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In Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017), the trademark case involving the name of the Asian-American rock band The Slants, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the portion of §2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), that prohibits the federal registration of potentially disparaging trademarks and service marks, violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The eight justices participating in the case agreed that the prohibition constituted a viewpoint-based government restriction, but they divided evenly on the constitutional significance of that consideration. Whatever the resolution of that division ultimately may be, though, the outcome of the litigation is unlikely to affect the validity of most — but not necessarily all — of the Lanham Act’s other prohibitions on registration. This is an important consideration in the entertainment industry in which products with outrageous names are common.
By Tony Mauro
The justices in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association found the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act infringed on state sovereignty. The decision could transform sports and sports gambling from coast to coast.
By Andrew Denney
Legislature Considers Publicity Law Update
Ruling in a matter of first impression, New York’s high court dismissed suits filed by Lindsay Lohan and the daughter of ex-mobster Sammy “The Bull” Gravano against the makers of Grand Theft Auto V, by disagreeing with the plaintiff's claims that characters in the game were intended to be their look-alikes.
By Stan Soocher
The Supreme Court of Indiana accepted a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit involving the interpretation of the state’s right-of-publicity statute.
By Crystal Genteman and Chris Bussert
Only a small fraction of television news broadcasts are made available online. For a party to monitor and view all news coverage of an event, it would essentially have to watch and record all news broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's exactly what media-monitoring service TVEyes did. Fox News filed suit against TVEyes, claiming copyright infringement of 19 of its hour-long programs and alleging that TVEyes would divert Fox News’s viewership and its ability to license its news clips to third parties.