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The hotly disputed legal issue between the majority and dissent in the recent, highly-publicized “Blurred Lines” decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Williams v. Gaye, 15-56880, concerned whether Marvin Gaye’s 1976 hit song “Got to Give it Up” was entitled to “broad” or “thin” copyright protection. The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision over a vigorous dissent, upheld the jury’s determination that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s worldwide No. 1 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines” infringed Gaye’s work. Williams and Thicke are asking the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case en banc.
By Stan Soocher
Non-payment of monies is an all-too-common complaint in the entertainment industry, with frustrated plaintiffs in many cases seeking default judgments against defendants who fail to respond to lawsuits seeking payment. Two new Central District of California federal court decisions illustrate — after the judges sort through the factors for determining whether to grant a default judgment — how consideration of the amount of money at issue resulted in different outcomes on whether to enter a default judgment.
By Stan Soocher
We sadly note the November passing of long-time Entertainment Law & Finance editorial board member Jay Rosenthal.
By Raychel Lean
A New Yorker who settled a copyright lawsuit against several news outlets over a photo he took of star quarterback Tom Brady and Boston Celtics manager Danny Ainge has struck again. This time he’s suing a radio station owner in Florida federal courts in a case that could test the boundaries of an emerging area of copyright law, raising major questions about how media companies incorporate social media posts into online stories.
By Maxwell Briskman Stanfield
In the entertainment industry, it can take years for actors, musicians and others to reach a point where their efforts begin bringing in a notable return. If and when these types of clients begin to make a consistently significant income, one method that deserves consideration for protecting the hard-earned pay is to organize a loan-out corporation.