye and Fleetwood Mac, is "some of the most iconic music in the world," the lawsuit said. Read more >>

4/16/14 Copyright a go-go: Aereo, Google Books and Vimeo challenges There are a slew of copyright-related cases making their way through the Second Circuit, some even making it to the Supreme Court. Read more >>

4/15/14 'Game of Thrones' Joffrey wedding crowns new piracy record The Purple Wedding sent Game of Thrones fans rushing to file-sharing services to illegally download the HBO hit's latest shocking episode. Sunday's episode "The Lion and the Rose" broke torrent records, according to piracy-tracking blog TorrentFreak. Read more >>

4/8/14 Hollywood studios sue megaupload Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom are under legal fire in federal court for infringing on multiple Hollywood studios' copyrights. The online file-hosting site was raided in January 2012 by the feds, but now Dotcom is facing civil allegations as well as criminal charges for running Megaupload, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Read more >>

4/7/14 Google's attempts at trademarking Glass are failing Google Glass has been making headlines lately for where it is getting banned, and the company might soon be able to add another place — the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). OK, a "ban" is too strong a word, but all of Google's efforts thus far to trademark the word "Glass" have fallen short. Read more >>

4/3/14 Online piracy finally in the crosshairs On March 13, the Congressional Subcommittee on copyright reform held hearings on proposed revisions to the DMCA, Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Those invited to testify were evenly split between those who represented the tech industry and those who represented the artist and Copyright. Read more >>

4/3/14 Record labels bring piracy charges against Russia's VKontakte MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - Three of the world's top record companies are suing Russia's biggest social network VKontakte (VK) for facilitating copyright piracy, a London-based industry federation said on Thursday. Read more >>

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