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In March 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under 17 U.S.C. §411(a), “registration occurs, and a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit, when the Copyright Office registers a copyright” — that is, acts on a registration application, rather than when an applicant delivers the registration materials to the Copyright Office. Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, 139 S. Ct. 881 (2019). The 9-0 Supreme Court majority opinion, by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affirmed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and helped clarify the U.S. Copyright Act’s use of the word “registration” that had split the federal circuits. But even with Fourth Estate, some questions remain.
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By Karen Hoffman Lent and Kenneth Schwartz
In November, the DOJ asked a federal district court to terminate the Paramount Consent Decrees, a set of rules governing major film studios for the last 70 years. In effect, these rules prohibited movie studios from owning downstream movie theaters and banned a variety of vertical agreements, such as block booking — the practice of bundling multiple films into one theater license.
By P.J. D’Annunzio
A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a Philadelphia lawyer’s suit alleging that Los Angeles litigation boutique Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht acted in bad faith by failing to follow through with a $160,000 settlement in a dispute over attorney fees.
By Frank Ready
A new esports-centric survey released by the law firm of Foley & Lardner projects that esports revenues will climb above the $1 billion mark this year. But the increased stakes and growing sophistication of the industry will likely not be without their headaches.
By Stan Soocher
There has been a long-term debate over whether sound recordings can be copyright works made for hire. Sound recordings don’t appear in the list of works for hire set out in §101 of the Copyright Act of 1976, though record labels argue recordings can be deemed so as a “compilation” or a “contribution to a collective work,” per §101.