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Entertainment industry contracts often cover a variety of issues: services to be performed, rights granted, representations and warranties, travel and expense arrangements and compensation (both fixed and contingent), among other matters. In many cases, the compensation provisions are in one or two subparagraphs. To simplify drafting and to use “plain English,” the compensation provisions often contain introductory, governing language along the lines of: “In full and complete consideration for entering into and performing all of the terms hereof.” However, is such a “plain English” approach always a “best practice”?
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By Robert W. Clarida and Robert J. Bernstein
For the past five years, the copyright bar and the music industry have carefully followed the many twists and turns of the potentially monumental infringement case that asserted that the opening of the iconic Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” was copied from the introduction of a little-known 1967 instrumental “Taurus,” written by the late Randy California. In March 2020, a unanimous en banc panel of the entire Ninth Circuit affirmed portions of a prior three-judge appellate ruling that “Stairway” did not infringe the Spirit song — and in the process resolved some thorny issues involving substantial similarity and copyright scope that will be important for future litigants
By Scott Graham
Defendants Led Zeppelin and its music labels were the winners in the copyright decision by the Ninth Circuit over the song “Stairway to Heaven.” But the estate of songwriter Randy Wolfe (p/k/a California) wasn’t the only one who got the short end. Among the collateral damage from the ruling was a 2002 precedent written by former Chief Judge Alex Kozinski that endorsed the so-called “inverse-ratio” rule.
By Ryan W. Morris
The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act is a proposed congressional amendment to the current copyright statute that would create an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims and other legal proceedings.
By Andrea Perez
Recent lawsuits have grappled with the fair use of one’s likeness in video games, attempting to apply established order to a changing field.